One of the areas up for development in Detroit with the biggest potential is the 160-acre site of the former State Fairgrounds. The area could serve as a great connection between Detroit and the suburbs to the north, but development has stalled over the past few years. A community group, the State Fairgrounds Development Coalition (SFDC), believes that real change could start happening this year.
The SFDC, comprised by community members from around the region, formed in 2012 and has been at the table as a voice in the development since. Magic Plus LLC was chosen as the developer in 2012, and the SFDC claims they were in talks frequently for the first few years of development. The developers, city officials, and the SFDC were all present in a City Planning department meeting in September 2016. The SFDC says they held a community meeting in June 2017, and several city representatives attended.
Crain’s reported on slightly updated renderings from the developers last summer.
SFDC wasn’t in favor of the strip mall-like concept proposed by the developers. Instead, SFDC has suggested a METAExpo—Michigan Energy Transportation Agriculture Expo. Instead of a heavy auto-dependent development, SFDC would like to see more walkable streets, green infrastructure, and transit-oriented development.
The SFDC says this isn’t to be seen as a counter-proposal, but many community “asks” based on input over the years.
“The SFDC is working diligently to ensure METAexpo reflects the aspirations of residents and businesses in neighborhoods adjacent to the site, on both sides of Woodward Ave. The Coalition has also reached out to the suburbs immediately north of Eight Mile. The non-profit, ‘D4’ - Doing Development Differently in metro Detroit, and the Michigan State University School of Social Work, are assisting in this process,” said Karen Hammer, SFDC Co-chair.
According to a press release from the SFDC, the Michigan Land Bank “Fast Track” Authority hopes to decide about the State Fairgrounds’ fate before its March 21, 2018 Board meeting.
More information on SFDC and METAexpo can be found here. What would you like to see at this location?