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Apr 9, 2007, 3:50 AM
I thought they were going to put a grocery store in the Elliott Building.

Apr 9, 2007, 3:44 PM
There are "plans" to build grocery stores throughout downtown, but nothing has been built yet.

Apr 17, 2007, 2:53 AM
From their site:

Spinnaker Tower

View from Spinnaker

and another

Apr 17, 2007, 2:50 PM
I never knew that tower had a name. I just always referred to it as Harbortown.

I'm wondering what is materializing of the Harbortown expansions. It seems like when the sales of the condo towers were first publicized, there was a healthy response. It would seem that for those who made a financial committment to a unit that the project would be getting off the ground by now. This was in 2004, 3 years ago now. I know I wouldn't want any of my money sitting around that long holding a unit that may not even eventually exist.

Apr 21, 2007, 1:01 AM
Both towers have names: Spinnaker and Great Lakes.

I really thought this project had either been scrapped, or put on hold, indefinitely. But, it now appears they are ready for a presale.

Sale to begin of downtown condos on Woodward

Former bank near Campus Martius Park

April 20, 2007


Buyers will get their first chance next weekend to put down deposits on the next of the downtown Detroit towers to go condo — the 1001 Woodward, a former bank office building steps from Campus Martius Park.

Developers plan to hold their first sales event April 28 and 29 from 10 to 4 each day at the building. The tower will feature condo units from $215,000 to $1.5 million, with units ranging in size from 1,000 square feet to 4,200 square feet or more, depending on how units are combined.

Buyers will be required to put down deposits equal to 2.5% of the purchase cost, said Pierre LeBlanc, sales manager for 1001 Woodward.

Interested buyers can register for the sales event at www.1001woodward.com or by calling 313-963-1001.

Built in 1965 and designed by the architectural firm Smith, Hinchman & Grylls, the tower began life as the First Federal Bank Building. Much of the tower has been vacant in recent years.

The 1001 tower joins the Book-Cadillac Hotel, the Pick-Ft. Shelby, and other downtown buildings for which condo conversion projects are either underway or have been announced. As with the other projects, 1001 Woodward offers sweeping views and proximity to downtown attractions.

Contact JOHN GALLAGHER at 313-222-5173 or gallagher@freepress.com.


Apr 22, 2007, 12:37 AM
Edit: deleted

Apr 22, 2007, 12:51 AM
It was just way-ay-ay-ay-ay-ay-ay-ay-ay-ay-ay-ay-ay-ay-ay too nice NOT to go out and take pictures today, so that is exactly what I did. My skin is burnt to a crisp, so you all better appreciate! :D 80 degrees in the sun, I got on Big Red, my bike, and hit the streets of Detroit.

We'll start off with the latest and greatesf of the Motor City Casino.






Future site of Studio One Apartments at South University Village (Phase I). Actual construction should be starting very soon.


This will be a good vantage point to document the progress once it starts.

I didn't expect the clocks on the Woodbridge Senior Towers to be peaked like that. I guess it's good in that you can see the time from far away though.


This guy burned up a few months ago. I think that it is still being taken seriously for redevelopment though (Garfield Street across from MOCAD).

Hello Mr. Kitty McKittleson.

Then his brother is across the street right next to MOCAD.


The ever popular MidMed Lofts.



55 W. Canfield This building has a new home decor store called Bureau of Urban Living located in it. See this link for details: http://www.bureauliving.com/


Another store on Cass called Spy.

How 9 on Third looks from the back.

...and the front.

Willy's Overland Lofts is progressing very slowly on the exterior. Hopefully, the interior progress is making up for that.

Someday very soon West Willis will become a nice, vibrant little side street.

Don't complain. This post contains some random extras...just cuz I love Detroit that much!

The Commodore, which I never really new existed, looks very sharp. It's on W. Seldon.

Being from Northern Michigan, these rooftop access portals remind me of deer blinds. lol Grinell Place Lofts, Corktown.


MGM Grand Detroit Casino $750,000,000 of questionable design. ;)



Southwest Detroit, Mexicantown Area.



The new State of Michigan Welcome Center at the Ambassador Bridge border crossing to Canaduh.



Note: the Mercado across the street really hasn't changed, so no new pics of it.

This huge complex caught fire probably almost a year ago now, but it looked to me like one of the buildings (the one on the far left) was being renovated. :shrug: I investigated...

Getting closer...

There it is...anybody familiar with this project?


On the top, it says Merchandise Building.

Back towndown. I got in trouble for taking this picture from the corner of the Federal Building. The security lady was really respectful, but she trash talked the city. I'm like, "dude, I live here". "I like Harrison Township", she says. :rolleyes:
Westin Book Cadillac


Washington Boulevard

I think the powerwash contrast is amazing. The dirty part doesn't even really look that dirty, so that makes the clean part immaculate! :)

Looking up Shelby Street.

Took a bath.

#3 casino, and my favorite because it is the tallest, the Greektown Casino construction site.


This is the site of the hotel tower, which will be taller than the Blue Cross Building in the background.



The lovely prefab is being installed on the Macomb side (north) of the structure. I'm questioning where the promised ground floor retail is suppose to be!

The view you can expect from across the water. Judging from the crane placements, there will be quite an impressive impact on the skyine as the tower rises and is topped out! :D

Windsor's second hotel tower to its casino complex is steadily on the rise across the river.

Gabrielle Richard (pronounced "Rish-ARD")Park. This is the end of the line for the Detroit Riverwalk going east. It is almost complete all the way through the Renaissance Center to Cobo Hall. The expansion from Cobo west to the Ambassador Bridge is a future endeavor. But is an ambitious one. :)

These photos were taken from the Belle Isle Bridge. I REALLY hope the parkland isn't going to turn into a gigantic parking lot...

Paving paradise on Belle Isle. This is honestly a rediculous amount of concrete that has been poured in preparation for the return of the Detroit Grand Prix which is held on Belle Isle on Labor Day weekend in September.

But...I guess the payoff is that the southern tip area of the island (closest to the skyline views) is getting a manicure. People pix.

That crap on the ground is bread.

Belle Isle is THEE destination in Detroit for family reunions.

I was so close to getting this right. Just a little up-and-to-the-left would have done it.




Pangborn Design Studio, Iron Street. http://www.pangborndesign.com/

Iron Street Lofts

This is a section of the Detroit Riverwalk. It curves inland to bypass the Mt. Elliott Park ship inlet. The Harbortown complex is in the background. There are two new highrises planned for that property.

Iron Street Lofts and the makings of the trails.


This photo shows the riverwalk becoming the same as the sidewalk.

A sneak peak from the site of the Detroit Omni Hotel.

Detroit needs to embrace its French heritage a little more in the area east of downtown.


The Stinky Rose in Rivertown almost made it, but one night fell to the Detroit fire plague. :( I think it is in debate whether the building will be saved or not.

Great news on the Detroit Elevator Company Building! It will be converted into lofts. Sales starting at the end of April I believe. This is also in Rivertown, Detroit's old (but largely destroyed) warehouse district on the rver.

Imagine the resurection of the fresh, historic orange brick! aaaah...

Luxury living on the riverfront. Good grief. lol

Recall Pangborn Design from the photo above...this is largely Dominic Pangborn's Asian Village concept. If successful, he wants to try it in other cities too.

Renaissance Center

Hart Plaza skyline today

Jefferson and Woodward, the origin point of the entire 7-county metro.

The Spirit of Detroit is getting stronger...but in a really sucky economy right now.

Cadillac Square Park: an extension of Campus Martius Park in the heart of downtown.

