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Gilbert's Plan: Downtown Detroit as a Pedestrian Paradise

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Behold! You're gazing at a rendering of Dan Gilbert's "master plan" for downtown Detroit. While Gilbert and his compadres aren't officially revealing said plan until an invite-only ceremony later this afternoon, details have been leaking more frequently than Cobo Center's roof. From what we can gather, plans call for a pedestrian-centric lower Woodward Avenue focused on parks, public spaces and pop-ups. We have all sorts of speculation ahead, so let's follow some of Gilbert's favorite advice and weave these threads together, shall we?

Big News
According to Click on Detroit, the parking lot just across Monroe from the Compuware Building will see some sort of building or buildings constructed. That vacant block was once the anchor of Detroit's early theatre district. Gilbert already owns the next block on Monroe, having purchased it in January.

Two Million Dollars
From the riverfront north to I-75, Rock Ventures and others are funding a $2M spending spree to bring the hustle and bustle back downtown by creating a pedestrian/transit oriented experience. Gilbert has made clear that the focus is on using pop-ups and attractions to reactivate underused public spaces. Targets include Campus Martius, Cadillac Square, Grand Circus Park and Capitol Park, which the Wall Street Journal says might play host to concerts, kiosks, markets and even a beer garden this summer.

Street AlterationsPedestrians and fast cars don't exactly mix, so Gilbert is proposing measures designed to help slow the Motor City's roll. Features like sections of cobblestone and streets closed on certain days of the week should make a more walkable ambiance.

New ParksOne of the more interesting ideas involves transforming Woodward's median into a walkway linking Campus Martius to Hart Plaza and the riverfront. From what we can see in the rendering, it looks like designers have Cadillac Square being turned into an open market space.

Other Observations: The rendering has two new buildings in the empty lots behind the First National Building.

· Project for Public Spaces [Official]
· Dan Gilbert to unveil plans for downtown Detroit [Local 4]
· Developer Proposes Baby Steps for Detroit [WSJ]
· Effort to boost downtown Detroit with pop-up shops [MLive]
· Local leaders to outline vision for retail-centered downtown [Freep]