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  1. #1

    Default New $77 Million Midtown West Development Announcement

    Huge announcement coming today. This is a huge site on Midtown. Nice to see it expanding west toward the Lodge.

    http://www.freep.com/story/news/loca...gle/100967280/

  2. #2

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    The slow crawl of development beyond the core continues.

  3. #3

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    This is the Wigle site. The RFP was pretty interesting and should give some indication of the final design. High density housing and restoring the street grid. Looks like a good framework for a plan. We'll see later today!

    http://www.detroitmi.gov/Portals/0/d...-14-172420-687

  4. #4

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    renderings!










  5. #5

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    I'm not going to complain that this is happening. But I think the options described in the RFP were very sensible.

    The options described in the RFP had the urban design and housing typologies of a proper urban neighborhood. Homes with direct entrances on the street, private backyards, and a park with play equipment and sports fields. The type of quiet ordinary place with the right features and amenities that a young family would want to live there.

    That area is predominantly residential and it's within walking distance to good schools. I thought it would be a great opportunity to make a high quality urban family oriented development.

    Based on these renderings this is a yuppie filling cabinet, contrived to make it seem exciting and urban. The mews section for example has a good sense of scale and good materials, but there's not going to be a lively urban scene there, because despite some entrances to units being there, the typology, the fixed design, the type of ownership, and the type of people living there, it's not a situation where people take ownership of their portion of the street and give it life. Elsewhere there are parks and "green space", and they'll look nice on the occasion that someone is walking through them, because there's nothing actually to do in those places. They're dead spaces dressed up like intimate urbanism.

    Places like this also exist in cities, but I thought this would be a great opportunity to build a neighborhood and not just X hundred new units. This is also much better than similar developments in Detroit. So this is still all good news. The RFP got my hopes up is all.

  6. #6

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    It's a HUD mix,the RFP states 50% of the units be retained for rental.

    So that would leave the rest for resale which would be pretty good as half would stabilize and make it not so high turn over.

    But the terms can only be enforced for the HUD grant for their minium required time frame,so 3 to 5 years from now it will become all market rate,it might be good as an investment to pick one up now and resale it after the conversion.

    I hope it works to help stabilize the city more.

  7. #7

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    Is this how government handballs it's public housing obligations over to the private sector? Are there any "Project Housing" like developments anymore?

  8. #8

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    Quote Originally Posted by SammyS View Post
    Is this how government handballs it's public housing obligations over to the private sector? Are there any "Project Housing" like developments anymore?
    Yes to the first part and no to the second part.

    Cabrini Green in Chicago was a test for the concept of if you surround yourself with positive people you get positive results,so as they were demolishing those projects they integrated the residents into the neighborhoods in the hopes that it would instill positive results,unfortunately there are always a few that screw it up for everybody else and coupled with the gangs had no other place to go and decided to now mark their new neighborhood as their new territory.Effectively destroying the new Territory.

    2002 -2003 around is about the time the suburbs basically going to hell,because of a few.

    So that did not fly well with suburbanites and of course there was resistance so to combat that under Mr Obama,HUD came up with the diversified income neighborhood initiative or close to that,it pretty much tells the cities that every neighborhood needs to have at least 50% lower income or matching race,if the cities did not comply then millions of HUD dollars would be held from the cities.So if you have a neighborhood that is predominately one race or income it is the cities responsibility to encourage residents to move about to make that goal.

    After Hurricane Katrina and coupled with the housing boom,HUD said no more projects and increased the monthly housing allowance to local market standards,so most places it would go from $800 a month to $1600 a month.

    What they do now is still a project of sorts but new built is income based with very strict rules,must have a job or be on disability,get caught with drugs or any of your family members or visiting friends get caught with drugs and you are out,get a felony and your case is reviewed.

    They are actually quite nice and a respectable place to live without the stereo type project stigma.

    But HUD has limited funds and can only do so much so they said,if you are a apartment builder and agree to build your apartment and set aside a percentage of your units for 3 years at below market rates we will kick some millions in to help you build this thing.

    Seems like a good enough solution,but the problem is that the builders are loosing 25% value off of the top,so the solution was to build,wait out the three years and sell and the new owners look at an immediate 25% increase in revenue because they can now eliminate those market rate apartments.

    So they then take those monies from the sale and do it all over again,flipping apartment buildings every three years.

    So is it so bad when this process takes place? I do not think so.

    I think the one in Midtown being proposed is a good deal for the city if they stick to the 50% home sales guideline,because not only would it create stability but it would also give those ones in the 20% market rate apartments maybe an opportunity in the future to move on to home ownership.They would basically have a three year window to work towards that goal.