From the old Bagley Fountain


Petanque is a popular game that is played at Campus Martius.



Someday this view will no longer exist as the Monroe Block of the Campus Martius development will be built upon, blocking the Renaissance Center.

The old Kern's Clock on Woodward Avenue.

Merchant's Row retail. Sadly, we just lost the Mark English de Mode botique, located right next door to the brkfst house.

Looking for me downtown? Chances are you can find me here! ;)

The Tigers played ball today...and lost...again...to the Chicago Sox.

Cheli's Chilli Bar has become a popular attraction, especially the roof top area during awesome day's like today.

No comment.

Brush Street bisects the dual stadiums.

The Elwood Bar was moved to this location on wheels, from a different one a few blocks away.

I thought I smelled something foul. U of M's in town.

Crystal Lofts, Woodward Avenue, Midtown/Brush Park.

The Kahn-designed building just north of the Crystal Lofts.


North Brush Park Development

And coming full-circle of this tour is the Whitney Restaurant, finally visible with some trimming of the shrubbery and new ownership.

Apr 22, 2007, 1:04 AM
Wow! You've outdone yourself. Really, this is deserving of its own post on the My City Photos forum where it will be better seen. I'm surprised every time I see the smaller projects I'd never heard of. While many of us are worried about the bigger projects (i.e. C-Mart, Broderick, Whitney...), there are every-day developers bringing the inner-city back.

I must say that the clock tower atop the Woodbridge Apartment Tower 3 really shocked me. I can't say I like it, but at least it brings attention to an otherwise bland tower.

I'm liking how the MotorCity tower is looking, lately. It's grown on me, and doesn't look quite so cheap, anymore.

Apr 22, 2007, 2:32 AM
Hey Michi, when were you on Belle Isle? I was there today too and i saw that wedding.

Apr 22, 2007, 2:59 AM
Great pictures Michi. I was planning to come downtown but for several reasons I wasn't able to. Hopefully there will be many more days like today.

Apr 22, 2007, 4:33 PM
Great pics as usual, the cleaning the Book Caddy is getting is real letting it's beauty show through. Could a mod delete one of the post though that double post is a killer?

Thank God, for the residential market downtown,can't imagine what shape we'd be in without it, because the office vacancy numbers are less than comforting.

Condo demand rises downtown

Future residents have paid deposits on units costing $1 million or more in city high-rises.

Louis Aguilar / The Detroit News

The future owners of the next $1 million condominiums in downtown Detroit will get their choice of commanding views.

If they buy one of the north-facing glass-walled units at 1001 Woodward, they can peer down on home plate in Comerica Park, just six blocks away. If their swinging pad faces another direction, they can gaze at the city skyline and Detroit River.

In fact, at this price range, prospective owners can design their own layout and choose their own view.

Wherever he looks, Timothy Kamego sees plenty of buyers.

"The location and the view is obviously a big part of why we have faith," said Kamego, project manager at the 25-story skyscraper across the street from Campus Martius and Compuware Corp. headquarters.

Faith wasn't a word real estate developers used much to describe the downtown Detroit housing market until recently. Now, 1001 Woodward adds to the growing number of high-end condo developments, a market that received a boost last October when the nearby Book-Cadillac sold two $1 million-plus penthouses sight unseen.

Since then, the @water Lofts (pronounced "Atwater"), the first condo project planned for Detroit's east riverfront, accepted deposits just last month for two of its $1 million penthouses, said Dwight Belyue, the Detroit developer behind that project.

The 1001 Woodward skyscraper could end up with three floors of condos at seven-figure prices. Two years ago, the consortium of suburban developers behind the project planned to offer the top nine floors as residential and use the rest as commercial space.

But downtown's current office vacancy rate of 32.2 percentprompted the developers to turn 22 floors into dwellings. Only the ground level, which houses a branch of Charter One Bank, will remain commercial.

The project joins a counter trend that banks on downtown Detroit becoming more affluent and populated even as the city overall loses 10,000 people a year and the state economy sputters.

"We already have strong interest," in the properties, Kamego said, noting that more than 350 people have contacted the developers about 1001 Woodward.

Strong interest also was clear March 31, when the Griswold Capitol Park project, a new development next door to 1001 Woodward, announced that it already had received deposits on half of its 80 units, said Pete Van Dyke, a spokesman for the project.

Three studies released in the past year by the University of Michigan, Katherine Beebe & Associates and Washington think tank Social Compact show more people are living in downtown Detroit, and have higher incomes than previous data indicated.

Some of the findings show:

The $59,300 average income of downtown residents is 33 percent higher than previously thought.

About 4,000 new residents moved downtown from 2000 to 2005. The downtown core, roughly defined as the area bounded by the Detroit River, the Lodge, I-75 and I-375, had 6,259 residents in 2005.

Two out of three new downtowners came from the suburbs and one third work outside of Detroit.

Developers have responded with 2,400 new housing units since 2000, including 1,400 built since 2004. The studies predict demand for an additional 1,700 units in the next five years in the downtown core alone.

Yet the downtown core is not self-sustaining. Incentives to developers, such as financing from public sources, and to residents, such as property tax breaks, still are needed, the studies said.

"What we are seeing is pent-up demand," said David DiRita, a principal of the Roxbury Group, the developers behind Griswold Capitol Park.


Apr 22, 2007, 7:40 PM
Hey Michi, when were you on Belle Isle? I was there today too and i saw that wedding.

Hmmm, I was there probably around noonish...give or take. I honestly don't remember for sure, since I didn't look at my watch. I had to go by the Kern's Clock time in the photo above to narrow it down.

Thanks for the replies!

Apr 22, 2007, 10:37 PM
^Yeah thats around when I was there.

Apr 23, 2007, 1:28 AM
Great update as usual, Michi!

BTW, that condo project near the tracks between Vinewood and Grand Blvd was announced two or three years ago. I can't remember what it is called anymore, but it has been under renovation for a while. It's only been in the last few months that it has started coming around, though.

the pope
Apr 24, 2007, 11:29 PM
huzah michi!

Apr 30, 2007, 10:33 PM
The renovation of the Fort Shelby takes another step foward

Fort-Shelby restoration nearly a go

$82 million hotel conversion to be set this week, officials say

Louis Aguilar / The Detroit News

DETROIT -- The multimillion dollar deal to convert the former Pick Fort-Shelby Hotel downtown into a Doubletree Guest Suites Hotel, meeting center and upscale apartments is expected to be sealed this week, according to the developers and Detroit Economic Growth Corp. officials.

Today, the Detroit Economic Growth Corp., a quasi-public agency that promotes development, is expected to sign off on the project's conservation easement, said Brian Holdwick, vice president of business development for the agency. That easement essentially ensures the building will look as much like its historic design as possible, he said.

Later in the week, possibly as early as Wednesday, developers and the various financiers officially will close the $82 million deal, said Leo Phillips, one of four developers behind the project. Phillips said the project involves federal Housing and Urban Development funds and a variety of state and city tax credits, but no direct city or state funding.

"We are dotting all the 'I's' and crossing all the 'T's' on the paperwork -- and there's a lot of paperwork," Phillips said.

City officials including Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick are considering holding a ceremony next week at the West Lafayette building, between First and Second streets, to celebrate the revival of another downtown historic building. The Pick Fort-Shelby Hotel opened in 1917 and was shuttered in 1973. Its last tenant, a bar, left in 1998.

The restoration project is expected to include:

A 207-room hotel operated by Doubletree, a division of the Hilton Group.

About 38,000 square feet of convention space, enough to accommodate up to 200 people.

