Metro Detroit Community Development Projects in 2024

Get details on what’s happening at Hudson’s, a new high-rise at the former Joe Louis site, and Hart Plaza’s upcoming facelift. Plus, what’s coming in 2025.
The 25-story Residences at Water Square will offer splendid views from the former Joe Louis Arena site. // Photograph by William Hosie, Sterling Group

Project: The Residences at Water Square

What it is: Just over 40 years after the first two Riverfront Towers were constructed, Detroit will finally have another riverfront high-rise to move into. The 25-story Residences at Water Square is on the verge of opening on the former Joe Louis Arena site. This month, the Sterling Group is set to complete 500 studio and one-bedroom units and two-bedroom penthouses with floor-to-ceiling windows that provide stunning views of the city and river — and our neighbors in Windsor, Ontario. The building’s website showcases renderings featuring modern apartments with custom Italian cabinetry and closet systems, quartz countertops and backsplashes, and touches of Detroit’s industrial style with exposed ceiling vents. And unlike in similar apartment buildings in other major cities, in-unit washers and dryers are available (yes, even in the studios). Other amenities include work-from-home spaces, pet-grooming stations, and a rooftop terrace and sky lounge 300 feet above the ground. The building is conveniently located steps from the RiverWalk, and it’s within walking distance of the GM Renaissance Center, Hart Plaza, Campus Martius Park, and many other downtown spots.
Where: 222 Third St.
When: February 2024
How much: $40.3 million

Project: Hart Plaza

What it is: At the center of Hart Plaza’s $9 million renovation — funded by President Joe Biden’s American Rescue Plan Act — is the restoration of the 1981 Horace E. Dodge and Son Memorial Fountain. The iconic structure is composed of 300 jets that are supposed to perform 33 different spray patterns. However, it’s been unable to put on a proper show for years, only turned on occasionally for events — in 2013, it made headlines after scrappers stole the copper wiring from its control room. Now, in just a few months, the fountain will return to its former glory once new lighting and nozzles are installed, the plaza is waterproofed, columns are pressure-tested, and other renovations are made. The plaza’s restoration also includes repairing the amphitheater’s seats, which have deteriorated over the years as water has leaked into the substructure and damaged the marble slab material. Depending on how the water leakage is resolved, the slabs could be replaced with either stadium seats or grass. Other technical aspects of the plaza will also be addressed, such as updating the fire alarm systems and replacing plumbing.
Where: Hart Plaza
When: April 2024
How much: $9 million

Project: Hudson’s Site

What it is: Detroit’s Hudson’s site is not only one of the most anticipated developments of 2024 — after breaking ground in 2017 — but also a symbol of the city’s rejuvenation efforts, as countless other downtown projects followed in its wake. One of the development’s two buildings was projected to be the tallest structure in Detroit at 800 feet, then at 900 feet with an observation deck, before it was brought down to 684 feet. Although its height will be second to the Renaissance Center’s, this doesn’t impair the elegance of the structure’s glass facade nor negate the availability of 1.5 million square feet of office, retail, hotel, and residential space, which contains 97 luxury condos. Development plans also include an interior gallery for displaying art and a modern, vibrantly green outdoor plaza that welcomes guests.
Where: 1208 Woodward Ave.
When: Sometime in 2024
How much: $1.4 billion

Project: The Residences @150 Bagley

What it is: Just a short walk from Comerica Park, Ford Field, Little Caesars Arena, and the Fox Theatre in the neighborhood near Grand Circus Park sits the former United Artists Building, now transformed into an 18-story residential structure. The Residences @ 150 Bagley has 148 one- and two-bedroom apartments — 20 percent of which are designated for affordable housing. A neglected building that has been essentially vacant for around 50 years (owned by the Ilitch family organization since 1997) will now have several luxury floor plans for residents to choose from with a plethora of amenities, including large black-framed windows, high ceilings, large kitchen islands, and over 10,000 square feet of retail and dining space on the first floor. Behind the project is the Bagley Development Group, an African American-led team working to revive structures in a way that stays true to Detroit’s legacy. During this endeavor, they combated skepticism while making it a point to hire Black contractors and subcontractors.
Where: 150 Bagley St.
When: Spring 2024
How much: $80 million

Coming in 2025: Gordie Howe International Bridge

The Gordie Howe International Bridge will be the longest cable-stayed bridge in North America. // Photograph courtesy of the Windsor-Detroit Bridge Authority

