October 3, 2014
News of new restaurants, hotels, retail and other new developments in Detroit are being announced all the time. From the Riverfront and the Convention Center to Foxtown and Midtown, Detroit is bustling with new activity.
Olympia Development of Michigan recently announced plans for a sweeping transformation of dozens of underutilized blocks between downtown and midtown Detroit into a world-class Sports and Entertainment District. The project will connect existing and new development efforts in downtown and midtown Detroit along Woodward Avenue with five walkable, livable mixed-use District neighborhoods. The District will encompass dozens of blocks along and near Woodward Avenue. Development in the District will be integrated with existing sports and entertainment venues in or adjacent to the space, including the Fox Theatre, Comerica Park, MotorCity Casino Hotel, Ford Field, the Detroit Opera House, the Fillmore Detroit and more. The Ilitch organization has expanded its planned investment in the District to now include tens of millions of dollars in new neighborhood public infrastructure improvements such as lighting, sidewalks, green spaces and streets. These investments will occur concurrently with the development of the new District neighborhoods and arena. Groundbreaking is slated for fall of 2014. The project will spur at least $1.8 billion in economic impact for the city, region and state.
The new $450 million, world-class arena built concurrently with the District will be a model of innovation for such a facility in a downtown setting. It will serve not only as a powerful, continual generator of activity, but also as a good urban neighbor. The revolutionary design will focus the arena on its most fundamental elements, while concurrently building and integrating a new, mixed-use neighborhood surrounding it. As the design is scaled and planned to fit with both new and existing development, it will also offer a dynamic urban environment that is uniquely Detroit. The expected completion date is summer 2017.
One of the latest announcements along the Detroit RiverWalk is the transformation of Mt. Elliott Park. The park now features a Great Lakes schooner-themed water feature with water cascades and “kid activated” water cannons, wind chimes and many other interactive features. This is just the latest news surrounding the Detroit International Riverfront, which has been completely redeveloped, now with more than three miles of RiverWalk featuring plazas, pavilions, water features, a state park, fishing areas, beach volleyball, a playground and a carousel. More development of the west riverfront will open later this year. For more information, go to detroitriverfront.org.
Detroit's Globe Trading Company Building located across from the William G. Milliken State Park & Harbor is being transformed into the new Michigan Department of Natural Resources’ Outdoor Adventure Center. This one-of-a-kind Outdoor Adventure & Discovery Center will house exhibits, displays, and hands-on simulators introducing visitors to features in state parks, recreation areas, beaches, trails and harbors. When the Center officially opens to the public this fall, visitors will experience the Michigan outdoors through these primary interpretive areas – Michigan Trails, The Detroit River and Beyond, Michigan Waters, Heritage Outdoor Sports, Outdoor Lodging, The Big Tree, Nature in My Neighborhood, Michigan’s Healthy Forests and The Dark Sky. Interactive displays will teach people how to use a real bow and arrow, sit in a blind, use a simulator to hunt wildlife, and experience the sights and senses associated with camping. For more information, go to detroitriverfront.org.
Construction crews have broken ground on the highly anticipated M-1 Rail. The M-1 Rail streetcar when complete in late 2016 will travel north and south on both sides of Woodward Avenue for 3.3-miles between Larned Street and W. Grand Blvd. The streetcar will service 20 stations (16 curbside and 4 median running) at 12 locations. The modern streetcar system will serve Detroit’s largest job centers and most visited destinations. It will ignite tremendous new economic development and job creation and will provide a foundation for improved and expanded public transit throughout the region. The project will also create construction and permanent jobs for Detroiters. For more information, go to m-1rail.com.
Detroit’s Midtown is one of the city’s fastest-developing neighborhoods, featuring an abundance of restaurants, galleries, community gardens and markets. It was recently listed as one of USA Today’s 10Best: Up-and-coming neighborhoods around the USA. Local entrepreneurs have made Midtown a hub for small businesses such as Hugh, Nora, Maccabee’s at Midtown, La Feria and Great Lakes Coffee Roasting Company. Detroit’s first Whole Foods also opened in Midtown last year, as did Shinola, which makes American-made bicycles, watches, leather goods and journals. One of the latest shops to open is Willy’s Detroit, a clothing store anchored by four classic American brands: Filson, Steven Alan, Clare V and Mollusk. Coming soon to Midtown is HopCat, a craft beer bar with 130 tap handles, which will make it the largest draft beer selection in Michigan. Midtown is also at the core of the M-1 Rail development and non-motorized transportation plans that will connect the district to Eastern Market and other neighborhoods via greenways and bike paths.