63 apartments (including a penthouse), which may eventually become condominiums.

You can reach Louis Aguilar at (313) 222-2760 or laguilar@detnews.com.

Apr 30, 2007, 11:17 PM
That's good to hear. There's some digging progress being made at S. Univ. Village too...just not at the parking garage site, oddly enough. :)

the pope
May 1, 2007, 10:50 AM
That's good to hear. There's some digging progress being made at S. Univ. Village too...just not at the parking garage site, oddly enough. :)

but where will the construction workers park their cars?

May 1, 2007, 10:20 PM
hello, i am new to this board. All of this news is really inspiring to see. I was pretty much under the impression that if you wanted a cool urban downtown type area in the Midwest, Chicago was pretty much your only option. It so awesome to see all of this happening in Detroit. I hope things continue the way they are going and even pick up steam!

Could someone summarise all the developments currently happening starting with the biggest?

I'm guessing the Far East side project mentioned on the city's website has to be the largest project?

Are all three casinos expanding and adding hotels??

I would guess the Wayne State expansion is the next largest, then followed by the welcome center in Mexicantown.

Has there been any recent talk about mass transit in Detroit? Light Rail, expansion of the People Mover? Anything?

Any info would be appreciated. thankyou.

May 1, 2007, 11:40 PM
but where will the construction workers park their cars?

Don't worry, the new owners of the Whitney have agreed to sell, the building will be demolsihed to provide construction worker parking.

May 2, 2007, 12:26 AM
First time, so hope it's right.

New renderings of Motor City Casino.

The inside of the newly expanded 2nd floor is much nicer that what is there now.

http://img102.imageshack.us/img102/4702/casinorenderingsw5.th.jpg (http://img102.imageshack.us/my.php?image=casinorenderingsw5.jpg)

http://img102.imageshack.us/img102/4015/casinorendering2oq9.th.jpg (http://img102.imageshack.us/my.php?image=casinorendering2oq9.jpg)

May 2, 2007, 12:40 AM
^Then, they'll rebuild when the parking is no longer needed. Only the restaurant will be a vinyl sided Granny's Pantry.


Thanks for taking such a heightened interest in Detroit. It's always very encouraging to hear people from the outside take special note of all the strides being made in our great city. I see you recognize Detroit as a great, vibrant, Midwest downtown...in some honest respects...but as the city evolves into a great urban place, many people will tell you it is one of the smallest big cities in America. Mostly because we're at a come back level right now where all the movers and shakers know each other and there is an extremely tight network of those who are in the loop of turning Detroit around.

A comprehensive list of all the projects is just too large and too time consuming, to be honest. Despite Michigan being the worst economy in the country right now, Detroit is the bright spot, despite the obvious problems it has always suffered through the last 1/2 century.

What you really need to know to sum up this "Detroit as a bright spot" is

We've identified the future and what needs to take place in order to achieve success and compete in the knowledge-based, global economy of today and tomorrow. Not everyone is on board, and many people here insist on digging the grave by embracing the old fashioned way of doing things.

In terms of development, there are some significan projects that sets Detroit above the rest of the region and will someday position the city back to the place it needs to be in order to be the fearless leader of the region and state...

these (developments) are

The riverfront
Belle Isle
The 3 permanent casinos
The Westin Book Cadillac
A second international bridge span
An increase of corporate presense downtown (Rock/Quicken)
Historic preservation of the more high profile structures
Eastern Market

Others can add the other obvious if they wish.

The city will continue to stuggle like it has since most of us have been born. But being that we've all witnessed the major changes of our local economies, we'll also be able to see the changes being made for the better. What better a place to be able to see this change first hand, than in Detroit...the city transitioning from the absolute bottom up. :)

May 2, 2007, 12:43 AM
Thanks for the renderings, cgrski. Let's just hope airplanes don't mistakenly land there at night.

May 2, 2007, 1:21 AM
thankyou for your info. I am new to the area. Well, I grew up in Upstate New York, then went to Michigan State as an undergrad and pretty much fell in love with the State of Michigan as a whole. I moved back to Upstate NY for a while, but missed Michigan my entire time there. I currently live in Ypsi but am considering moving downtown.

I had no idea there were plans for a 2nd Bridge with Windsor! That is incredible.

What plans has Quicken made to increase their presense downtown? I know they have a large presense out in Livonia and that area.

Do you realistically expect Detroit to build some sort of legitimate mass transit in the semi-near future??

Thankyou for all your info.

May 2, 2007, 2:06 AM
You're welcome, VB. (Fellow Spartans, here...Go Green!) :)

You should move downtown. If you have the spirit of support and tolerance to be a little less serviced, go for it!

To answer your questions, yep, the state of Michigan is in fierce competition w/ New York (Buffalo) I believe in obtaining federal dollars to expand the flow of commerce between the US and Canada. The argument is that if the expansion isn't done within X amount of years, our economy would suffer by the billions $$. Currently, the most publicized proposal is a second span to the Ambassador Bridge, which is privately owned by Matty Maroun (also owner of the MCS train depot). There's controversy over this, mainly due to homeland security, but it seems like his second bridge might succeed. Although, Windsoites are extremely heated over where the placement should be on their end as well...as they should be.

Here's an MDOT link, but you can google a lot on this topic too:

Quicken Loans/Rock Financial has been teasing the public for months and months now about moving one of Michigan's fastest growing, reputable companies to downtown Detroit.

The latest and greatest is from this article:

Mass transit? Semi-near future? Well, this summer will kick off our first attempt at commuter rail between Ann Arbor and Detroit. It is a test study that resulted from there not being any true indication about ridership demand for rail service from downtown to Dearborn, to the airport, to Ann Arbor. This commuter rail might provide some data on that for future study.

Also, some very good news is that Detroit Department of Transportation (DDOT) is finally standing on their own two feet and saying enough is enough. There are just WAY too many entities (in my opinion) blowing steam around about mass transit. DDOT is taking it upon themselves to study, and fund, appropriately, the beginnings of a system for the city only. By taking the "do it right the first time" approach, this might take a little while, but they do have a timeline layed out. But as you know, competing for federal transit dollars (which are an essential piece of the transit puzzle) is extremely fierce and delecate. There's only so much money at the federal level, that the proposals that go to the feds have to be near perfect and convincing that each DOT maximized potential ridership based on their needs analysis.

I think with Woodward, we have every chance under the sun of getting a green light.

Partake in a public survey DDOT is doing. It's called DTOGS:


Make sure to make this site your primary source with future transit endeavors. To me, this one seems like the most legitimate. Also, TRU (transportation riders united) is a non profit transit coalition that people can join for transit advocacy.


In my mind, the best way to simplify when we might first ride transit is to think, "when a study is given the blessing of the FTA and we've determined we have the money and resources to begin, a line will be up and running in 10 years." Right now, the pieces are coming together with DTOGS to submit the best, most convincing plan, so that we don't have to go back and revise it and submit it again the following year. It's a very, very, very, very tedious process, and only can be done with a rediculous amount of patience.

May 2, 2007, 5:32 PM

I would love to move downtown, but for now I am committed to living in the Ypsi/AA area. But I will likely move downtown in the future.

Would a new span be in addition to the Ambassador or an entirely new Bridge?

If Quicken were to move downtown, where would they go? Would they need to build new office highrises?? A new addition to our skyline would be nice.

I was unaware of the commuter rail service from AA to Downtown. I work in AA, id like to be able to take commuter rail from AA to Downtown to catch some Tigers games this summer.

