Detroit Regional Chamber > Detroiter Magazine > Projects to Watch

Projects to Watch

July 2, 2021
By John Gallagher

As the Detroit skyline evolves, there’s no shortage of projects that are poised to continue to transform the city. These offer just a snapshot of development underway across Detroit.

The $60-million Woodward West project saw construction get underway in late 2020. The project looks to open in 2022, adding another 204 apartments to the Midtown neighborhood. Woodward West will also feature some 25,000 square feet of retail space. The two-acre site is located at Woodward and Stimson Street on the lower end of the Midtown district. Detroit-based developers The Platform LLC and Queen Lillian II LLC are partnering to build the project.


The long-anticipated new Meijer Rivertown Market also got underway in late 2020 and should be ready to open by the end of this year. The 42,000-square-foot Meijer at 1475 E. Jefferson Ave. should create about 60 permanent jobs. The free-standing store, somewhat smaller than Meijer’s normal superstore format, will have 100 parking spaces on land totaling 2.21 acres. Prominent businessman and Chamber Board Member Dennis Archer Jr. is among the partners bringing the project to life.

This educational venture occupies the 53-acre former site of Marygrove College on Detroit’s west side. Partners in the innovative educational endeavor include the Marygrove Conservancy, The Kresge Foundation, the University of Michigan School of Education, the Detroit Public Schools Community District, Starfish Family Services and developer IFF. Some 120 ninth graders arrived in fall 2019 and other pieces of the project are moving ahead. The campus prioritizes students from the surrounding neighborhood. Kresge’s $50 million commitment is the largest by any foundation to a Detroit neighborhood project.

The Henry Ford Cancer Institute at Henry Ford Health System recently opened the new Brigitte Harris Cancer Pavilion in Detroit’s New Center district. Connected to Henry Ford Hospital by the Nancy Vlasic Skywalk over West Grand Boulevard, the new cancer pavilion is designed to serve as a destination for integrated cancer care, featuring specialty clinics for 14 different types of cancer as well as precision medicine, clinical trials, and supportive services.


The Sugar Hill Arts District project is a $36.3 million mixed-use development being built on a vacant lot at the northwest corner of John R and Garfield streets near the John D. Dingell VA Medical Center. It is designed to support inclusive growth of the historic Sugar Hill district as a residential, cultural, and commercial en.clave in the Midtown area. It will feature 68 apartments, 11,900 square feet of retail, and 164 public parking spaces. Fourteen of the apartments will be set aside as affordable housing targeted to formerly homeless veterans.

The Michigan Statewide Carpenters and Millwrights Joint Apprenticeship and Training Fund is creating its $30-million, 147,000-square-foot training facility in the Oakman Boulevard area on Detroit’s west side. The new seven-acre facility will consolidate training under one roof; currently training is spread around the region. “For Detroit residents, this school will be an opportunity to start a lifelong career in the skilled trades, debt-free,” Mayor Mike Duggan said. “With all of the construction that is coming to Detroit, this school could not come at a better time.”

In late February, University of Detroit Mercy officials and supporters broke ground on their multi-part campus renovation project. Beginning with a renovation and expansion of the Student Union, the work will see the demolition of the Fisher Administration Center and Reno Hall and include upgrades to academic buildings, administrative space, and residence halls, among much else. Nearly every building on UD Mercy’s campus on Detroit’s west side will be touched. Supporters have pledged some $115 million to the project.

Jefferson-Chalmers is one of Detroit’s historic neighborhoods, located on the far east side bordering Grosse Pointe Park and the Detroit River. It is one of Mayor Mike Duggan’s priorities in his Strategic Neighborhood Fund, an effort to marshal philanthropic dollars to help selected districts across the city. In May 2019, auto racing legend and Detroit businessman Roger Penske pledged $5 million to the fund to invest in Jefferson-Chalmers. The Penske money is part of growing revitalization work in the district, which is renovating derelict buildings and seeing new housing and retail shops opening.

Located at 2426 Michigan Avenue in the city’s Corktown district, SteelHaus Detroit is using empty shipping containers to create both commercial space and loft apartments. Bridging spaces between the containers allows for an open loft feel, with ceilings of up to 18 feet. Developers Nicole Stopka-Nichols and Chris Nichols hope to have the units ready for move-in in 2022. The project will add another attraction to the rapidly redeveloping area near Ford’s work at the Michigan Central Station.

City officials and developers broke ground last fall on Osi Arts Apartments, a $6.6-million apartment project in Detroit’s Woodbridge district. The four-story building should be ready for occupancy by 2022. George N’Namdi, owner of the N’Namdi Center for Contemporary Art in Midtown, partnered with Roderick Hardamon, CEO of URGE Development Group, in the project. The design includes a colorful angular geometry that N’Namdi hopes will spur greater interest in the arts in the district.


This 1960s-era office tower, rebranded as the 211 Tower, at Fort and Washington in downtown Detroit was purchased by new owners in 2020. Crain’s Detroit Business reports that the tower is undergoing more than $10 million in renovations to include a cocktail bar, a restaurant, and a café operated by CoffeeHaus. The 28-story building is about 75 percent occupied; it was purchased by a joint venture including Grosse Pointe-based Foster Financial Co. and Tribus, a family office.


This one-time Cadillac stamping plant was purchased by a Missouri-based developer, which is mapping a $50 million rebuild project. With demolition still underway in June, developers plan to raise a new 682,000-square-foot facility to create 450 jobs.. It will be targeted toward automotive suppliers, advanced manufacturing and logistics, light assembly, and warehouse. The site, at 9501 Conner on the city’s east side, should be ready for occupancy around the beginning of 2022.

John Gallagher is a freelance writer and author in Detroit, and formerly of the Detroit Free Press.