This week’s Detroit Homecoming is all about showing expats what’s been accomplished in our city and the possibilities its future holds. What has been done is remarkable and where we are going is exciting.
We have more than three-quarters of a billion dollars of investment coming into Downtown through 2016. Those dollars and the developments they will generate will create 10,000 new apartments and 400 new retail stores and will increase the number of Downtown employees from 85,000 today to 100,000 … all by 2020. They will also make Downtown more walkable, light up our storefronts at night, reinforce historic streets and buildings and provide amenities for our diverse Downtown residents, employees and visitors.
Those developments will occur in Downtown Detroit’s nine districts … Rivertown, Riverfront, Financial, Greektown, Campus Martius, Lower Woodward, West, Grand River and Entertainment.
Here are some of the highlights:
- Entertainment: The $650 million Olympia Development Master plan will include a mix of new residential and commercial uses that will complement the surrounding entertainment area. It will be completed in 2016. In addition, the Detroit Downtown Development Authority (DDA) will add more infrastructure and public space on Madison Street between Randolph and St. Antoine Streets.
- Riverfront: The $3.5 million Cobo Hall streetscape will be completed in June of 2015 and will give Cobo a “front porch,” with a new plaza called Cobo Square. There will also be upgrades and more common spaces added to the Renaissance City Apartments, one of the largest residential options in Downtown. That will be completed in the spring of 2015.
- Rivertown: Orleans Landing is a $61 million investment that will add 278 new apartments and 10,000 square feet of retail. It is scheduled for completion in December 2016.
- Greektown: Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan (BCBSM) is conducting a $3 million historic redevelopment of the Cornice and Slate Building. Existing Detroit businesses will remain first floor tenants and the second and third floors are being transformed for office use with exposed brick and ceilings in open design. BCBSM will occupy the office space when this development is completed later this year.
- Campus Martius: One Kennedy Square has three new retailers on the ground floor, including Downtown’s first street level Starbucks and Central Michigan University and Potbelly. Both Potbelly and Starbucks have great outdoor seating facing Campus Martius Park. Renovations were completed at 1001 Woodward earlier this year and this fall it will be home to Freshii, a new restaurant that will offer nutritious and fresh food options. 1001 Woodward is a Rock Ventures/ Bedrock Real Estate Services development.
- Financial: The opening of Anytime Fitness in the Security Trust Lofts last winter strengthened that neighborhood. In addition, the Detroit Media Partnership will move into the Federal Reserve Building later this year. Other tenants are already there.
- Grand River: The $3.5 million renovation of the Grand Army of the Republic (GAR) Building will bring two new restaurants this fall, including the Republic Tavern and the Parks and Rec Diner. The upper stories of the building will include office space. In addition, DTE Energy is doing a historic redevelopment of the Navitas House. It will be its first LEED certified building and will house DTE’s corporate offices. The renovation will include advanced storm water collection features. DTE is also renovating the space at 1961 Grand River.
- West: The $16 million historic redevelopment of The Albert will result in 127 apartments and 14,000 square feet of retail when it is finished in October. The $97.4 million renovation of the David Whitney Building will bring a 136‐room Aloft hotel, 105 market‐rate rental apartments and a ground floor restaurant on the corner of Woodward and Park Avenue. It will be completed this fall. When finished in the spring of 2016 The Griswold will have 80 new rental apartments. It is the first new residential construction in Downtown Detroit in more than 20 years and is a $22.8 million investment. Both The Albert and The Griswold are Roxbury Group projects.
- Lower Woodward: An $8 million historic renovation at the Lofts at Merchants Row will result in 42 new residential units and 5,000 square feet of retail when completed in August 2015. Plus, Rock Ventures/Bedrock is redeveloping the 1500 block of Woodward and the Cary Building Lofts for office/retail space.
The landscape of Downtown Detroit could change even further. The Detroit DDA will complete its feasibility study on the future of I-375 this fall and the first rails for the M-1 RAIL streetcar project have been laid. It should be completed by the end of 2016.
The M-1 project runs simultaneously with many other ongoing projects but as M-1 COO Paul Childs pointed out recently, “It might not have been the best idea to do all these things at the same time but this is Detroit and that’s how we do things.”
That’s for sure. We are more than well on our way to a revitalized Detroit but no part of our transformation can wait. We have much more to do before Detroit is the city we want it be.
I’ve lived Downtown since 1986 and Detroit has always been and always will be Strategic Staffing Solutions’ headquarters city. The investments and the impact they have made, and will make, proves what we have always believed … Detroit is the place to be. Come join us.
Thank you to Crain’s Detroit Business and its publisher Mary Kramer for leading the Detroit Homecoming effort.