I was confused by what you meant when you said "I think with Woodward, we have every chance under the sun of getting a green light." Are you saying that you think we'll get 1 mass transit line running up and down Woodward?

May 3, 2007, 1:20 AM
He means that light rail along woodward from Downtown to Pontiac or commuter rail on the tracks parallel to Woodward are probably the most likely to be the busiest routes.

May 3, 2007, 2:31 AM
He means that light rail along woodward from Downtown to Pontiac or commuter rail on the tracks parallel to Woodward are probably the most likely to be the busiest routes.

ok, thankyou for clarifying that. if they do mass transit are they only going to do 1 route??

May 3, 2007, 4:52 AM
For the time being. The region is experimenting, at the moment.

May 4, 2007, 12:37 AM
Yah, I just meant that Woodward is the best candidate. It has all the pieces of the transit puzzle. In addition, it is an economic corridor above and beyond so many others in this country, that mass transit success is practically a guaranteed success along the Woodward Corridor. We just have been deaf to its potential and brainless at trying. If that wasn't the case, we'd have one of the most economically viable corridors in the country in my opinion.

Like a perfect storm, Woodward is the perfect recipe for transit. Any city in the country that had a Woodward like we do, would be cashing in on its economic rewards.

May 4, 2007, 6:03 PM
When I'm driving down woodward sometimes I try to envision how light rail would look there. It's hard for me to imagine what it'd be like. Does anyone have any pics of a line that would be similiar to what we'd be developing along Woodward in terms of scale/size?

I notcied today there is a backhoe and such at the Hotel Vermont (or whatever that Ilitch-owned burgundy crap behind the fox is called) and a large hole on the side of the bldg.... looks like it'll be gone soon. Also, the small bldg down the road at the corner of Cass/Columbia has alot of activity going on around it but i can't tell if it's actually demo-prep or not.

May 5, 2007, 5:48 AM
I imagine it would travel in the center median between 7 Mile and Pontiac and alongside traffic south of 7 Mile.


May 6, 2007, 9:26 PM
I'm just curious...what city did those picture of the light rail come from?

May 10, 2007, 12:54 AM
Here are some renderings of a few projects Wayne State is developing.
The new Egineering Center which broke ground on May 2.

Medical School Expansion

May 10, 2007, 4:38 PM
Of the new hotel this is the one that worries me the most. It'll be an extended stay something I don't think is offered in downtown market, but it'll face far more suburban competetion.

Reborn hotel bets on boom downtown
May 10, 2007



For years, the suburbs stole business from downtown Detroit. Now, the $82-million Fort Shelby Hotel renovation announced Wednesday might steal a little right back.

The announcement that developers have closed on the financial package for the planned Hilton Doubletree led to intense speculation about where the hotel will find customers.

"A lot of that demand is going to have to be captured from the suburban markets," said Chuck Skelton, an Ann Arbor-based hotel consultant.

That may be a challenge, at least in Michigan's current economic doldrums. For both 2005 and 2006, occupancy rates at metro Detroit hotels ran a sluggish 59%, barely enough to break even, Skelton said.

But Detroit economic development officials have long believed that new business hotels downtown, like the Fort Shelby and the nearby Book-Cadillac Hotel renovation, would help to capture more convention business for Cobo Center, thus generating new demand.

"This could help convention business immensely," said George Jackson, the city's chief development officer and president of the Detroit Economic Growth Corp.

The last hotel in the Fort Shelby building ceased operating in the early 1980s, and the building has been vacant for the past decade.

But in an astonishing turnaround from years of abandonment, downtown soon will have five new hotels in the works at the same time -- three 400-room casino hotels, the 455-room Book-Cadillac and the 204-room Fort Shelby. That will roughly double downtown's inventory of hotel rooms.

Jackson said the Fort Shelby project also would boost the outlook for the often-bleak west side of downtown. Most of the new development of recent years, including Comerica Park and Ford Field, has taken place on or east of Woodward Avenue. With the Book-Cadillac and Fort Shelby projects, "that's a shot in the arm for west of Woodward," he said.

Detroit-based developer Emmett Moten, who leads the Fort Shelby project, said Wednesday the project is to consist of 204 suites, 38,000 square feet of conference meeting space, 63 upscale rental apartments and a destination bar and restaurant.

Construction is scheduled to begin in the next 30 days and, if completed on schedule, the hotel should be open by early 2009.

"It's been a long process but truly worth the effort," said Moten, who has been working on pulling together the financing for six years.

Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick said in a prepared statement: "The $82-million restoration of the Fort Shelby Hotel is another example of the exciting economic development projects taking place in our great city." The project team includes MCP Investments, of which Moten is a partner; Chevron USA; the General Retirement System of the City of Detroit; the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development; ShoreBank, and Hilton Hotels.

The Fort Shelby is the latest in a string of projects downtown. The $180-million Book-Cadillac Hotel restoration is under way and should be completed by late 2008. Two of the three permanent casino-hotel complexes -- MGM Grand and MotorCity -- are to be finished later this year, with the Greektown Casino expansion about a year later.

Meanwhile, developers are taking orders for planned condominium complexes on the Detroit riverfront, and construction is nearing completion on the first phase of the planned RiverWalk promenade.

"Continuous improvement is probably going to be our mantra for some time," Jackson said.

The Fort Shelby began life as a 10-story hotel in 1916. Then, in 1927, architect Albert Kahn designed the 21-story tower and fully integrated the two structures into one.

As Detroit's fortunes declined following World War II, the Fort Shelby gradually lost business. It operated as the Pick-Fort Shelby from the 1950s through the early '70s, and later as the Shelby Hotel, but closed in the early '80s.

Moten has a colorful history in Detroit development circles. A native of Alabama raised in New Orleans, he came to Detroit to work in Mayor Coleman Young's administration. As Young's chief of development, he played a role in numerous projects, including creation of both the General Motors Poletown factory and the Detroit People Mover.

He shared top billing in several controversies, including when the City of Detroit racked up tens of millions of dollars in overruns to acquire land for the east-side Chrysler plant.

"Those were stressful times, but they were good times," Moten said. "The bottom line was, people just came together and rallied and we all did it together."

Contact JOHN GALLAGHER at 313-222-5173 or gallagher@freepress.com.

May 12, 2007, 2:58 AM
The Hotel Shelby development is great newes for Detroit.

May 13, 2007, 4:43 PM
Detroit is definitely forming a new face. Now, if only the crippling population losses (13,000 people a year or so) can be stopped.

Can someone form a list of construction and renovation projects in Detroit? There's the three casinos, the hotel renovations, and some construction down by the River that I can name off the top of my head.

May 13, 2007, 5:18 PM
The population loss might not be as bad as projected. I'm sure the city is still losing thousands of residents every year, but the census bureau has always had trouble estimating population figures in older established cities.

May 14, 2007, 3:50 AM
It's not just the Census, though, even SEMCOG, who has Hamtramck and Dearborn growing when the Census says they aren't, shows an increased population loss over this decade, thus far. I think this is much like the White Flight, which began in the 50's, and then picker up steam. The 90's seemed to be the first trickle of Black Flight, and I think we've seen it speed up. I originally thought back in 2000 that this second phenomenon wouldn't happen, but it's not just one source reporting that it is. SEMCOG had to adjust their numbers just a few months ago (I contacted them) because of the reality of the situation.

May 14, 2007, 8:04 PM
Black Flight is REAL... especially in Detroit.

For other cities, it's being accelerated by gentrification... here, it's being sped up by the poor economy, redlining, subpar schools, crime, lack of substanstial retail, and rampant government corruption.

