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M1 Concourse brings an experiential retail and entertainment destination for car fanatics to Pontiac

It's not called the "Motor City" for nothing – car culture runs deep in metro Detroit, and nowhere does it run deeper than the Woodward corridor, home of the Woodward Dream Cruise starting in Pontiac to the north that brings in 1.5 million people and 40,000 classic, collector, muscle, and custom cars from around the world annually.  
And nowhere is more perfect a place than redeveloping Pontiac for a concept like M1 Concourse.
M1 Concourse is a car lover's dream. Founder and CEO Brad Oleshansky has the idea for many years to create a destination for car fanatics in metro Detroit – "it being the biggest car city in the world" – and was focused on a car condo community and storage solution for people with classic/muscle/custom/etc cars. Over time, the concept evolved to also serve as a gathering place and entertainment complex for car lovers.
A lot of that had to do with space issues – in that, once Oleshansky found a parcel of land, he had more space than he knew what to do with.
"I ended up finding this parcel from the GM bankruptcy," he explains. "I had to pitch the government on the site use and they liked my idea the best. We ended up with 87 acres instead of the ten I was looking for, so the question became what to do with it?"
Oleshansky decided that it wouldn't just be a car condo community then: it would also have a 1.5-mile road course; a five acre site for concerts and, swap meets, and motocross events; and retail and restaurants. M1 would be a place for marketing, training, and testing purposes for the thousands of automotive companies and suppliers in metro Detroit that don't have their own track or showrooms; where companies can also hold consumer events, deal events, and rent the track; and where they will teach high performance driving classes.
"It's not a race track, but a performance track," Oleshansky explains. It's also the second-largest car condo community in America, and it hasn't even opened yet.
M1 Concourse is located in Pontiac at the corner of Woodward and South a half mile south of the Loop. "We couldn't ask for a better location," says Oleshansky.  "We're surrounded by the suburbs and the cool downtown core, with the Wessen Lawn Tennis Club, Ultimate Soccer Arenas, and SLOWS Bar BQ opening there this summer – there are some really interesting things happening in Pontiac right now."
They currently have 264 garage units planned but individual units keep going up in size as buyers purchase double units. The first 80 units are all built and sold; so far M1 has sold $20 million worth of these private garages.
"There are 62,000 exotic and muscle car owners in metro Detroit," Oleshansky says. In fact, the only thing that's really surprising about M1 is the fact that it took anyone this long to come up with the idea – in hindsight, it's kind of a no-brainer.
"The largest car condo community is in Minneapolis. They have sold 150 units in the last few years and they have only 4,000 exotic and muscle car owners in their metro area, they don’t have a track or any additional retail or event space."
Once construction on the remaining garages is completed by the end of this year, M1 will be the largest in the country. 
Customers own these spaces outright; this is a piece of real estate for them that they can buy and resell. Prices range from $105,000 for a two-car garage to $550,000 for a 15-car garage. The largest unit they have sold so far is 48,000 square feet (for over $1 million), and several more people bought 24,000 square foot spaces.
Oleshansky says buyers range from CEOs of automotive supply companies to local celebrities to individual car owners. And it's not just car owners, either – one woman bought a space to hold dinner parties, a man with a model ship collection bought a space for displays, and another man wants to open an art gallery in his space.
The units are all two levels and most people add a second-floor loft or mezzanine overlooking the show floor. These units don't look anything like "garages" – they all have glass doors and nice finishes, and some people are adding bars, movie theatres, and golf simulators. This is place to hang out with friends, learn how to drive, host parties, and serve as corporate hospitality venues.
"Many automotive companies have suites at the Palace, but they can't bring their cars into their suites," Oleshansky says. "With this they can bring their car in and host and event or meeting, host a party, hold corporate off-sites for manufacturers, use it as an entertainment or hospitality space...there's just tremendous potential."
The site has been three years in development and seven months under construction. They built all new infrastructure on the 87 acres, and are building it out in phases – first the car condos, then the retail and restaurants, which will come online in 2017. These will be the public areas, while the car condos remain private (though they will occasionally hold car shows during which owners have the option of opening their units to the public, much like an arts walk with artist studios opening for tours for one night only).
There is additional room for future expansion, with more room for retail and office space. This land, which had been vacant for 10 years, will soon become "an experiential retail destination."
Oleshansky sings the praises of working with Oakland County and the City of Pontiac. "We have had tremendous support from Pontiac and Oakland County," he says. "We have had no resistance. It's been very easy. Pontiac in particular has been tremendous – with very little resources and a very small staff they helped make this a reality."
It might seem like a long way off still, but summer is right around the corner – and so is the Dream Cruise! Make sure that M1 Concourse is part of your Dream Cruise plans this year; Oleshansky promises some big plans. "It is going to be crazy!" 
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