News of new restaurants, hotels, retail and other new developments in Detroit are being announced all the time. From the Cobo Square and the Little Caesars Arena to the Detroit Zoo and Motor City Harley Davidson, Detroit is bustling with new exciting activity.
World-Class, Mixed-Use Sports and Entertainment District Coming to Detroit
The District Detroit will be 50 blocks of thriving businesses, parks, restaurants, bars and event destinations. It will be home to the young and the young at heart, families, new residents and long-time residents who want to be where the action is. It will connect Downtown and Midtown into one contiguous, walkable area, where families, sports fans, entrepreneurs, job seekers, entertainment lovers and others who crave a vibrant urban setting can connect with each other and the city they love. Recently Olympia Development of Michigan, LLC, has announced plans for more than 200,000 square feet of privately financed retail and office development projects in The District Detroit. The structures, along with further expected private retail, office and residential development throughout The District Detroit, bring the currently expected total project investment to as much as $1.2 billion by 2020, with $900 million plus of that investment from the private sector. Original plans called for a $650 million total investment in The District Detroit by 2022 at the earliest.
The District’s main feature will be the Little Caesars Arena, home to the Detroit Red Wings, Detroit Pistons, other sports and entertainment events, concerts, family shows and community functions. This will not only serve as a sports arena, but will also have active community spaces including on-site practice ice for amateur hockey use and an outdoor plaza featuring areas for entertainment. There will also be a more interactive experience for fans such as enhanced video and sound capabilities for a more immersive experience and creative food-service options. The expected completion date for the Little Caesars Arena is summer 2017.
Little Caesars and Olympia Development of Michigan has broken ground on a new $150 million, nine-story, 234,000 square foot, Little Caesars world headquarters expansion, to be built at the corner of Woodward Avenue and Columbia Street in The District Detroit.
Streaming video of the construction site is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week at DistrictDetroit.com.
Detroit’s new M-1 Rail street car opens in Spring 2017
Detroit’s modern street car, the QLINE, cruised along Woodward Avenue for the first time in late December for testing.
When complete in spring 2017 the QLINE streetcar will travel north and south on both sides of Woodward Avenue for 3.3-miles between Larned Street and W. Grand Boulevard. It will ignite tremendous new economic development and job creation and will provide a foundation for improved and expanded public transit throughout the region. General fare for a ride is expected to be $1.50, but less expensive if you buy in bulk. Hours are tentatively set for Monday – Saturday, 6 a.m. – 10 p.m. and Sunday, 8 a.m. – 10 p.m. Trains will run longer during events such as baseball, football and hockey games, concerts and festivals. There will be 12 stops and the streetcar’s top speed will be 35 mph. There will be an emergency phone and closed circuit security systems at all of the stations. For more information, go to m-1rail.com.
New hotels coming to downtown Detroit
Shinola and Dan Gilbert’s Bedrock have teamed up to put a 130 room hotel at the corner of Woodward and Grand River that will open in 2018. There will be yet-to-be determined retail, a restaurant, and ‘living room space’ in the 62,000 square foot building. In the same genre as “The belt,” a recently activated alleyway under and next to the Z Garage, they are looking at activating the alley behind the hotel, which is steps from new hotspot Queen’s Bar as well as the soon to be renovated Metropolitan Building.
A New York developer is renovating downtown Detroit’s Wurlitzer Building to make it a 100-room hotel that will open in 2018. The Brooklyn-based firm has drawn up plans for a $20-million makeover to the historic 14-story building at 1509 Broadway, which dates to 1926 and is one of the most slender towers in Detroit. It has been vacant since 1982.
Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide its Element Hotels brand will open a 110-room hotel in Detroit’s long-vacant Metropolitan Building in July 2018. To be known as the Element Detroit at the Metropolitan Building, the hotel at 33 John R will be owned and developed by Metropolitan Hotel Partners, LLC, a joint venture between Detroit-based Means Group and Roxbury Group.
Acting as owner, co-developer, and manager, Aparium – working hand-in-hand with developer Walter Cohen – is in the midst of transforming the historic Detroit Fire Department Headquarters into the Foundation Hotel. The 100 room independent hotel adds another piece to the ongoing Detroit renaissance puzzle. The $28 million project draws on the Motor-City’s unparalleled past while proactively moving the city to its next incarnation as a national cultural, business, and artistic touch-point. The hotel is expected to open in spring 2017.
Furniture and home décor retailer West Elm is opening a hotel in Detroit. The planned West Elm Hotel 120-room boutique hotel and West Elm store in Detroit will open in 2018. This will be built in Midtown at the northeast corner of Cass and Canfield to be part of a larger development that will include housing and more retail space.
“Athletes” Hotel located at Woodward Avenue and 1-75 will have 350 rooms, which is part of Illitch plans for land adjacent to the new Little Caesars hockey arena.
