New faces, spaces and places in Downtown Detroit

What a difference a decade makes. Census or no census there has been some real progress in Downtown Detroit over the last decade. Ten years ago there was no Campus Martius. No Cliff Bells. No Compuware building. No Quicken Loans downtown. No GalaxE. No RiverWalk. No Milliken State Park on the riverfront.  No Ford Field. No Dequindre Cut. No Creative Corridor. Well, you get the idea.

In 2000 you wouldn’t have been able to get the diverse voices and stories shown on the video featured at the recent Downtown Detroit Partnership (DDP) annual meeting. These are people who live and work downtown and they say there is something for everyone.

It looks like there is even more coming. David Blaszkiewicz, DDP’s new president and CEO, says “it’s a new day in Downtown Detroit,” as he laid out the organization’s vision and actions to ensure a vibrant, sustainable future for downtown.

Here’s a quick look at some of the good things coming over the next year.

  • In a hot off the press announcement, Compuware said it plans to create an innovative green space where Hudsons used to be. It will include fruit, vegetables and flower gardens tended by downtown workers and other volunteers. It will be a living laboratory for conservation and a source of food for soup kitchens and food banks. Always thinking ahead, Compuware has designed this space modularly so it can be picked up and moved as the site develops.
  • The renovation of the David Broderick Tower is under construction with 75 workers on the job. It will be a multi-use space with apartments, retail and entertainment. Best of all it has a fantastic view of Comerica Park’s center field.
  • The Daniel Burnham-designed David Whitney Building is being renovated and, along with the Broderick, will be the northern gateway to the central business district. It will feature moderately priced rental apartments, a national boutique hotel and a four-star restaurant.
  • Quicken Loans has purchased the Madison Building and will convert it into a vibrant space for local entrepreneurs. Quicken has also announced plans to moved 2,000 additional team members downtown next year, and will ask other tech companies to join them on WEBward Ave. (as Quicken CEO Dan Gilbert likes to refer to Woodward).
  • The Riverfront Conservancy expects to connect the RiverWalk and its associated green spaces, plaza and parks in the fall of 2011.
  • The M-1 Rail is officially underway now that the Environmental Impact Study has been submitted to Washington, DC. In five short years we should all be taking the train.

“To accomplish these goals and objectives, we recognize the importance of strong partnerships,” Dave told the gathering. “No one organization can accomplish what we can collectively.”

In addition to these and other projects, DDP will continue its highly successful Clean Downtown and 2-1-1 On the Go programs.

To learn more about these click on the following links to see how our Youth Neighborhood News team covered them.

YNN Clean Downtown
YNN 2-1-1 On the Go!

As the meeting closed Cindy Pasky, DDP’s new chair and CEO of Strategic Staffing Solutions, charged those attending to become personally involved in moving Detroit forward. Sounds like a plan to me.

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