Beach Club Detroit Awarded for the 2021 Battle of the Buildings Competition in the Multi-Family Category

Beach Club Detroit, originally named River Terrace Apartments, was erected in 1939 along the Detroit River. The “garden court” (indicating the buildings are arranged around a large garden) style apartment complex features Georgian Revival style architecture, with pedimented porch designs and limestone belt courses in between the second and third floors. Corners of the building are marked by raised brick quoining -a style of laying brick to accentuate the corners- and the lower level is surrounded by cast iron fences. The complex was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 2009.

Not only does Beach Club Detroit have a beautiful and historic exterior, but the interior systems are just as beautiful in their environmental efficiency. In 2019 Beach Club Detroit began an initiative in energy efficiency and sustainability in tandem with their rebranding from River Terrace Apartments to their current name and identity. This began with a conversion of their 90-year-old steam heating system to an advanced geothermal-heat pump system. Additional improvements have included LED lights, nest thermostats to optimize heating and cooling in each unit, a cool roof rated system, and specifically designed field in the front of the complex that consists of 150 energy efficient wells that draws groundwater. As their name suggests, a beach covers the groundwater well system for a beautiful community area tenants can enjoy.  


Due to the timing of the project - during the COVID-19 Pandemic - there were understandable setbacks to its completion. Now finished, the total cost was approximately $2 million, with an estimated 8 year pay back if things continue as projected. 

Kathy Makino, the owner of Beach Club Detroit, has always been passionate about combining historic homes and renovation with energy efficiency. In an interview she stated that “renovating a historic building is one of the highest energy efficient practices you could do,” because you are not erecting a completely new building but renovating an existing one.

We are excited to have celebrated Beach Club Detroit’s energy reduction at our 8th annual Michigan Energy Summit on June 15, 2022 where they were awarded for their energy accomplishments in the Multi-Family Category!