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Detroit development stories to watch in 2019

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Which developments will make news in the coming year?

Changes could be coming to the historic Eastern Market neighborhood
Photo by Michelle & Chris Gerard

In 2018, development news in Detroit focused on the future. Ford bought Michigan Central Station, with plans to develop a mobility-centered campus. Ground recently broke at the Monroe Blocks, bringing a new office tower and residential space to two city blocks downtown. Three new hotels—the Shinola Hotel, the Element Hotel at the Metropolitan Building, and the Siren Hotel—have restored formerly-vacant buildings in the Central Business District. Scooters and last-mile mobility solutions took over the city, while regional leaders couldn’t agree on a bigger plan.

What can we expect in the next year? While we can never predict everything, we are keeping an eye on a number of projects and areas expected to make news in 2019.

Former fail jail site

What can we expect at Gratiot and 375? Bedrock nabbed this plot of land in a complicated deal with the city and county. In return, they’ll build a new criminal justice complex about a mile up I-75 at Warren. Bedrock has some fancy renderings up for the site next to Greektown and close to Ford Field. Expect clearer plans for the mixed-use development this year.

Atwater Beach/East Riverfront
Courtesy of the Detroit RiverFront Conservancy

Detroit will get a beach* in 2019! Atwater Beach officially started construction in summer 2018. Swimming won’t be a included with this site, but it will have a sandy beach; green spaces for picnics; a musical garden for kids; a shed with a garage door opening for shelter, special events, food and beverage, and retail; and a floating barge with food and drink options.

It also bridges a key gap in the Riverwalk between Chene Aretha Franklin Park and the Stroh’s complex. In 2019, we could see more work underway at the Uniroyal site, which would extend the Riverwalk to Belle Isle.

Joe Louis Arena site demo and plans

The Joe Louis site was originally supposed to be redeveloped into a hotel. But things have changed in Detroit since 2013, and a hotel at that site might not be the best option anymore. We can expect to see the arena come down in 2019. We anticipate hearing more about future plans for the site—developers have until January 2020 to submit these plans. Residential? Some sort of destination? What might work along the riverfront next to Cobo?

Eastern Market

Many Eastern Market buildings have sold this year, and rents are already on the rise. Will this change the character of the historic market? With development making its way outside of downtown, we could see more new construction break ground in 2019. It’s certainly a neighborhood to keep an eye on.

Single-family housing

New construction in Detroit in the past five years has mainly been mixed-use, but a few recent projects have integrated new single-family housing in the North End and Midtown. Might we see more in North Corktown, Woodbridge, and other neighborhoods in 2019? Many would make the argument that there are far too many homes that need to be renovated already in the city, but some would say that newly-constructed houses could be appealing to buyers.

Stalled developments

As always, there are a few stalled developments we expect to hear more about. Many are anticipating a new Meijer just east of downtown. Banyan was announced as the developer of the Stone Soap Building nearby, but work hasn’t started on the redevelopment. Could the Ashton Detroit finally break ground on new luxury condos?

What stories are you watching in the new year? Leave us a note in the comments or hit us up on the tip line.