Office building, hotel planned for former Novi Expo Center site

Posted on April 4, 2013

A 25-acre tract where the Novi Expo Center was demolished last year is set to be redeveloped with a commercial building and hotel, giving the vacant land new life.

Details of the $100-million project, along with artist renderings, were announced Wednesday morning on the property at I-96 and Novi Road.

Kevin Adell, who is leading the project, said he has been in talks with hotel chains — including Hyatt, Hilton and Marriott — and the Cleveland Clinic, about becoming tenants.

“It’s a great location,” he said. “We just need to find one major tenant.”

Plans for the development, dubbed Adell Towers, call for twin 8-10 story buildings, each about 176,000 square feet. Adell said he envisions a medical center and offices, including his own, in one tower and a hotel in the other.

The only fixture that is there now — a white water tower with the Adell name painted on it –will remain as a visual focal point and symbol, he said.

Adell also is president of Adell Broadcasting in Clinton Township, which operates WADL-TV and the Word Network.

In addition to Adell, the redevelopment group includes Peter Burton of Burton-Katzman, who said the timing of the development “couldn’t be better as the economy is on an upswing.”

Burton added he expects that it could take up to a year to sign tenants, and then a year after that to build the complex. Overall, he said, the project could take up to five years to complete and employ hundreds of people.

The development group said it worked with Novi to come up with the plan, and the city has offered tax abatements for up to 10 years.

“We’ve been hoping something would be developed here,” said Novi Councilman Wayne Wrobel, who along with other elected officials was on hand for the announcement.

Originally developed as the home of Adell Industries by his father, Frank Adell, in 1952 — before Novi was incorporated as a city — the property has been through various iterations.

The tract is owned by the Adell Brothers’ Children’s Funded Trust, and Adell said it is valued at about $1 million per acre.

In 1992, it was redeveloped as the 300,000-square-foot Novi Expo Center, which became home to many home-and-garden, RV and boat shows, as well as the Motorsports Hall of Fame.

The expo center became vacant when a new conference center, the Suburban Collection Showplace, opened in 2005.

“My dad started out here, and I’ll end up here,” Adell said. “In a way, it has come full circle.”

Frank Witsil,