While we heard plenty of big announcements this year (a Midtown Target! DCI moves!), we also saw key projects put shovels in the ground this year. Here are five development projects that broke ground in 2021 and could make a big impact in Detroit and their respective neighborhoods for years to come.

The Exchange

We have another high-rise coming up downtown. The Exchange officially broke ground in September, and we're already seeing a lot of upward momentum in the construction. The finished building will be 16 stories high, and built from the top down with LIFTBuild technology. Expect 153 apartments plus 12 condos on the top floors.  It will bring a lot of residential to the edge of Greektown and it's expected to be complete in 2023.

The Godfrey Hotel

Construction started in September on the Godfrey Hotel, located along Michigan Avenue in Corktown. It will have 227 rooms, an indoor/outdoor rooftop lounge, a ground-floor restaurant, a lobby bar, a fitness center, and a 5,500-square-foot grand ballroom that can host events of more than 350 guests. Its developers, Oxford Perennial, are also planning a huge mixed-use project right down the street. 

Sawyer Art Apartments

Up along West McNichols, the Sawyer Art Apartments officially broke ground last week. This art-inspired mixed-use development will include 38 residential units at "affordable" rates, plus 5,000 square feet of retail space. It's led by developers URGE Development Group, N’Namdi Holdings and Hosey Development and should be completed in 2023.

Lafayette West

Constructions started in October at Lafayette West, a $133 million development just east of downtown. Six five-story buildings will rise, with apartments and for-sale condos across a 5.2 acre site. The development will also include a walking path, a pocket park, a dog park, a pool, and a clubhouse. 


We saw a lot of good progress in building green space in Detroit, with construction starting on connecting greenways. The first phase of the Joe Louis Greenway broke ground in May on the city's west side. The Southwest Greenway also started construction this year, which will connect Corktown to the Riverfront. On the east side, the connection between the Riverwalk and Belle Isle started, construction and should be open next year.