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Guest ZachariahDaMan

Detroit: Developments and News

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I realized I haven't been showing you guys the good going on in the D, just the bad (demolitions).  I have a lot to put in here but I won't do it all at once.

 

The William G. Milliken State Park opened on December 3.  I finally stopped by the other day.

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Some others

*The Riverwalk and Dequindre Cut are being connected.

*Midtown: plenty going on here.  I can think of 5 projects off the top of my head that are currently underway.

*Downtown: Capitol Park is being worked on.  I am excited to see it when it is finished.  Port Authority Terminal.  Supposedly the Book Tower and Broderick Towers are going to be rehabbed soon.

 

That's all I can think of for now.  More pictures are coming soon.

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Book Tower & Broderick Tower have been "supposedly being rehabbed" for the last 5 years, and that was when the economy and lending markets were much more favorable.  I worked & lived downtown Detroit for 3 years and even worked on some concepts for the Broderick Tower and it's just not likely to be done.  Not trying to sound all negative, but give the current conditions, these two projects aren't so likely. 

 

The Broderick has no room for any parking if it were to be residential apts or condos.  Book Tower is an architectural masterpiece but the fire escapes on the exterior would need to go.  Cutting in another set of stairs or elevator would really reduce the floorspace in the skinny tower.  Trying to renovate either building for residential just doesn't make sense either since there is already so much vacant commercial office space that doesn't need anything but a tenant.

 

The Riverwalk & Dequindre cut are 2 projects that the DEGC has actually done right instead of senseless demolition in the name of making areas "development ready".  Capitol Park will be a welcome upgrade to the area directly behind the Book Cadillac Westin.  Detroit is an amazing city and I'd love to see it progress but they have such an uphill battle in terms of reversing the crime, schools, environmental cleanup, rebuilding infrastructure, creating more transit options...

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That library is beautiful. I always like to drive past it when I am in the area. Thank you for starting this thread. It is nice to see some positive from back home.

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The Globe Trading Co. Building won't become lofts afterall, instead a huge play area.

 

http://www.m-bike.org/blog/2010/09/09/conceptual-designs-for-milliken-state-park-expansion

 

The old Model T Plant in Highland Park is to become a museum.  I am really excited for this one.

 

http://www.freep.com/article/20100905/COL14/9050513/1014/Business01/Big-hopes-for-Model-T-factory

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420.jpg

 

Interesting.  That's the same canopy they used on the Rosa Parks Transit Center.  Were they designed by the same people, or is that Detroit's new standard?

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Here's a three-part video on Detroit that a friend sent me.  I couldn't decide exactly where to put this, but I figured this would be as good a spot as any since it shows a lot of different ways buildings and vacant land in Detroit are being reused.

 

I see a lot of parallels between the grass-roots urban farming and artist communities they highlight in these videos and what we have going on in Cleveland, but I guess I never realized the scale they have to work on there.  The abandoned neighborhood-turned-outdoor art installation (in part 3) was so cool, but so creepy at the same time.

 

http://www.palladiumboots.com/exploration/detroit

 

It does kind of sadden me that it took Johnny Knoxville to make this!  :mrgreen:

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The History Channel had a show called "Apocalypse Man" where they had some guy walking around an abandoned city in a hypothetical post-apocalypse situation.  The show was filmed in Detroit and I couldn't believe just how empty parts of it was.

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I was happy to hear the Yellow Pages buildings was being rehabbed at the same time horrified they were taking the sign down....it's really what makes that building special.

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Gray Street housing on the east side

 

6287449209_07d9dc32a7.jpg

211 by Zack Blackerby, on Flickr

6287449765_53bf9acdce.jpg

213 by Zack Blackerby, on Flickr

6287450025_5efc5755cb.jpg

214 by Zack Blackerby, on Flickr

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215 by Zack Blackerby, on Flickr

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216 by Zack Blackerby, on Flickr

6287450623_bb69b05b54.jpg

217 by Zack Blackerby, on Flickr

6287970634_7694c35e16.jpg

218 by Zack Blackerby, on Flickr

6287970830_2b5089022b.jpg

219 by Zack Blackerby, on Flickr

6287970994_9a2a24bf96.jpg

220 by Zack Blackerby, on Flickr

6287971206_33d6b8243a.jpg

221 by Zack Blackerby, on Flickr

6287451589_c60c5e9e5f.jpg

222 by Zack Blackerby, on Flickr

6287451837_0ee3fdd89c.jpg

223 by Zack Blackerby, on Flickr

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I went through the Whitney building twice in 07 & 08 with potential developers & contractors.  It didn't need a ton of renovation but the conventional wisdom was always that despite the excellent location and solid floor plans, there was no parking available and that would never get resolved.

