Mexicantown is part of Southwest Detroit, one of the only neighborhoods in the city to see population growing, in a large part because of an influx of immigrants to the area. Itís also seeing a boom in businesses -- from established businesses expanding, to new rehabbed housing and a huge Mercado project. Itís a cultural and tourist destination, as well as an emerging neighborhood and close-knit community.
It may seem like the growth of Mexicantown is organic -- and much of it is.
People who live in Mexicantown know that their businesses will do
better if the neighborhood is successful. Residents are active and
That's been the attitude historically, from Father Gabriel Richard to Father Robert Dugan of Ste. Anneís Church, who realized their church didnít have a future if the neighborhood didnít. Both have been major impetuses to rebuilding the community, because they understood the direct correlation.
Restaurants and the big cultural events, like el Dia de los Muertos and Cinco de Mayo, attract growing legions of visitors -- people who are interested in experiencing the food and rich culture of the neighborhood.
"We're a destination spot, and it's a marketing opportunity that smart business owners will figure out how to provide for all those people who want to come here anyway," says resident Margaret Garry.
"We know our residents are underserved -- on the low end and the high end. Theyíre spending money on quality stuff," she says.
The Bagley and Vernor corridors especially are prime spots for retail. A Pedestrian Bridge is in the works and it will connect the two sections of Bagley sliced by I-75.
Existing businesses are booming even without the pedestrian bridge. Businesses like El Comal and Honeybee La Colmena have expanded. Honeybee, a favorite among locals for its meat counter and fresh veggies, grew by four times the square footage, an impressive 15,000 square feet. Owner Ken Koehler, whose wife's family has owned the business for 50 years, has been around the see the neighborhood change. "This area was at a standstill for a long time, so we're [business owners in the area] all excited, because weíre finally starting to see movement in the area. There are people moving into this area, and itís a great thing. I see it continuing to grow."
Lauren Bruyninga, a young real estate agent at O'Connor Real Estate and Development in Corktown (a stone's throw from the border of Mexicantown) and a resident of Southwest Detroit, is a staunch believer in investing in Mexicantown real estate. "I'm more interested and excited about Hubbard Farms than my own neighborhood," she says. "I'm going to live on Vinewood if it kills me. It's my absolute favorite street in Detroit."
She bought a two-story, six-unit 1920s brick building on West Grand Boulevard -- at what she calls a steal. Four units were rent-ready and two needed to be gutted. Bruyninga has sold more homes in Mexicantown than any other neighborhood. "The homes there have maintained their architectural integrity ... and havenít been Ďruinedí by cheesy Home Depot-y updates," she says. Because of the price points and quality of existing homes, she calls the area a wise buy for single women who want to invest in property.
"The neighborhood," she says, "is a hidden gem." But, with all the investment and population growth, it may not be hidden for long.
For more information about Mexicantown visit the Model D
- Visiting Guide
- Moving Guide
Directions to Mexicantown
From the East:
Take I-94 West and merge onto I-96 East/Jefferies Fwy via exit 213B toward Canada. Then take the I-75 South/I-96 South exit toward Toledo and continue to exit 47B toward Bridge to Canada/Porter St. Stay straight to go onto West Fisher Fwy, then turn right onto 23rd St and continue to either Bagely St or W Vernor Hwy.
From the North:
Take I-75 South and merge onto I-94 West via exit 53B toward Chicago, then merge onto I-96 East/Jefferies Fwy via exit 213B toward Canada. Then take the I-75 South/I-96 South exit toward Toledo and continue to exit 47B toward Bridge to Canada/Porter St. Stay straight to go onto West Fisher Fwy, then turn right onto 23rd St and continue to either Bagely St or W Vernor Hwy.
From the West:
Take I-96 East to the I-75 South/I-96 South exit toward Toledo. Take exit 47B toward Bridge to Canada/Porter St. Stay straight to go onto West Fisher Fwy, then turn right onto 23rd St and continue to either Bagely St or W Vernor Hwy.
From the South:
Take I-94 East toward Detroit and merge onto exit 213B for I-96 East/ Jefferies Fwy toward Canada. Take exit 47B toward Bridge to Canada/Porter St. Stay straight to go onto West Fisher Fwy, then turn right onto 23rd St and continue to either Bagely St or W Vernor Hwy.
Take I-75 North toward Detroit and continue to exit 47A toward M-3/Clark Ave. Stay straight to go onto West Fisher Fwy, then turn left onto Clark St and turn right to W Vernor Hwy. Either stay straight on W Vernor or turn right onto Hubbard then left onto Bagely.
Ste. Anne's Townhouses
Ste. Anne's Catholic Church
El Dia de los Muertos sugar Skulls
Bagley, Mexicantown's Main Street
Homes on Vinewood
All Photographs Copyright Dave Krieger