Flickers of Hope

Like lonely hearts seeking love, five downtown Detroit buildings may soon flash a more engaging smile in hopes of attracting suitors.


Published:

A fledgling project designed to highlight several vacant city–owned buildings could illuminate dark windows, brightening hopes along with the city skyline. Targeted are structures on Woodward and two others, including the historic Harmonie Club building, says Detroit Economic Growth Corp. (DEGC) Vice President of Project Management Malik Goodwin.

The DEGC plan calls for installing solar-powered lighting and façade improvements. “I think it’s important to do what we can to increase the perception of safety, and to highlight the buildings to entrepreneurs [seeking] business space,” Goodwin says.

McIntosh Poris Associates in Birmingham has been selected to implement the idea. “It’s not just about putting lights in; it’s about adding to the streetscape at night,” says architect Michael Poris, McIntosh Poris co-founder. Likening the plan to designing a film set, Poris says the buildings “don’t necessarily have to be used, but let’s bring the street life back.” The project could include selling surplus energy generated by alternative sources back to the utility companies to help subsidize costs. “We’re just trying to be innovative in the way that we deal with vacant structures downtown — in a way that’s more sustainable,” Goodwin says.

Being sustainable includes keeping what we have, Poris says. “There’s an authenticity and there are economic benefits to keeping the buildings,” he says. “A lot of these buildings would cost a lot to replicate. Without them, Detroit is not Detroit anymore.”

The improvements should be visible by year’s end, Goodwin says. He says a true success would extend beyond the five improved buildings. He hopes the project will inspire other area property owners to implement similar tactics.

Edit Module
Edit Module Edit ModuleShow Tags

Archive »Related Content

An Hour with ... Carmen Harlan

Broadcast journalist and founder of the Carmen Harlan Collection

God-Given Talent

A local choir sings its way to live television

The Sincere Storyteller

Broadway fans will soon learn, playwright Dominique Morisseau’s work is unapologetically Detroit

Do Good

The Greater Detroit Philanthropy Awards are back with eight new recipients

The Unsung Superhero

At the drawing board with Marvel illustrator, Jim Towe
Edit Module
Edit ModuleShow Tags

Most Popular

  1. Best Dressed 2018
    Pulling back the curtain on this year’s selection of the region’s most stylish denizens
  2. Keeping Up with Sheefy McFly
    The multitalented visual artist and musician is ubiquitous in the Motor City
  3. Excellence in Care: Beaumont Health
    Hour Detroit presented Beaumont Health with an Excellence in Care Award for this extraordinary...
  4. Gathering Spot
    Eastern Market restaurant finds its groove after a rocky beginning
  5. Food Recipe: Barbecue Mac & Cheese
    Vast Kitchen and Bar executive chef, Jordan Gillis, upgrades the comfort staple
  6. Sanctuary for the Senses
    Castalia in Midtown offers a cocktail experience unlike any other
  7. Excellence in Care: St. Joseph Mercy Health
    Hour Detroit presented St. Joseph Mercy Health with an Excellence in Care Award for this...
  8. Deeply Rooted
    Influenced by their ancestors, Native American artists celebrate indigenous culture through...
  9. The Sincere Storyteller
    Broadway fans will soon learn, playwright Dominique Morisseau’s work is unapologetically Detroit
  10. God-Given Talent
    A local choir sings its way to live television