Downtown, Midtown, and a few other neighbourhoods may buck the overall population loss trend, but you can guarantee that it's not black people that are moving in. Midtown's white population exploded in the mid to late 90s. We're now only 65% black, which by Detroit standards, is VERY diverse...

May 15, 2007, 12:02 AM
Actually, blacks make up a substantial portion of those moving into the core. Of course, your working-class family is picking the suburbs, and, actually, many are moving out of the region and state, altogether. But, a lot of internal movement is back towards the core by all kinds of people.

BTW, I can attest to the very real flight by middle-class and even many working-class blacks out of the city. Of the four of my aunts who lived in Detroit in the 1990's, not one of them remains there, and only one still resides in Southeast Michigan. One of them even tried loft living before it became "cool".

Detroit is now being forced to learn and plan for shrinkage, just as many cities have been forced to learn and plan for growth. I really wish it would be less reactionary, and we'd start seeing city government proactively planning to shrink instead of reacting to the inevitable, though.

Personally, I wish the wealthy of Metro Detroit would fund a Kalamazoo Promise-type program that would promise all public school kids payment for college, if even only two years. That would go a LONG way in offsetting a lot of the other things Detroiters have to put up with, at the same time cutting down on crime by keeping kids in school.

There is just SO much that could, and needs to be, done. It seems like both city government and the residents are trying to put out ragging fires with buckets of water instead of concentrating their efforts. Everyone seems to be running around willy-nilly with little coordination.

May 15, 2007, 2:14 AM
Progress being made on the Detroit Riverwalk. -www.detroitriverfront.org-

Detroit Omni Riverfront Hotel.

Seawall and kleats east of Chene Park.

TriCentennial State Park.

Ste. Aubin Marina.

Gabrielle Richard Park (at Belle Isle Bridge).

Rivard Plaza with future developable, prime riverfront land.

Rivard Plaza pavillion construction.

Landscaping between Rivard Plaza and Chene Park.

GM's River East section.


Gabrielle Richard Park is the end of the line.

May 15, 2007, 5:28 PM
Very cool, Michi. How exciting! How did you get in there with the workers BTW? And what's the word on Belle Isle? Maybe I missed it...

the pope
May 15, 2007, 5:35 PM
those aren't michi's pictures but rather the riverfront conservatories pictures

May 18, 2007, 7:26 PM
subt, the riverwalk is still blocked by fences. Those pix belong to the Riverfront Conservancy. Although, if I get a chance this evening, I'm going to go scope out to see if there is any new access points.

Here are some new artistic concepts of The Griswold.








For parking garage overkill, I must say the effort behind this development is very classy. It makes the best of the situation, and the homes appear to be of high quality.

If I was in the market for a downtown condo, I'd probably lean toward the Griswold. It sure would be nice someday to qualify. :)

May 18, 2007, 9:06 PM
What fabulous integration. Can't wait to see the finished product...of both buildings. i was in DT a couple weeks ago and ate at the coney island across the street (from about where the first vantage is, only at ground level). I'm terribly curious as to what the effects a great new hotel, and condos (on top of both) are going to have on the surrounding buildings. Not simply business wise, but aesthetically. That corner looks kind of rough at the moment but some facade improvements and perhaps some streetscape improvements would really look awesome, especially with C-Mart and the shiney new Visteon Bldg only a step away.

May 19, 2007, 5:00 PM
From modelD:

15,000 sf biodiesel plant breaks ground in New Center

On Tuesday, May 15, Biodiesel Industries, in partnership with NextEnergy, celebrated the ground-breaking of a biodiesel production facility at John R and Baltimore. The 13,000-square foot facility will also be used for research, public outreach and education by the California-based company. This is their sixth U.S. plant, and it will have the capability of producing 10 million gallons of biodiesel per year.

Significantly, the plant will be feedstock-neutral, meaning that it can make use of feedstock such as corn and soybean as well as switchgrass, rapeseed, sunflowers and crude, refined and recycled vegetable oils.

The building was designed by Albert Kahn Associates and will be built by DeMaria Building Company, both Detroit-based companies with experience in alternative energy design-builds.

Russell Teall, founder and president of Biodiesel Industries, credited the city of Detroit for its welcoming efforts to help make the project happen. He said that while many reporters have asked him, "Why Detroit?" he sees it as the "center of the automotive universe" and answers, "Where else?"

His efforts to promote biodiesel stem from what he calls "The Three E's" – environment, energy and economy – and he believes that true sustainability exists when "you take a good environmental idea into a commercial project and make it economically sustainable."

The plant will employ 20-25 initially and construction is expected to be complete before the end of the year.

Source: Biodiesel Industries of Detroit, LLC ground-breaking
Writer: Kelli B. Kavanaugh

May 19, 2007, 5:14 PM
Sounds good! Hopefully we'll hear more and more announcements coming out of Techtown over the next year.

May 20, 2007, 2:34 AM
Those renderings of The Griswold look excellent.

May 25, 2007, 9:25 PM
very cosmopolitan

May 29, 2007, 11:54 PM
Check out the new MotorCity rendering:


It's probably the only flattering rendering they've ever released. lol

It's moving along very fast. Both the News and Freep did a story on it, today, saying that the new casino portion is to open, next month, and the entire complex by years end, right on schedule.









May 30, 2007, 11:20 PM
The areas in these pictures are of the VIP areas. The entrance seen, once again for VIP's only. I hear that you will have to show your VIP Player's card to even get into the gaming area shown. So the general public will not see these areas. Will only have about 100 slot machines and from 12-15 tables. The rest of the expantion will have the remaining machines and tables. Much improved over the soon to be renovated original. Once the new area opens different sections will be closed off to revamp the "old" area to match the "new".

Jun 2, 2007, 8:10 PM
Detroit, Michigan: Friday, June 1, 2007

MGM Grand from 3rd and Forest.

Landscaping the garage along the Fisher Service Drive.

Very little exterior progress.

Gaaah! More pavement. This area is already a traffic disaster. Hopefully, the city and casino will figure out a way to control this intersection where 3rd meets the Bagley ramps and Michigan Avenue all at once. It's pretty messy.

Motor City from the Lodge and Forest.


Woodbridge Estates, Miracles Boulevard.

South University Village.

Bureau of Urban Living, Canfield Street. I goofed on the last update and reported the location in the wrong building.

Bad lighting on a facade rehab on 3rd Street, across the street from the temporary MGM Grand Casino. It looks nice.

Le Book Cadillac. One of my biggest urban planning pet peeves is what has been done with the streets here. It's aweful!


The Pick Fort-Shelby has been fenced off and is itching for its major overhaul to kick into full swing! What a fantastic project. :)

Greektown is building Detroit's most recent skyscraper, the 30-story Greektown Casino Hotel. The portion seen here is none other than the 60-story garage...(j/k) ;)



The hotel tower starts at level 4, the next level!

This is the picture in the dictionary under "Parking City".


It's just overkill!





Soon to be blocked!

The new Music Hall for the Performing Arts looks great, although I haven't seen it at night yet.

As I was taking these photos, I realized how very little I've photographed this building. It's really beautiful.



Hello from afar.

Harmonie Park actually is under a master planning process right now. The idea is to bring back a lot of the Black Bottom influence of Detroit's better days. Black Bottom was the heart of the black community and arguably Detroit soul. It was shamelessly plowed over by I-75 as an excuse to erase the black, urban ghetto. If that was the case, why bring it back, right? Oh, American history never ceases to amaze me.

Windsor's casino tower making its ascent. I noticed a peek of glass on some of the lower floors.

