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New Development Could Fill in the Gaps for SW Detroit

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This post was authored by Christian Salcedo

Southwest Detroit is ready for some new development, according to the Southwest Detroit Business Association (SDBA), and the Urban Land Institute. The ULI, sponsored by the SDBA, visited the neighborhood last month to advise a course of action for the development of a former Detroit Public Works site at Livernois and Vernor Hwy.

The panel analyzed the site and the surrounding retail corridor, crunched the numbers; here is what they came up with:

The market analysis reveals that there is a large gap between the goods that the area demands and the goods that are available in the area. Eighty five percent of the $125M dollars that are being spent are "leaking" out of the
The community has long hoped to develop the site, which lies between the two successful retail corridors along Vernor, into a productive space that connects and compliments the surrounding businesses. The ULI provides one vision for the site. Naming the new area "Vernor Square" the plan features large retail spaces, a "grand public square", a courtyard/ theater and possibly some light industrial space.

The Urban Land Institute's advisory services "help to find creative and practical solutions", and are no strangers to Detroit; here is a copy of their advice for Eastern Market. The Vernor Square report suggests the retail corridor could attract people from the city and the region and looks to Southwest Detroit's food and restaurant scene's $42M in sales as evidence of the neighborhoods ability to "draw from the outside area".
The report goes beyond suggesting what to do with the 6.9-acre DPW site; they also give ideas on how to plan, develop and implement the ideas. The site is currently owned by the city of Detroit and any development will have to involve the city. Check out the complete plan here.
· Southwest Detroit Business Association [Official]
· Urban Land Institute [Official]