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Gilbert to start Tuesday on $70M Brush Park project

Ian Thibodeau
The Detroit News

Officials will break ground next week on Dan Gilbert’s $70 million mixed-use development project spanning 8.4 acres in Detroit’s Brush Park.

Gilbert will be joined at 1 p.m. Tuesday by Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan and other Rock Ventures and Brush Park Development Co. officials for a groundbreaking ceremony for the project, recently named “City Modern.”

Artist rendering of a townhome along John R. will be located directly north of the Ransom Gillis House in Detroit’s historic Brush Park neighborhood. Designed by Studio Dwell of Chicago, the three to four story townhomes are made of pewter brick and feature large glass windows and rooftop terraces as well as planters for landscaping along the sidewalk.

City Modern will have 410 units of housing spread throughout six apartment complexes, 17 townhouses, some duplexes and a number carriage houses. The project will also renovate four Victorian homes on Alfred Street.

The project kicked off just over a year ago when the Nicole Curtis renovations wrapped on the historic Ransom Gillis house on the corner of Alfred and John R.

Designs in the Gilbert-backed projects have set a precedent for other potential projects planned for the historic neighborhood. The neighborhood, once noted for its plethora of pitched roofs and asymmetrical shapes, will see buildings following “abstractly contextual” design elements that will subtly refer to the existing structures at the hands of Gilbert’s architects.

The modern designs already have received praise. The company and team of firms won the grand prize at the Congress for the New Urbanism Charter Awards for plans that are “expertly designed, respects its neighborhood’s history and includes living options that will welcome diverse residents and families.”

“I didn’t want to design all of the buildings to look the exact same, because we wanted it to look like it has developed organically over time, the same way a city would,” Melissa Dittmer, director of architecture and design at Bedrock Detroit, the real estate development arm of Gilbert’s operations, told The Detroit News over the summer.

According to Marvin Beatty, a partner in the Brush Park Development Co., the plans relied heavily on community engagement.

The six apartment buildings will have about 20,000 square feet of ground-floor retail space to be filled with restaurants, shopping and convenience stores, he said. Plans for affordable and senior housing units come straight from community feedback.

City Modern will extend Gilbert’s work outside downtown’s central business district. Before work started, the project acted as a primer for other housing and development in the neighborhood.

Closer to Midtown, the 200-unit apartment complex The Scott at Brush Park, will open Dec. 1. The high-end development will have rents ranging from $949 a month for a studio to $2,893 a month for a three-bedroom unit, general manager Wendy Barnabei said.



Twitter: @Ian_Thibodeau