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Officials break ground on new $100M Midtown mixed use development

Sarah Rahal
The Detroit News

Detroit — City officials broke ground Friday on a $100 million residential and retail complex in Midtown, dubbed the Midtown West neighborhood.

The Procida Development Group plans to build more than 300 living units in total near Fourth and Selden near the Lodge Freeway, along with a 1-acre park, 10,000 square feet of retail space and a former school next door rehabbed into coworking space.

Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan, Procida CEO Mario Procida, Midtown Detroit Inc. Executive Director Sue Mosey and Donald Rencher, director of the city's housing and revitalization development, celebrated at the groundbreaking with local officials such as Dave Dobbie of Cass Corridor Neighborhood Development Corp. They said the project represents one of the largest public-private partnerships in the city.

Heavy machinery is at work on a plot of land at the corner of the Lodge Freeway and Selden, part of a $100 million Midtown West development project, with the Motor City Casino in background.

"It is a highly logical extension of the Midtown community," Procida said. "We are dedicated to creating a socio- and economically diverse community that adds to the neighborhood. This project will complete the western edge of the Selden Corridor."

The project has been in the works since the spring of 2018 and is the first of many developments to be completed as soon as the spring of 2021, Procida said.

The new complex on Selden will include 26 studio units of one- and two-bedroom condominiums. Residents will share 3,000 square feet of amenity space, including a lounge, rooftop terrace, fitness center with a yoga room, bike room and pet care station. The building will also contain 4,200 square feet of retail space that Procida intends to lease in partnership with the city's Motor City Match program.

Procida CEO Mario Procida talks about the plot of land at the Lodge Freeway and Selden Street where a $100 million Midtown West development project just began production.

The space will be designed by Detroit-based Volume One Studio and McIntosh Poris of Birmingham. Construction is expected to take 18 months and the building will be open for residents in spring 2021, officials said.

The second development in the same neighborhood will be much larger.

Located across the street from the soon-to-be redeveloped Jefferson School, the development will contain 177 rental apartments and 30,000 square feet of amenities, including a terrace, a gym, yoga and kids playrooms, a dog wash station, lounge, library and 5,000 square feet of retail.

Architect Daniel Libeskind of Studio Libeskind, known for his design of the 9/11 museum and memorial site in New York, is leading the design of the apartment complex. The groundbreaking for the apartments is expected in the spring.

Midtown Detroit Inc., Invest Detroit and Q Factor are leading the redevelopment of the historic Jefferson School into a co-working and incubation hub.

The project requires 10% of the housing to be affordable per the City Council-approved community benefits agreement. Officials say they have already set aside 36 units in the development to be available for those making 40% to 80% of the Wayne County average median income.

The new 1-acre park will be developed using $750,000 in proceeds from the $1.8 million land sale to Procida.

"We are turning a property that has been run down for years and turning it into a first-class development, and it's being done in cooperation with the neighborhood, ensuring that it will benefit the entire community," Duggan said. "This project shows what is possible when you work with and honor those already here. Redevelopment doesn't mean moving people out, it means honoring those who are already here and bringing in others to join, not replace, them."

The neighborhood's population increased nearly 6% from 2016 to July 2019 and has a rental housing occupancy rate of 98%, according to Midtown Inc.

To show the developer's commitment to the neighborhood, Procida presented a check at the groundbreaking for $50,000 to the Cass Corridor Neighborhood Development Corp. to upgrade its community center.

"I believe this will be a neighborhood that will benefit the community by bringing in new business and a diverse group of people," said Dobbie of the CCNDC. "A lot of the developing complexes are with low-income tax credits and those buildings are 100% affordable around here, but it's also important that we have buildings with mixed incomes and still push for affordable housing. We think this will be one of the projects that can show the way for others."

In September 2016, the city's housing department issued an RFP for the former site of the Wigle Recreation Center, seeking the creation of a sustainable, mixed-income neighborhood and it was approved by the City Council last year.

Rencher said the project is the largest publicly held construction in Midtown.

The Procida Development Group plans to build more than 300 living units in total near Fourth and Selden near the Lodge Freeway, along with a 1-acre park, 10,000 square feet of retail space and a former school next door rehabbed into coworking space.

"For that reason, it was crucial that we pick a developer who had not only a winning plan but also a commitment to creating a project that will be inclusive and lasting."

Another phase of the development, on Brainard between Lodge Freeway and Third Street, is to begin in 2022, but no details were released by officials.

Twitter: @SarahRahal_