New development helps reshape Detroit

By Nicklas Grifhorst
Editor in Chief

Detroit is a city that has struggled to maintain a positive reputation. Many years of financial problems, struggling to find investors and lack of an identity had left the city in shambles. But now, the city’s circumstances are improving as investors are back, and development and excitement in Detroit are on the rise. Here are some places that growth and rebuilding are being seen throughout the city:

Little Caesars Arena opens

One of the most notable developments over the past few years was the announcement and completion of the Little Caesars Arena. The arena plays host to both the Detroit Red Wings and the Detroit Pistons, as well as high profile concerts. LCA has a maximum capacity of 19,515 for hockey, 20,491 for basketball, and anywhere between 15,000 to 22,000 for concerts. The arena sits right on Woodward Avenue, and the area surrounding it has been dubbed, “the District of Detroit.” One of the biggest surprises after the new arena was built was the announcement that the Detroit Pistons would be leaving Auburn Hills to move back downtown for the first time since 1978.

In a press conference announcing the move, Pistons owner Tom Gores talked about the rebuilding of Detroit.

“I think that’s a big deal, the city has worked really hard,” Gores said. “This city is coming back and I’m excited about that, just to be apart of the comeback is a pretty nice thing.”

Hudson site gets a new building

The site of the old Hudson Department store is set to see one of the biggest additions the city has seen in recent years. The 800-foot-tall skyrise that will be built on the site is said to cost $1 billion. It will host office, residential, retail and other sites on the 1 million square foot property and has been labeled a “city within a city” by the architects.

The building will sit right on Woodward and will be Detroit’s tallest building once completed. It will also feature the city’s first observation deck, allowing those who visit to get a look at Detroit from a new angle.

The building sits on the former home of the iconic J.L. Hudson department store, which was a premier retailer and flagship store. The 25-story building was once the tallest department store in the world, before closing its doors in 1983. The building was demolished in 1998, and the lot has sat vacant since.

Ford eyes Corktown

Ford Motor Company has announced its new campus in Corktown. The purchase of the famous Michigan Central Station and announcement that Ford would be remodeling and repurposing the building for its own use was met with excitement from the city. The famous structure was at one point set to be demolished by then owner, Matthew Moroun. Now Ford is marketing the purchase as a turning point for the city.

In a press release issued by Ford following the purchase, Bill Ford, executive chairman, said, “Michigan Central Station is a powerful symbol of Detroit’s struggles and now its resurgence, but Ford’s investment in Corktown is far from symbolic.”

“We aren’t just making a bet on Detroit. We are making a big bet on the future for Ford and the future of transportation. It’s exciting to imagine what’s possible as we build tomorrow, together.”

Along with the purchase of MCS, Ford bought several other properties in the Corktown area, including the old Detroit School Book Depository, which will be part of the new 1.2 million square foot campus.

Ford hopes to have the campus ready by 2022 and expects 2,500 employees to be moved into the new campus at that time.

Brush Park begins to grow

Brush Park has been the latest piece of Detroit to see an influx of apartments. The area which is filled with old historic homes and mansions has seen a boon of interest from developers. Mansions are being remodeled and apartments are being built. The once run down area is being revitalized.

Prior to its downfall, Brush Park was referred to as “Little Paris” and developers hope to bring some of that back. Many of the mansions that remain are in need of more work than they are worth, but those that are salvageable are being remodeled. The first large investment comes from The Scott at Brush Park, which is a $65 million, 200,000-square-foot apartment complex. This is just one of many pieces that are falling into place for the neighborhood.

What’s next?

These projects—and several smaller ones—prove that the city of Detroit is back on the right path. News of new investments and developments continue to pour in. Another major player is Dan Gilbert, who deserves an article of his own. Gilbert has a huge impact on the future of the city. He along with his company, Quicken Loans, have played a large role in the city landscape and will continue to in the future.

Executives are seeing the success of Quicken Loans and might consider Detroit as an option for their companies. Upstarts like StockX, a shoe resale company that does an estimated $2 million in daily sales all while in the heart of Detroit, show that successful new companies can be started in the city. Detroit is growing and soon enough we won’t be talking about a rebuild, we will be talking about a rebirth.