Rivard Plaza, to open in a few weeks for the 1st annual Detroit River Days Festival. It has a carousel, bike rentals, food, and pavillion facilities.

The riverfront is turning out to be quite magnificent, and the local color is quickly defining something that can only be found uniquely and specifically in Detroit.




Prime riverfront property is patiently awaiting a turn in the economy.


Dodge Fountain in Hart Plaza is proving to people its original true potential as a landmark fountain.

Another a few extras. Look what Cadillac found!


Story Corp. Griot is a traveling trailer that visits cities to engage their residents in sharing African American history and heritage stories. It's been in Campus Martius Park for a while and will be here until mid month.

In its few years, Campus Martius has really become a regional jewell. It has been so much fun to watch the city transform around Campus Martius.

Greening the Garden Lofts, Brush Park.

Brush Park North, John R. Street.

Looks like stairwell and elevator shaft at the Crystal Lofts, Brush Park.

That's all for now. :)

Jun 2, 2007, 8:24 PM
*Double Post*

Jun 2, 2007, 11:17 PM
Double the fun!

Great job, Michi. The riverfront is looking great. I can't wait until we start seeing an even bigger "eastern" skyline along the river and inland.

I think Detroit (with Windsor) should use "The International City" or "The International Experience" in its advertising more often.

Jun 3, 2007, 12:14 AM
Excellent tour, Michi! As usual, I'd suggest putting this one in the "My City Photos" forum, as well. People really like these type of threads.

This was my favorite view:


To think how Detroit looked when Cadillac landed, little more than a muddy, forested riverbank.

Jun 3, 2007, 12:41 AM
That shot makes the Buhl Building look taller than it usually looks from the riverfront.;)

Jun 3, 2007, 3:26 AM
Another great set of pics. What exaclty is going on at that building on 3rd?

Jun 3, 2007, 7:37 AM
I don't know, but isn't it an old Edison substation? I heard it originally had some kind of utilitarian usage.

Jun 3, 2007, 3:51 PM
Double the fun!

Wuups! Not sure how that happened. I erased it.
Yah, I think a little more creativity in marketing the river region could work some changes.

The building on 3rd is just a facade improvement I think. I was thinking of putting some photos in the City Photos section, LMich, since I have a bunch of other extras. But I just didn't have the time to sift through the other extras. Plus, I wasn't sure if it'd be a bit redundant.

Jun 3, 2007, 7:56 PM
Great work, Michi! Keep us posted. I must visit the Woodbridge estates next time. Why did they stop planting trees halfway Cadillac Square? Any news of the WS School of Business and the Virgil H Carr Cultural Arts Center? Great architecture and great for Midtown!

Jun 4, 2007, 11:25 PM
Ross, I'm not so sure about the buisinss school at Wayne. I thought it would be starting construction by now. On the other hand, excavation work at the new Engineering Center have begun. Not quite as significant as the Bus School, but new activity at Wayne nonetheless.

I don't have further information on the Carr Center, though I wish I did. This is another highly anticipated project and asset to the Cultural Center.

I think that all of the trees are planted at Cadillac Sq...at least I didn't notice any gaps or incompleteness. What I did notice though is that that park has a lack of people in it. The first thing that came to my mind is that there are no benches for people to sit. Also, it's easier to take the sidewalk to your destination since the park doesn't really lead anywhere with crosswalks at the end of its length.

It needs a little more elements for human interaction. I'm not sure if the old Bagley Fountain is suppose to be active. Anybody know?

BTW, the Rivard Plaza opens this Wednesday at the riverfront. Here's a sneak peak at the carousel:


The Free Press forums really show how disgusted some suburbanites are of this project. Kind of sad, being this is the best thing to happen to Troy and Novi in a long time.

Jun 5, 2007, 2:28 AM
What did I tell you about even looking past the last sentence of the articles online, Eric? ;)

Jun 5, 2007, 1:23 PM
LOL! Why are people disgusted?

Jun 5, 2007, 11:19 PM
Most likely because they hate their own lives. lol I'm really only half joking. I can't tell you how many people I know that bitch about everything simply because they aren't doing as well as they'd like to be. I keep saying it, but I've never seen a more negative group of people as us Michiganians in my life. Most of us don't even know how to appropriately react to good news, anymore. lol

Jun 5, 2007, 11:58 PM
My latest and greatest mantra for Southeast Michigan: "under educated and over paid".

People are disgusted because Detroit, ie "filthy" gets a shiny new riverfront and suburb x,y,z gets absolutely nothing in addition to job loses. People think they left the city because they're entitled to everything better than ghetto trash Detroit. Which is true, but Detroit is more than the Joy and Greenfield node. There's a false sense of reality. Just read the replies.

Jun 6, 2007, 12:36 AM
I just shudder at the thought of what the Freep boards will be like around the end of July, the 40th anniversary of the riots.

Jun 6, 2007, 1:18 AM
They won't be any more nasty unless the local media brings it up. Most people don't take an annual account of the riot.

Jun 6, 2007, 2:00 AM
They won't be any more nasty unless the local media brings it up.

Thats what I meant. Chances are they will have at least one article about it.

Jun 6, 2007, 2:17 PM
My latest and greatest mantra for Southeast Michigan: "under educated and over paid".

People are disgusted because Detroit, ie "filthy" gets a shiny new riverfront and suburb x,y,z gets absolutely nothing in addition to job loses. People think they left the city because they're entitled to everything better than ghetto trash Detroit. Which is true, but Detroit is more than the Joy and Greenfield node. There's a false sense of reality. Just read the replies.

You describe SE Michigan perfectly and it's where a lot of our troubles start from. It's been show over and over that things like tolerance rise with education and SE Michigan's general lack it compared to other major constantly bites us the ass.

Not only do they think they're entitled to better things, they believe that any investment in Detroit is something that could've been in their community. They can't get it through their small minds how improving Detroit, improves their communities as well. I pray that Quicken decides to move downtown not only for the city's sake, but so I can read their pissed off reactions.

the pope
Jun 6, 2007, 7:11 PM
Speaking of Quicken, Gilbert promised yet again a decision in two months, and he officially ruled out Cleveland:


Detroit Free Press

Cavaliers' owner sticks with Michigan

June 6, 2007



There's good news about the Cleveland Cavaliers bouncing the Detroit Pistons out of the National Basketball Association playoffs.

It's great for marketing, visibility and talent recruitment at Quicken Loans and Rock Financial, the Livonia-based mortgage firms founded by metro Detroit native Dan Gilbert, who spent part of his Quicken/Rock fortune to buy the Cavs franchise in March 2005.

And despite Cleveland going totally gaga over the Cavs this year, Gilbert has no intention of moving the Quicken/Rock headquarters and its 5,000 employees to Cleveland, he told the Free Press in an interview Tuesday.

"That's not reality," he said. "It's just not easy to move four or five thousand people from one city to another, I don't care if it's Honolulu or wherever."

Gilbert is indeed looking for a new headquarters site to accommodate his growing mortgage business, but look for it to remain in southeast Michigan. He said Tuesday that he expects to choose a location -- sites in Detroit and various suburbs have been studied -- within the next 60 days.

Meanwhile, Gilbert, 45, is enjoying early success as an NBA owner in only his second full season running the Cavs.

Immediately after assuming control, Gilbert changed the name of the former Gund Arena to Quicken Loans Arena, or the Q for short, and fired the team's coach and general manager, replacing them with Mike Brown and Danny Ferry, respectively.

"We had to get a strong core belief system in place, and when we hired Mike and Danny, who are great people, we knew they'd bring in more great people," Gilbert said.

