Demolition at last building on Northville Downs marks the end of an era

Posted at 6:32 PM, Jul 01, 2024

NORTHVILLE, Mich. (WXYZ) — After weeks of work, demolition is almost complete at Northville Downs race track.

Crews are now working to tear down the historic clubhouse which is the last structure on the site. Once completed, the site will be home to The Downs, a development that includes 443 residential units, retail, parks, and green space.

RELATED STORY: Officials break ground on new development at former Northville Downs site

Officials break ground on new development at former Northville Downs site

"I loved all the ambiance. We used to go to the starting gate all the time," said longtime resident Dory Schmidt as she reminisced on the race track and laughed. "I’m not much of a gambler so I've only been a couple times and I lost all my money so I never really went back."

DORY SCHMIDT, NORTHVILLE DOWNS

William Hundley is the owner of Tuscan Cafe which is a short walk from the site. He says he’s hoping more people are inclined to walk to his shops and others once the development is finished.

"I think like any big development, there’s apprehension but I think there’s also excitement around that as well," said Hundley. "I’m not a city designer but if I was I’d take a countywide park, I’d dead end it into a farmers market with a river walk with a central park and a pedestrian-friendly business district. That sounds exactly like what you’d want to have and we’re on the precipice of making that happen."

william hundley northville downs

The demolition has not been without hiccups. Just last weekend, demo of another building on the site resulted in an oil spill in the Rouge River.

RELATED VIDEO: Demolition of building on The Downs development property in Northville causes oil spill

Demolition of building on The Downs development property in Northville causes oil spill

First responders installed booms to mitigate the spill.

"The booms were put in the river as really a preventative measure and it’s to stop any residual oil that got off the site and got into the river to keep it really here in the area and be able to take it out of the river," said City Manager George Lahanas. "So, at this point, if we receive the all-clear (from EGLE) the developer will maybe have the booms removed today."

GEORGE LAHANAS northville downs

Lahanas says they’re expecting the clubhouse demolition to take a few weeks then the grading process will begin.

While some neighbors 7 News Detroit spoke with off camera shared environmental concerns surrounding dust produced by the project and potential traffic headaches once completed, the city says they’re excited to see what’s ahead.

"It’s a tremendous investment. I think it’s about $350 million dollars in total. So at the end of the day, people want to come and invest in our region. I think that’s a great thing. People see a lot of promise here," said Lahanas.

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