Greater Downtown Detroit has remained in a constant state of development and redevelopment for the past decade. Recently, the money invested in neighborhoods like Downtown proper, Midtown, and Corktown is spreading outwards and one such neighborhood to feel the effects is Core City, situated just west of Woodbridge and north of Corktown. While prices quicky rise in Corktown, Woodbridge, and New Center, land prices in Core City have only recently picked up the pace as potential homeowners and entrepreneurs are being priced out of the Greater Downtown.
Neighborhood staples like Hygrade Deli, Mike’s Famous Ham Place, and the notorious Detroit Highwaymen Motorcycle Club on Michigan Avenue have been around for years but smaller businesses like Woodword Throwbacks woodworking shop keep trickling in. The primary landowner in Core City is the Detroit Land Bank but Willie Campbell, executive director of the nonprofit Core City Neighborhoods, believes a slew of development is on the horizon: “Now, I’m hearing lots of business people, investors, are buying and renovating properties. Let’s see what happens.”
Residential lofts, a roasting plant, and mixed use development are all in the planning stages but perhaps the most interesting project is the redevelopment of the Bohemian National Home, a former Czech social club opened in 1914. Jerry Belanger, the investor behind the building downtown that contains Cliff Bells, Park Bar, the Elizabeth Theatre and GoGo’s Hawaiian eatery, plans to spend $1.5 million to convert the building into a bar, residential units, and performing arts space. While longtime Core City residents grapple with the pros and cons of gentrification in their neighborhood, it’s clear that the process already at work in other parts of the city isn’t slowing down any time soon.
By Jared Hoffman
Research Associate, JMJ Phillip Group