Detroit’s architecture is instantly recognizable, from the riverfront to the Woodward Corridor. Commercial buildings and homes throughout the city were built in various styles, including Antebellum, Romanesque, and Art Deco. Many late nineteenth and early twentieth century buildings in the downtown area have been listed with the National Trust for Historic Preservation.
Unfortunately, these buildings have fallen into disrepair. With the lack of city funding to maintain abandoned properties, and the difficulty for private investors to obtain funding to purchase properties during the economic meltdown, it looked as if this was a problem without a solution. However, city leaders, both public and private, are taking steps to preserve and rebuild the grandeur of those buildings.
Combinations of private investors and public funds are purchasing commercial and residential buildings that have become eyesores and dangers to the community. Investors are locating and purchasing buildings with potential and are moving forward to bring the city back to life.
Some, like the Bamlet Building, built in 1897, was once on a list of the city’s most dangerous buildings. Today, it is being rehabbed to become an integral part of the Capitol Park area downtown. By creating mixed-use properties, investors are working to revitalize the city. With buildings that have commercial properties on the ground floor and residential units above, Detroit will be moving forward to creating the types of neighborhoods that young people and urban dwellers are clamoring for.
Development in downtown Detroit is creating pockets of revitalization. This includes an area to be named West Downtown, located at the corner of Grand River and Cass Avenue. The area will contain green space and event space for use by residents, tourists, and commuters.
Detroit’s Central Business District is also stepping toward the future. The 2-acre former Hudson’s Building site will be fashioned as a mixed-use development. The site on Woodward Avenue is border by Gratiot, Library Street, and Grand River. Rock Ventures LLC is working to secure financing for the project once the design is finalized.
The North Corktown area of downtown, bordered by I-75, I-96, the Lodge Freeway, and Martin Luther King, Jr., Boulevard, may be seeing some revitalization. Corktown as a whole has been listed on the National Register of Historic Places since 1978. Many of the homes are in complete disrepair, but they, combined with the empty lots and the empty corner store, are in a prime area that has seen interest in development.
While some of the original Queen Anne-style homes and apartment buildings in Corktown have been rehabilitated, there has also been new development, including the Motor City Casino.
The interest in investment in such a burgeoning area is good news for fans of the city. Despite not being set in the heart of the city, the resurgence of residential and commercial spaces in Corktown means that the entire city is moving forward.