Representatives from Olympia Development and Related Companies were on-hand Tuesday night for the first of a series of Community Benefits Ordinance (CBO) meetings. The team presented their plan for a 10-building, $1.5 billion development to a sometimes skeptical crowd.
The team joined forces late last year as Stephen Ross's Related Companies decided to work with Olympia on their Detroit Center of Innovation (DCI), in partnership with the University of Michigan. Earlier this year, the team presented a vison for what the District Detroit could look like, including the renovation of older buildings in the district and many new builds on sites that are currently parking lots (including the rendering at the top for 2300 Woodward). Here are a few of the key takeaways from the first meeting:
- The DCI will break ground in 2023. The state earmarked $100 million for the building in the budget, with the caveat that it had to break ground in 2023. This will be the anchor for the new vision.
- Hotels are planned for both the Fox Theater building, which currently has offices, and new construction next to the Little Caesars Arena. Olympia noted that when many people or teams come to the LCA, they often stay in hotels in the suburbs because downtown doesn't have enough rooms. New hotels would keep that money in the city.
- Related and Olympia presented an aggressive 5-year timeline for the development, with 2023 seeing the start of construction of the DCI, rehabbing the apartments on Henry Street for affordable housing, and starting construction on a new office tower in front of Comerica Park.
The crowd had opportunities to ask questions of the team. These questions ranged from calls for more affordable housing, if the development team could advocate for more transit in the area, what about the rest of the District Detroit that was promised, and how the public should trust these plans, since so many have been seen before. Olympia President Keith Bradford noted that these are the plans are the current vision that they're moving forward with, and that having Related Companies on board creates a stronger partnership, since they've done so much work around the country with building offices and affordable housing.
The CBO meetings will continue on Tuesday evenings; the public is welcome in person at Cass Tech or on Zoom. More information on the project, including the presentation, can be found here.