One thing Gilbert didn't change -- and spent big to retain with a 3-year contract extension last summer -- was the team's superstar, LeBron James.

James, fast becoming the marquee face of the NBA at age 22, was the most important person -- though certainly not the only one -- Gilbert had to convince that Cleveland could become a top-flight NBA franchise after 37 years of futility.

"Dan does everything first class," said Tom Wilson, president and chief executive officer of Palace Sports & Entertainment, whose Detroit Pistons franchise was a model for how Gilbert has molded the Cavs.

"Not every new owner comes in and spends eight figures on the area, comes in and changes the team colors, installs the biggest scoreboard in the league. He has reinvented the business dramatically."

Other changes in Cleveland: The team is building a new $25-million practice facility and is piloting an electronic ticketing system called Flash Seats that could become a model for other teams and entertainment venues.

On the court, Coach Brown molded the Cavs into pesky defenders, exhorting his players to keep "pounding the rock," Gilbert said. That enabled the team to rise to a level beyond just the talent of one superstar. That emphasis on defense is a trait of all great teams, Gilbert said.

"The Pistons and San Antonio Spurs are the best two franchises to emulate in terms of philosophy," Gilbert said. "So it's probably no accident that we have to go through them both to win the whole thing."

A key element of Gilbert's corporate philosophy is that all parts of his far-flung business network are interconnected and benefit each other.

That's an easy concept to grasp among the core companies. Quicken Loans is the nation's leading Internet mortgage lender. Rock Financial also is a mortgage lender, but from a traditional bricks-and-mortar platform of offices in Michigan. Title Source provides title insurance for mortgage transactions.

Ownership of a sports team takes what Gilbert calls the interconnecting "threads" or "tentacles" further afield.

As part of its incentive and reward programs, Quicken/Rock frequently runs a bus -- called the Q Express -- for the ride from Livonia to Cleveland for Cavs games, concerts or other events. Meanwhile, Rock Financial continues its longtime affiliation with the Pistons as a major advertising sponsor.

Gilbert believes that the same high-intensity, high-performance, high-reward culture that he has instilled at Quicken/Rock will produce good results in virtually any business, from pro basketball to mortgages to Fathead brand vinyl wall graphics, another business Gilbert bought recently.

"It's not about what you do, it's about who you are," Gilbert said.

Watch out, San Antonio. Dan Gilbert and the Q Express -- and oh, yeah, LeBron James -- are headed straight at you.

Contact TOM WALSH at 313-223-4430 or twalsh@freepress.com.

Copyright © 2007 Detroit Free Press Inc.

Jun 6, 2007, 11:26 PM
How many 60-day time limits has this been for Quicken?

Jun 7, 2007, 12:11 AM
Always nice to see development like this in the neighborhoods


Mayor joins Village Estates groundbreaking

June 5, 2007



Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick joined community leaders Tuesday afternoon to celebrate plans to build more than 120 townhouses, ranch-style condominiums and single-family homes in northwest Detroit.

The groundbreaking of Village Estates, which supporters say could help revitalize the area south of Seven Mile and east of Southfield Freeway. It is a collaborative effort between the Rev. Wendell Anthony, pastor of Fellowship Chapel; and Herb Strather, president and chief executive of Strather & Associates, the project developer.

"Don't move, just improve right where you are," Anthony said, adding that the residential units will cater to all sorts of people, ranging from recent college graduates and senior citizens to business professionals and retired individuals.

The development is adjacent to Fellowship Chapel. It is bounded by McNichols and Outer Drive to the north and south, and by Oakfield on the west and just past Biltmore to the east


Jun 7, 2007, 9:25 PM
Well, at least it's not being called Burning Tree Estates, or the Estates of Timberlake, or Blueberry Meadow, or Exurban Prairie Estates. (only 1/2 kidding).

Jun 8, 2007, 12:47 AM
Considering the neighborhood in which they are going, they are some very nice units inside and out. Actually, I'll go even further and say that they are some of the best neighborhood units the city has seen.

Jun 9, 2007, 2:59 AM
I think the units in the East Village area are better, but these are nice, and like he says in the article, even if it only keeps people from leaving the city, it'll be a success.;)

Jun 12, 2007, 2:04 AM
For some updates and a thread on the new Rivard Plaza, click the link below:

Saturday, June 9, 2007

Jun 12, 2007, 10:33 PM
A little birdie told me that Quicken's coming Downtown.

Jun 13, 2007, 12:57 AM
That little birdie has been chirping around for years now. lol

Jun 13, 2007, 11:25 AM
Hi Michi. Great photos of the Riverwalk. I did the part that was finished last year when I visited Detroit. I still saw the building standing on the Griswold site. I live thousands of miles away in Leuven, Belgium and I depend on the net to learn what's happening in the D. Is there any news about the Argonaut bldg? It was sold to a Californian co in 2004. And what about the Lafayette bldg. Keep us posted, will you? Thanks, Ross.

Jun 13, 2007, 11:15 PM
Supposedly, the current proposal for the Lafayette has failed, and the city will be marketing it to other interested developers. As for the Argonaut, I have no idea, but to be honest, I don't think the developers have any real want to redevelop it or they would have put out more information on the project, by now. Just making a guess, but I think they may have simply bought the building realizing rising property values to flip it, but who knows?

Jun 14, 2007, 12:17 AM
I hope the Argonaut Building doesn't rot away before its reuse is determined. From what I understand, GM took very good care of that building when they were headquartered next door.

Jun 16, 2007, 2:30 PM
Hi guys, did you read the Detroit News saturday about the makeover of Hart Plaza ? That's great news, I hope they'll find the money soon ! The project COULD be completed within two years. The Ford Auditorium is a useless eyesore anyway. Now the expansion of Cobo Center! For when the groundbreaking of the @water lofts and the Watermark?

Jun 16, 2007, 7:06 PM
That little birdie has been chirping around for years now. lol

This little birdie works pretty close with Mr. Dan Gilbert.

Jun 16, 2007, 7:07 PM
I hope the Argonaut Building doesn't rot away before its reuse is determined. From what I understand, GM took very good care of that building when they were headquartered next door.

They did. Quite amazing, considering the local history on preserving older structures... but this was privately done, so I digress...

Jun 16, 2007, 10:55 PM
This little birdie works pretty close with Mr. Dan Gilbert.

Gilbert, himself, has been saying (or implying) for what? Two years now? That he is on his way downtown.

Jun 17, 2007, 10:09 PM
The potential suitors haven't kissed his ass enough yet.;)

Jun 21, 2007, 12:48 AM
A few additions from Wednesday, June 20, 2007.

New street signage on the riverfront.

Given healthy interest, the Watermark is scheduled to break ground at the end of June. However, I haven't heard the lastest in terms of comitted purchase agreements.

The Greektown Casino expansion will include a section that will be built OVER the westbound lanes of Lafayette Avenue.

I didn't think I'd really like the skywalk, but it's kinda cool how it sorta looks to just disappear into the buildings on the left side of the photo. Plus, it doesn't obstruct any views, and you can't see it until after you pass the People Mover track.

It's not an illusion. It appears to slant slightly downward toward the left.

The Old Ste. Mary's School House is the building on the right that will be connected to the garage via the skywalk.

Next to the school house is the site of the old Lavdas Building. A structure will be built here to connect to the current casino facility seen on the right.


Looking north down St. Antoine. The school house is on the left.

Southbound St. Antoine.

Ren Cen wanted some attention as always.

The current height of the hotel...zero...not counting the actual floor.

The Griswold site still a flatty.

