A concept rendering of the development potential for one of Syncora’s Detroit parcels.

DALLAS -- Syncora Guarantee Inc. wants a development partner to lead the overhaul of nearly 12 acres of riverfront land in Detroit acquired in its bankruptcy settlement with the city in 2014.

The bond insurer holds development rights for two large land holdings in Detroit's Rivertown district: the 8.9-acre Chene holding and the 2.75-acre Atwater.

Syncora asked development and investment partners to submit proposals for a development plan by March 31st.

Syncora's settlement package with Detroit included the development agreement for three properties: the two Rivertown properties and the former Detroit police headquarters. Development options for the Atwater properties expire in December 2018 and for the Chene properties in December 2021.

Syncora's settlement ended more than a year of litigation between the bond insurer and the city during Detroit's Chapter 9 bankruptcy case. The insurer wrapped $390 million of Detroit's $1.5 billion in pension certificates of participation, for which the city initially offered 10%.

In addition to the land, Syncora received a mix of cash and asset leases that allowed it to recover 13.9% of its claim.

Syncora said in a statement that it is "actively working with the city, along with various local stakeholders, to develop the best solution for each property." The developer will control all development decisions, including tax incentives and project financing. Syncora is looking to act as a passive joint-venture partner.

"We have had substantial interest in the riverfront properties and are engaging in an open and equitable process to identify partners who will properly steward this land to complement the current community-driven plans and development," the statement said.

The Chene option incorporates two adjacent lots and has potential for more than 1.8 million square feet of development. The development would add to the revitalization of the city as it encourages higher density development along the river.

The Atwater option is a 2.75 acre lot that is only a six-minute walk to GM's Renaissance Center headquarters and has riverfront views along Atwater and is adjacent to Milliken State Park. Chene and Atwater are a 10- and 20-minute walk to downtown, respectively.

Syncora said that the Rivertown development incentives are being coordinated with the planning effort as the city encourages higher density development along the river.

On March 2, the Detroit RiverFront Conservancy, city planning department and Detroit Economic Growth Corp. released plans for the east riverfront that call for the creation of two new "Dequindre Cut-style" pathways; added preservation of about 8 acres of land for public use, particularly from Atwater Street south to the river, and Stroh River Place and Rivard Plaza; an eastward expansion of the Detroit RiverWalk; safety improvements along East Jefferson Avenue; and a mixed-use development of the historic Stone Soap Building.

 

 

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