Construction will start this month on new outdoor plaza at Motown Museum

Maureen Feighan
The Detroit News

Construction is scheduled to start later this month on the second phase of renovation and expansion plans at Detroit's beloved Motown Museum, which will include creating a "community-center" outdoor plaza that will serve as a gathering place for visitors.

Designed by Detroit-based Hamilton Anderson & Associates, the plaza in front of the original Hitsville USA on West Grand Boulevard will feature a granite paver expanse, landscaping and park benches. It'll also have a pop-up performance stage surrounded by a sound system. Construction should be finished by the summer of 2022.

“The plaza is such an important part of our expansion project," said Motown Museum CEO Robin Terry. "The last year has proven just how important these outdoor spaces are to thriving communities, and we are thrilled to create something that has been much needed in our city."

A new immersive outdoor plaza in front of the Motown Museum on West Grand Boulevard will serve as a multipurpose community gathering place and welcome spot for visitors.

According to the museum — which is currently closed for public tours after flooding this summer caused by severe storms damaged its elevator — the plaza was inspired by some of Motown's iconic acts such as the Temptations and Smokey Robinson and the Miracles who used to hang out in front of Hitsville USA.

Work, meanwhile, is nearly complete on the first phase of the museum's $55 million renovation and expansion plan, which was announced in 2019. Hitsville Next includes three original Motown-era homes that have been transformed into the museum's new education and creative hub. There, the museum plans to hold a variety of programming, including camps, workshops, master classes and community events "to develop future singer songwriters, music makers, artists and entrepreneurs," according to a press release.

The plaza will have a granite paver expanse, benches and landscaping.

The museum has raised $32 million for its expansion and renovation plans, up from $25 million earlier this year. In June, philathropist Mackenzie Scott gave the museum $5 million, one of its biggest gifts yet.

Motown officials also have raised their ultimate fundraising goal from $50 million to $55 million to cover escalating construction, labor and material costs created by the pandemic.

“Momentum and enthusiasm for the project has never been higher,” said Terry in a press release. “We continue to be full of gratitude for our generous partners who have joined us on this passionate mission to make the bold vision of an expanded museum a reality.”