What would you say your projects range from?
insanity to more insanity Everything from a turn of the century 20 story highrise to huge train stations, old high schools to factories-industrial buildings, department stores, city blocks - some infill, some new construction.
Mostly in urban areas?
ALL urban areas. no subdivisions for me no malls either.
I couldnt be inspired, Id be bored - there would be no satisfaction. Its not good enough for me to just make a living, its secondary, I have to enjoy what I do first - and what I do I like other people to enjoy for a long long time I guess its all in the eye of the beholder, but what kind of person has a relative that the showcase of their city is a mall out in suburbia? I mean you know Anyone who has any basic education understands the importance of a quality built environment and what it means to ones life style- weve just become, as Americans, such a throwaway society - that we accept such mediocre performance in our built environment, that they take the easy way out. People want to do the right thing they just have to be educated & encouraged. If you can just produce a little bit of the right thing to start a seed
You said at the city council meeting
really threw me a curve
when you said
building could be a seed for nourishment-
You dont hear words like that.
You just dont, developers, just dont talk like that.
Oh yeah those developers they build roads and name them after their kids or tree lane what tree?, you took it down, asshole in the damn subdivision apache pass what the hell is that? they ought to sue them for tree lane theres not a tree discrimination for a racial slur against Native Americans its insulting.
How would you characterize your projects?
First & foremost - interesting stimulating - not just to me & its something the community wants or I dont want to do it.
What makes you so community focused?
Is that being community focused? I guess it is Wouldnt it be best, in your lifestyle - where wouldnt it be nice if you could walk down to the corner grocery store & know your neighbor & say hi to the elderly couple & know who they are & not rely on the police to police your neighborhood - because all your neighbors are & to have that kind of fabric & have that kind of situation that you dont have to drive that long distance to work as a matter of fact you could walk or bike or take your car you could have a number of different options and where you had a diverse group of people living next to each other you know - sharing the richness of life - that would be the optimum.
You go through life & what makes the best things in life - some of lifes best memories is the richness you gain out of it - from sharing other peoples experiences. How do you do that if you create these distances - travel & play, travel & work, live & work ones free time is so important to the health of an individual, that if you have to spend it under a stressful situation because of your commute to work - or your commute to the grocery store you know its wasted time - its time thats not quality time.
Theres a big generation of Americans that dont know anything about the neighborhood corner grocery store & the police officer that lived down the block, where everyone had a sidewalk & you had an alley behind your house where neighbors really cared for neighbors and you knew your neighbors. There are a lot of people who just dont know what that is anymore or theyve forgotten it, or they never experienced it.
Do you feel with your projects, that people can
experience a little more of that
or that you bring a little
more of that to life in an area?
Absolutely. Especially when you mix incomes
Do you care to comment on the potential of Detroit?
Look at what you have & utilize it. You guys..have a lot .a lot - and its not all disjointed - you dont just have a building here & a building there - you dont have to invent a bunch of new buildings theyre there - it s like hey I m here reuse me! You can end up with a product nobody can duplicate for the money - you have the ability to go in and really create some fabric that ties with the community - the people and the places together where do you start? you start where you can make the biggest impact - and you have the ability to have the biggest impact - in my mind in Detroit, where it is most noticed is right downtown. Your Hudsons building affords an opportunity, that in a very short period of time, historically, can be an example, on the national level, of what you can do.
Do you think Detroit has the framework in place?
They have the I dont know if they have the human framework in place - the leadership framework in place - I dont know that But I they definitely have the wealth the corporate wealth to get involved they definitely have the physical infrastructure in all the buildings theyre all sitting there Its so backwards what lost tax base goes because a building is allowed to sit derelict - every city has them.
Everyone makes so much bones about recycling Hey, youre the ultimate recycler if you do old buildings. Think about the natural resources that it takes to make one brick or to make lumber, that you trash & throw in the ground when you tear down a building -this is kind of far out but youre really stealing & robbing from the next generations & you dont need to to it for every building you take down that has a possibility for reuse. They all have reuses to some extent, just think about it.
