Hockey Haven

The new $650 million Red Wings arena and entertainment district vows to dazzle Detroit.


(page 4 of 6)

“It allows anybody who’s talking to anybody to be able to tell the story, because the district is really about that vision coming to life,” Topacio says. “We all have to refer to it somehow, although eventually people will refer to it as the sports and entertainment district, or whatever they come up with on their own.”

Gyro also was asked to create logos and brand identities for each of the distinctive neighborhoods, which requires a full team of designers in order to ensure that each one has a distinctive look and feel.

As the neighborhoods rise and the business activity grows, everyone involved expects the milling and moving of people at street level will become a more common feature of the area. That’s by design, of course, and if one objective in promoting more pedestrian traffic is to spur surrounding retail development, Kraemer says initial feedback from out-of-town developers suggests it’s having the intended effect. 

“We’re getting weekly calls from developers out of New York, who are all very interested,” Kraemer says. “Prior to the 2008 economic drop, we would see calls on a limited basis from out-of-towners, and most of the time they were very trepidatious calls — kind of sniffing around, but very nervous. Asking, ‘Is it safe? What about the corruption?’ That’s all gone away. We don’t get asked if it’s safe. We don’t get asked about the city culture.”

While Kraemer believes District Detroit could help lay the groundwork for a retail revival on Woodward, he knows there are other issues that will have to be worked out before that happens.

“Retailers have been shy of Woodward Avenue because of the M-1 Rail,” Kraemer says. “While it’s under construction, no one wants to be a retailer in a construction zone. As soon as M-1 moves out of the way, you’ll see the next wave of retailers come in. And often, on Woodward, they’re … big retail spaces. You really have to have major retailers, whereas in Capitol Park and Harmonie Park, the retail spaces are more manageable.”

James Bieri, principal of Detroit-based Stokas Bieri Real Estate, says Olympia appears to have learned from other developments — some local, some not — that did well in their own right but created little in the way of spinoff development. Specifically, the developments of Comerica Park and Ford Field, which brought people downtown but didn’t spur significant new development in the area. He believes the Ilitch organization took a broader view of the District Detroit plan to ensure that wouldn’t be the case this time around. They can also learn a lesson, Bieri says, from what happened when the Washington Nationals’ stadium was built.

Edit Module
Edit Module Edit Module
Edit ModuleShow Tags

Related Articles

Endless Opportunities

Michigan’s automakers and suppliers are harnessing artificial intelligence capabilities in a bid to revolutionize the industry, but they’re not alone.

Huron-to-Erie Corridor

The region’s water economy, stretching from the southern end of Lake Huron to the northern tip of Lake Erie, is a major economic generator — but more marketing efforts could drive expenditures for fishing, boating, and charters even further.

Royal Deal

Through multiple twists and turns, Royal Oak’s plan to build a new city center includes selling land it owns to a private developer for $1, and investing $5.5 million in cash for an office building it won’t have an interest in.

Margin For Error

Donald Trump's upset win in Michigan during the 2016 presidential election exposed polling industry problems in the state that may prove long-lasting.

2016 Auto Dealership Consumer Guide

Edit ModuleShow Tags

Most Popular

  1. Macomb County Tops Country for Manufacturing Job Growth
    The U.S. Department of Labor Bureau of Labor Statistics recently reported that Macomb County is...
  2. Public Health, Economic Power Focus of Oakland County’s State of the County Speech
    Public health was at the forefront of Oakland County Executive L. Brooks Patterson’s 2019 State...
  3. Beaumont Health Announces Retailers for Royal Oak’s Woodward Corners
    Beaumont Health today announced retailers for Woodward Corners, a $32.8-million,...
  4. Southfield’s 123Net Partners with Stockholm’s Telia Carrier to Expand High-speed Fiber in Michigan
    123Net, a large data center services provider based in Southfield, today announced it has...
  5. Rochester Hills’ Oakland University Announces $20M Wilson Hall Expansion
    Oakland University in Rochester Hills plans to expand Wilson Hall. The $20.5-million project was...
  6. Taubman in Bloomfield Hills Sells Shares of Three Asian Shopping Centers for $480M
    Bloomfield Hills-based Taubman Centers Inc., a large luxury shopping mall developer, has agreed...