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An aerial view of a large park adjacent to a waterfront. On the other side of the park are the many city buildings of Detroit.
Rendering of the Ralph C. Wilson Jr. Centennial Park.
The Detroit RiverFront Conservancy

12 developments set to transform Detroit

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Rendering of the Ralph C. Wilson Jr. Centennial Park.
| The Detroit RiverFront Conservancy

There are developments. And then there are transformational developments—those that change how we live, work, play, and get around our city. These 12 projects, either in progress or planned, will be transformational to not just their neighborhoods, but the city as a whole.

Whether it’s a major revamp of publicly accessible space, a huge new skyscraper, or redevelopment of an iconic building, Detroit just won’t be the same after these are complete.

You may also want to check out one of these related stories:

Note: Locations are ordered from west to east.

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Fitzgerald Revitalization Project

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The most ambitious neighborhood project in the city is taking place in the Fitzgerald neighborhood near the University of Detroit Mercy. Led by Century Partners and the Platform, the Fitzgerald Revitalization Project originally called for the renovation of over 100 homes when it was first announced in 2017, but only 13 were expected to be done by the end of summer 2019.

It hasn’t all been as slow as expected, as the greenway, park, meadows, and home boarding and demos have been hitting their target marks.

In other neighborhood news, nearby on the Avenue of Fashion, redevelopment of the old B. Siegel department store should be completed soon, adding more retail and residential space. Streetscaping projects on Livernois and McNichols have gotten underway (but also negatively affected some businesses). Marygrove College announced it would be closing, though the campus will still be used as a “cradle-to-career” educational facility.

Gordie Howe International Bridge

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In 2017, the city sold land in Delray to the state of Michigan for bridge development. More than 450 Detroit families have been impacted by the upcoming construction and many have chosen to leave. The Delray neighborhood is all but gone at this point, though residents there are still continued to push and eventually got a package of community benefits.

The bridge, named after Canadian-born, Detroit Red Wings legend Gordie Howe, will be 1.6 miles long and cost an estimated $5.7 billion. The international crossing will also have bike and pedestrian lanes.

Construction on the American side officially broke ground in July 2018 and is expected to be completed by 2024.

The Gordie Howe International Bridge which is a curved suspension bridge with angled arches and a multitude of metallic cables. The bridge stretches out over trees and a body of water. Windsor-Detroit Bridge Authority

Motown Museum expansion

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The Motown Museum announced all the way back in 2016 that it would be embarking on a $50 million expansion, turning the Hitsville U.S.A. home where Motown began into a 50,000 square foot complex with interactive exhibits, a new theater, recording studios, and expanded meeting and retail space.

The museum has spent the last three years fundraising. It’s gotten support from a number of foundations, and most recently, Berry Gordy himself donated $4 million. In September, it broke ground on the first phase of construction—the renovation of three homes facing West Grand Boulevard is expected to be completed in summer 2020.

Patrons gather outside as a children’s band plays music on an outdoor stage in front of a glass atrium and two brick homes.
Rendering of the glass atrium and remodeled homes at the Motown Museum.
Courtesy of Motown Museum

Michigan Central Station

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In the next three-to-four years, Ford Motor Company will build a campus for mobility in Corktown at an estimated cost of $740 million. The broader project will include the old DPS Book Depository, renovated into offices, retail, and residential; and, of course, the long-vacant Michigan Central Station. The infusion of 5,000 workers, renovations, and subsequent investment could be the biggest game-changer in the city in years.

The first phase of construction and restoration began last spring, along with an announcement that the station would be powered by renewable energy.

Drawing of a lit up train station in the background Courtesy of Ford Motor Company

The Mid

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Announced in March 2019, The Mid will be the biggest development in Detroit north of Mack Avenue since the 1920s. Initial plans call for a 25-story, 228-room hotel with luxury condos making up the top nine floors; a 30-story mixed-use, multi-family development with 250 apartments and first-floor retail; and a 12-story building with “co-living” spaces.

The $377 million project is slated to be completed by the end of 2020. After receiving $58 million in tax incentives and negotiating a community benefits agreement, the project is expected to break ground soon.

In the foreground is a courtyard where people are walking. Surrounding the courtyard are buildings. Two of the buildings are tall skyscrapers. It is evening and the sky is purple and blue. Inform Studio LLC

Brush Park developments

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For years, Brush Park was an afterthought. But today, historic mansions are being restored, property prices are rising, and hundreds of residences are being built. Bedrock has ramped up work on City Modern, which will add 400 new residential units—including apartments, condos, and townhouses—to vacant lots. The first residents have already moved in. Much of the work is expected to be completed in 2020.

