New site to be announced for UM Detroit Center for Innovation

Sarah Rahal
The Detroit News

Detroit — Real estate billionaire Stephen Ross and Christopher Ilitch, president and CEO of Ilitch Holdings, are expected to join city officials on Monday to announce the new home of a research and education center anchored by the University of Michigan.

The new location for UM's Detroit Center for Innovation will be announced during a press conference at 10:30 a.m. Monday at Women's City Club, downtown behind the Fillmore Theatre. Sources told The Detroit News in July that Ross was in talks with Ilitch about building the Detroit Center for Innovation within the Ilitch-owned District Detroit.

Stephen Ross, New York real estate magnate and Miami Dolphins owner

At Monday's event, officials are also expected to announce a new partnership with a leading technology company committed to investing in the city and talent-focused community development. The hope is that the partnership will propel job creation and create opportunities for Detroiters and residents across the state, according to a press release.

Ross and Ilitch are scheduled to be joined by Michigan Lt. Gov. Garlin Gilchrist, Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan, UM President Mark Schlissel, UM Board of Regents Chair Jordan Acker, Detroit Equity Report Founder Bishop Edgar Vann and Lisa Phillips, principal of Cass Tech High School, according to an advisory from the New York-based Berlin Rosen public relations firm.

In late 2019, Ross and Dan Gilbert's Bedrock had announced a $300 million plan to build the Detroit Center for Innovation on the site of the failed Wayne County Jail project, with Ross committing $100 million for the center.

But in July of this year, Ross and Bedrock announced the center would not be built on the 14-acre Gratiot site. Ross said at the time that his Related Companies would seek a different location in Detroit.

It is unclear what the size and scope of the project will be in the new location. Ross has that the project needed “more space to ensure that we deliver” than what was available at the Gilbert-owned site.

Project officials would not disclose further details ahead of the Monday announcement.

Christopher Ilitch is president and CEO of Ilitch Holdings.

District Detroit is composed of Ilitch-owned properties around Little Caesars Arena, which the family also owns, along with the Detroit Red Wings hockey team that plays there. Ilitch Holdings has faced criticism for relying on tax subsidies, missing deadlines and holding on to blocks of empty land within the 50-block district.

If the project comes to fruition within District Detroit, it could be within walking distance of a multi-family residential or mixed-use development Ross has planned at Charlotte Street and Third Avenue.

Detroit City Council agreed June 29 to the sale of five city-owned parcels to Third and Charlotte Limited Dividend Housing Association LLC for $500,000. The entity is linked to two Related Companies executives.

Twitter: @SarahRahal_