The site of the garage at the South University Village project has finally broken ground. For a "village", it sure does look like the garage is going to take up the majority of the land. I doubt it, but hopefully there will be retail space on the ground level facing Forest Street.

Nothing new here...darn it.

I think this is pretty close to the angle shown in the rendering for the South University Village.

See the Greektown Garage?

the pope
Jun 21, 2007, 1:34 AM

Jun 21, 2007, 2:33 PM
this is so wrong.

Jun 21, 2007, 3:00 PM
It does suck that they defaced the building, but it's better than tearing down the entire structure...

Jun 21, 2007, 11:48 PM
Which is what I think the casino was originally considering.

Jun 26, 2007, 3:44 AM
great pics...i wish detroit would get some more skyscrapers though

Jun 26, 2007, 9:29 PM
Here are some pics from the River Days:






Jun 27, 2007, 5:05 AM

Jun 27, 2007, 6:28 PM
dont b so harsh on the comments , this is my first time...but any constructive critisism would b good

rare skyline views, it'll be even better with the greektown casino




guess where i was






Jun 28, 2007, 3:00 PM

Jul 4, 2007, 1:00 PM
GM will build luxury condos on riverfront

Construction of high-rise near RenCen to start in '08

Sharon Terlep / The Detroit News

DETROIT -- General Motors Corp. struck a deal with a prominent development firm to build luxury condos at the epicenter of Detroit's riverfront, a move that comes as efforts to rebuild the city's long-neglected waterfront are coming together.

GM said Wednesday it will give the Houston-based Hines real estate firm six acres just east of the automaker's world headquarters in the Renaissance Center in exchange for a cut of the future profits from the development.

If the plan comes together as envisioned, the developers eventually would build 600 luxury condominiums that would sell for roughly $300,000 to $1 million.

Hines will build the project in phases, starting with a high-rise condo tower on a one-acre plot next to the RenCen. If that's successful, more will follow on three more adjacent parcels....
Full Article:
I wonder what they mean by high-rise?? Crain's says the first tower will have 80 units and on such a small chunk of land, hopefully it will be somewhat tall. Eitherway....as cool as the project sounds, a little too rich for my blood.

Jul 4, 2007, 3:47 PM
I doubt it'll be very tall. If there are about five units per floor, that means it probably won't be more than 20 stories and will probably be less than 200 ft. If they use several floors for parking (which I would hope they don't do) it might be taller, but not by much. I assume that depending on how successful this initial building is, the other buildings will be larger or smaller.

Jul 6, 2007, 1:00 PM
The signs have been pointing toward this happening for awhile, but it nice to hear actual confirmation that they're close to wrapping the deal up.

Daniel Howes

Detroit close to snagging Quicken headquarters

City, state work to seal downtown deal as early as this month

A blockbuster deal valued north of $200 million to deliver Dan Gilbert's Quicken Loans Inc. headquarters to downtown Detroit isn't yet done, but it looks like it could be as early as this month.

All the signs are there:

Gilbert, promising something "big" should Quicken green-light the move, told me last month that "before Aug. 1, we will have something to talk about. We're still going through things."

At last week's rooftop party downtown to view holiday fireworks, the chairman of the mortgage lender and owner of the Cleveland Cavaliers hung with Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick and chatted with Paul W. Smith on 760-WJR, hardly the behavior of a CEO trying to quash speculation.

The mayor visited Gilbert's suite at an Eastern Conference Finals game in Cleveland. And the mayor, deeply involved in talks to woo Quicken, its 45-year-old co-founder and 5,000 employees from Livonia, can't say enough good things about Gilbert.

"Dan Gilbert is a person who dives in head first," Kilpatrick told me Thursday. "He's not one of those business leaders who won't be involved. He's special, and we need a lot of that energy in the business community. If he decides to move his company here, he could be integral to our transformation."

Yes, he could be, mostly because of what Quicken's decision would say about its assessment of where Detroit is, where it's headed under Kilpatrick and how Quicken could be a part of it. As Michigan wallows in its single-state recession, Detroit is emerging as a bright spot still attracting investors and fixing festering eyesores like its riverfront.

Kilpatrick won't discuss details of a would-be deal, saying, "The best thing about the negotiations is they have been very private and that's what has moved this process. It's gotten us closer to a decision sooner. The conversations are going well. I'm hopeful, but we're not at the finish line yet."

Yet sources familiar with the private discussions tell me Quicken, state and local officials have crafted a package worth more than $200 million. The total includes Quicken's investment in its new headquarters, state and city incentives, potential "renaissance zone" credits depending on the final site, as well as tax abatements on property that right now is generating little to no tax revenue at all.

Egos, vision, rivals weighed

The most likely sites for the headquarters of Quicken, parent of mortgage lender Michigan-based Rock Financial, are the so-called "Hudson's site" on Woodward, just north of Compuware Corp.'s headquarters, and the "Statler site" at Washington Boulevard and Grand Circus Park.

The final choice -- should the only alternatives be Hudson's or Statler -- likely would be made after the financial package is complete and a public commitment is made, experts tell me.

The decision is potentially rife with corporate politics and big, entrepreneurial egos. It's partly a choice between two generations of Detroit business and sports moguls, each drivers behind Detroit's steady downtown redevelopment.

Compuware Chairman Peter Karmanos Jr., owner of the National Hockey League's Carolina Hurricanes, has urged Gilbert to move downtown, preferably next door -- which, coincidentally, would land Michigan's hottest corporate prospect in Karmanos' neighborhood and not near property controlled by the Ilitch family.

Sources familiar with the situation tell me the Hudson's site is larger and would be less expensive to develop. But locating a headquarters there, especially for a CEO like Gilbert who wants to go "big" with a game-changing downtown development play if he goes at all, could be overshadowed by Compuware's presence on Campus Martius.

Ilitch Holdings CEO Christopher Ilitch and his brother, Atanas, who heads the family's Olympia Development Co., represent the next generation of Ilitches -- bullish on Detroit, scions to the owners of the Tigers, Red Wings and MotorCity Casino, eager to invest more and perhaps build a new hockey arena downtown.

Quicken-ing more change

With the Westin Book-Cadillac Hotel renovation moving ahead at the other end of Washington Boulevard and little else along there redeveloped, the Ilitches are anxious to see Gilbert on the Statler site, alongside their United Artists building they are co-marketing with the city-owned Statler site.

The Statler is smaller and likely would be more expensive to redevelop into a corporate headquarters. But its position on Grand Circus between Washington and Bagley would give Gilbert and Quicken the chance to be the kind of catalyst for change Compuware has been for Woodward and Campus Martius.

Where Quicken ends up downtown is less important than whether it ends up downtown instead of staying in the suburbs or decamping for Cleveland or somewhere else.

Besides the obvious economic boost to Detroit, it would be hard to overstate the psychic lift Quicken's decision would give to the city and Gov. Jennifer Granholm, whose development victories like bringing 1,000 Google jobs to Ann Arbor have been overshadowed by Pfizer Corp.'s exit and Comerica Inc.'s headquarters move to Dallas.

Privately held Quicken doesn't add 200 jobs a month, deliver steady double-digit loan growth and generate enough cash for its co-founder to buy the Cleveland Cavaliers and other businesses by making stupid business decisions for the wrong reasons.

That Quicken appears poised to make a move on Detroit says as much about its leadership as it does about what's going right in Detroit -- and that's refreshing.

Daniel Howes' column runs Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays. You can reach him at (313) 222-2106, dchowes@detnews.com or http://info.detnews.com/danielhowesblog. Catch him Fridays with Paul W. Smith on NewsTalk 760-WJR.