Downtown Detroit Partnership Announces Redesign for Capitol Park


The Downtown Detroit Partnership, in collaboration with the city of Detroit, today announced its selection of Toronto-based urban design and landscape architecture firm Public Work as the lead designer for the upcoming Capitol Park renovation.

The firm will create and implement a complete park renovation plan for the district, which is expected to begin construction in fall 2017.

“DDP continues to demonstrate strength, vision, and leadership in the cultivation of great public spaces,” says Eric Larson, CEO of DDP. “This will be transformational for the area, providing an anchor to our economic and social stewardship. Public Work’s commitment to community engagement, combined with their unique design approach, made them the perfect fit for this project.”

DDP’s decision is part of an ongoing community engagement process, which began with DDP working closely with stakeholders and community members to garner feedback and suggestions regarding improvements for Capitol Park. The renovation is intended to support economic development around the park and provide an amenity to existing and future residents and visitors to the area.

Public Work was selected by Capitol Park stakeholders and will present a renovation plan and concept designs to the community for further input and feedback in spring 2017.

“Our team looks forward to continuing the process with the community to create a design for Capitol Park that can dramatize the experience of place and revive this dormant space as the engaging, vibrant heart of this historic district,” says Marc Ryan and Adam Nicklin, co-founders and principals of Public Work.

“We see the resurgence of Capitol Park as an opportunity to create a meaningful dialogue with the many layers of the site’s history, while projecting a bold future for this unique place. We are thrilled to be part of an initiative that will prioritize the cultivation of life in the public realm as part of the larger urban transformations taking place in Detroit.”

Capitol Park’s redesign is intended to create a more engaging space for residents and visitors, provide park amenities, and support new and existing businesses in the area. Groundbreaking is expected to begin in fall 2017, with completion anticipated for spring 2018. The park will be funded by DPP through their private sector partners.

DPP works to strengthen and support Downtown Detroit through strategic initiatives and programs by bringing together businesses, philanthropic, and government partners.

The park was the site of the state’s first capitol building, which was built in the 1820s as a two-story courthouse with a tower that spanned 140 feet from the ground. It was the tallest building in the city for several years. When Michigan officially became a state in 1837, the facility was used as the state capitol. In 1847, the state capitol was established in Lansing, and the former building was converted to a school. It was destroyed in a fire in 1893.

Today, there are 17 buildings that border the triangular park, all of which are being renovated or have recently been remodeled, including the Farwell Building, David Stott Building, Lear Innovation Center, Detroit Savings Bank Building, The Albert, and Malcomson Building.

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