Eastland Center was a final deal for the late Tom Vigliotti
But it was that lunch meeting a few years ago that was the forerunner in last week’s news about the sale of the Eastland Center mall to Harper Woods.
It was Vigliotti, long a backstage negotiator in Detroit well known for his loud laughter, who was instrumental in bringing Riverside, Mo.-based Northpoint Development LLC to the struggling Vernier Mall for a new warehouse. said Martin Krall, one of the deal brokers representing Northpoint (JLL’s Royal Oak office also worked on the deal).
Vigliotti, described by longtime friends as a “Renaissance man” due to his wide variety of interests, would never see the deal that was ultimately born from this meeting come to fruition.
He died in early May at the age of 73 after a battle with lung cancer.
At that lunch Krall, an MP for Vigliotti who is also part of Greater Development LLC, first met Tim Conder.
Conder, who for nearly two decades was senior project manager for real estate at General Motors, knew Vigliotti and his business partner John Miller from his years at the Detroit-based automaker, where he worked from 2000-18 before. leaving for Northpoint, one of the region’s most active industrial developers with projects in Detroit, Warren and Shelby Township, and now Harper Woods.
Over the decades, Vigliotti and his Detroit-based Ralph Vigliotti Realty Inc. – founded by the Vigliotti family – have helped GM replenish land and other properties in various transactions, Krall said, while like Matt Cullen, the longtime GM real estate manager and a top MP for Dan Gilbert.
Among them: New Center Commons, High Rise Industrial Park, a former 2 million square foot GM assembly plant on Fort Street and others.
This Vigliotti / Conder relationship, forged over the years, brought Conder and Krall to the Grosse Pointe Yacht Club.
“If it weren’t for the talks with Vigliotti, we probably wouldn’t have any talk about anything, let alone the Eastland Mall,” Conder said of his business, which has no less than 4.6 million square feet in various stages of development. “I’ve been around the block a few times with people in Detroit, New York, and Chicago and you’ve got sharks there, but he was a good soul, a good dad, a really good guy. real estate. “
Krall said Vigliotti had tasked him with directing Northpoint to sites suitable for the type of development they were looking to do.
“Tom said, ‘Marty, you have all the cards. Show them where to go.’ This is really where Eastland was born, ”Krall said.
Tom Jr., Vigliotti’s son, remembered an adventurous father who loved skydiving, sailing – young Vigliotti said his father’s boat was caught in a storm in the 1970s in the islands of the Azores into the Atlantic Ocean and sank – scuba diving, fishing and skiing.
“He would go to work and would love to come home and leave work at work and spend time with the kids, whether it’s taking us on a ski or a boat ride,” said Tom Jr.
It wasn’t just GM Vigliotti was working with.
He has also worked on projects for Ford Motor Co., Michigan’s Blue Cross Blue Shield, Michigan’s Motor City Casino-Hotel, Little Caesars, and Michigan’s Olympia Development, according to biographical information submitted.
“He was a grassroots real estate guy in that sense who could connect with anyone, executives and he could go door to door in neighborhoods with all types of demographics and connect. with them and succeed, ”Cullen said.
For Krall, the work Northpoint does is an extension of Vigliotti’s work over the years.
“They take the things nobody wants and breathe life into them, and that’s exactly what Vigliotti did,” Krall said of Northpoint. “That’s what’s so interesting about this whole thing. That’s what Tom has been doing for the past 40 years, when it wasn’t cool and fashionable to buy old car factories.”
He is survived by his wife of 43 years, Maureen; daughter, Ellie Rowland (Nick); son, Tom Jr .; and sisters Mary McHale and Anne Cesario (Mark).