Motown Museum in Detroit Starts Work on Ford Motor Co. Theater

Motown Museum in Detroit today began construction and unveiled new renderings for the third phase of its expansion, a nearly 40,000-square-foot space the will house exhibits, the Ford Motor Co. Theater, an expanded retail experience, and more directly behind the Hitsville U.S.A. building.
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The third phase of the Motown Museum expansion will house exhibits, the Ford Motor Co. Theater, and retail. // Courtesy of Motown Museum
The third phase of the Motown Museum expansion will house exhibits, the Ford Motor Co. Theater, and retail. // Courtesy of Motown Museum

Motown Museum in Detroit today began construction and unveiled new renderings for the third phase of its expansion, a nearly 40,000-square-foot space the will house exhibits, the Ford Motor Co. Theater, an expanded retail experience, and more directly behind the Hitsville U.S.A. building.

When completed, the new museum campus is expected to have a transformative impact on the surrounding Detroit neighborhoods, providing employment, sustainability, and community pride by serving as a catalyst for new investment and additional tourism in the historic area.

“After a successful event to welcome guests back to the museum and celebrate the completion of phases one and two of our expansion, we are thrilled to share the new renderings for our third and final expansion phase,” says Robin Terry, chairwoman and CEO of Motown Museum.

“This new space will create jobs in our local community and drive additional tourism to Detroit and the State of Michigan as Motown fans from around the globe can interact with the Motown story through one-of-a-kind interactive experiences. The expansion will allow us to share the often-untold stories of those who helped build the Motown legacy and create memorable opportunities for fans to interact with their favorite artists in new ways.”

Courtesy of Motown Museum
Courtesy of Motown Museum

The renderings of the third and final phase of the $55 million expansion offer a fresh look at the final phase of the museum’s expansion plans. The museum released its latest funding milestone in August, with the campaign reaching $43 million raised following an announcement of $5 million from Rocket Cos. and the Gilbert Family Foundation. The expansion design is led by the North Carolina practice of global architecture and design firm Perkins&Will.

“As we’ve immersed ourselves in the history of Motown, the design evolved to tell an even more compelling story that the expanded museum will share with the world,” says Zena Howard, principal and global cultural and civic practice chair at Perkins&Will.

“The gold exterior of the expansion is a celebration of the many Motown accomplishments. It provides an elegant backdrop to Hitsville U.S.A., complementing a story of Motown’s humble beginnings and its world shaping impact. This design is a way of telling the Motown story through architecture.”

The recently completed phase one of the expansion — Hitsville NEXT — offers a signature slate of community-focused programs, workshops, and events designed to activate and inspire future generations of creatives, artists, and entrepreneurs.

Headquartered within three historic, Motown-era buildings at 2654-2658 W. Grand Blvd. — previously owned by Motown Records — Hitsville NEXT now features professional recording pods, a community activation space, and programming to foster emerging talent. Programs featured in the Hitsville NEXT line up include its spoken word competition Motown Mic, Amplify, a singing competition; The Lyric Project songwriting workshop; and its Ignite and Spark summer camps.

Courtesy of Motown Museum
Courtesy of Motown Museum

Phase two, named Rocket Plaza, serves as a destination for museum visitors, meant to inspire joy and creative collaboration with regularly activated performances by local talent and unique opportunities for emerging entrepreneurs.

The plaza is inspired by a time when young Motown acts like Smokey Robinson and the Miracles, the Supremes, The Temptations, The Four Tops and many others would hang out in front of Motown’s headquarters.

Museum visitors arrive at a granite paver expanse surrounded by colorful flowers, lush plantings, park benches, and a pop-up performance stage surrounded by a sound system playing their favorite Motown hits. Hitsville NEXT and Rocket Plaza were designed by Detroit-based architectural firm Hamilton Anderson & Associates.

For more information, please visit motownmuseum.org.

To view photos from the recent star-studded grand opening of Hitsville NEXT and the Rocket Plaza, click here.

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