City of Detroit picks developer for $16M mixed-use development near Corktown

Candice Williams
The Detroit News
City officials say the plan for the vacant land at Bagley and 16th is to bring affordable housing and retail to the area and strengthen the connection between neighborhoods

The city of Detroit has selected Woodborn Partners to build a $16-million mixed-use, mixed-income development in the Hubbard Richard neighborhood.

The project will include 60 new housing units and 5,000 square feet of retail on vacant land at Bagley and 16th, adjacent to the Michigan Central Depot in Corktown.

City officials said Tuesday that the goal is to build on the strengths of the Bagley commercial corridor and further connect the Hubbard Richard and Corktown neighborhoods. The development will also include a 40-space parking lot and outdoor amenities to connect it to the planned May Creek Greenway.

"We love the space because of the proximity to southwest, Mexicantown area and Corktown..." said Donald Rencher, director of housing and revitalization for the city. "This project is important for a number of reasons. We’re seeing a new ground-up construction development project. It's a significant development in this space especially after announcement of the Ford deal."

The request for proposals last June came shortly after Ford Motor Co. announced plans to refurbish the nearby former train station. Seven developers submitted proposals, according to the city.

The city held its first large meeting with residents and community leaders on Monday to gather feedback. The city says it will work with residents to ensure the project is an asset to the community. Rencher said their was big interest in potential retailers.

Construction is expected to start later this year and be complete in late 2020.

The development site is part of the city's Strategic Neighborhood Fund planning area. The fund is dedicated to neighborhood development.

At least 20 percent of the units will be set aside as affordable housing, which is for households making 80 percent of the median income or lower, about $38,000 a year.

Woodborn Partners has numerous multi-family projects open or underway in the city. It was the lead developer of The Coe, a 12-unit project in West Village, and a partner developer for The Scott, a 199-unit project in Brush Park. It is also involved in developing the 261-unit Pullman Parc development, under construction in Lafayette Park. Woodborn Partners was named as a partner in the development of the former Frederick Douglass public housing site.

“We look forward to creating a development that will be truly exceptional and reflective of the vibrant legacy of Hubbard Richard, Mexicantown, and the entire Southwest,” said Clifford Brown, managing partner of Woodborn Partners. “This is one more brick in building upon what are already strong neighborhoods and communities.”

Rencher noted that the project involves a minority developer.

"I can’t express the importance of seeing an African-American developer having an opportunity...," he said. "We have to diversify the developer pool. I’m really excited for Mr. Cliff Brown."

Twitter: @CWilliams_DN