Albert Kahn Building

Northern Equities Group; Lutz Real Estate Investments; Cunningham-Limp
Detroit, MI

Facade Assessment and Restoration

As part of the City of Detroit facade ordinance program, WJE identified safety concerns resulting from corrosion of the embedded steel elements supporting the limestone facade, and assisted with the development of stabilization measures to protect the public. When the building was purchased by a new developer, WJE was asked to assist in the restoration of the facade under a design-build contract.


The Albert Kahn Building, constructed in 1931, is located in the New Center neighborhood of Detroit, Michigan. The thirteen-story building was commissioned by the Fisher Brothers as a ‘building with a purpose’, to combat unemployment rates during the Great Depression. Designed in the Art Deco style by its namesake and local industrial architect, Albert Kahn, it exhibits ornate limestone cladding and was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1980.


WJE worked on a design-build team with Cunningham-Limp and Grunwell-Cashero, a specialty masonry restoration contractor, to design and implement a $1.2 million restoration project during renovation of the building from a commercial office space to residential apartments.

The project’s scope included facade condition assessment and facade stabilization assistance; construction document development and bidding assistance; design-build repair prioritization and phasing; construction period services and observations; and development of a long-term maintenance and repair program.

Following the bid phase, WJE presented the Owner with multiple phasing and scope options with respect to schedule, construction budgets, public safety, tenant impact, and future developments, including roof level patios. During construction, WJE worked closely with the masonry contractor to review the work, incorporate design changes, revise repair quantities, and maximize the Owner’s available budget.