CRE V Michigan

Skydiving, doughnuts and online car shopping: Is the future heading to Novi?

Skydiving, doughnuts and online car shopping: The future coming to Novi,ph01

Craving a doughnut? Maybe you’d like to buy a car online and have it delivered right to your driveway. Or maybe you’re in the mood for thrills; you’re dreaming of a round of indoor skydiving.

All this will soon be possible from one site in Michigan thanks to the efforts of Kevin Adell, a busy Michigan entrepreneur who’s already built a radio and TV station and a thriving religious broadcast network.

Adell is now adding the Adell Center to his accomplishments. This $125 million mixed-use entertainment district will rise from a long-vacant 22-acre property at Interstate-96 and Novi Road in Novi, Michigan, a community about a half-hour’s drive from Detroit.

Tenants in this new development include Carvana, a company that allows consumers to shop, buy and finance cars entirely online, without ever stepping into a physical car dealership; Krispy Kreme Doughnuts; Drury Inn & Suites; Fairfield Inn and Suites; Texas Roadhouse; and Planet Fitness.

Plans also call for iFly Holdings to set up shop in the Adell Center. iFly runs indoor skydiving simulations, sites popular among thrill-seekers who aren’t yet ready to jump out of an airplane.

Adell said the time was right for a major mixed-use center in Novi.

“I was looking at what was on each corner opposite this site. There are retail malls on all three corners,” Adell said. “I took a helicopter view of the area. Novi is a great city, 30 minutes out of Detroit. There are a lot of two-income families there. We calculated that 180,000 people pass by that corner every day. I decided that it would be the perfect location for a mixed-use development.”

But not just any mixed-use development. Adell’s goal was to create something Amazon-proof. That’s why the development is filled with hotels and eateries. You can’t drive away with a dozen doughnuts after logging onto Amazon. It’s also why Adell sought out companies such as Carvana and iFly; they both offered experiences that consumers can’t just order up on Amazon.

“I didn’t want people to pass by this corner and go on to the next town,” Adell said. “Everything in business is timing. Development is timing. The time was right to put something together that is mixed-use and that people can’t just duplicate online.”

Adell is no stranger to the entrepreneurial world. He is chief executive officer of The Word Network, the largest African-American religious TV network in the world. He is also chief executive of the radio station 910 AM and the local Detroit TV station WADL.

The piece of land that will soon be home to the Adell Center has been owned by the Adell family for years. It once was the site of the Novi Expo Center, which sat on the land from 1992 until its demolition in 2012. Before the Expo Center, the land served as the headquarters for Adell Industries, which made automotive door guards. The site even once housed a manufacturing center for Kahlua, the rum drink made by Mohawk Liquer Corp.

Adell said the time was right for a major mixed-use center in Novi.

“I was looking at what was on each corner opposite this site. There are retail malls on all three corners,” Adell said. “I took a helicopter view of the area. Novi is a great city, 30 minutes out of Detroit. There are a lot of two-income families there. We calculated that 180,000 people pass by that corner every day. I decided that it would be the perfect location for a mixed-use development.”

But not just any mixed-use development. Adell’s goal was to create something Amazon-proof. That’s why the development is filled with hotels and eateries. You can’t drive away with a dozen doughnuts after logging onto Amazon. It’s also why Adell sought out companies such as Carvana and iFLY; they both offered experiences that consumers can’t just order up on Amazon.

“I didn’t want people to pass by this corner and go on to the next town,” Adell said. “Everything in business is timing. Development is timing. The time was right to put something together that is mixed-use and that people can’t just duplicate online.”

Adell is no stranger to the entrepreneurial world. He is chief executive officer of The Word Network, the largest African-American religious TV network in the world. He is also chief executive of the radio station 910 AM and the local Detroit TV station WADL.

The piece of land that will soon be home to the Adell Center has ben owned by the Adell family for years. It once was the site of the Novi Expo Center, which sat on the land from 1992 until its demolition in 2012. Before the Expo Center, the land served as the headquarters for Adell Industries, which made automotive door guards. The site even once housed a manufacturing center for Kahlua, the rum drink made by Mohawk Liqueur Corp.

Adell inherited the property from his parents, who had purchased it in 1966. While his father thrived in the auto business, Adell pursued his own passion: broadcasting. The World Network has boomed under Adell’s leadership and has given him the freedom to pursue other opportunities, such as the Adell Center.

Adell said plenty of planning has gone into the new mixed-use center. He points to the skydiving facility. Adell said the corner, because it receives so much traffic, needed something dramatic. iFLY’s facilities fit that bill, offering an unusual service in unique buildings.

The two hotels? Adell said there has long been a need for new hotel rooms in Novi. The area hosts several soccer, hockey and baseball tournaments throughout the year. Because of this, the existing hotels in the area are usually busy.

There have been concerns raised about the amount of new traffic the Adell Center might generate. But Adell said that city officials should view this as a positive, not a negative.

“A city with a lot of traffic is a vibrant city,” Adell said. “A lot of traffic is a sign of a city on the rise, a city that people want to visit.”

Construction on the project started in October with the site’s demolition work. Adell will be watching this work closely, eager to bring a slate of new businesses to the area.

“Most of the people on the city council here and planning commission never heard of Carvana and iFLY,” Adell said. “These are businesses that haven’t been around for a long time. But that’s a positive. Look at Sears. Sears had been around for a long time. But would you rather have a Carvana or a Sears on that property? I’d rather have something new and exciting. This is the wave of the future.”

Adell tells a story when explaining why he chose businesses like iFLY and Carvana for his new development. He recently took his daughter clothes shopping at a big-name department store. The problem? The inventory looked tired, the clothing picked over. Adell’s daughter left the store without finding anything to buy.

“There wasn’t a thing there that she liked,” Adell said. “She’s used to buying on the Internet and having it show up the next day. There’s a reason these big, older stores are hurting: There’s no inventory. It’s all picked over. Now, you might say that you’ve never heard of a business like Carvana or iFLY. But these businesses will be around. Just look at the stock market: I’d rather have Amazon stock today that Sears stock.”