    That is a chunk of change $77 million because you look at 10 years down the road when the wear is showing and no home ownership as a long term stability goal for the city as a whole it could be considered a not very good investment of tax dollars.

    The RFP at a glance seems well thought out with the taxpayers and other residents of the city kept in mind in the big picture,that is actually nice to see and gives a lot of hope for the city.

    Not related to this post but they have been doing the same thing with the schools that Mr Duggan took control of instead of demolishing and not limiting the adaptive reuse like the school board used to do which would seal their fate from day one.

    He is kinda killing the whole Democrat run cities are garbage aspect.

  9. #9

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    Republican vs. Democrat politics just don't matter as much at the local level. Or at least not in the broad, national sense we think of them.

  10. #10

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    I echo the earlier concerns about the nature of this development, but I also question the cost. Is $77 million enough to build this out with any quality?

    1953

  11. #11

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    That is why I mentioned the 10 year aspect,here in Fl anyways the time when you get quality built is with a custom builder.

    Everything else is just thrown up and quality applies if the gap on a closed bedroom door is less then 1/2 inch.

    Throw them up quick and cheap because you are dumping them in 3 years anyways.

    That is not saying this is the case of the currant project in discussion it could be very well a qaulity project.

  12. #12

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    I hate that the only other playfield in Midtown (Tolin Park/Mack and Chrysler Fwy being the other) is being converted into a residential development. As much as I complain about urban planning in the past, the one thing that they got right was creating parks and playfields (some having recreation centers) around elementary and middle schools. These were places where the kids of those schools could get exercise and learn a sport or two. There are still two schools bordering Wigle Park/Playfield. In the not too distant past, Wigle Park/Playfield had two baseball fields, a basketball court, and a rec center. At one time, Cass Tech's marching band would practice there.

    Now, I know that city finances prior to the bankruptcy forced the closing of the Wigle rec center, but the playfield was still a viable location for recreational pursuits. Over the last two or three years, the land where the rec center stood had become the sight for skate boarding. On the Curbed website, when reporting on this development, it said that this was the largest parcel of vacant land in Midtown. That's incorrect. Wigle Park/Playfield wasn't vacant land. It was a park/playfield that these new residents could have made good use of if they lived nearby on other truly vacant plots of land. Can't understand how the city signed off on this development. The park/playfield should have remained. In my opinion, this was poor planning on the part of the City of Detroit.
    Last edited by royce; April-29-17 at 05:17 AM.

  13. #13

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    Let's see, a big open space that generates no tax money, enjoyed by skateboarders, or a multi-million dollar development that brings money and people into the area? Tough choice.

  14. #14

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    Quote Originally Posted by EGrant View Post
    Let's see, a big open space that generates no tax money, enjoyed by skateboarders, or a multi-million dollar development that brings money and people into the area? Tough choice.
    Greenspace and recreational facilities should be essential and indispensable components of a thriving urban neighborhood. Spaces like Wigle Playfield and its recreation center, if maintained, could have been a great asset to the neighborhood, and could have appreciably increased the quality of life of midtown residents. An urban neighborhood shouldn't just consist of apartments, lofts, bars, and restaurants. There are many, many, many smaller vacant lots in midtown that could still be developed into boxy modern apartment buildings.

  15. #15

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    Good points, masterblaster. I mentioned Tolin Playfield as being the only other playfield in Midtown. However, it soon will be gone (or very little will remain) once the Velodrome is put it. If you look at Google Earth you'll see a grayish line going through the park and into the parking lots of the Children's Hospital and Wayne State properties. That use to be how far Tolin Playfield went. Private concerns bought out public space. Also, one of the PAL football teams has been practicing there for years. They'll have to go elsewhere with the building of the velodrome. I don't know if the basketball courts will survive.

    Here's a simple question for those who don't have a problem with this development going on a city park/playfield: where will you go in Midtown if you want to have a simple pick-up game of softball with some friends?

  16. #16

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    Quote Originally Posted by Jason View Post
    I'm not going to complain that this is happening. But I think the options described in the RFP were very sensible.

    The options described in the RFP had the urban design and housing typologies of a proper urban neighborhood. Homes with direct entrances on the street, private backyards, and a park with play equipment and sports fields. The type of quiet ordinary place with the right features and amenities that a young family would want to live there.

    That area is predominantly residential and it's within walking distance to good schools. I thought it would be a great opportunity to make a high quality urban family oriented development.

