The Brewster-Douglass projects site, once home to the founding members of The Supremes Diana Ross, Mary Wilson, and Florence Ballard, is finally seeing development four years after demolishment. Billionaire Dan Gilbert, best known as the Quicken Loans founder and Cleveland Cavaliers owner, has announced plans for the site just north of Downtown.
The Brewster-Douglass projects broke ground in 1935 with Eleanor Roosevelt on hand. The six 14-story towers, two six-story buildings, and row houses held up to 10,000 residents at a time. It was the first federally funded public housing for African-Americans, and it stretched five blocks long and three blocks wide. The projects began their decline in the 1960’s and 1970’s. As a result, the city demolished various buildings from 1991 to 2014.
Bedrock LLC, Gilbert’s real estate arm, is undertaking the $300 million project with Detroit’s Woodborn Partners LLC and New York City’s Jonathan Rose Companies LLC. Just west of the Brewster-Douglass site, Bedrock is working on the 24-building City Modern project featuring 107 for-sale units and 303 for-lease units. The two projects sit just half a block away, but they will totally transform the Brush Park neighborhood.
The Brewster-Douglass project will include 648 apartments and 265 for-sale units just across the I-75 freeway from Ford Field. The development includes street grid realignment, and there are plans for connections across the I-75 freeway. Crain’s Detroit reports that it’s “expected to include 3.2 acres of public space, 19,000 square feet of retail, another 60,000 square feet of early childhood education space and a hotel with approximately 80 rooms.”
A quarter of the units will be affordable housing for those earning 80% or less of the area median income. The remaining units will most likely rent at the market rate of $2.15 per square foot. Construction should start in the summer of 2019, and the first units should be available two years after that.