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Old Posted Dec 29, 2006, 6:41 PM
toog05 toog05 is offline
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Join Date: Mar 2006
Location: Detroit
Posts: 58
WHAT'S COMING UP: 2007 will be busy with construction, office space deals

The next 12 months promise to be a busy time in metro Detroit's real estate and urban development markets. Here are 10 stories you'll be reading about in 2007:

1. The biggest question is whether the historic decline in home sales will bottom out and reverse itself in 2007. With home sales in areas of metro Detroit off as much as 30% from the same periods a year before, people trying to sell their homes, along with builders and the agents who depend on sales commissions, are devoutly wishing for a market upswing -- and soon.

2. Detroit's long-awaited RiverWalk between Hart Plaza and Belle Isle should be close to 80% built by the end of this month. The Detroit Riverfront Conservancy, the nonprofit group building it, expects to conduct a formal ribbon-cutting in the spring. The opening of the riverfront could have a big impact on how people perceive downtown and the city.

3. Speaking of the east riverfront, at least two of the three upscale condominium projects selected in 2006 to replace the now-gone cement silos should start construction by mid-2007.

To be built about a half-mile east of the Renaissance Center, the first projects to get under way include one headed by Detroit industrialist and sports legend Dave Bing and another by local developer Dwight Belyue.

A third, involving Detroit sports star Jerome Bettis, might also get started in 2007, although that's less certain.

4. Downtown's Campus Martius will see completion of new park space on an adjacent parcel at the old Cadillac Square site. The paving and some landscaping already have been completed. The balance of the work should be done by spring at the latest.

5. The MGM Grand and MotorCity Casino permanent versions are well on their way to completion by late 2007. Work is also continuing on the new Greektown Casino.

6. Phone giant AT&T recently said it would move 1,000 workers to metro Detroit, and this month the company began surveying possible office sites. Real estate insiders expect AT&T to choose a site in one of suburbia's major office locales -- Troy, Southfield or along the I-275 corridor. Look for a decision around midyear.

7. Online mortgage leader Rock Financial may confirm what industry insiders have expected for several weeks -- a move of a few hundred employees to leased space in downtown's Compuware headquarters. The move would allow Rock's boss, Dan Gilbert, to test the downtown waters without committing to moving his headquarters there from the suburbs, as Detroit's civic leaders have been imploring him to do for more than a year.

8. Detroit Metro Airport's planned North Terminal is under construction and will see major progress in 2007. Opening is scheduled for mid-2008.

9. The issue of expanding Cobo Center may come closer to a resolution next year, thanks to a new proposal unveiled this month by Wayne County Executive Robert Ficano. A huge amount of debate remains, but Ficano's plan was well-received on many fronts and seemed to offer at least a reasonable starting point for a new regional discussion.

10. Ficano's vision of a region-wide criminal justice campus may move closer to reality in 2007, particularly if all sides can agree on a location in or around downtown.
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