Pluck a grey hair, three will grow back in its place. Tear down a parking garage in Detroit, ten floors of parking mayhem will sprout. On Wednesday, the Downtown Development Authority (DDA) agreed to sell Dan Gilbert the empty lot on Monroe and Randolph (the former Bates Garage site) for $1.5M. Gilbert, in turn, hopes to replace it with a ten-story monster garage of retail and possibly more. And it looks like he's going to do it soon.
Gilbert has been scoping this lot for quite some time, but the Freep's mention of a new parking garage feels like a surprise. As it turns out, the info was there all along. Buried in the Gilbert-commisioned vision for downtown (A Plan For Our Time), we find this paragraph:
Thankfully, the DDA has some rules. If Gilbert wants to build Z-Lot 2.0, it needs to be a swanky, top-shelf facility. It would need to include "substantial" retail/commercial space on Monroe and Randolph. Also required: the capacity to stack at least four stories of non-parking on top, just like the Griswold apartments in Capitol Park. There's also one more requirement that must be met regardless of what gets built: construction must start within 18 months.
· What about the National Theatre? Last year, Gilbert was expected to get the Bates site and the neighboring National Theatre for $1.5M. Today, there's no mention of the historic building.
· This isn't the only new parking garage planned on Monroe Street. If that proposed office tower becomes a reality, plans call for a nine-story garage on Monroe. That one also includes some ground-floor retail, but the future of Monroe Street doesn't sound too attractive.