Local group tries to draw development interest to historic Milwaukee Junction

A group is putting out a call to property owners, developers, and artists to help save a concentration of historic buildings that don't receive as much attention as those in Detroit's more popular neighborhoods. The Friends of Milwaukee Junction is a non-profit organization formed to preserve an area of town once known as the center of Detroit manufacturing power.

Friends of Milwaukee Junction is looking to achieve more historic designations within the district, stabilize the neighborhood, and attract new developers. "There's no one watching these buildings," says president Dave Biskner. "If we don't get concerned citizens paying attention, we're going to lose another after another."

Biskner is hoping one way to curb vandalism and blight is to duplicate what's being done in the Grand River Creative Corridor. He recently connected with GRCC founder Derek Weaver. While he's open to any idea and encourages people to reach out, Biskner is looking to make public art a key selling point of the district. He's hoping for both artists and property owners to donate talent and space.

Recent successes include a mural painting in the Beaubien Street viaduct and eliminating vandalism on a local church.

Milwaukee Junction contains one of the largest -- if not the largest -- concentrations of early 20th century industrial architecture in North America. The area first sprang up around an east-west and north-south railroad junction, ideal for manufacturing operations of any sort. Milwaukee Junction remains attached to a major transportation hub, as interstates 75 and 94 meet at its center.

The 710-acre district reaches across the expressways, touching Woodward, Warren, and St. Aubin at different points. Within its boundaries are a variety of industrial buildings, from re-purposed factories such as the successful Russell Industrial Center to the abandoned and blighted Fisher Body Plant 21.

Connect with Friends of Milwaukee Junction here.

Source: Dave Biskner, president of Friends of Milwaukee Junction
Writer: MJ Galbraith
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MJ Galbraith is Model D's development news editor. Follow him on Twitter @mikegalbraith.