Detroit readies for new residents

By: Linda Shepard | Rochester Post | Published August 17, 2016

 Leasing agent Michael Martorelli speaks with Bernice Thompson, of West Bloomfield, in a unit under construction at The Griswold in Detroit.

Leasing agent Michael Martorelli speaks with Bernice Thompson, of West Bloomfield, in a unit under construction at The Griswold in Detroit.

Photo by Sean Work

DETROIT — Next year, and for the first time in more than 60 years, city officials are expecting Detroit’s residential population to increase. 

“Demand for living in Detroit is growing every day,” said Detroit Mayor Michael Duggan in a prepared statement. “Census numbers show the city’s decades of population decline is reversing.” 

Six new housing developments in various stages of construction opened for view Aug. 5 and 6 during the first Downtown Living Tour, presented by Hour Detroit and Detroit Home.  

Visitors toured new apartments, lofts and condominiums in downtown, Lafayette Park and Brush Park, walking through construction sites and moving to upper floors in clanky temporary elevators. 

Tour guides from the Detroit Experience Factory led groups through the city via bus during the Aug. 5 VIP preview. Current apartments have “99 percent occupancy,” said guide Jon Chezick. “Detroit has brought in 17,000 new jobs in the past six years.” 

Chezick gave bus passengers a short history of some Detroit neighborhoods and information about modern city living. 

“One of the myths about Detroit is there are no grocery stores,” he said. “There are over 100 grocery stores in the city. Not many chain stores like Kroger and Wal-Mart, but there are two new Meijer stores — one at Eight Mile and Woodward, and one on Grand River —  and a Whole Foods Market is in midtown.” 

The city also is home to more than 1,400 urban gardens, he said. 

According to Duggan, 5,000 new housing units are being built or planned in Detroit. Officials are aiming for more pedestrian and bike-friendly routes, and adding landscaped medians. 

“Our focus is on creating self-contained neighborhoods where you can easily bike or walk to everything you need on a daily basis — restaurants, shopping, transportation and recreation — within 20 minutes of your home,” he said. 

The Downtown Living Tour introduced new housing options in a variety of price and style options. Capitol Park Lofts will offer high-end apartments that range from $853 to $3,180 a month in the newly renovated Capitol Park neighborhood downtown. The building will feature a rooftop deck with a gas grill. 

In the same area, The Griswold’s 9-foot floor-to-ceiling windows offer views of the city’s skyline and entertainment district. Monthly apartment rates begin at $1,500 and top out at $3,500 a month. 

The Fort Shelby Residences are above the historic Fort Shelby Hotel, which first opened in 1917. Designed by famed architect Albert Kahn, the 23-story tower holds 56 condos in the city’s central business district that range in price from $280,000 to $1 million. 

The luxury apartments of DuCharme Place in Lafayette Park feature direct access to the biking and walking trail known as the Dequindre Cut, and a swimming pool and deck in a roomy landscaped garden terrace. Prices range from $1,250 to $1,850 a month. 

Brush Park soon will be home to two new developments, The Scott and City Modern. The Scott is located on Woodward Avenue and Erskine Street, and monthly apartment prices start at $949. City Modern will blend historic homes with modern flats and more. Both developments feature access to the new QLINE streetcar, slated to open in 2017. 

Lynette Boyle, of Grosse Pointe Woods, and Ellen Mahoney, of Bloomfield Hills, were among the hundreds attending the VIP Downtown Living Tour. 

“There is a shortage of housing in Detroit,” said Mahoney, a real estate broker.

“We love Detroit,” Boyle said. “There is so much happening and so much to do.” 

“I don’t know whether there has ever been a more exciting time to live in Detroit,” Duggan said.