Also announced recently are four new restaurants in buildings owned by businessman Dan Gilbert’s Bedrock Real Estate Services. Mike Kabob Grille, Wright & Co. and 7 Greens Detroit Salad Co. are now open. Freshii will open later this fall. Bedrock’s new Z Building, a z-shaped retail and parking development downtown, also opened NoJo Kicks and will welcome Punch Bowl Social (November) and Citizen Yoga (fall) later this year. Other new restaurants around town include Atwater in the Park, Sarap (pop-up), Taqo Detroit, Coffee and (___), Detroit Vegan Soul, The Grille Midtown, The Zenith, Craftwork, Chick Pea in The D, Go! Sy Thai, Ottava Via, Two James Spirits and the Detroit Institute of Bagels. Many others are opening soon.
Downtown Detroit’s Cobo Convention Center is in the final stages of its $279 million expansion and renovation. Last summer the 371-room Crowne Plaza Detroit Downtown Riverfront hotel opened directly across from Cobo Center. Later this year Detroit will be home to Michigan’s first ALOFT hotel, which will be located in the David Whitney building in Grand Circus Park. The Detroit Marriott at the Renaissance Center is in the midst of a $30 million renovation project transforming 1,329 guest rooms and meeting space. Construction is expected to start by the end of this year on the 1929 former Detroit Fire Department Headquarters, located across the street from Cobo Center, to be transformed into a 100-room upscale independent hotel. The Foundation hotel, which will also feature a restaurant and retail, is scheduled to open in late 2015.
The Townsend Hotel, located in downtown Birmingham, recently earned the 2013 Forbes Travel Guide Four-Star Award. According to the publication, the Forbes Travel Guide Four-Star Award indicates The Townsend Hotel is an outstanding establishment, offering guests a truly exceptional level of luxury and service. The Townsend is one of only two hotels in all of Michigan to receive a Four-Star Award, and is one of only 264 worldwide to meet Forbes’ four-star bar-setting service standards. The hotel’s restaurant, The Rugby Grille, also earned an exclusive Forbes Travel Guide rating – a 2013 Recommended Award, naming the restaurant as one of the best establishments in its destination. The Rugby Grille is the only restaurant in Michigan to receive a 2013 Forbes Travel Guide Recommended Award, and is one of only 28 Forbes Travel Guide recommended restaurants in the world. For more information on The Townsend Hotel, visit townsendhotel.com.
The Henry hotel in Dearborn has once again earned the coveted “Americas Hotel of the Year” award for Marriott International’s Autograph Collection brand. The Henry was also recognized with this honor after a very successful year in 2011. The Autograph Collection Hotel of the Year criteria is based on performance against operational and financial goals as well as excelling in high service delivery to its guests and its ambassadors.. The Henry is also a 2014 Winner of Trip Advisor's Certificate of Excellence and was named #1 Hotel in Michigan by U.S. News Best Hotels in the USA in 2013. Designed by GETTYS, the hotel’s art boutique designs and AAA four diamond services set it apart from other hotels in the market. Additional property features include a bold, contemporary lobby with colorful contemporary artwork, a highly acclaimed restaurant, TRIA, An American Brassiere, and spacious guest rooms and executive suites. Visit behenry.com for more information on The Henry hotel.
Worldhotels, a global hotelier brand that provides access to approximately 500 independent luxury and upscale hotels in 65 countries, recently revealed a list of their highest rated properties and the Rochester-based Royal Park Hotel ranked among some of the highest rated hotels in the world. In addition, Royal Park Hotel also recently received a 2014 TripAdvisor Certificate of Excellence award. The award honors worldwide hospitality excellence worldwide and is only given to properties that consistently achieve outstanding traveler reviews on Trip Advisor. Featuring 143 uniquely designed guest rooms and suites, the Royal Park Hotel is a luxury boutique property that is located 30 miles north of Detroit. Its 1,200 person-capacity Royal Grand Ballroom setting complements the hotel’s English Manor-inspired interior, with 15-foot ceilings, Italian marble flooring and Murano glass chandeliers. For more information, visit royalparkhotel.net.
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“I like walking on the #Detroit River by the Milliken Lighthouse.” – Dominique K.