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^ In '06 it was in perfect shape.  In '07, there was plenty of vandalism and copper theft, but not to the degree many other buildings experienced.  Had the building not been left wide open for an entire summer, it would have been serviceable at any time.

 

It's a shame parking is almost a necessary component. But if the people mover remained in service, garage sharing among buildings wouldn't be a problem, especially since the people mover is directly accessible to the Whitney.  But not reason to think too much over it.  The building is getting renovated anyway.  And one of the conditions of a loan they received is to reconstruct the facade as it appeared the day it was built.

 

Today it looks pretty awful:

http://maps.google.com/maps?q=Detroit,+MI&ll=42.335885,-83.050125&spn=0.001814,0.00383&hnear=Detroit,+Wayne,+Michigan&gl=us&t=h&z=19&vpsrc=6&layer=c&cbll=42.335885,-83.050125&panoid=FpJ12Kz0VoZjGI8M1phx5g&cbp=12,223.2,,0,-29.31

 

It's a shame to think of what architects did back in the 60's to "modernize" buildings.  Glad they plan to restore it back to its original grandeur.

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Doing a little development round-up for you guys.

 

Downtown: off to top of my head.....work is well underway on the Broderick Tower.  I think the David Whitney Building and G.A.R. buildings are still on, but haven't seen any work yet.  UDM purchased the old fire station at St. Antoine and Larned.

 

The Odd Fellows building is being turned into a BWW.

http://www.crainsdetroit.com/article/20120210/FREE/120219982/buffalo-wild-wings-to-open-in-detroit-near-campus-martius-greektown

 

 

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Gray Street housing on the east side

 

6287449209_07d9dc32a7.jpg

211 by Zack Blackerby, on Flickr

6287449765_53bf9acdce.jpg

213 by Zack Blackerby, on Flickr

6287450025_5efc5755cb.jpg

214 by Zack Blackerby, on Flickr

6287450219_cc82ee81b1.jpg

215 by Zack Blackerby, on Flickr

6287970230_003f402ee4.jpg

216 by Zack Blackerby, on Flickr

6287450623_bb69b05b54.jpg

217 by Zack Blackerby, on Flickr

6287970634_7694c35e16.jpg

218 by Zack Blackerby, on Flickr

6287970830_2b5089022b.jpg

219 by Zack Blackerby, on Flickr

6287970994_9a2a24bf96.jpg

220 by Zack Blackerby, on Flickr

6287971206_33d6b8243a.jpg

221 by Zack Blackerby, on Flickr

6287451589_c60c5e9e5f.jpg

222 by Zack Blackerby, on Flickr

6287451837_0ee3fdd89c.jpg

223 by Zack Blackerby, on Flickr

 

Ugh, too much siding and not enough brick!  But considering what most of Detroit looks like, I am sure it is better than what was there, or lack thereof. 

 

La Vogue looks awesome!

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Can I see photos of that new 2 story, extremely long building going up on Gratiot?  I forget where it is...kind of distant from downtown, but I've been hearing its supposed to be very well designed.

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If my knowledge of Detroit geography serves me right, the list of 5 other Michigan stores are all in counties outside of Wayne County. So it looks like Whole Foods is settling in the core city of Wayne County (Detroit) instead of a Wayne suburb.

All of NEO's existing or planned Whole Foods are in Cuyahoga County and in inner-ring suburbs, I even consider Woodmere in that category with all of its commercial activity.

I'd guess that if there wasn't one built in suburban University Hts in 2008, that Whole Foods might have considered University Circle, or another Cleveland neighborhood today.

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Unfortunately the design of the Whole Foods in Detroit is pretty abysmal.  They really deserved a better building considering their location.  It's a suburban style prototype, with parking...and blank walls facing one street. 

