East Riverfront Streetscapes in Detroit Will Get Makeover from Bedrock

Bedrock, a Midwest real estate developer managing more than 100 properties throughout Detroit and Cleveland, has revealed plans for a series of beautification projects aimed at enhancing the vibrancy and walkability of its east riverfront portfolio in Detroit.
An aerial view of James Scott Memorial Fountain, it's lagoon and
Bedrock’s east riverfront portfolio in Detroit will see upgrades to its walkability and public art scene following Bedrock’s activations and plans. // Stock Photo

Bedrock, a Midwest real estate developer managing more than 100 properties throughout Detroit and Cleveland, has revealed plans for a series of beautification projects aimed at enhancing the vibrancy and walkability of its east riverfront portfolio in Detroit.

Located midway between Hart Plaza and Belle Isle, Bedrock’s property consists of more than 900,000-square-feet of deployable office, amenity, and residential space, combined with approximately 1,600 parking spots.

“Due to the efforts of the community and the Riverfront Conservancy, the Detroit Riverfront is already a terrific public asset,” says Kofi Bonner, CEO of Bedrock. “The millions of visitors and residents on the Riverfront are a testament to the concentrated efforts of the many public, private, and philanthropic entities supporting this important area of town.  The various public enhancements being announced today represent our initial contribution to the continuous improvement of the Riverfront.”

In collaboration with the city of Detroit, the improvements underway include the strategic placement of planters, flowers and trees, benches, and lighting. Public artwork, curated by Library Street Collective, will be placed along Atwater Street, Chene, and Joseph Campau Avenue to enhance established institutions such as the Aretha Franklin Amphitheatre and Atwater Brewery.

“We have been proud to be a part of the Detroit community, and specifically, the Rivertown neighborhood for the past 25 years,” says Katy McBrady, president of Atwater Brewery. “As long-term tenants of the neighborhood we are delighted to hear about Bedrock’s plans and look forward to the next chapter for our community.”

Streetscape and artwork deployments include:

New event lawn: The parking lot adjacent to Atwater Brewery will be reconfigured as an event lawn complete with custom planters and foliage. Festoon lights will be placed across Joseph Campau Avenue and the lot will be lined with boxed planters to provide a sense of community and ambiance.

New boardwalk:
Bedrock will construct a boardwalk complete with benches and festoons along the frontage of Atwater — connecting Valade Park to Joseph Campau. The addition of RGB lighting on the existing trees will create a livelier and pedestrian-friendly neighborhood setting.

New up-lighting:
All Bedrock-owned buildings will feature new façade up-lighting. This will increase ambient light levels and enhance the feeling of warmth and community.

Public art installations will include local Detroit artists’ murals and installations throughout the riverfront reflective of the broader community and to enhance well-established establishments such as the Aretha Franklin Amphitheater. These art installations will further beautify the area, act as conversation starters, and further offer one-of-a-kind experiences for both residents and visitors alike.

“As a riverfront destination for 35 years, we welcome the continued beautification and neighborhood enhancements for all to experience and enjoy,” says Shahida Mausi, president and CEO of The Right Productions. “The melding of the legacy of the synergy of great artists across genres is exciting and is certain to create an inspiring place to work and live.”

Specifically, Bedrock and Library Street Collective will engage with The Gilda Snowden Estate to create a custom mural in memory of Snowden’s legacy in the city of Detroit. The mural will extend across the entire southwestern facing of the 5-story Atwater Brewery parking lot structure.

Local Detroit artist Patrick Ethen will design and install a beautiful and mesmerizing light installation, and Ellen Rutt to paint a 200-foot street mural along Atwater Street between Chene and Joseph Campau Avenue.

Darius Barber will install a series of illuminated structures embedded with images based on iconic musicians with ties to Motown and Detroit. Historic photos will serve as inspiration and portrait will be created to honor the music legend, Aretha Franklin.

“I’m thankful for the opportunity to share my talents, especially in this aspect,” says Barber. “I find music to be extremely inspirational — it’s a wonderful connector. The language and the practice of instrumentation and vocalization helped build my artistic identity. As we know, Detroit helped shape the world’s musical identity, so to paint these portraits of legendary musicians is an honor.”

Bedrock will continue to pilot and deploy a variety of forward-thinking urban design, district systems, and innovative technology aimed at enhancing neighborhood design along the riverfront.

“Jefferson East, having worked to support the Rivertown neighborhood for years, is thrilled to have Bedrock as a major anchor and investor to further the revitalization of this amazing and historic Detroit community,” says Josh Elling, CEO of Jefferson East Inc. “This important work will promote walkability, create a sense of place and establish wonderful amenities for residents, all Detroiters and visitors in the Rivertown neighborhood and the Detroit Riverwalk.”

Specific details will be released later this year as Bedrock further positions the riverfront as the ideal sustainable urban neighborhood.