The Stone Soap building redevelopment project announced yesterday cannot be overstated — it’s the launchpad for transformation of the East Riverfront over the next decade.

DEGC, the City of Detroit and Riverfront Conservancy have collaborated over the years to build the infrastructure and amenities that are attracting the development you see today. Stone Soap redevelopment is part of the city’s larger Detroit East Riverfront Framework Plan to transform a former blighted, industrial area and return the riverfront back to the citizens of Detroit.

The plan was created after several months of residential and stakeholder engagement, including community meetings, neighborhood walks and district tours attended by the public.

The plan will expand the RiverWalk to the east, connecting it to the MacArthur Bridge and Belle Isle. It will preserve nearly eight acres of land for public parks, and improve safety and walkability along East Jefferson. It also includes plans for two new Dequindre Cut-style greenways, connecting the neighborhoods to the north of the riverfront with the amenities in renovated buildings like Stone Soap.

Detroit-based Banyan Investments will redevelop the historic Stone Soap building – which has sat vacant for more than 20 years – into a new mixed-use structure of residential units and open market retail, food and beverage space. Twenty percent of the residential units will be dedicated to affordable housing. The building will feature Detroit’s first parking carousal within an enclosed space, an innovative and space-saving solution to the parking needs of residents and visitors.

Banyon Investments also will create a new public performing arts space in the building, demonstrating the city’s commitment to arts and culture in Detroit. It will become the new, permanent home of the Shakespeare in Detroit (SiD) theatre company.

As we celebrate this next step in the evolution of our riverfront, we continue to work with other property owners and developers to further additional development. I’m certain a year from now, we’ll be celebrating yet another milestone.