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Shelborne Development's Palmer Park plans include mounted security patrols

Kathy Makino-Leipsitz and Mark Leipsitz don't just have a vision for the handful of Palmer Park apartment buildings they plan to bring online this year. They have a grand plan for the entire district and its large collection of Art Deco buildings.

"We're very excited," says Kathy Makino-Leipsitz, who co-owns Shelborne Development with her husband Mark Leipsitz. "These buildings are irreplaceable."

The Indian Village-based real-estate development company has purchased nearly a dozen apartment buildings in Palmer Park in recent years. Many of those include some of the district's most jaw dropping architectural gems, such as Palmer Lodge, La Vogue, Coronado, Madrid Court (currently under construction), El Dorado, Alwyne Lane, Sarasota, Merton Manor and Whitmore Plaza. Shelborne Development plans to redevelop all of these into apartments and commercial space, and is considering razing two fire-damaged mixed-use buildings on McNichols. The renovations are expected to all come online by 2014.

The idea is to create a vibrant neighborhood that is a destination for the entire region filled with high-quality homes (both affordable and market rate housing) and spaces for small businesses. The basement of the Palmer Lodge features several thousand square feet of space that could offer space for a coffee shop, restaurant or bar.

"The basement is pretty much open space," Kathy Makino-Leipsitz says. "You would have up to 2,500 square feet in each space."

She is also looking into the idea of bringing a mounted security patrol to Palmer Park. The Detroit Police Department recently relocated its mounted division to Palmer Park. Kathy Makino-Leipsitz is interested in brokering a partnership with the police department that would allow properly trained private security personnel to use the mounted division's horses.

"This should be like Central Park in New York, but for Detroit," Kathy Makino-Leipsitz says.

Source: Kathy Makino-Leipsitz and Mark Leipsitz, co-developers of the La Vogue
Writer: Jon Zemke

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