A northern suburb of Detroit, Southfield is an upscale neighbor that sits directly on the border of the Motor City. Of the more than 10,000 businesses spread throughout the city’s 27 square miles, more than 100 are Fortune 500 companies. Southfield is a prominent economic center in Michigan, with thousands commuting to the area every day to work. Indeed, during the day, the city’s population increases by around 100,000.
The Society of Manufacturing Engineers recently moved their world headquarters to Southfield, settling into an office space in the Southfield Town Center of nearly 40,000 square feet. Other major employers in the area include St. John Providence Hospital, DENSO, Lear Corporation, Credit Acceptance Corporation, Blue Care Network, COM AU, Federal Mogul, and Metropolitan Life Insurance. A new, mixed-use office and retail center is under construction at Twelve Mile and Southfield Roads.
The five skyscrapers that mark the city—which include the aforementioned Town Center office complex, the Westin Hotel, and a conference center—are commonly referred to as the Golden Triangle.
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The Southfield area boasts more than 13 million square feet of total inventory. Its vacancy rate hovers around 30 percent across all building classes, markedly higher than the Detroit metro area-wide rate of 20 percent.
Around 3 million square feet of inventory in Southfield is Class A office space. The average direct asking rent is relatively low, averaging just under $22 per square foot, compared to the Detroit metro area average of just over $24 per square foot.
The remaining inventory, over 10 million square feet, is Class B space. These spaces have a direct vacancy rate of 31 percent, compared to 22 percent across Detroit. At just over $17 per square foot for Class B space in Southfield, the rates are lower than the citywide average of slightly more than $18 per square foot. There is no Class C space in Southfield.
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Southfield is a proudly midwestern city, and one with an impressive amount of commercial real estate available: the city has more office space than the central business districts of Detroit, Cleveland, Cincinnati, Indianapolis, and Kansas City.
Lawrence Technological University, which boasts over 100 academic programs across four colleges and is ranked in the nation’s Top 40 for its specialties in engineering, architecture, and business, is located in Southfield. Central Michigan University also has a campus in Southfield. In total, the city of Southfield has an impressive tally of eight colleges, making it the ideal setup for businesses who are looking to recruit from a pool of fresh, promising local talent.
There’s plenty of room for growth, from both an infrastructural and a business perspective. ConcertoHealth, Inc., recently relocated its main Detroit office from the New Center One building to Southfield, now occupying a 16,000 square foot space on West Nine Mile Road. The company signed a five-year lease in order to properly accommodate its considerable expansion: Though the company has roots in Irvine, California, its Detroit patient base skyrocketed in 2018, increasing by 400% year-over-year. Its Southfield office houses both managers and the network management team.
Restaurants in the area have a variety of atmospheres and appeal to a wide range of tastes. From upscale Italian food at Bacco Ristorante, to soul food at Beans & Cornbread and BBQ from Arkin’s Sweet BBQ Pit, there’s somewhere for every occasion. Other favorites include Athens Souvlaki on West Eleven Mile Road (there’s also a location in Detroit) and JINJI Korean Cuisine & Soju Bar on Northwestern Highway.
Having a car is all but a necessity in Southfield, since public transportation isn’t much of an option. The city has a 37 Walk Score, and a 40 Bike Score. By car, Southfield is roughly a 20-minute drive to central Detroit. However, those without a car may elect to live along Southfield bus routes served by the Suburban Mobility Authority for Regional Transportation (SMART), the Detroit metro area’s public transit service.
Get to Know Southfield
There’s a reason Southfield was named one of the nation’s most livable metro area suburbs—and the top suburb of Detroit—by Forbes magazine: it boasts almost 800 acres of park land, two public golf courses, and other recreational draws ranging from nature and fitness trails to nature preserves and parks. When the weather is pleasant, enjoy a stroll along the trails of the Carpenter Lake Nature Preserve—when the lake isn’t frozen over, many residents even come here to fish. For more athletic pursuits, head to Pebble Creek Park for a game of tennis or soccer. If you’re looking to have a relaxing afternoon outside, check out the Burgh Historical Park’s free summer concerts.
The city holds over 35,000 residential units, which range from single-family homes and condominiums to smaller-sized apartments and townhouses. Like Detroit, Southfield is a majority African-American city; unlike Detroit, however, it was mostly spared the worst of the Great Recession in 2008, and thus its residents have more or less remained comfortably in the middle-class tier.
Families who move to Southfield can enjoy a strong public school system, with nationally ranked schools such as University High School Academy. Equally appealing are the leafy streets and two-story colonial homes that give the suburb its picturesque quality. Residents are drawn here for the perks of quintessential midwest living: quiet neighborhoods, swaths of pastoral land, and a variety of housing options (ranging from urban high rises to large, secluded homes in lush areas), while also enjoying the convenient proximity to the metropolis of Detroit.