One large development to look for in the next few years is the Brewster-Douglass site, which will bring over 900 new residences to the neighborhood. HUD recently approved sale of the site to Bedrock for $23 million.Smaller condo developments have also been popping up in the neighborhood as well.

In the foreground is a construction site consisting of multiple buildings. In the distance is a city skyline with tall buildings.
City Modern under construction.
Photo by Michelle & Chris Gerard

Hudson’s site

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Vacant for nearly two decades, the new Hudson’s will total approximately 1,000,000 square feet (not including underground parking for 700 cars), with 330 residential units and 240,000 square feet of office space at a cost of over $900 million.

Bedrock broke ground on the site in December 2017 and is still building the foundation. The latest update, however, was not terribly encouraging: The tower will no longer be the tallest in the state, there won’t be an observation deck, and the estimated completion date was pushed back to 2023.

Rendering of the first few floors of a huge glass skyscraper. People walk and bike on the street outside, and there’s many more seen through the windows of the building. Bedrock Detroit

The Monroe Blocks

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Covering the area between Campus Martius and Randolph along Monroe, the project as initially announced would add a 35-story office tower plus residential at a cost of $830 million. It broke ground in December 2018, but there has been little work at the site since. It’s currently undergoing a redesign.

In the foreground is a courtyard with trees and a large pedestrian space. There are people in the courtyard. Surrounding the courtyard are various city buildings. Schmidt Hammer Lassen Architects

Detroit Center for Innovation

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In October 2019, a monumental partnership was announced between billionaire real estate moguls Dan Gilbert and Stephen Ross. They’ll be working with the University of Michigan to build a campus focusing on high-tech research and education. The center is expected to cost around $300 million with construction beginning in 2021.

Ross has also teased that this could be part of a much bigger campus project stretching downtown that includes a business incubator, residential units, hotel, conference center, and more.

A large glass building shaped like a trapezoid but with a rounded edge. There’s a large boulevard that heads into a downtown with multiple skyscrapers. Kohn Pedersen Fox

Joe Louis Greenway

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The 32-mile non-motorized pathway through the city has been in the works for years. Named the Joe Louis Greenway, it will run from the East Riverfront, up through Hamtramck, over to Highland Park and the University District, down to Southwest Detroit. Designers SmithGroup are expected to finalize the framework plan in early 2020.

Bike culture has picked up in Detroit over the past few years, and this will give people more ways to safely get around the city.

An aerial view of a parking lot surrounded by multicolor trees. City of Detroit

The Riverfront

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The East Riverfront is already a popular destination in Detroit, but numerous projects will make it more accessible and attractive to visitors. Expect redevelopment of vacant warehouses and land, increased residential and retail, streetscaping along Jefferson Avenue, a new greenway, an urban beach, and the Riverwalk extending to Belle Isle.

A major redevelopment will take place at the West Riverfront Park as well. This plot of land in the west side industrial area will be transformed with trees, playscapes, sports courts, trails, and a beach in the coming years. In October last year, the Ralph C. Wilson, Jr. Foundation donated $50 million to construction and upkeep, which will be called the Ralph C. Wilson Jr. Centennial Park.

Eventually, Detroit’s Riverwalk will link Belle Isle all the way to the Ambassador Bridge.

In the foreground is a street and a sidewalk. On the street are many cyclists riding bicycles. On the sidewalk are people walking. There are city buildings adjacent to the street. Detroit RiverFront Conservancy

Fiat Chrysler Plants

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Not long after GM announced it would close its Detroit-Hamtramck Assembly Plant, FCA announced that it would invest heavily in upgrades to its own on Detroit’s east side. At the Connor Creek Industrial Center, the automobile company will spend $1.6 billion converting its Mack Avenue Engine Complex to produce next generation Jeeps, and $900 million to retool the Jefferson North Assembly Plant. It estimates that these upgrades will bring 5,000 new jobs to Detroit.

In May this year, the city successfully accumulated the land necessary to complete the deal, which was soon after approved by City Council. The project is expected to receive over $400 million in tax incentives.

An aerial view of a factory and surrounding buildings. The buildings are all very long and are surrounded by parking lots and grassy lawns.
Rendering of FCA’s updated Mack Avenue production facility
FCA

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Fitzgerald Revitalization Project

The most ambitious neighborhood project in the city is taking place in the Fitzgerald neighborhood near the University of Detroit Mercy. Led by Century Partners and the Platform, the Fitzgerald Revitalization Project originally called for the renovation of over 100 homes when it was first announced in 2017, but only 13 were expected to be done by the end of summer 2019.

It hasn’t all been as slow as expected, as the greenway, park, meadows, and home boarding and demos have been hitting their target marks.

