$60 million redevelopment project to add housing to Detroit's riverfront

Jul 23, 2013

In the last week, there have been a slew of worrisome reports coming out of Detroit, but here’s one that’s more optimistic.

Despite Detroit’s recent filing for bankruptcy, McCormack Baron Salazar, a developer from St. Louis, has proposed a $60 million project that would redevelop a stretch of the riverfront east of the Renaissance Center.

According to JC Reindl at the Detroit Free Press, the development plan includes five blocks of apartments, town houses, and small-scale retail along the east riverfront. 

The $60-million project would fill mostly vacant land east of the Renaissance Center, north of Atwater Street and just west of the popular Dequindre Cut Greenway. The proposed mix of three- to four-story town houses and apartment buildings could offer monthly rental rates of about $850 up to $1,700.

The project is banking on the continued interest of young professionals moving into the downtown area.

Richard Baron, the company’s chairman and CEO is a Detroit native. In an interview with the Free Press, he said:

“We think that there’s pent-up demand for the housing product with the workforce downtown and others. I’ve always wanted to come back to Detroit and help with the redevelopment of the city.”

The finances for the project are still being discussed. The Economic Development Corp. of the City of Detroit currently controls most of the land for the proposed development.

The EDC’s board is expected to approve an agreement that could transfer the property for $1 if the developer is able to line up financing from various governmental, foundation and private sources. The EDC is also expected to contribute a $1.7-million loan.

[…]

Like all recent downtown and Midtown developments, this east riverfront project would depend on a hodgepodge of various government subsidies and foundation support, as Detroit rents are not yet high enough to support all-private ventures.

This development is a continuation of the trend we’re seeing in the downtown and Midtown areas. These two sections of Detroit are receiving greater public and private support for redevelopment projects and seeing an increase in population – mostly young professionals.

The same development is not seen in other neighborhoods around the city.  

The developers hope to break ground on the project next spring and have it completed by early 2016.

-Julia Field, Michigan Radio Newsroom