Upscale Somerset CityLoft, indie 71 Pop set up shop in Detroit

Jul 28, 2011

Retail stores are literally popping up around Detroit this weekend.

You use to have to drive about 30 minutes outside of Detroit if you wanted to shop at the tony, upscale Somerset Collection in Troy. But now you can browse the shelves of Neiman Marcus and Saks Fifth Avenue in midtown Detroit. It’s part of a new pop up mall of sorts called “Somerset CityLoft."

The retail space will be open for one weekend a month, starting today through Saturday, July 30. (Thursday and Friday 10 a.m. – 7 p.m., Saturday 10 a.m. – 6 p.m.).

Margaret Dewar is a professor of urban planning at the University of Michigan. She says " a lot of retailers are a bit cautious and risk averse about coming to the city. And these are going to be, I think, good tests of whether there’s sufficient demand to merit more" than just pop ups.

"One can imagine it also makes it more interesting for employees who can take their lunch hours to go see these places," adds Dewar. "Right now there aren’t very many choices of that kind. They might think, gee, this would be an interesting place to live!"

The Detroit News says a number of companies chipped in to help Somerset CityLoft become a reality:

Project funding came from Somerset and sponsors Quicken Loans Inc., Cadillac and Bank of America. Quicken Loans, founded by Detroit entrepreneur and developer Dan Gilbert, is paying the rent for CityLoft.

The project will draw city residents and workers as well as shoppers from the suburbs who might not otherwise come downtown, said Jim Bieri, principal at Stokas Bieri Real Estate in Detroit.

A new store called "71 Pop" celebrates its grand opening Saturday, July 30 from 2 p.m. - 5 p.m. It's for local, emerging designers. Each month, a new set of artists will be featured.

Emily Thornhill owns Homeslice Clothing, and her pieces will be on display at 71 Pop this month. She thinks 71 Pop is a "fantastic" idea. "It's about time Detroit brings some new, unique retailers in," she adds.

Real Detroit Weekly describes the new bricks and mortar store like this:

The retail space is located in the new & highly improved, historic building of 71 Garfield, Detroit. This abandoned building was revived by green-friendly leaders, rebuilt with systems utilizing water & solar power, as well as many other energy efficient installations while retaining the buildings original architectural features. This ornate, yet modern building is designed to cater to artists for residence, studio, or business. An appropriate environment for 71 POP.

Earlier this week, Whole Foods announced it would set up shop in midtown by 2013.