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The Platform's Fisher Building Reintroduction & Celebration

Situation

With 2015’s acquisition of the Fisher Building, a National Historic Landmark and one of the country’s most iconic skyscrapers, came the creation of a new powerhouse in Detroit real estate development.

Peter Cummings, a Detroit real estate veteran, was drawn to the Fisher Building years ago when his father-in-law brought him into work in one of the building’s offices. A legendary landmark completed in 1928 by legendary Detroit architect Albert Kahn, the Art Deco masterpiece was designated a National Historic Landmark in 1989. However, many thought its best years were long behind it.

During that acquisition, a partnership led to the creation of The Platform. This made the reintroduction of the Fisher Building, as “a Beacon of Detroit” and the focus of New Center’s new energy, crucial to introducing The Platform, as well.

Along with a thoughtful community engagement strategy and strong media relations roll out, the initial branding was defined by The Platform’s mission to develop mixed-use developments with excellence in design while creating place-making activities that welcome all.

CLIENT

THE PLATFORM

SERVICES

EVENT MANAGEMENT

Strategy

As the Fisher’s new custodians, The Platform’s goal was to reverse decades of disinvestment and vacancy and have its iconic Arcade be considered a gathering place. To accomplish this, Van Dyke Horn helped create the Fisher Reintroduction event to invite the community and desired audiences back into the building and reposition it as an excellent, high-quality office building, as well as position its iconic Arcade as a beautiful and welcoming space for Detroiters and visitors alike. The event kicked off a new era in New Center and invited Detroiters to learn of The Platform’s grand vision for the future of both the building and the neighborhood. It was a symbolic closing of the door of past struggles and celebration of the beginning of a prosperous future.

The Fisher Building Reintroduction had two primary audiences.  Top consideration was given to rebranding the Fisher Building as a “Beacon of Detroit,” the place where creators, thinkers, and doers gather. These audiences included the “maker community,” be them artists, creatives, thought influencers, or community stakeholders.

The Fisher Reintroduction event celebrated the architectural and historical importance of the Fisher, as well as highlighted the current place makers and creators of the city through a photo exhibition highlighting the work of artists and community leaders in the city.

The large wall-size canvas portraits of makers were a first for the building and the city. These photos of Detroit “makers” were taken by Detroit photographers, making it a true celebration of the city and its creative class. The branding of the Fisher Building as “The Beacon for Detroit” as well as the “Beacon Project”-series is the vision of, and curated by, Everard Findlay, so another component of our media outreach push was introducing Everard and his vision to Detroit.

To generate more media buzz around the event, we had The Platform reveal that not only were they reintroducing the Fisher, they were going to pour $100 million into the landmark and its next-door neighbor, the historic Albert Kahn Building. It was also announced that J Baldwin’s, which catered the event, would be opening a restaurant as an anchor tenant in the Fisher Building. Because of the several different things happening at once, we married them into one package and brought in a business reporter and a features reporter from each of the two major papers in Detroit to sit down and hear the complete pitch. They each turned out a multi-story package, tackling their respective angles. We also set up several sit-down meetings with reporters and The Platform to introduce them to the media. We assembled a comprehensive media kit, including an extensive history of the Fisher as well as bios of all the featured creators in the Beacon Project. We worked the phones tirelessly to ensure the media was aware of the upcoming big event and debut of the first Beacon Project.

Success

In advance of the Reintroduction event, Van Dyke Horn launched a major media push. Ahead of the event, the Detroit News and Detroit Free Press each ran front-page centerpieces on The Platform and the Fisher Building, with separate stories inside each about the Beacon Project initiative. Other media coverage included MLive, Curbed Detroit, WDIV, WXYZ and Fox 2. We garnered headlines that nailed our mission of reintroducing the Fisher and the neighborhood, such as “Renovations aim to make New Center a 24/7 hot spot.” A large social media push led by Van Dyke Horn also generated considerable traction online, which was shared dozens of times over Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.

The event itself attracted nearly 600 guests. In the background of the event, Gospel choir Larry Callahan and Selected of God sang Motown classics. Rick Robinson’s Cuttime Sinfonica also performed its modern take on classical music. It all served to seamlessly rebrand this historic building while mixing the old and the new.

In the following months, the Fisher announced several tenants had signed leases, including several who had either been at the event or read about it in the media. Subsequent stories about Platform developments and the Fisher Building have also generated considerable media attention, thanks largely to the reintroduction of the Fisher and the introduction of The Platform.