DTE Energy turns vacant building into energy efficient office space

DTE Energy has completed renovating the long-vacant Art Deco building next to its downtown Detroit headquarters as part of its investment in the neighborhood that the company has called home for more than a century.

The three-story, 32,000 square-foot building—newly named the Navitas House—will be home to about 140 employees from DTE's information technology department. The building has been vacant since the Salvation Army closed it in 2004.

"DTE has made a commitment to assist the rebuilding of Detroit. Among many other actions taken to support this commitment, we recognized an opportunity to refurbish the historic Salvation Army building, and in doing so renamed it the Navitas House," said Ron May, DTE Energy executive vice president, Major Enterprise Projects. "One of the keys to urban revitalization is to bring vacant buildings back to life, which helps a street feel more alive, makes it safer and improves the overall stability of the neighborhood. This beautiful building stands now as a symbol of our work to help energize Detroit."

The purchase and renovation of the building on Bagley Avenue is part of DTE's strategy to help transform its campus and the surrounding area into a neighborhood that is more inviting and commercially viable. Navitas is Latin for "energy."

In a separate development project, DTE is expected to break ground on a new green space just to the east of its headquarters in the spring. Plans call for the now-empty lot to become a public gathering place for downtown employees, residents and visitors.

DTE preserved much of the Art Deco interior elements during the Navitas House reconstruction, including the historic attributes of the main lobby, as well as terrazzo floors and marble walls in the bathrooms, while also making it energy-efficient and in compliance with current laws.

A rain garden, which will filter runoff and provide an urban habitat for birds and butterflies, has been added behind the building. The Navitas House is expected to become DTE's first Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED)-certified building in 2015.

The architecture firm of record for the Nativas House project was Detroit-based Hamilton Anderson Associates and the general contractor was L.S. Brinker, a certified Minority firm headquartered in Detroit.

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