Jan 3, 2023 - Real Estate

Detroit development projects we're watching in 2023

Illustration of a construction crane lifting another crane, which is lifting another crane, which is lifting another crane.

Illustration: Brendan Lynch/Axios

New development projects stretching from downtown to the neighborhoods are changing how Detroit looks and feels.

Why it matters: Keeping incremental tabs on development helps the public stay informed about progress — or lack thereof — after the initial excitement when they're announced.

👀 Here are five potentially transformational projects we're watching in 2023:

🏗 District Detroit: Spearheaded by the Ilitch family and the billionaire Stephen Ross, developers behind the long-delayed downtown project are yet to publicly disclose the tax incentives they're seeking to complete the district. We're expected to learn details in a Community Benefits Ordinance meeting this month.

🏘 Lee Plaza: It's been a year since the $59 million plan to redevelop an abandoned skyscraper on West Grand Boulevard into senior affordable housing was announced.

  • Phase one construction for 117 units is expected to start this year and finish in 2024.
  • Project developers secured significant public subsidies, including $7 million in American Rescue Plan Act funds.

🍺 Enclave: A redevelopment in the West McNichols corridor will be anchored by a taproom from Ypsilanti's 734 Brewing — reported to be Detroit's sole Black-owned brewery location. The opening from the partner Brian Jones-Chance is anticipated this summer, according to the developer Chase Cantrell.

  • The property will also have restaurant and retail space. It's among several real estate projects aiming to support economic growth in the area.

🚂 Michigan Central: The iconic train depot, which will anchor Ford's 30-acre mobility innovation district, is expected to open in late 2023.

🏫 Empty schools: The city has more than 60 vacant school properties it needs to figure out what to do with, presenting a major collective economic hurdle.

  • We are likely to see a major decision on one of the large properties this year — Cooley High School, which closed in 2010 and sits on 18 acres.
  • The nonprofit Life Remodeled wants to buy the site from the Detroit Public Schools Community District, but school board members delayed a vote over concerns about selling below appraised value and how the property would be best redeveloped, Crain's Detroit reported.

Worthy of your time: The Development Tracker from Detour Detroit has a map and searchable database of real estate projects.

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