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Detroit

Between an engaged younger citizenry and the return of beloved Mayor Dave Bing, there's a renewed sense of purpose all around Detroit.

Launch Slideshow

A. Alfred Taubman Center for Design Education Architect: Albert Kahn Associates, Detroit. Completion: 2009. Brief: 76,000-s.f. historic rehab for the College for Creative Studies; received $65 million in incentives, credits, and grants.

Detroit

Detroit

  • A. Alfred Taubman Center for Design Education Architect: Albert Kahn Associates, Detroit. Completion: 2009. Brief: 76,000-s.f. historic rehab for the College for Creative Studies; received $65 million in incentives, credits, and grants.

    http://www.proavmagazine.com/Images/tmp55A4%2Etmp_tcm46-372058.jpg

    A. Alfred Taubman Center for Design Education Architect: Albert Kahn Associates, Detroit. Completion: 2009. Brief: 76,000-s.f. historic rehab for the College for Creative Studies; received $65 million in incentives, credits, and grants.

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    Justin Maconochie/Courtesy College for Creative Studies

    A. Alfred Taubman Center for Design Education
    Architect: Albert Kahn Associates, Detroit
    Completion: 2009
    Brief: 760,000-s.f. historic rehab for the College for Creative Studies; received $65 million in incentives, credits, and grants.

  • Globe Trading Building Architect: Archive Design Studio, Detroit. Completion: 2012. Brief: $8 million rehab of 19th century manufacturing plant into mixed-use property on the RiverWalk.

    http://www.proavmagazine.com/Images/tmp55A6%2Etmp_tcm46-372076.jpg

    Globe Trading Building Architect: Archive Design Studio, Detroit. Completion: 2012. Brief: $8 million rehab of 19th century manufacturing plant into mixed-use property on the RiverWalk.

    600

    Archive Design Studio

    Globe Trading Building
    Architect: Archive Design Studio, Detroit
    Completion: 2012
    Brief: $8 million rehab of 19th century manufacturing plant into mixed-use property on the RiverWalk.

  • Westin Book Cadillac Architect: Kaczmar Architects, Cleveland. Completion: 2008. Brief: $180 million renovation of a Louis Kamperdesigned building, the worlds tallest hotel when it was built in 1924.

    http://www.proavmagazine.com/Images/tmp55A7%2Etmp_tcm46-372085.jpg

    Westin Book Cadillac Architect: Kaczmar Architects, Cleveland. Completion: 2008. Brief: $180 million renovation of a Louis Kamperdesigned building, the worlds tallest hotel when it was built in 1924.

    600

    Westin Book Cadillac

    Westin Book Cadillac
    Architect: Kaczmar Architects, Cleveland
    Completion: 2008
    Brief: $180 million renovation of a Louis Kamper-designed building, the world's tallest hotel when it was built in 1924.

  • Woodward Garden Venue Architect: McIntosh Poris Associates (design), Detroit; Quinn Evans Architects (architect of record), Ann Arbor, Mich. Completion: 2011. Brief: $6 million rehab (theater) and new construction (mixed-use apartment building) to revitalize a midtown block.

    http://www.proavmagazine.com/Images/tmp55A8%2Etmp_tcm46-372094.jpg

    Woodward Garden Venue Architect: McIntosh Poris Associates (design), Detroit; Quinn Evans Architects (architect of record), Ann Arbor, Mich. Completion: 2011. Brief: $6 million rehab (theater) and new construction (mixed-use apartment building) to revitalize a midtown block.

    600

    McIntosh Poris Associates

    Woodward Garden Venue
    Architect: McIntosh Poris Associates (design), Detroit; Quinn Evans Architects (architect of record), Ann Arbor, Mich.
    Completion: 2011
    Brief: $6 million rehab (theater) and new construction (mixed-use apartment building) to revitalize a midtown block.

Talk to enough people in the Motor City, and you start to believe the buzz about a comeback. There’s a renewed sense of purpose in Detroit, ushered in by the return of beloved Mayor Dave Bing and a new City Council. To be sure, there is also gloom in Wayne County, Detroit’s home, which has led the nation in out-migration every year since 2006. By some estimates, the vacant land in Detroit equals the size of San Francisco. And unemployment remains high, hovering around 15 percent (at press time, the national rate was 9.7 percent).

Despite the challenges, though, residents believe they can turn this baby around. Developers are using tax credits—for preservation, green renovations, workforce housing, and more—to leverage Detroit’s incredible stock of architecture. And over the past 10 years, more than $15 billion has been invested in the city.

Young people, drawn by a thriving arts scene and low cost of living, are infusing Detroit with new energy. “There’s a great momentum among the post–baby boomers, who really do want to make things happen,” says native Michael Poris of McIntosh Poris Associates. The younger set is jump-starting the small business sector. And the New Economy Initiative for Southeast Michigan is driving growth in the aerospace and alternative energy industries.

In March, the Kresge Foundation announced it would pay the undisclosed salary of urban planning expert Toni Griffin. Griffin, who directed Newark, N.J.’s revitalization effort, will spearhead the shrinking of Detroit’s urban footprint. “The solutions—urban agriculture, intensifying certain areas, allotting resources for others—aren’t from left field,” says Archive Design Studio principal Mark Nickita. “It’s not a new idea, but this time it feels more formal.”

Alan Cobb, senior vice president at Albert Kahn Associates, expects the city to leverage its past as it plans its future. “Detroit has been a place for significant innovation in the last century,” he says. “It’s going to be a difficult decade. However, I’m still optimistic.”

Population/Employment
Population: 912,062; January 2010 unemployment: 15.4%.

Office Market
The 9.2 million s.f. of Class A space in the central business district is 80.5% occupied; average asking rate: $23.27/s.f.

Residential Market
Median home sale price, October 2009: $55,000.

Market Strengths
• New city government
• Engaged citizenry
• Vibrant city center

Market Concerns
• Lingering bad reputation
• Local and state economy among nation’s worst
• High unemployment

Forecast
“Getting [Mayor] Dave Bing back into place is a huge win,” says Archive Design Studio principal Mark Nickita. “The young politically and culturally minded people want to make the city more accountable. I’m very encouraged by that. We have our problems, but we have a lot to build on. We’re not going away.”

Correction, May 24, 2010: The write-up for the A. Alfred Taubman Center for Design Education (see the slide show) provided an incorrect number for the building's size, which is actually 760,000 square feet. We regret the error. 

 


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