Two Downtown Apartment Developments Win Preliminary Approvals

The Griswold

We have known for some time that people who want to live Downtown have found it very difficult to find apartments, and the Downtown Development Authority (DDA) has taken a step toward meeting that demand. The DDA has voted its preliminary approval of two separate housing developments Downtown. The Roxbury Group earned preliminary approval for The Griswold, an 80-apartment development that would be built directly on top of the parking garage at 150 Michigan Ave., next to the Westin Book Cadillac Hotel. Village Green Holding, LLC earned preliminary approval for Statler City, a 200-250 apartment unit that would be built at Washington Blvd. and Park Ave., directly across from Grand Circus Park.

Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan, who also chaired the DDA meeting said, “It’s great news that there is strong enough demand to build another 300 or more residential units in our downtown core. This is more evidence that a growing number of people are excited about living in Detroit because they are seeing good things happening.”

The idea for The Griswold was first proposed as a condominium development in 2007. When the housing market collapsed, the project was cancelled. Under the new development agreement, a five-story structure would be built on top of the deck at an estimated cost of $22 million. The 80 housing units will be rental apartments. The agreement anticipates construction could begin this year and be completed in 2015.

Village Green, the developer of the Statler City project is a nationally recognized firm with Detroit roots and projects in 13 states. It recently renovated and renamed Trolley Plaza as Detroit City Apartments and the former Millender Center Apartments as Renaissance City Apartments. It is planning to invest between $30 million and $35 million in the project, build it to meet the National Association of Home Builders’ National Green Building Standards and develop first-floor retail space along Washington Blvd. Parking for tenants would be underground. The developers hope to have the first tenants move in before the end of 2016.

DEGC President and CEO, George W. Jackson, Jr., added, “The revival of The Griswold project clearly shows that Detroit has turned a corner since the housing crash of 2008, and the investment by Village Green in Statler City sends a strong message to developers around the world that this is a great time to invest in Detroit.”

Brian Holdwick
Executive Vice President of Business Development

After 5 Social Club Success

After 5 Detroit Social Club
After 5 Detroit Social Club
Photo credit: After 5 Detroit Social Club

After 5 Detroit, which aims to showcase Detroit to young professionals, launched its new Social Club on November 6 at Fountain Bistro with a sold-out crowd of more than 100 people. Since the launch there have been many Social Club gatherings and there are plenty more to come in 2014. Kicking-off January 15, 2014, the Social Club will host events ranging from beer tastings to bowling.

“There is widespread agreement that the City of Detroit and its local business community would benefit greatly if more employees stayed downtown after work to patronize local bars, restaurants and retail establishments. This unique new program aims to make that happen,” said Kerry Doman, founder, After 5 Detroit.

Sponsors for the After 5 Social Club include Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan, Meridian Health Plan, City of Detroit Downtown Development Authority, Detroit Economic Growth Corporation, Downtown Detroit Partnership, General Motors and the GM Renaissance Center.

“The After 5 Social Club is a program with which Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan and its team members are pleased to participate. Downtown Detroit has wonderful venues in which to work, live and play and After 5 Social Club is a great networking program to continue to expose those venues and opportunities,” said Tricia Keith, senior vice president, corporate secretary and services, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan.

To learn more about After 5 Detroit and attend upcoming Social Club events visit after5detroit.com.

Tiffini D. Smith
Communications Director

Parsons Brinckerhoff Will Study Alternatives for I-375 Corridor

I-375 project map in Detroit
I-375 project map in Detroit

I-375 — a major gateway to Downtown Detroit is coming due for major repairs soon, so the Michigan Department of Transportation and the Detroit Downtown Development Authority (DDA) are asking the question, “Does the current configuration of I-375 really serve the needs of Detroit today – and into the foreseeable future?”

The opportunity to reconfigure I-375 comes at a time of substantial investments and anticipated development in the central business and waterfront districts, and coincides with the anticipated need for substantial repairs on the bridges over I-375 and other maintenance work in the near future.

The DDA has approved a planning contract with Parsons Brinckerhoff Michigan, Inc. to develop a set of alternatives to the I-375 corridor that connects I-75 to Downtown Detroit.

The Michigan Department of Transportation (MDOT) and other sources are paying for the $373,000 study, which will require traffic studies, stakeholder input, and developing concepts for five alternatives to the current configuration of I-375 from its intersection with Gratiot Ave. to Atwater St. Parsons Brinckerhoff is also expected to deliver an analysis of each option, including an economic analysis, traffic and environmental impact study and an assessment of the public spaces created by each option.

This was the perfect time to step back and take a look at how this important gateway to Downtown should be developed to serve a revitalized Downtown and East Riverfront. The DDA and MDOT have no pre-conceived ideas about what I-375 should be, just a recognition that whatever we do will have important economic development consequences for decades to come.

Parsons Brinckerhoff is expected to spend the first month conducting research and gathering input from surrounding property owners, community representatives and other stakeholders. The schedule anticipates Parsons Brinckerhoff will present the client group’s preferred alternative no later than July 2014.

Ed Tatem, Michigan President of Parsons Brinckerhoff says, “We are very excited to be responsible for studying traffic, gathering input from all stakeholders — including commuters — and presenting fresh ideas for this significant project.”

Kelby Wallace, MDOT Project Manager says, “The potential to transform this corridor will need to fit the future vision of the city, that is why the study is engaging numerous partners and investigating all options.”

Download additional background information and a PDF map of the I-375 study area in DEGC’s reference library.

Will Tamminga
Senior Project Manager