What it is: The construction of what will be the longest cable-stayed bridge span in North America has been going on since 2018, and the end is near. The project was conceived to improve travel efficiency at the Windsor-Detroit Gateway (the Detroit-Windsor Tunnel and the Ambassador Bridge), the busiest commercial land border between the U.S. and Canada — on average, over 40,000 commuters and tourists cross the Ambassador Bridge daily. The Gordie Howe International Bridge’s six-lane structure, which stretches from southwest Detroit’s Delray neighborhood to west Windsor, will incorporate a multiuse path for pedestrians and cyclists separated from traffic with concrete borders. (Cyclists especially will appreciate that it connects the Great Lakes Waterfront Trail in Ontario to the Iron Belle Trail in Michigan.) However, don’t forget your passport or ID! You won’t be able to walk across the border without it. At press time in early December, the bridge had reached its full height of 722 feet, more than half of the 216 stay cables had been installed on the U.S. and Canadian towers, and the bridge’s composite deck over the river (made with a blend of recycled plastic and reclaimed wood fibers) was half complete.
Where: The Michigan entrance ramps will be on I-75 in southwest Detroit.
When: Fall of 2025 
How much: $5.7 billion

Coming in 2025: Michigan’s First RH Gallery

In 2025, downtown Birmingham will be home to Michigan’s first full-service RH
(formerly Restoration Hardware). // Rendering courtesy of Saroki Architecture.

What it is: After four long years, downtown Birmingham will be home to Michigan’s first full-service RH (formerly known as Restoration Hardware) gallery. The first three levels of the mammoth four-story building will serve as a showroom to display lighting, furniture, and textiles, while a restaurant is planned for the fourth level, where guests can grab a glass of wine to enjoy as they browse the decor. Although the Birmingham City Commission approved the final site plan in 2021, the exterior design was altered a year later to give the building a unique appearance not shared with any RH building in the world. Unlike the many other locations that sport a red-brick look complemented by black-framed windows, the RH in Birmingham will be constructed with tan bricks from Denmark and appear more illuminated with clear, frameless windows.
Where: 300-394 S. Old Woodward Ave.
When: March 2025
How much: $140 million

Coming in 2025: Park Avenue Building

What it is: Initially targeted for demolition in 2014, the Park Avenue Building was the last “dangerous” downtown building designated by the city of Detroit, and for good reason. Not only would chunks of brick and limestone fall onto the sidewalk, but shards of window glass would fly off as the wind blew. However, the historic structure is making a comeback after decades of neglect and will transform into a mixed-use site. For the 115,000-square-foot, 12-story building, developer Infinity Homes & Co. has planned up to 10,500 square feet of retail space between the first floor and lower level. There will also be 80 residential units, consisting of studio and one- and two-bedroom apartments, 20 percent of which are designated for affordable housing. The historic building’s facade is also getting a facelift and will be entirely refinished — creating a fresh, less-dangerous look. The site is located across from Grand Circus Park and is a stone’s throw from Cliff Bell’s.
Where: 2001 Park Ave.
When: 2025
How much: $22 million

Coming in 2025: Ralph C. Wilson Jr. Centennial Park

The 22-acre Ralph C. Wilson Jr. Centennial Park will include an animal-themed playground, basketball courts, and a water garden. // Photograph courtesy of the Detroit Riverfront Conservancy

What it is: In October 2023, the Detroit Riverfront Conservancy celebrated the completion of the East Riverwalk. Next up is the transformation of the West Riverfront Park into an exciting and interactive destination, to be renamed the Ralph C. Wilson Jr. Centennial Park. The Detroit Riverfront Conservancy has led this project since 2017 after purchasing the land a decade earlier and formed an advisory team made up of 21 locals to understand the community’s desired outcomes, such as creating a connection between the city and the river. Of the 22 acres available, 2.5 acres will be utilized to construct the Huron-Clinton Metroparks Water Garden, the first Metroparks location in the city of Detroit. Within the garden will be the Barbara Erb Cove (the Fred A. and Barbara M. Erb Family Foundation provided a $3 million grant to create this special corner of the garden). There, visitors can touch the water, closely observe the fish and native plants, and learn about the local wildlife. Water vessels will also be available to allow guests to explore this section of the park further. Other areas of the park will include the William Davidson Sport House, with two basketball courts; the Delta Dental Play Garden featuring various animal-themed play structures, including a 20- foot bear with a slide; and the DTE Foundation Hill — a large lawn designated for events.
Where: Detroit riverfront
When: Second quarter of 2025
How much: $75 million

Coming in 2025: Henry Street Apartments

What it is: In 2018, the Detroit City Council voted to create the Cass Henry Historic District to protect several century-old buildings from being torn down by Olympia Development. Now, the seven buildings that make up this district are being restored, creating 170 residential units, about half of which will be designated for affordable housing. Additionally, existing residents will be able to continue renting at or near their current rental rates. Found along Henry Street and Cass Avenue, bounded by Second Street and the I-75 service drive, the apartments will be a quick walk away from Little Caesars Arena, and residents will also enjoy a green space designed around the affordable residential community that enhances the beauty and livability of the area.
Where: South side of Henry between Cass and Second
When: Winter 2025
How much: $70.5 million

This story is from the January 2024 issue of Hour Detroit magazine. Read more in our digital edition.