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Confirmed: Detroit Needs More Retail

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But we all knew that

Michelle & Chris Gerard

A new report confirms what we all know - Detroit needs more retail. The City Observatory released their Storefront Index, which plotted how many retail spaces (grocery, beauty, bars, restaurants, entertainment, etc.) are clustered together in 51 major cities/metropolitan areas. A few things to note:

  • The data is from 2014
  • It only includes retail that has another storefront within 100 meters.

According to the study, "The Storefront Index is one indicator of the relative size and robustness of the active streetscape in and around city centers."

Out of 50 cities, Detroit came in last.

New York came in first, with 9,905 storefronts in its core, or Central Business District. Many Rust Belt or Midwestern cities had between 900-1,100.

Detroit? 91.

The Storefront Index
The Storefront Index

The map highlights a three-mile radius outside of its downtown, so here in Detroit, it barely hits New Center and misses outlying areas like 7 Mile & Livernois.

Has it changed much in the past couple years? There are certainly more restaurants and bars popping up in the city (almost every week, it seems). But progress is slow and anyone who lives here would agree that a few more grocery stores are necessary, and just normal retail (instead of high-end shops) would benefit so many living in the city.

There is more retail opening up downtown soon, including a Nike community store (more on that soon). Maybe the new Hudson's development could include the boost to retail we've always wanted?