In other neighborhood news, nearby on the Avenue of Fashion, redevelopment of the old B. Siegel department store should be completed soon, adding more retail and residential space. Streetscaping projects on Livernois and McNichols have gotten underway (but also negatively affected some businesses). Marygrove College announced it would be closing, though the campus will still be used as a “cradle-to-career” educational facility.

Gordie Howe International Bridge

The Gordie Howe International Bridge which is a curved suspension bridge with angled arches and a multitude of metallic cables. The bridge stretches out over trees and a body of water. Windsor-Detroit Bridge Authority

In 2017, the city sold land in Delray to the state of Michigan for bridge development. More than 450 Detroit families have been impacted by the upcoming construction and many have chosen to leave. The Delray neighborhood is all but gone at this point, though residents there are still continued to push and eventually got a package of community benefits.

The bridge, named after Canadian-born, Detroit Red Wings legend Gordie Howe, will be 1.6 miles long and cost an estimated $5.7 billion. The international crossing will also have bike and pedestrian lanes.

Construction on the American side officially broke ground in July 2018 and is expected to be completed by 2024.

The Gordie Howe International Bridge which is a curved suspension bridge with angled arches and a multitude of metallic cables. The bridge stretches out over trees and a body of water. Windsor-Detroit Bridge Authority

Motown Museum expansion

Patrons gather outside as a children’s band plays music on an outdoor stage in front of a glass atrium and two brick homes.
Rendering of the glass atrium and remodeled homes at the Motown Museum.
Courtesy of Motown Museum

The Motown Museum announced all the way back in 2016 that it would be embarking on a $50 million expansion, turning the Hitsville U.S.A. home where Motown began into a 50,000 square foot complex with interactive exhibits, a new theater, recording studios, and expanded meeting and retail space.

The museum has spent the last three years fundraising. It’s gotten support from a number of foundations, and most recently, Berry Gordy himself donated $4 million. In September, it broke ground on the first phase of construction—the renovation of three homes facing West Grand Boulevard is expected to be completed in summer 2020.

Patrons gather outside as a children’s band plays music on an outdoor stage in front of a glass atrium and two brick homes.
Rendering of the glass atrium and remodeled homes at the Motown Museum.
Courtesy of Motown Museum

Michigan Central Station

Drawing of a lit up train station in the background Courtesy of Ford Motor Company

In the next three-to-four years, Ford Motor Company will build a campus for mobility in Corktown at an estimated cost of $740 million. The broader project will include the old DPS Book Depository, renovated into offices, retail, and residential; and, of course, the long-vacant Michigan Central Station. The infusion of 5,000 workers, renovations, and subsequent investment could be the biggest game-changer in the city in years.

The first phase of construction and restoration began last spring, along with an announcement that the station would be powered by renewable energy.

Drawing of a lit up train station in the background Courtesy of Ford Motor Company

The Mid

In the foreground is a courtyard where people are walking. Surrounding the courtyard are buildings. Two of the buildings are tall skyscrapers. It is evening and the sky is purple and blue. Inform Studio LLC

Announced in March 2019, The Mid will be the biggest development in Detroit north of Mack Avenue since the 1920s. Initial plans call for a 25-story, 228-room hotel with luxury condos making up the top nine floors; a 30-story mixed-use, multi-family development with 250 apartments and first-floor retail; and a 12-story building with “co-living” spaces.

The $377 million project is slated to be completed by the end of 2020. After receiving $58 million in tax incentives and negotiating a community benefits agreement, the project is expected to break ground soon.

In the foreground is a courtyard where people are walking. Surrounding the courtyard are buildings. Two of the buildings are tall skyscrapers. It is evening and the sky is purple and blue. Inform Studio LLC

Brush Park developments

In the foreground is a construction site consisting of multiple buildings. In the distance is a city skyline with tall buildings.
City Modern under construction.
Photo by Michelle & Chris Gerard

For years, Brush Park was an afterthought. But today, historic mansions are being restored, property prices are rising, and hundreds of residences are being built. Bedrock has ramped up work on City Modern, which will add 400 new residential units—including apartments, condos, and townhouses—to vacant lots. The first residents have already moved in. Much of the work is expected to be completed in 2020.

One large development to look for in the next few years is the Brewster-Douglass site, which will bring over 900 new residences to the neighborhood. HUD recently approved sale of the site to Bedrock for $23 million.Smaller condo developments have also been popping up in the neighborhood as well.

