On Tuesday evening, April 16, the first meeting in negotiating community benefits for The Mid took place at St Paul’s Episcopal Cathedral on Woodward Avenue. Representatives from the city of Detroit outlined the process and timeline, then developers updated attendees on the latest vision for the project.
The Mid, which was first announced last month, is set to be the largest development north of Mack Avenue since the 1920s. Plans for the $310 million development adjacent to Whole Foods call for three high-rises: a 30-story multifamily apartment building, a 25-story hotel with condominiums, and a 12-story “co-living” tower.
Michael Guthrie, founding design principal at inFORM Studio, and Emery Matthews, managing principal of Detroit-based Real Estate Interests, provided residents more details about the project.
For starters, a little clarity was shed on the definition of “co-living.” In these units, there will be some shared common space, potentially kitchens and/or bathrooms, and that it’s largely targeted to younger tenants.
In the center of the complex, there will be a public plaza and shared street made of pavers (instead of concrete) cutting from Woodward to John R, with more pedestrian access points from the north and south. Every building will have ground floor commercial space for retail, restaurants, and bars—Matthews said he’s trying to attract a Trader Joe’s to one of the spaces. In addition to a five-level above ground parking deck, there are plans for an underground garage with 325 spots.
Matthews also updated the timeline. The developers hope to have the first phase of the project—both the underground parking and condominium/hotel—completed by the end of 2021. They’re are also seeking $20 million over 10 years in tax abatements.
Under the city’s community benefits ordinance, The Mid must negotiate benefits for the community because its cost exceeds $75 million. The developer 3750 Woodward Ave LLC, an entity tied to Ciena Healthcare CEO Mohammad Qazi, must meet with members of the Neighborhood Advisory Council (two of which are elected, the other seven appointed) to establish the benefits which are then approved by the Planning and Development Department and City Council.
Community meetings will take place bi-weekly, 6 p.m. on Tuesdays at St. Paul’s. Elections for the NAC will be held April 23, and the city says it hopes to wrap up the process by June 19 after five meetings.
The city says it has identified several potential impacts from the project, including mitigation of noise and dust, traffic flow, and local hiring. A couple community members expressed their desire to see more affordable housing, and that will surely be an area of focus in the negotiations.