Mar 7, 2023 - News

Michigan Central takes center stage for Duggan's State of the City

The Michigan Central train depot

The Michigan Central train station is hosting the mayor's State of the City speech. Photo: Jeff Kowalsky/Bloomberg, via Getty Images

Crumbling relics of Detroit's past economic peaks are being restored or torn down to protect residents, make way for shiny new housing and sharpen the city's outside image.

Between the lines: Newer stalled projects — like the one by Perfecting Church at Woodward and 7 Mile — are also in Mayor Mike Duggan's crosshairs as the city looks to accumulate tangible progress in his blight eradication efforts.

Why it matters: Duggan delivers his 10th State of the City address tonight at the Michigan Central train station, the infamous ruin which once symbolized the city's decay and now represents Detroit's comeback amid the auto industry's push toward electrification.

The station is expected to be a large part of the mayor's speech. Other recent transformation projects Duggan could highlight include:

Packard Plant: The city began tearing down part of the abandoned auto factory last year after a redevelopment plan by Peru-based developer Fernando Palazuelo fell through.

  • Much of the 3.5 million square foot property is dangerous and will be demolished, but one section at 1539 E. Grand Boulevard is going to be marketed for redevelopment to preserve the plant's history.

Fisher Body Plant: Construction is expected to begin this year on a $134 million industrial rehab project to create 433 apartments inside what will be called Fisher 21 Lofts, the Detroit News reports.

  • The plant near the intersection of I-75 and I-94 produced bodies for General Motors vehicles before closing in 1984.

Freeway cleanup: Fed up with trash littering its freeways — and cognizant of the upcoming attention from the 2024 NFL Draft — the city took cleanup control from the state.

  • Residents can expect cleaner grassy areas near steel safety barriers by midsummer. New trees and daffodils are also planned.

La Choy building: A demolition contract for the crumbling former La Choy food brand headquarters on Schoolcraft was approved last summer.

  • The 145,000 square foot complex built in 1937 is coming down to make way for the Joe Louis Greenway trail loop.
  • Detroit's using $1.6 million in federal pandemic relief dollars to tear it down.

The neighborhoods: Apart from targeting well-known eyesores, the city's also focusing on dilapidated buildings along commercial corridors running through residential neighborhoods.

  • Along stretches of Livernois, Grand River, Kercheval and other thoroughfares, the city is stepping up enforcement of blight violations.

What's next: Duggan's speech starts at 7pm. Watch on the city's Facebook and YouTube pages or channels 21 (Comcast) or 99 (AT&T).


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