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Proposed M1 Concourse car condos a country club for car buffs

Wed, 29 May 2013

Brad Oleshansky's a "car fanatic" who spends time cruising Detroit's Woodward Avenue, getting shooed out of parking lots by business owners.

He sought a space conducive to show and work on cars.

"I tried to envision a project where we could capture that whole scene in one destination," he said.

The result is M1 Concourse, named after Woodward Avenue's M-1 state-road designation.

It's a planned country club for car buffs, and is structured around more than 325 secure, climate-controlled car condos that would be able to house between two and 50 vehicles for storage or repairs, and include a bathroom and loft-style lounge area for entertaining or relaxing.

"This is for the major car guys and women who want to store vehicles, create their own unique space and turn them into hangout spots," Oleshansky said.

The complex is also slated to include a restaurant, a clubhouse, a 40,000 square-foot event center, outdoor exhibition space for car shows or auctions, auto-related retail shops and a one-mile warm-up track with a 1/3 mile straightaway.

The site for M1 Concourse is on Woodward Avenue in Pontiac, Mich., on more than 87 acres of mostly vacant industrial land that was a former General Motors Validation Center -- only one original building remains, and M1 Concourse plans on remodeling it for use in the project.

Oleshansky announced the purchase from the RACER (Revitalizing Auto Communities Environmental Response) Trust last week, which was established in 2011 to clean up and re-sell former GM locations that no longer fit in with the "new GM."

The status of the project is ongoing; Oleshansky said all the approvals from the city are in place, but M1 Concourse still needs to go through environmental approvals and sort out economic incentives before it can break ground. There are some funding commitments, but that still needs to be finalized, too.

Still, Oleshansky said they already have 40 reservations.

"Demand is already there, so that's a good sign," he said.

Oleshansky said he is even seeing interest from automotive companies who are seeking space to offer an employee perk -- a car condo instead of a suite at the local basketball arena -- or to display their products.

The car condos are expected to cost $50,000 for the two-car models, and up to $150,000 for the four- to six-car garages; a monthly maintenance fee will also be required.

Oleshansky's goal is to open the restaurant, public spaces, retail, demonstration garages and the first set of car condos by August 2014 in time for the Woodward Dream Cruise, which passes by the condos.

Car condos began cropping up in other parts of the country around 2006. Already in the metro-Detroit area is the Woodward Warehouse, which houses a smaller collection of vehicles and has a shared lounge, conference room and outdoor patio.

Disclosure: Autoweek is listed as one of M1 Concourse's strategic partners, supporting the enthusiast mission of the project; we have no legal or financial stake in the venture.

By Angie Fisher