Livernois streetscape project underway


The first phase of the Livernois Streetscape Enhancement Project kicked off last month with a groundbreaking ceremony, yet one more indication of the vitality of the historic “Avenue of Fashion.” The project will include pedestrian-oriented median improvements, sidewalk enhancements and new landscaping on Livernois Avenue from the Lodge Freeway to 8 Mile Road. It’s expected to be completed in November.

“Livernois Avenue is the ‘gateway’ to the McNichols campus of University of Detroit Mercy (UDM) and a major thoroughfare for many northwest Detroit residents and businesses,” said Dr. Antoine M. Garibaldi, president of UDM. “Enhancing the Livernois streetscape and landscape from the Lodge Freeway to 8 Mile will make a strong impression on potential residents and business owners, as well as prospective UDM students and their families.”

Isaiah McKinnon, deputy mayor of Detroit, said, “Just like many of the neighborhoods it connects, this stretch of Livernois is being revitalized, thanks to the great partnership between our community organizations, major institutions, nonprofits, local businesses and the city. When it is completed, this streetscape project will return Livernois to the kind of walkable shopping district that supports nearby neighborhoods and draws visitors from across Detroit and surrounding communities.”

The $1.3 million project was funded by MDOT, the City of Detroit, DEGC, The Kresge Foundation and UDM. WH Canon Company, a landscape construction firm, is the project contractor for Phase I.

Malik Goodwin

Vice President, Project Management

DDA bond approval puts shovels in the ground for $650 million investment

Ceremonial shovels went into the ground for the new $650 million sports and entertainment district Downtown just nine days after the Detroit Downtown Development Authority (DDA) approved the financial plan for building the new event center in partnership with the Michigan Strategic Fund (MSF) and Olympia Development of Michigan (ODM).

The DDA approved a preliminary agreement 15 months ago for developing the new sports and entertainment district around a new multi-purpose center that will be home to the Detroit Red Wings and programmed with other events throughout the year. The 785,000 sq. ft. center will seat 20,000 people.

Besides the $450 million arena, which will be home for the Detroit Red Wings, ODM is committed to investing, or causing to invest an additional $200 million in new residential, retail and office development in an approximately 45-block area that generally reaches from Grand Circus Park to Charlotte St. between Woodward Ave. and Grand River Ave. Overall, at least 56 percent of the total district development costs will be privately funded. The district is going to be an exciting place to be, as well as a great job creator for Detroiters and Detroit-based businesses.

“The DDA vote was an important next step in this public-private partnership that will create a world-class sports and entertainment district in Detroit,” said Christopher Ilitch, President and CEO of Ilitch Holdings. “This initiative will produce 8,300 construction and construction-related jobs, and deliver $1.8 billion in economic impact to our city, region and state. We appreciate the ongoing efforts of the DDA, MEDC and others toward the transformation of this key area in downtown Detroit.”

According to the plan, MSF will issue two series of 30-year bonds that total $450 million. The interest on the $250 million in Series A Bonds will be tax-exempt because a special DDA Tax Increment Tax capture of property taxes within the district will be used to retire them. The interest on the $200 million in Series B Bonds will be taxable because they will be paid off by an ODM affiliate under terms of the Concession and Management Agreement (CMA) it has with the DDA. Issuing two series of bonds for one project recognizes the difference in public and private contributions that will retire them.

Brian Holdwick
Executive Vice President, Business Development

DDA Contributes to a new “front porch” for COBO Center

Cobo Center Streetscape

The Downtown Development Authority (DDA) is collaborating with the Detroit Regional Convention Facility Authority to transform the area in front of the main entrance to the center at Washington Boulevard and Jefferson Avenue.

The two organizations are making striking changes to improve the look and the functionality of what we call the “front porch” of Cobo. The Regional Authority is creating two attractive new public spaces — Cobo Square, right in front of the main center entrance, and Cobo Terrace, next to the former Cobo Arena, now the Riverfront Ballrooms.

The DDA is managing the construction of $3.4 million in streetscape improvements that will blend well with the striking new face of Cobo. The project will improve overall vehicle flow in front of the facility by creating a traffic drop-off circle and wider visitor drop-off lane near the main entrance of Cobo. A small parking lot and other space around the former Cobo Arena will be renovated to provide a seamless transition between the public right of way, Cobo Square and Cobo Terrace.

The project will also include the removal of the existing ramp connecting the entrance of Cobo Center to the lower level on Atwater Street and construction of a second traffic circle on that level.

The State of Michigan approved a City of Detroit application to assist in funding for the project, while the Regional Authority contributed required matching funds. The DDA is managing construction.

Besides the much more appealing look for the area, the project will also improve access to the facility for visitors arriving by car, bus or other means as well as the freight delivery for all of the conventions that COBO hosts. In all, this is a significant improvement to our newly renovated world class convention center’s front porch!

Tim Miles
Senior Project Manager