A new development on Detroit's east side took another step forward on Tuesday. The Ribbon, a $6 million mixed-use adaptive reuse project, received approval of a Michigan Community Revitalization Program performance-based loan of $1.3 million, plus Detroit brownfield support at $552,426.
The Ribbon is led by Edward Carrington of Flux City Development. It was designed by Infuz Architects and the contractor is Artisan Contracting. Construction is expected to start this summer and be completed by Fall 2024.
The development will take a former one-story, 5,760-square-foot Charter Bank building on the corner of East Warren and Kensington and transform it into a three-story, 21,000-square-foot modern mixed-use building. The development includes retail and common areas, plus 18 residential units on the top two floors. Many of the residential units will be offered at 50-80% Area Median Income. Outside, the Ribbon will have an outdoor dining plaza and improvements will be made to lighting, sidewalks, and landscaping on site.
The project came about as part of the Strategic Neighborhood Fund. "In February of 2020, Invest Detroit sought proposals from qualified entities to rehabilitate the existing commercial structure on the East Warren Commercial Corridor," says Carrington. "The Ribbon was selected based on direct input from local residents as to who should gain the ability to develop the site."
Carrington calls himself the Mayor of Flux City. "A developer interacts with so many stakeholders throughout the entirety of the project (communities, tenants, architects, GCs, funders), and must make sure that all of these stakeholders are happy to a certain extent, similar to what a mayor does when running a city."
He says that during the engagement period, the community gave a lot of input into what they'd like to see in the space. "During our engagement sessions, amenities that the community could directly interact with, such as a café, market, restaurant and bar, were in high demand. The community made it clear that they have a real need for spaces for neighbors to congregate and collaborate together." A retail tenant hasn't been named yet, but they plan on incorporating the community's top requests and will bring a café/restaurant to the space.
Last spring, the city announced improvement plans for East Warren through the Strategic Neighborhood Fund, including housing stabilization, streetscaping, and park improvements. "With the help of the Strategic Neighborhood initiative, and many amenities like quick access to neighboring cities, long-standing retail shopping choices, public/private schools, and strong community bones," says Carrington, "the East Warren Commercial Corridor is primed to become one of the best throughways in the City."