The most exciting developments in Detroit for 2018

Placemaking projects. Infrastructure investment. Apartments, condos, hotels, and much, much more. When it comes to development in Detroit, there's plenty to look forward to in 2018. Big money developers and scrappy start-ups alike have been working toward the completion of their various projects, and a number of them will be opening their doors this year.

What follows is just some of the developments that we're particularly interested in following, from the city center and to the neighborhoods.

Downtown developments

While it's going to be remarkable to watch the construction of the 800-foot tall tower at the old Hudson's site downtown, that landmark project of Dan Gilbert's won't be completed until 2022 at the earliest. There are, however, a slew of downtown developments slated to be completed in 2018.

According to a report released by the Downtown Detroit Partnership, there's the Element Detroit at the Metropolitan Building, a hotel that is opening in the long-vacant and blighted historic building once slated for demolition; the Farwell Building, a mixed-use historic rehab in Capitol Park; Gabriel Houze, the former home of the Archdiocese of Detroit that is being converted into residential units; Philip Houze, 100 renovated apartment units off of Grand Circus Park; and the Shinola Hotel, a redevelopment of a historic building on Woodward Avenue.

All are scheduled to open in 2018.

[Read our article on what's behind the city's boutique hotel boom]

Saint Rita Apartments

In the city's North End neighborhood, a groundbreaking was held for the redevelopment of a historic 26-unit apartment building, the Saint Rita. All 26 units of that building are reserved for the homeless, or those making 30 percent or less of the area median income, which is about $14,000 a year. There will also be on-site support services, and homeless veterans will be given first priority.

The Saint Rita Apartments building, built in 1916 and listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 2017, has been vacant for over ten years. Its first residents in more than a decade will move in come fall of this year.

[Read all the articles from our On the Ground series in the North End]

Two from The Platform

In the few short years since its founding, development group The Platform has already made quite a name for itself. While working to re-invigorate the iconic Fisher Building, Platform partners Peter Cummings and Dietrich Knoer have started projects in multiple corners of the city, from Brightmoor to Islandview.

Two of those developments are scheduled to reach significant milestones this year. In Milwaukee Junction, Phase One of the mixed-used development Baltimore Station is set to open this summer. The project sees the renovation of two historic buildings as well as the new construction of a third level on top, resulting in 8,000 sq. ft. of retail and 23 apartment units. Phase Two will break ground this February.

In late 2018, the 207,000 sq. ft. Third and Grand will open in New Center. The new-build development will feature ground floor retail and five floors of residential, resulting in 231 new units.

[Read our article on how The Platform is taking a neighborhood approach to development]

Fitzgerald Revitalization Project

The Platform group is also involved in what's being billed as one of the largest neighborhood redevelopment projects in the city, partnering with Century Partners to renovate 115 vacant homes and landscape 192 vacant lots in the Fitzgerald neighborhood in northwest Detroit. A groundbreaking ceremony was held in October of 2017 and this year stands to be a significant one of construction for the massive Fitzgerald Revitalization Project.

[Read our profile on Century Partners and their goal to provide investment opportunities for all Detroiters]

"The trick, and it's not a trick that has been pulled off successfully in many cities, is to create a good mix of incomes living in the same neighborhood and to enhance neighborhoods without displacing people," The Platform's Cummings told Model D in 2017. "We're very mindful of these things. We'll probably make mistakes along the way. We won't get it quite right. But we'll learn as we go and get it better."

African Bead Museum

Fresh off the heels of a successful crowdfunding campaign, the Dabls MBAD African Bead Museum is now better equipped to make significant improvements to its Grand River Avenue campus. Having met its $50,000 goal—and, in fact, exceeding it—the museum is the beneficiary of a matching $50,000 grant from the state's Public Spaces Community Places program. The money raised will result in tangible improvements, including a renovated rowhouse that will feature free rotating exhibitions of African beads and artifacts, as well as a public gathering place and events space.

The Dabls MBAD African Bead Museum features the African Bead Gallery, N'kisi House, and African Language Wall, as well as 18 outdoor installations. It opened in 1994.


An affordable housing project first announced in early 2017 took shape over the course of the year, and construction is now slated to begin in the latter half of 2018. The $6.4 million project will renovate the vacant Transfiguration School in the Banglatown neighborhood, resulting in 23 residential units, all of which will be considered affordable housing at 60 percent of the area median income. The plans call for the demolition of 18 blighted vacant homes around the property.

Commercial corridors

Commercial corridors in 23 city neighborhoods are set to receive significant physical improvements, thanks to a $125 million bond approved by Detroit City Council in 2017. Construction begins early this year. Improvements include upgrades to corridor roads, sidewalks, and landscaping. Some corridors will receive improved bike lanes and parking, and even some wider sidewalks for outdoor patio seating. The goal is to make the city's commercial corridors more attractive and pedestrian-friendly.

The 23 commercial corridors are Livernois, W. McNichols, E. Jefferson, W. Jefferson, Jos Campau, Kercheval, Vernor, Bagley, Clairmount, Russell, Beaubien, Fisher Freeway Service Drive, E. Warren, Dexter, Lawley, E. Davison Service Drive, Mt. Elliott, Redford Street, Puritan, Warwick, Plainview, Plymouth, and 7 Mile.

Read more articles by MJ Galbraith.

MJ Galbraith is Model D's development news editor. Follow him on Twitter @mikegalbraith.