Streetscaping projects initiated across Detroit this year have negatively impacted local businesses. Now, those along Grand River Avenue are voicing their difficulties with construction.
Town Hall Caffé, formerly Always Brewing Detroit, announced in a Facebook post that it may have to close this winter if sales don’t improve. In the message, Town Hall’s owner writes that sales were down 70 to 80 percent in September with only a modest improvement this month.
Many other businesses in the Grandmont-Rosedale area are facing similar struggles. Chef Maxcel Hardy closed his restaurant, River Bistro, in September, citing construction as a major factor. Eater Detroit reports that Kristen Ussery, co-owner of Detroit Vegan Soul, which opened a location in North Rosedale Park in 2017, has seen sales drop “roughly 20 percent since construction started.” And Norwest Gallery of Art owner Asia Hamilton told Bridge Magazine that she’s lost business because of difficulty with parking.
The $8-million streetscaping project on Grand River Avenue covers 2.8-miles of road from the Southfield Freeway to Berg Road.
The final road design will decrease space allocated for cars from seven to five lanes (two in each direction plus a turn lane) and the crosswalk distance to 40 feet. There will also be a two-way protected bike lane on the north side of the road, bike signals at intersections, a buffer for street parking, bus islands with shelters, and more.
The first phase is expected to wrap up this November, with construction restarting in April and finishing in November 2020.
Kuzzo’s Chicken and Waffles announced that it would close through November and overhaul its kitchen. The owner of the Narrow Way Café & Shop said that his businesses might have to shut down. Good Cakes and Bakes co-owner April Anderson told Detour Detroit that in-store orders have dropped by more than a third. Crain’s Detroit Business reports that others are delaying opening until construction stops.
Many are excited about the long-term potential of these streetscaping projects. But there’s certainly been a lot of pain in the short term.