Dan Gilbert's kingdom expands, neighborhoods not invited

Dan Gilbert --IMAGE: Jason Kryk/The Windsor Star
Dan Gilbert –IMAGE: Jason Kryk/The Windsor Star

So Dan Gilbert has now proposed yet another project for downtown Detroit, designed to remake the Monroe Block near Campus Martius, according to a story in today’s Detroit Free Press. It’s not a done deal yet, and he is hoping for preliminary approval from Detroit’s Downtown Development Authority, but judging by the track record so far I think it’s safe to say the man has a better than even chance of getting what he wants.
Gilbert is, after all, the King of Downtown Detroit.
I wish I could say I’m thrilled and excited, but so far it ain’t necessarily so. Pretty much the same way I felt about his grand proposal to bring soccer to downtown Detroit in place of the jail, which now appears to be back on track. Is it sexy and glamorous? No. But I prefer it to the soccer stadium. Why? Because it makes more sense and because we need it right where it is. With the Detroit Pistons now moving downtown, Detroit now becomes the city with the highest downtown concentration of sports teams in the nation. Do we really need to add soccer to that mix?
As for the Monroe Block project, sure, the specs sound fine. The rendering of what the project may look like appears impressive. I would expect nothing less.
But personally, I’ll be a bit more excited when I see this same level of on-fire commitment to improving the neighborhoods. As in the rest of the city where the vast majority of Detroiters live who didn’t just get here. Not that I’m looking for Gilbert to step up, because I suspect one kingdom is enough.
But somebody needs to.

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