Lots of people are vying for a stake in Detroit’s redevelopment efforts.
Perhaps there is no group more interested or concerned about the spread of neighborhood investment interest, than long-time city residents.
Some are already beginning to see a steady stream of investors sizing up or “evaluating” their beloved neighborhoods, but far too few know or appreciate the magnitude of what may be just around the corner.
Others feel invisible or overlooked. They wonder if new investments will ever arrive and question just how large a “welcome” sign they need to post to garner attention and investment.
Despite residents’ frustrations, more than a few neighborhoods have witnessed enviable increases in development and property values over the past two years.
Still, far too many of us worry whether we can afford to remain in the “new” Detroit, characterized by rising housing values and well-heeled newcomers with big ideas for transforming the neighborhoods we’ve longed called home.
The need for community awareness and engagement is critical. It’s important that we not only take part in, but lead, proactive conversations about neighborhood revitalization efforts aimed at embracing new investments, residents and revitalized neighborhoods that make room for us all and separate fact from fiction of what “is” and “is not” happening in Detroit’s neighborhoods.
That’s why TheHUB is taking particular care to examine the impact of neighborhood redevelopment issues in our expanded “Living In and Loving Detroit” (#LiveLoveDetroit) series. We’ll take an in-depth look at the size and scope of neighborhood redevelopment efforts and examine commitments being made by developers to build or preserve affordable housing for low-income families and seniors, explore whether gentrification without displacement is a threat or boon to Detroit, and we’ll examine the impact of minority contractor awards associated with related construction efforts.
We begin by chronicling the investments in Council District 5. This district, one of seven across the city, is the most economically diverse and geographically sweeping of all. While it includes much of Midtown and downtown, TheHUB reached into the shadows to turn the spotlight on the district’s iconic neighborhoods, from Lafayette Park and The Villages on the lower east side, winding our way up to the North End, Piety Hill and Virginia Park in the central parts of the city.
We discovered half a billion dollars in neighborhood investments underway in District 5 alone. These include residential developments and mixed-use projects that combine housing and retail or office spaces, renovations of historic industrial spaces to a modern healthcare facility.
These projects, whether located deep within a neighborhood or nearby along its familiar commercial corridors, bring additional economic opportunities for Detroiters with new jobs and a growing tax base for the city.
Some observers of Detroit’s revival are quick to criticize the comeback as limited in its scope and not making much of a difference in the traditional neighborhoods beyond downtown and Midtown.
We beg to differ.
With more than 139 square miles of city neighborhoods open to development, change may not come quickly. But it is coming. Whether you are a long-time resident, an incoming resident, part of the wave of new development or want to be, we invite you to take part in our Living in and Loving Detroit series, launched to proactively address the issues and opportunities surrounding neighborhood development efforts.
As always, we welcome your participation in the ongoing story that is Detroit’s.
Editor’s Note: This feature is a part of TheHUB’s Live Love Detroit series. See related posts:
TheHUB’s Publisher Jackie Berg and Neighborhood Economic Development Director Robert Dewaelsche discussed the launch “The Map” and the half-billion dollars in new investments underway in Detroit (District 5) neighborhoods on Small Talk with Mark S. Lee, which airs Sundays at 8 a.m. on WXYT 1270AM. Listen here.