Will Making Detroit Walkable Spur Its Resurgence? National Real Estate Leaders Convene in Detroit to Explore Creating Walkable Urbanity
Key stakeholders in the City of Detroit - including the Detroit Economic Growth Corporation (DEGC), the Downtown Detroit Partnership (DDP) and others -- are busy crafting a market-driven redevelopment plan for downtown Detroit. Central to the plan is fostering walkability in Detroit; an element many believe is a cornerstone to the city's revitalization.
“There is pent-up market demand for walkable urban places right now representing trillions of dollars of development over the next 20 years”
The Detroit metropolitan area has just three walkable urbane places - the suburban communities of Birmingham, Royal Oak and Ann Arbor. Downtown Detroit, along with the cultural center anchored by Wayne State University, is quickly being added to that list. The DEGC and the DDP, chaired by Penske Corporation Founder Roger Penske, are spearheading the development of a strategic plan for the resurgence of Detroit's Central Business District. The research on which the market-driven strategy for Detroit is based will be presented next month at the 20th Annual University of Michigan / Urban Land Institute Real Estate Forum October 26 and 27 in Detroit.
The Forum will highlight the market drivers of Detroit's resurgence and recap the progress to date, such as the recently announced $180 million redevelopment of the Book-Cadillac Hotel. Catalytic projects - real development deals which DEGC has identified as the next steps in Detroit's rebirth - will also be discussed.
Additionally, the Forum will host leaders from the nation's real estate community - among them Richard Baron, chairman and CEO of McCormack Baron Salazar; Albert Ratner, co-chairman of Forest City Enterprises; Sam Zell of Equity Group Investments; Stephen Ross, CEO of The Related Companies, and Paul Levy, president of Philadelphia's Center City District - who will gather to examine downtown and suburban town center regeneration. The group, which includes Leinberger and other leading real estate specialists from the public and private sectors, will use the redevelopment of downtown Detroit and other projects across the nation to highlight the trend toward walkable urbanity.
"Detroit has good bones and the desire to be a walkable city," said Leinberger. That perception has always motivated DEGC President George Jackson. "We are looking at pragmatic, workable strategies to guide our next steps, as well as innovative concepts that we can implement," said Jackson. "We want to focus on the walkability of downtown and continue to build a critical mass of residents."
For additional information or to register for the UM / ULI Real Estate Forum visit www.umuliforum.com