It's not that 2022 was in any way a quiet year in Detroit development, but this year we saw a lot of bigger projects physically taking shape. Also, some new buildings opened around the city, we raised an eyebrow at some major announcements, and green spaces started connecting throughout the city.
Here's a look at a few of the bigger stories we saw around Detroit this year.
It took a while to get here, but there's been a lot of vertical progress at the Hudson's site. The façade is now up on the event center, and the tower continues to rise next to it. Bedrock released beautiful new renderings and details on the event space this spring, before going to city council to secure more tax breaks this summer. The development is on track to open in 2024.
Arguably the development with some of the highest visibility and lowest PR has been the residential tower going up at the old Joe Louis Arena site. Site work started last winter and things seem to be moving along between Huntington Place and the Riverfront Towers. We saw some new renderings this summer, and the full development will have additional buildings for a hotel and office space. Expect the 25-story tower in progress to hold 500 apartments. It's slated for completion in 2024.
Instead of going up, Exchange Detroit is built from the top down. The one million pound roof was raised this spring, followed by the 16th floor, 15th, and so on. Crews should be finished placing the floors in January, with occupancy expected in the summer. Condos are in the top two floors, with apartments in the rest and office/retail on the ground level. It's new residential in Greektown, something we haven't seen in a long time. And kudos to LIFTbuild on this innovative construction method.
If you drive by Michigan Central at night, you'll see both the train station and the Book Depository lit up. It's a comforting sight for many who never thought they'd see the day the train station would be in use again. The development of the area continues, and this year work was started on uniting Roosevelt Park in front of the train station. We'll also be seeing improvements to Michigan Avenue, connecting downtown to the district. Parts of the development are expected to start opening in 2023.
Additional large construction projects moving along in the city include Lafayette West (new residential across 375), the Godfrey Hotel and Michigan and Church (both led by Oxford Perennial and located on Michigan Avenue), and the restoration of Book Tower.
A New District Detroit
Olympia's announcement for their new vision for the District Detroit was received with a healthy dose of skepticism this spring. But the difference this time around is that Stephen Ross's Related Companies is partnering with Olympia on the massive development centered around the Detroit Center for Innovation. Plans include some we've seen in the past from Olympia, like the buildings in front of Comerica Park. Also expect a hotel next to LCA, a hotel coming to the Fox Theater building, and multiple new builds filling in some of the sea of parking lots owned by the Ilitches. Community Benefits Ordinance meetings have started for the project. New construction, including the DCI, along with some historic restorations, will start in 2023 if all goes to plan. We hope for better things, as they say, and we hope to see this plan rise.
Connecting our green spaces
It was a good year for greenways in the city. The Southwest Greenway started construction, and we saw a little preview of it this November. It will connect Michigan Central to the new Ralph C. Wilson Centennial Park, which also officially broke ground on the West Riverfront this year. This will all connect to the Joe Louis Greenway, which continues its construction around the city. The first official section was opened from Joy Road to Warren Avenue on the city's west side this fall. Eventually, the 27.5-mile trail will connect Detroit, Hamtramck, Highland Park, and Dearborn. Also, the southern trailhead for the Iron Belle Trail was completed on Belle Isle this spring.
What opened this year?
The Ruth Ellis Center finished construction and is open for the LGBTQ+ community in Piety Hill
Woodward West brought over 200 new apartments in Midtown
What should we keep an eye on in the new year?
A massive redevelopment of the Fisher Body 21 plant
The Brooke on Bagley broke ground in Southwest Detroit this fall
The Detroit Food Commons is under construction in the North End
A $1 billion redevelopment of the Lakeside Mall in Sterling Heights
Finally, the redevelopment of Lee Plaza