    Based on these renderings this is a yuppie filling cabinet, contrived to make it seem exciting and urban. The mews section for example has a good sense of scale and good materials, but there's not going to be a lively urban scene there, because despite some entrances to units being there, the typology, the fixed design, the type of ownership, and the type of people living there, it's not a situation where people take ownership of their portion of the street and give it life. Elsewhere there are parks and "green space", and they'll look nice on the occasion that someone is walking through them, because there's nothing actually to do in those places. They're dead spaces dressed up like intimate urbanism.

    Places like this also exist in cities, but I thought this would be a great opportunity to build a neighborhood and not just X hundred new units. This is also much better than similar developments in Detroit. So this is still all good news. The RFP got my hopes up is all.
    Are you really saying building some townhomes is better than a denser mixed used development?
    This will extended and compliment the coming retail and residential developments along Selden between 2nd and 3rd. The options in the RFP didn't do that. The density of this development will do far to create lively neighborhood.

  17. #17

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    The press release doesn't state the number of units but says "hundreds", which I'm guessing is the low 200s. The ones in the RFP were between 150 and 220 units. However, considering that the townhouses would have more than one person living in them and that most of the apartment units would not, the population density would be comparable.

    The new plans state 8,000 square feet of retail space (this building is about 7,000 square feet: https://goo.gl/maps/VdnDK5Ah2tS2 ). Option B in the RFP looks to have about 15,000.

    I'm definitely not arguing for a low density development. Option B of the RFP contains high quality public space (which outside of downtown Detroit has very very little), comparable population density, more retail space, more neighborhood oriented housing typologies, and more activated sidewalks. It does a better job of shielding freeway noise and sight lines. The views of the units are all good, either overlooking their own backyard or the main park. The park even has space for a rec center if it was someday desired to rebuild the old one.

    The complication of option 3 is that it creates the park by putting units into a few taller buildings. The townhouses would be very simple 2 story stick built rectangles which is basically as cheap as you can get, and cheaper to build than the apartment buildings in the renderings. Would that cost savings cover the difference for the taller buildings?

    My guess is that the decision to make apartment buildings was driven by the developers who want a product that is predictable and controllable. If they did more townhouses they'd have to bet that there's that much demand for that typology, and if there are small front gardens (these aren't in the RFP schemes but I would advocate for them) and backyards they have to depend on the occupants maintaining them.

    This is all balancing different pros and cons. If a Chinese billionaire came over and decided that Detroit needed a Hong Kong style development (you know, a handful of 50 story apartment towers built on a 5 story shopping mall podium), the pros of having that density would outweigh the cons associated with it. But that's not the situation Detroit is in. On the other hand cities in the UK and the Netherlands have a lot of rowhouses which are a surprisingly dense typology. And Tokyo has a high density and it's mostly single family detached houses!

  18. #18

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    I drove by both parks on Wednesday. A lot of skateboarders at Wigle. At Tolan, a wrap surrounds the area that they'll build the velodrome. It takes up half the park, eliminating half of the football field.

    Now, regarding the new development. Where are residences going to put their cars? I see that there are spaces in front of one of the buildings near the Lodge, but I'll have to assume that they'll have to park on the newly opened streets. Well, you know how I feel about this development.

  19. #19

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    Can we at least agree this looks a hell of a lot better than the lame townhouses and suburban style apartment complexes that are all around this area?

  20. #20

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    Last edited by JonWylie; September-17-19 at 07:11 PM.

  21. #21

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    Interesting building, walking the fine line between unique and prison-chic.

    Also forgot a DIY skatepark was torn down to make room for this development. Understandable, but to see the project sit dormant for over a year while no one could use the park isn't ideal.
    Last edited by EGrant; September-17-19 at 08:29 PM.

  22. #22

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    I'm annoyed with how absurdly delayed this project is. Next spring? Really? And Libeskind? urgh, who asked for this? His work is terrible. I very much liked the original design.

  23. #23

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    I hate it

  24. #24

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    Quality of materials and how it fits in with the rest of the development will likely determine if I end up liking this or not. I am a fan of Detroit getting more modern structures though and the name attached doesn't hurt despite what people think of his work.

  25. #25

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    Quote Originally Posted by southen View Post
    Quality of materials and how it fits in with the rest of the development will likely determine if I end up liking this or not. I am a fan of Detroit getting more modern structures though and the name attached doesn't hurt despite what people think of his work.
    I agree. The details in the rendering are subpar. It definitely has potential to be a really nice property.

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