All I can say is WOW. If the Opportunity Detroit plan Dan Gilbert, the Downtown Detroit Partnership and the Detroit Economic Growth Corporation laid out works, our city will stand among cities like Boston, Pittsburgh, Portland and Seattle that have reinvented themselves and now rank among America’s greatest places.
“What we don’t need is another plan that is 50 years out,” Gilbert told an audience of about 400 gathered at the City Theater to hear about the new vision for Detroit. This plan is immediate and is giant step forward to improving our city’s image, attracting more residents, businesses and visitors to live work and play in Detroit.
Let’s start with the biggie. Papa Joe’s Gourmet Market and Catering will move into the First National Building. It’ll occupy approximately 15,000 square feet on the first floor adjacent to the Roasting Plant. Not only will it help meet the growing demand for a downtown grocer, it is also expected to create 80 new jobs.
Papa Joe’s will offer fresh produce, meat, seafood, gourmet prepared foods and catering plus in-store dining and outdoor seating. It will also have a full liquor license.
Another great thing. It’s just steps away from Campus Martius Park.
This summer Campus Martius Park will get a basketball court and a beer garden as well as lounge chairs, a surf lounge and umbrellas in a sand-filled area. There will also be more concerts, movies and family program. According to Matt Cullen, president and chief executive officer of Rock Ventures, 10 times more will be spent on the Park this year than last.
Cadillac Square will have a prepared food market with food trucks and vendor tents every weekday in the summer. Coming up there will be lounge chairs, umbrellas, badminton, croquet and a large scale chess set. Look for more flowers and plants and a wooden platform over a planter that can double as a stage or dance floor.
In the Opportunity Detroit vision Campus Martius Park and Cadillac Square will create the “heart” of the Central Business District. “The current energy and success of Campus Martius will be extended to the surrounding sidewalks, streets and Cadillac Square, which will become a companion open-air market square,” the vision says.
Several new businesses have also signed on to be part of this revitalization project and will be in Gilbert-owned buildings. They include RAM Construction, UBER, Avalon Films, TubeMogul, just topped (ice cream store), Harmony Point, Lindemann Miller Siderius, Neumann/Smith Architecture, Salon Detroit and Grand Circus.
In addition, Moosejaw has signed a long-term lease and will stay at its location in Downtown Detroit.
There’s so much more.
Grand Circus Park will now get the love it deserves. Look for beach volleyball, children’s games and a dog park.
Paradise Valley will get music festivals and afternoon and evening concerts.
World-renown graffiti artists will be recruited to paint each floor of the coming parking structure on the Hudson’s site.
Hart Plaza will be revitalized.
There will be a boutique hotel or apartments/lofts in the Vinton Building Gilbert just purchased.
The Monroe blocks will be the link between Campus Martius and Greektown with more office space, restaurants and other entertainment venues.
Woodward Avenue will become a shopping mecca with a light rail that transports shoppers, diners, visitors and residents from Woodward to Midtown to New Center.
The plan is to get all this done lighter, quicker and cheaper. One of the books passed out at the event is called “A Plan for Our Time.” Great title, but what caught my eye was the page simply titled Opportunity. Here’s what it said.
It doesn’t stare you in the face.
It’s not going to yell at you to come ‘n get it.
It doesn’t knock.
So what does opportunity look like?
Not what you might think.
You see, opportunity is not a right.
It is definitely not equal.
And it doesn’t come with an instruction manual.
That’s because opportunity isn’t found.
It’s molded. It’s built. It’s created.
It’s as much about grit as intellect.
An explosive high-tech corridor located at the intersection of muscle and brains?
Because opportunity only comes to those already in the game.
What does opportunity look like?
It looks like Detroit.