Midtown Detroit, Inc. and partners announce $7.5 million investment in New Center

Midtown Detroit, Inc. and its partners announced today the kickoff of a new $7.5 million investment for the redevelopment of Woodward Grand and the North End Collective, both located in the New Center neighborhood in Detroit. Woodward Grand and the North End Collective are part of a mixed-use redevelopment of the two-block Woodward Grand District. The Woodward Grand building, which is located on the southeast corner of Woodward Avenue and West Grand Boulevard, will include a total of 10,000 sq. ft. of retail space, 10,000 sq. ft. of office space and 10 units of housing, of which 30% are affordable. The Woodward Grand will be the new headquarters for the Ralph C. Wilson, Jr. Foundation and will also include a new restaurant, Wilda’s Café, from a founder of Rose’s Fine Food.  In addition to this investment, another $36.5 million is in the pipeline for this district which will all be under construction within the next two years.
Midtown Detroit, Inc. and its partners also announced the opening of the North End Collective, located at 6513 Woodward Avenue. The North End Collective provides local entrepreneurs and small business owners a brick and mortar space to sell their merchandise. Current retail shops in the North End Collective include Purple Love, Traveling Pants Co., United Front and Live Coal Gallery.
Speakers at the press event included Sue Mosey, Executive Director of Midtown Detroit, Inc.; David Egner, president and CEO, Ralph C. Wilson, Jr. Foundation; Greg Tedder, Executive Vice President of Community Development and Marketing, Michigan Economic Development Corporation; Melinda Clemons, ‎Senior Loan Officer, Capital Impact Partners; Marcia Ventura, Senior Vice President, Invest Detroit and Renee Kent, Vice President, PNC Bank.
“We are very appreciative of our lead funders including the Michigan Economic Development Corporation, Capital Impact Partners, Invest Detroit, PNC Bank, our partners including the Ralph C. Wilson, Jr. Foundation and to so many others who have helped bring this vision to fruition,” said Sue Mosey, Executive Director, Midtown Detroit, Inc. “We are all working collectively to open new housing and commercial space to help create a vibrant neighborhood in New Center along the new Qline.”
The Michigan Economic Development Corporation (MEDC) is contributing $750,000 to help restore the Woodward Grand, a three-story building originally built in 1896. The Woodward Grand is located at the last northern stop of the Qline, a 3.3 mile streetcar line that will run along Woodward Avenue between Congress Street and West Grand Boulevard.
“We are excited to be a part of this project that will historically rehabilitate the highly visible building at Woodward and West Grand Blvd and to continue to see investment moving north along Woodward corridor,” stated Greg Tedder, Executive Vice President of Community Development and Marketing for the Michigan Economic Development Corporation.
The Ralph C. Wilson, Jr. Foundation will be moving their headquarters to the second floor of the Woodward Grand. The Foundation announced it is committing a $500,000 grant to Midtown Detroit, Inc. to implement a series of green, sustainable infrastructure elements into the Woodward Grand project.
“We’re excited about the opportunity to move the Foundation’s headquarters to an area in the region where our presence might help accelerate the development and momentum that’s already on the ground,” said David Egner, president and CEO, Ralph C. Wilson, Jr. Foundation.
Green infrastructure is a focus of the Foundation’s “Healthy Communities” funding area, and the project will serve as a case study and education tool for those doing similar development projects in the city and region. Woodward Grand will include rain water cisterns that will be used to water the rooftop garden, which will be used by Wilda’s Café. Harvested water will also be used to service the first floor restrooms. Operational costs will be reduced by high efficiency mechanical equipment and high tech mechanical system controls will measure energy efficiency. Living plant materials will extend the life of the mezzanine roof and provide a pleasant view for employees and residents. Recycled and locally sourced materials and LED lighting will be used during construction and beyond in an effort to reduce energy consumption.
“As a mission-driven lender Capital Impact is ready to support projects like this that help create stability and opportunity for Detroit’s neighborhoods,” said Melinda Clemons, Sr. Loan Officer for Capital Impact Partners. “I’m particularly excited about the fact that this project includes the Ralph C. Wilson, Jr. Foundation and has an affordable housing component. It will help ensure that the neighborhood remains inclusive for people of all income levels.”
About Midtown Detroit, Inc.
Midtown Detroit, Inc. (MDI) is a nonprofit planning and development agency charged with revitalization of Detroit’s Woodward Corridor. Representing over 100 area stakeholders, including Detroit’s anchor educational, medical and cultural institutions, MDI provides public space maintenance and security services; marketing support; technical assistance; infrastructure and real estate development; grant administration; and arts programming for the district.
Over the last decade, MDI and its predecessor organization, the University Cultural Center Association, have raised over $56 million for a variety of initiatives including the Midtown Greenway Loop, restoration and conversion of six historic homes into a boutique hotel, the Woodward Avenue Streetscape Enhancement project, the creation of the Sugar Hill Arts District, the construction of two community gardens and a Green Alley, the renovation of many commercial facades throughout the district, and a matching grants security enhancement program for property and business owners. MDI has also facilitated funding for over 50 residential developments resulting in over 1,800 new units of housing and has assisted over 100 local businesses with technical assistance and financing. MDI also manages Live Midtown, a successful initiative to increase population density through incentives to eligible anchor institution employees. Over 1,300 participants have taken advantage of the Live Midtown program to date.
Additional initiatives include a comprehensive communication and marketing campaign to increase awareness of Midtown’s numerous qualities, stimulate population growth, and attract new businesses to the area. MDI additionally promotes local cultural events including three signature events – Noel Night, DLECTRICITY, and Art X Detroit along with New Center Park summer entertainment. For more information, visit midtowndetroitinc.org.


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