World’s largest penguin facility is now at the Detroit Zoo
Detroit is now the home to the world’s largest penguin facility, home to more than 80 penguins of four species – Gentoo, Macaroni, Rockhopper and King. The 33,000 square foot Polk Penguin Conservation Center (PPCC) at the Detroit Zoo is the world’s largest penguin facility. The ice-cold, 326,000-gallon, 25-foot-deep aquatic zone where penguins can be seen exploring their habitat and deep-diving is one of the most vivid features of the PPCC, and the animal habitat ensures an optimal environment for the welfare of penguins. For more information, visit detroitzoo.org.
New Restaurants on the Rise
Nearly 100 new restaurants, breweries, distilleries and coffee shops have opened in Detroit in recent years. From farm-to-table inspired menus to beer bars, Detroit’s dining scene continues to please even the pickiest palate. The list includes but is not limited to: Wahlburgers, Grey, Ghost, Pie-Sci, Gus’s World Famous Fried Chicken, Parc, Maru Sushi, Katoi, The Peterboro, La Rondinella, Granite City Food & Brewery Townhouse, Central Kitchen + Bar, HopCat, Wright and Co., Punch Bowl Social, Gold Cash Gold, Selden Standard, Johnny Noodle King, Batch Brewing Co. and Antietam. For more dining options check out or dining listings.
New Retail coming to Detroit
Many new retail stores have opened or are opening soon in Detroit. In the past few years Detroit Denim Co, Detroit is The New Black, Nike Store, Shinola, John Varvatos, Will Leather Goods, Kit and Ace, Carhartt, Third Man Records, House of Pure Vin, Mama Coo’s Boutique and other unique retailers have opened inside city limits. Businesses have and will continue to be opening including MOR & Co., Third Wave Music, west elm, and many more.
Detroit’s newest edition Nike Inc. recently opened a two-level, 22,000-square-foot downtown store. Nike has labeled the Detroit shop as a “community store.” That means the store will “empower a healthy local community through the unifying power of sport and to serve as a catalyst for positive change by partnering with local organizations,” according to the company’s website. All Nike community stores have local hiring initiatives with the goal of hiring at least 80 percent of employees from within a five-mile radius of the store.
Jimmy John’s Field is open in Utica and added a Fourth team to 2017
The United Shore Professional Baseball League, metro-Detroit’s first independent professional baseball league, is now playing at the brand new Jimmy John’s Field. The stadium in downtown Utica, a suburb outside of Detroit, seats about 4,000 people and includes a grandstand, five dugout suites, five penthouse suites, 12 private patio suites, a grass berm and four picnic areas. There will be around 75 games played in the stadium each season. The league just announced a fourth team, the Westside Woolly Mammoths will play in the 2017 season. For more information, visit jimmyjohnsfield.com.
Round 1 Bowling and Amusement Center Coming to Great Lakes Crossing
Round 1 Bowling and Amusement will join the line up at Great Lakes Crossing Outlets in fall of 2017. The 59,071 sq. feet Round 1 Bowling and Amusement will be located in District 5, it joins the Sea Life Michigan Aquarium, the LEGOLAND Discovery Center Michigan and AMC Star Great Lakes.
Edsel & Eleanor Ford House starts renovation
The Edsel & Eleanor Ford House in Grosse Pointe Shores plans to add a visitor center, administration building and upgraded parking as part of ongoing renovation of the historic home. The proposed plans are the first major alterations to the estate in more than 25 years. The new 40,000-square-foot, two-story visitor center will include classrooms, exhibition space, expansion of the existing cafe, event space and expanded retail. The new 17,000-square-foot administrative building allows the organization to restore historic buildings currently used by administration to the former aesthetic. The new visitor center will include outdoor seating at the Cotswold Café. It will be among the few dining locations in the area with views of Lake St. Clair. Both buildings’ updates, designed by Detroit-based architectural firm SmithGroup JJR LLC, will use solar and geothermal technology to offset utility use. The new parking lot will feature bio-swales to filter stormwater that enters nearby Lake St. Clair. For more information, visit fordhouse.org.
Downtown Detroit’s Cobo Convention Center recently completed its $279 million expansion and renovation. The newest addition to Cobo is Cobo Square, a 50,000 square foot exterior plaza and vehicle drop-off area. Activities ranging from music, art events, yoga and other exercise programs, biergartens, outdoor movie nights, corporate game events, and possibly a downtown farmers’ market could all be programmed for the Cobo Square space that fronts onto East Jefferson. A new 40,000-square-foot Grand Riverview Ballroom is now open, as is a new 30,000 square-foot glass-enclosed atrium with floor-to-ceiling views of the Detroit River and Windsor, Ontario, skyline. Cobo now also features a TV broadcast studio with satellite uplink capabilities and high-tech video walls on the exterior of the building to welcome visitors. For more information, visit cobocenter.com.
