One of the largest new construction projects in Detroit has a new name and builder. The University of Michigan announced this week that the Detroit Center for Innovation will now be called the University of Michigan Center for Innovation.
Stephen Ross has donated $100 million to the $250 million project, and the state dedicated $100 million to it last year. Olympia Development will donate the land, and $50 million will come from donors.
The UMCI will have graduate education focused on technology, robotics, sustainability and computer science; it will also have talent-based community development and community engagement programs that center around economic development and job-growth in Detroit.
“Our founding as a university traces back to Detroit, so it’s fitting that we reinvigorate and build on our commitment to the city through this center,” said UofM President Santa J. Ono. “UMCI is essential for our future. We are searching for a new director who will be a critical voice within the community, as well as an essential liaison with our many stakeholders in Detroit.”
The project will break ground this year. With UofM taking over, they can build according to their specific needs.
The UCMI has been part of the bigger plans for District Detroit, although never part of the tax abatements and community benefits process. The 10-building, $1.5 billion development, set to break ground this summer, will bring over 1,000,000 square feet of new office space to downtown, along with residential, retail, and hotel space.
The building was announced in 2019 in partnership with Bedrock as part of the development on the former jail site on Gratiot. After announcing a move from the site, in late 2021, Related Companies announced their partnership with Olympia to build it on Olympia's vacant properties downtown.
Bedrock still plans an innovation district for the site.
Among other properties in Detroit, UofM is also planning a $40 million renovation of the Rackham Building in Midtown, across from the Detroit Institute of Arts.