In the foreground is a construction site consisting of multiple buildings. In the distance is a city skyline with tall buildings.
City Modern under construction.
Photo by Michelle & Chris Gerard

Hudson’s site

Rendering of the first few floors of a huge glass skyscraper. People walk and bike on the street outside, and there’s many more seen through the windows of the building. Bedrock Detroit

Vacant for nearly two decades, the new Hudson’s will total approximately 1,000,000 square feet (not including underground parking for 700 cars), with 330 residential units and 240,000 square feet of office space at a cost of over $900 million.

Bedrock broke ground on the site in December 2017 and is still building the foundation. The latest update, however, was not terribly encouraging: The tower will no longer be the tallest in the state, there won’t be an observation deck, and the estimated completion date was pushed back to 2023.

Rendering of the first few floors of a huge glass skyscraper. People walk and bike on the street outside, and there’s many more seen through the windows of the building. Bedrock Detroit

The Monroe Blocks

In the foreground is a courtyard with trees and a large pedestrian space. There are people in the courtyard. Surrounding the courtyard are various city buildings. Schmidt Hammer Lassen Architects

Covering the area between Campus Martius and Randolph along Monroe, the project as initially announced would add a 35-story office tower plus residential at a cost of $830 million. It broke ground in December 2018, but there has been little work at the site since. It’s currently undergoing a redesign.

In the foreground is a courtyard with trees and a large pedestrian space. There are people in the courtyard. Surrounding the courtyard are various city buildings. Schmidt Hammer Lassen Architects

Detroit Center for Innovation

A large glass building shaped like a trapezoid but with a rounded edge. There’s a large boulevard that heads into a downtown with multiple skyscrapers. Kohn Pedersen Fox

In October 2019, a monumental partnership was announced between billionaire real estate moguls Dan Gilbert and Stephen Ross. They’ll be working with the University of Michigan to build a campus focusing on high-tech research and education. The center is expected to cost around $300 million with construction beginning in 2021.

Ross has also teased that this could be part of a much bigger campus project stretching downtown that includes a business incubator, residential units, hotel, conference center, and more.

A large glass building shaped like a trapezoid but with a rounded edge. There’s a large boulevard that heads into a downtown with multiple skyscrapers. Kohn Pedersen Fox

Joe Louis Greenway

An aerial view of a parking lot surrounded by multicolor trees. City of Detroit

The 32-mile non-motorized pathway through the city has been in the works for years. Named the Joe Louis Greenway, it will run from the East Riverfront, up through Hamtramck, over to Highland Park and the University District, down to Southwest Detroit. Designers SmithGroup are expected to finalize the framework plan in early 2020.

Bike culture has picked up in Detroit over the past few years, and this will give people more ways to safely get around the city.

An aerial view of a parking lot surrounded by multicolor trees. City of Detroit

The Riverfront

In the foreground is a street and a sidewalk. On the street are many cyclists riding bicycles. On the sidewalk are people walking. There are city buildings adjacent to the street. Detroit RiverFront Conservancy

The East Riverfront is already a popular destination in Detroit, but numerous projects will make it more accessible and attractive to visitors. Expect redevelopment of vacant warehouses and land, increased residential and retail, streetscaping along Jefferson Avenue, a new greenway, an urban beach, and the Riverwalk extending to Belle Isle.

A major redevelopment will take place at the West Riverfront Park as well. This plot of land in the west side industrial area will be transformed with trees, playscapes, sports courts, trails, and a beach in the coming years. In October last year, the Ralph C. Wilson, Jr. Foundation donated $50 million to construction and upkeep, which will be called the Ralph C. Wilson Jr. Centennial Park.

Eventually, Detroit’s Riverwalk will link Belle Isle all the way to the Ambassador Bridge.

In the foreground is a street and a sidewalk. On the street are many cyclists riding bicycles. On the sidewalk are people walking. There are city buildings adjacent to the street. Detroit RiverFront Conservancy

Fiat Chrysler Plants

An aerial view of a factory and surrounding buildings. The buildings are all very long and are surrounded by parking lots and grassy lawns.
Rendering of FCA’s updated Mack Avenue production facility
FCA

Not long after GM announced it would close its Detroit-Hamtramck Assembly Plant, FCA announced that it would invest heavily in upgrades to its own on Detroit’s east side. At the Connor Creek Industrial Center, the automobile company will spend $1.6 billion converting its Mack Avenue Engine Complex to produce next generation Jeeps, and $900 million to retool the Jefferson North Assembly Plant. It estimates that these upgrades will bring 5,000 new jobs to Detroit.

In May this year, the city successfully accumulated the land necessary to complete the deal, which was soon after approved by City Council. The project is expected to receive over $400 million in tax incentives.

An aerial view of a factory and surrounding buildings. The buildings are all very long and are surrounded by parking lots and grassy lawns.
Rendering of FCA’s updated Mack Avenue production facility
FCA