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New Center's Shabby Shopping District is Now Hot Property

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Woodward & Grand in the 1930s and images of faded storefronts today
Woodward & Grand in the 1930s and images of faded storefronts today
Virtual Motor City, Chris and Michelle Gerard

With the M1 streetcar arriving late next year, New Center's sleepy real estate scene is finally starting to wake up. Midtown Detroit Inc (MDI) recently purchased several buildings in the neighborhood's historic shopping district, which might not ring a bell since there hasn't been much shopping there for years.
It's a dense, two-block stretch of commercial buildings along Woodward Avenue, just south of Grand Boulevard. Most of the storefronts have been vacant for years, but they're surrounding what will eventually be the northernmost stop on the streetcar line. There's no definitive plan for MDI's 64,000-square-foot purchase (other than vague talk of mixed-use development), but we're expecting a wave of renovations and new tenants over the next year or two.

↑ Mr. Song's Millinery [6513 - 6519 Woodward]
A pair of vacant storefronts last used by Mr. Song's Millinery, known for designing the eye-catching hat worn by Aretha Franklin at the 2008 inauguration. Mr. Song's has since moved to a strip mall in Southfield, but the New York Times has photos of Mr. Song's time in Detroit. Both storefronts are around 2,000 square feet.

↑ Mismatched Storefronts [6525 - 6529 Woodward]
Another pair of storefronts. The smaller one (1,072 square feet) is vacant, the larger looks to be occupied by a nail salon (2,885 square feet).

↑ Payless Shoe Source [6535 Woodward]
Able to thrive just about anywhere, Payless is still kickin' in New Center. We're wondering what the building looks like behind the faded facade cover. It comes with two stories totaling 3,600 square feet.

↑ D-Town Freight/Infinity Sportswear [6561 - 6565 Woodward] Wrapping around the SW corner corner of Woodward and Grand, this Art Deco-style building is occupied by two shops and a restaurant. A clothing store (1,606 square feet) and a much larger home furnishings outlet (18,133 square feet) both face Woodward on the ground floor. There's also an upstairs area.

↑ New Center Eatery [3100 W Grand]
Around the corner on W. Grand Boulevard, New Center Eatery is known for top-notch chicken and waffles. 2,2025 square feet.

↑ 6568 Woodward
Anchoring the SE corner of Woodward and Grand, this three-story building has plenty of retail space and upper levels suited for something residential. Its one of the block's oldest buildings (built around 1925), though the brick facade was restored within the last few years. The building will be completely vacant once Lee's Beauty Supply finishes its going-out-of-business sale. Total square footage unknown.
· Midtown Detroit Inc. Focuses on New Center [WDET]
· Midtown boom starts to shake up New Center [Crain's]

Woodward Avenue at Grand Boulevard, Detroit