If you look at the crap that goes up in their place think of all the fast food joints & gas stations that were built 25 to 30 years ago, theyre not there anymore - theyre throw away theyre garbage, they dont withstand the test of time - and all that takes a tremendous amount of natural resources & energy from somewhere else.
You could have a wonderful community of housing, that will give people a sense of pride and a sense of place - self supporting, self policing, and would not take any additional services from the city. The infrastructure is already there, it wouldnt require more sewer lines, it wouldnt require more fire stations - it would create a constituency that cared - a constituency that got involved in the city. It would foster retail that meets the needs of the people that live there. It would create an urban neighborhood, densely populated where the people would create a synergy that would be such a shining example I dont mean just noticed on a local level - thats very important - but noticed on a a state level and national level, thats important because itll help people see - give people pride and encouragement to continue efforts in their own community and outside your community to be a teacher.
What would be better than if you could walk down & go to some theater, get what you need for you basic necessities - you dont need a big huge grocery store, it would be nice but just get your basic necessities & dry cleaning & a video, or go to a movie or a little coffee shop or restaurant, be able to jump in your car if you want, when you want but to have that kind of living environment, you know, where your neighbors care & theyre sharing the same interests that you do - they care about automatically doing something in an inner city like that - just naturally pulls all those people together.
Theres a huge opportunity there but somebody has to have the passion & the leadership to make it happen.
Its possible. It can be done
If you want to make it happen
Weve done projects & restored
buildings that were in far worse
condition (than the Hudsons
building) But you need to set
a vision & make a commitment to
the whole area (lower
You need to make a commitment
to the Area not just a single
building But a commitment
to the Area
it can be done
----if you want
if this building is of value
if you need help
I can help you
I know what it takes.
What do I want?
What do you want?
What does the city
Randy Alexander is a man of keen vision. He sees
beyond the water damage and crumbling walls. Randy sees a place
where people can gather, an urban community that turns out to be
the cornerstone of Downtown redevelopment.
Randy has developed a national reputation for tackling projects that others would not touch and turning white elephants into creative living spaces.
Its that combination of love for urban living and love for historic preservation that makes Randy Alexander so successful.
The completion of the LaSalle Apartments is the culmination of a great process that has brought back to life one of Downtown Toledos landmarks. For years, it was considered a symbol of urban decline in the heart of our City. It is now the catalyst and inspiration for the rebirth of Downtown Toledo.
Carleton S. Finkbeiner
Mayor - City of Toledo
"....this is a company about which we hear
unsolicited praise from-downtown development professionals in
places like Fort Worth, Cleveland, Toledo and Milwaukee; where
Alexander has redeveloped everything from 19th Century factories
to downtown department stores - all as housing. Hundreds of
millions of dollars worth of development. Sixteen years of
experience. Thirty to forty percent equity investment in every
project. Not a single failed project."
Cityscape, Detroit Detroit, A Dynamic Urban
Center-Now Is The Time
Michael Morgan Commissioner,
Dept. of City Development - City of Milwaukee
City Hall Square Project located downtown - a catalyst housing orientated redevelopment project on the river.
Randy did a wonderful job in conceptualizing & putting together a development plan that should yield a real showpiece on our river. He is an ideal developer, we are very happy with the work weve done with him & our relationship
It was an underutilized piece of prime real estate that we tried to encourage developers in our community to develop. We thought gosh, who would want to take on this...?
Randy stepped up to the plate with a plan that was economically viable & made a lot of sense. We were impressed with his experience of doing quality work.
Downtown Housing Manager - City of Cleveland
The conversion of the National Terminal Building, a historic warehouse on the citys waterfront that had been vacant for over a decade and once served Morton Salt, Hormel, Gerber and Nestle. Developers & development plans had come and gone...
This will be our best project to date. We're excited about it. Its our first mixed income - Randys forte, a wonderful project...very unique.
Most developers are interested in suburban areas around freeway interchanges, Randy on the other hand wants to look at properties in the city center.
I couldnt give you a higher recommendation if your vision is to do adaptive reuse to provide housing in your community. Very few people in development have that kind of vision and say I am willing to come in and take the risk
Its been a refreshing experience working with the Alexander Company. They have a competent professional staff to handle all phases - from project management to construction management and architecture.