Eastland Center was the late Tom Wigliotti’s final deal

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But it was that meeting at lunch a couple of years ago that was a harbinger last week’s news about Eastland Center mall for sale in Harper Woods

According to Villotti, a longtime Detroit backstage trader known for his big laughs, he played a role in bringing Northpoint Development LLC of Riverside, Missouri, to a stranded shopping center on Vernier to build a new warehouse. Martin Krall, one of the deal brokers representing Northpoint (JLL’s Royal Oak office also worked on the deal).

Villotti, described by longtime friends as a “Renaissance man” because of his wide range of interests, will never see the deal that ultimately emerged from this meeting come to fruition.

He died in at the beginning of May at 73 after the battle with lung cancer.

At that dinner, Krall, Wigliotti’s deputy who also works with Greater Development LLC, met Tim Conder for the first time.

Conder, who was a senior real estate project manager at General Motors for nearly two decades, knew Wigliotti and his business partner John Miller from his time at the Detroit automaker, where he worked from 2000 to 18, before leaving for Northpoint. , one of the most active industrial developers in the region with projects in Detroit, Warren as well as Shelby Townshipand now Harper Woods.

Over the decades, Krall said, Vigliotti and his Detroit-based Ralph Vigliotti Realty Inc., founded by the Vigliotti family, have helped GM shatter land and other real estate in various deals, as has Matt Cullen, GM’s longtime head of real estate and one of Dan Gilbert’s first deputies. …

Among them: New Center Commons, High Rise Industrial Park, GM’s old 2 million square foot assembly plant on Fort Street, and others.

This long-term relationship between Vigliotti and Conder led Conder and Krall to the Grosse Pointe Yacht Club.

“If it weren’t for the discussions with Vigliotti, we probably wouldn’t be discussing anything, let alone the Eastland mall,” Conder said of his company, which has at least 4.6 million square feet in various stages of development. “I’ve been around the block a couple of times with people in Detroit, New York and Chicago, and you have a few sharks, but he was a kind soul, a good dad, a very good guy in real estate.”

Krall said Vigliotti had instructed him to point Northpoint in the direction of sites suitable for the type of development they intended to do.

“Tom said,“ Marty, you have all the cards. Show them where to go. ” This is really where Eastland was born, ”Kroll said.

Tom Jr., son of Wigliotti, recalled an adventurous father who was fond of skydiving and sailing. The younger Vigliotti said his father’s boat was caught in a storm in the 1970s in the Azores in the Atlantic Ocean and sank – scuba diving, fishing and skiing.

“He went to work, and he enjoyed going home, leaving work at work and just spending time with the kids, whether it was skiing or boating,” said Tom Jr.

Vigliotti didn’t just work with GM.

According to the biographical information provided, he has also worked on projects for Ford Motor Co., Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan, Motor City Casino-Hotel, Little Caesars, and Olympia Development of Michigan.

“In that sense, he was just a regular real estate guy who could talk to anyone, executives, and he could walk door-to-door through neighborhoods with any type of demographic, connect with them and be successful,” Cullen said.

For Krall, the work Northpoint is doing is an extension of Vigliotti’s many years of work.

“They take what no one wants and breathe life into it, and that’s exactly what Vigliotti did,” Krall said of Northpoint. “This is what is so interesting about the whole deal. This is what Tom has been doing for the last 40 years, when it was not cool and fashionable to buy old car factories. “

He is survived by his 43-year-old wife, Maureen; daughter Ellie Rowland (Nick); son, Tom Jr. and sisters Mary McHale and Anne Cesario (Mark).

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