New Developments throughout Downtown Detroit
A new jazz club, a boutique hotel, art galleries and headquarters of the Michigan Chronicle newspaper are all planned for the revitalized Paradise Valley Cultural and Entertainment District of downtown Detroit. Five teams have been selected to redevelop multiple city-owned buildings and lots in the tree-line enclave on the east side of downtown that once was known as Harmonie Park. This will be at least a $52 million investment in the district. Visitors will be able to attend banquets, listen to jazz, dine at an upscale restaurant, and live, work and shop in a newly revitalized district. The overall effort includes creation of a nonprofit Paradise Valley Cultural and Entertainment Conservancy, which the city said will program the public spaces and support other efforts to create a continuing, rich educational and cultural experience for visitors to the district.
DTE has broken ground on the western edge of downtown Detroit. DTE’s new park will rise on what is now a 1.5-acre lot just to the east of its headquarters tower and campus. The still-unnamed park will feature a year-round restaurant, a movable music stage, recreational space for sports and relaxation, food trucks and parking for bicycles. This park will have a large public lawn that can be used for soccer, Frisbee and other recreational activities. DTE will work with the Downtown Detroit Partnership to develop park programming to attract visitors of all ages. For more information on this development visit here.
The El Moore Lodge in Midtown offers sustainable stays and intimate access to the city. This establishment is a triple bottom line business, meaning that it’s been designed to meet social and ecological demands in addition to traditional financial ones. The building itself, built in 1898, was extensively renovated to meet a high sustainability standards of its owners, including a geothermal heating and cooling system and a super-insulated building envelope. There are eleven hotel rooms and twelve apartment units at the El Moore. Visitors staying at the Lodge have the opportunity to mingle with familiar people in the city. For more information visit elmoore.com/lodge/.
A $65 million, 270-apartment complex along Atwater Street called Orleans Landing is under construction. Orleans Landing will be conveniently located next to the Michigan Department of Natural Resources Outdoor Adventure Center and the Dequindre Cut pedestrian/bike path.
The West Riverfront Park is where visitors will find three new pathways linking the riverfront to West Jefferson Avenue, benches, trash receptacles and plenty of lush green space for a variety of outdoor activities. The Conservancy has expanded the width of the popular RiverWalk along this parcel to 30 feet to better accommodate adequate space for walking, running, biking and fishing. This is a great place to spend time outdoors and have a picnic during the fall months as well as attend the events that are hosted here. For more information visit detroitriverfront.org.
The process of connecting the RiverWalk from Stroh River Place to Chene Park East is underway. The project consists of installing a pedestrian bridge and amenities such as stainless steel benches, marine railing, new lighting, security cameras and colorful landscaping. All work on this important piece of riverfront connectivity is scheduled for completion by the Fall of 2017. For more information visit detroitriverfront.org.
The Dequindre Cut Greenway, an urban recreational path that was formerly a Grand Trunk Railroad line, offers a pedestrian link between the Riverfront, Eastern Market and many of the residential neighborhoods in between. The Dequindre Trail Extension is now open, running half a mile from Gratiot Avenue to Mack Avenue. The Dequindre Cut extension now makes the greenway nearly two miles and now connects to more than 2 miles of bike lanes/greenways. For more information, go to detroitriverfront.org.
The old Tiger Stadium site project is moving along for the Detroit Police Athletic League (PAL). The Detroit Police Athletic League headquarters will sit on the southwest corner of the Old Tiger Stadium site at Michigan Avenue and Cochrane. Another development, called The Corner, aims to build 105 apartments, 35 townhouses and 35,000 square feet of retail space on the grounds that once housed Tiger Stadium. The Corner has a $35-million plan and the PAL plans to use the field for various youth sports, college leagues and other events. The project is tentatively scheduled to be complete in 2017.
Shinola is planning to open a café and production space as part of a larger Midtown Detroit Inc. redevelopment. One of the key steps has been taken toward a 35,000-square-foot redevelopment of three Selden Street buildings in Midtown into a so-called “Innovation Corridor” and up to 20 new apartments. The other spaces apart of this redevelopment are expected to contain restaurant, retail and film production space. Another building is expected to include new residential units, retail and production space.
Businessman, Matt Hessler plans a $5 million project along Detroit’s Avenue of Fashion. He will be renovating 10,000 square feet at Cass Avenue and Peterboro. There will be retail stores, restaurants and about a dozen apartments ranging from 600 to 1,000 square feet catering to the nearby University of Detroit Mercy students. Hessler expects a similar capital structure for renovating the northwest Detroit building as he used for the Midtown project, which included grants, Detroit real estate investment funds and bank financing. New businesses are planned to open in 2017.