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Michigan Court Blocks Additional Michigan Casinos

 

In a one-paragraph order, the court ruled the proposed initiative violates a section of the Michigan constitution that prohibits amending a law by reference to its title only. The panel said the proposal would amend the Gaming Act without publishing the sections of the law that would be amended.

 

Essentially it was blocked on a technicality. Does Detroit (or Michigan for that matter) really need more casinos? I think they have plenty of casinos already...

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It would seem like they could support more, but I couldn't run any numbers if you asked.  My thought would be additional casinos (and competition) builds a better destination for gambling.  Certainly it provides extra tax revenue for the communities the casino are in, but the benefits extended well beyond that in the case of Detroit.  MGM and Greektown has brought far more foot traffic and ancillary businesses downtown which unfortunately for many other communities isn't the case.

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Dan Gilbert announces 10-store development, parking garage in Detroit

 

Quicken Loans founder and Chairman Dan Gilbert’s real estate arm announced today it will build a 1,300-space parking garage with 33,000 square feet of retail space in downtown Detroit.

 

Construction on the 535,000-square-foot Z-shaped retail and parking development is expected to start this month and take a year to complete.

 

The structure will zigzag from the corner of Broadway and East Grand River to the corner of Library and Gratiot, occupying what is now a surface parking lot. 

 

The location of the property can be seen here

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Can I see photos of that new 2 story, extremely long building going up on Gratiot?  I forget where it is...kind of distant from downtown, but I've been hearing its supposed to be very well designed.

 

Here you go, taken Feb 12

 

6814180840_18e2860c0e.jpg

209 by Zack Blackerby's Detroit, on Flickr

 

6960294391_8099601f99.jpg

210 by Zack Blackerby's Detroit, on Flickr

 

Jeezus, look how wide that road is.  And not a car on it.  That's what pi$$es me off when Cleveland gets lumped in with Detroit.  Its been years since I lived in the D, but the two are really not comparable.  The size and magnitude of Detroit when it was full, and the size and magnitude of the empty city are nowhere near Cleveland.

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dangilbertgarage.jpg

 

Here's a rendering of the proposed project. ^^

 

Yeah, he does, but at least he is doing this on an existing surface lot.

 

There was recently a proposal from someone (based in Quebec, I believe) who wanted to tear down a historic post office building in downtown for a parking garage when they could easily convert one of their many surface lots into a garage.

 

Gilbert is also the main proponent of the M-1 Rail/Woodward Light Rail line. No coincidence that has moved Quicken Loans' headquarters to downtown and is doing developments along the line.

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Jeezus, look how wide that road is.  And not a car on it.  That's what pi$$es me off when Cleveland gets lumped in with Detroit.  Its been years since I lived in the D, but the two are really not comparable.  The size and magnitude of Detroit when it was full, and the size and magnitude of the empty city are nowhere near Cleveland.

 

Can't argue with that. Detroit's abandonment is unprecedented. There is definitely potential with these wide streets, though. Separated bike lanes, light rail, large trees lining the streets, huge sidewalks with outdoor cafes/restaurants. The problem is getting to that potential...

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Ilitch Organization exploring development of new residential, retail, office and events center district in downtown detroit [PDF]

 

ODM is currently doing site selection for a to-be-proposed events center district. This would most likely include the Red Wings and Pistons as well as a plethora of other uses. The total price tag is estimated at $650 Million and will be a mix of public and private funds but will not require a tax increase to pay for it.

 

No renderings or other details are provided in the press release. Ilitch Holdings is apparently the owner of the Fox Theater and has invested $1.9 billion in downtown Detroit to date.

 

“This plan makes good business sense for two reasons,” said George W. Jackson, Jr., president and CEO of Detroit Economic Growth Corporation. “First, it’s not a plan for an isolated, single-use structure. Instead, it builds on the clear successes we’ve already had downtown integrating districts that feature entertainment, and support commercial, retail and residential development around them. Second, it doesn’t impose any new tax burdens; it simply continues a program for retiring debt related to economic development. It’s hard to argue with that.”

 

...blahblahblah....

 

Leadership in communities such as Columbus (OH), Los Angeles, San Diego and Indianapolis have

shown how prudently created partnerships can create new downtown neighborhoods and spur growth

in the population and increase the levels of activity and vitality in central cities...

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