District Detroit plans $1.5B investment for 10 buildings while some from 2017 sit unfinished

Posted at 1:44 PM, Nov 15, 2022
and last updated 2022-11-15 20:42:57-05

Ilitch Companies, Olympia Development of Michigan and other organizations announced plans for a proposed $1.5 billion development of several new and renovated buildings in The District Detroit.

The announcement comes while several buildings that were announced in 2017 sit unfinished.

According to Ilitch Companies, the plan will include office, retail, hotel and housing space across 10 properties. Four of those will be renovated historic buildings and six of those will be new buildings, according to the organization.

Related: Years after announcing 686 new apartments, little work has been done on District Detroit housing

In all, it's expected that there will be 695 residential units, four commercial office buildings and two proposed hotels.

In 2021, we reported on the promises the Ilitches made in 2017 about six residential buildings, calling it at the time the "largest single announcement of new apartment units, affordable units and redeveloped historic buildings in more than 20 years."

Renovation and construction was expected to start on them in 2017 and 2018, but in that time, none of them had opened and construction had only started on the Eddystone. Since our 2021 report, construction is nearly finished on the Eddystone.

In our 2021 report, Ed Saenz, the director of communications, pointed us to a number of press releases showing what they called "steady, balanced and community-minded development."

"It is not uncommon for the pacing of development projects throughout the country, including in Detroit, to change or alter over time. This is due to a variety of reasons, including community and market needs, demand, tenant interest, the need for additional planning, as well as general economic conditions (including COVID-19)," wrote Saenz in 2021.

In the plan announced Tuesday, the Community Benefits Ordinance (CBO) will be the next phase in the proposed $1.5 billion plan.

The CBO will allow residents living in the area to have a say in the project and negotiate certain benefits.

Ilitch Companies will hold the first two meetings – one on Nov. 29 and one on Nov. 6 – to allow community members to learn more about the plans. They will also select members on the Neighborhood Advisory Council to negotiate, which will include nine members – 2 selected by residents living in the area, three selected by City Council members and four selected from the Planning & Development Department.

Of the proposed buildings, one of them – 408 Temple – is a renovation that was first announced in 2017.

Another proposed plan includes reusing the Fox Theatre Office Space and turning it into a hotel, with the Ilitches saying it will not alter the theatre.