DETROIT-The Campus Martius District in Downtown is getting more popular, as two suburban companies have agreed to move from the suburbs into the 777 Woodward Ave. building, also known as One Kennedy Square, across from the Compuware headquarters. Marketing Associates LLC, now in Bloomfield Hills, and Health Plan of Michigan, now based in Southfield, have signed leases to take a total 96,400 sf of the newer 10-story building.

Marketing Associates, owned by Edsel Ford II, is taking 51,400 sf on the fourth and fifth floors. The firm’s lease will run through March 31, 2016, says Jeff Bell, first vice president with CB Richard Ellis. The company is subletting the space from Visteon, which cut back on plans to lease a large portion of the 240,000-sf office building, citing cut-back pressures on automotive suppliers. Bell and Mark Collins represented Visteon and the landlord in the leases. Marketing Associates will reportedly move in on Oct. 29.

Bell says the healthcare management firm is leasing 45,000 sf, taking part of the sixth floor and all of the seventh floor, directly from Redico LLC, the landlord. Health Plan’s lease is for 10 years, and will start at the end of this year, Bell tells GlobeSt.com. Both companies reportedly cited expansion as reasons for the move.

He says he can’t divulge the lease rate at the building, which opened in April 2006, but that the property has an average rate of $20 per sf, triple net. The leases will leave only 2,500 sf available on the eighth floor, and some retail restaurant space open on the first floor.

The office market Downtown is still pretty weak, Bell says, but incentives offered through a Renaissance Zone saved the new tenants an aggregate $9 per sf. “Class A space Downtown has typically been at a disadvantage to the suburbs, to the tune of $8 to $10 per sf,” Bell says. “This levels the playing field.” The zones provide relief of city and state taxes such as the Michigan Single Business Tax, the personal income tax, the city’s personal property tax and more. Campus Martius’ rebirth was heralded a decade ago when Compuware announced it would move from the suburbs into a new building at the focal point of the district. Now, the area is one of the Downtown’s small pockets of positive growth.

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