This week in Detroit development news we’re checking in on graffiti artists worried about the future of their artform even as (or maybe because) it is being preserved around the city. Plus, development plans emerge for a number of projects near the Paradise Valley entertainment district and we’ll check in on transit numbers.
street art v. museums?
Artists once used the walls of Detroit’s many abandoned buildings to spray graffiti. But now those canvases are disappearing. The city has been demolishing popular graffiti spots, creating permanent murals and cracking down on what it calls vandalism. In a counter-move, the Detroit Riverfront Conservancy will memorialize and preserve graffiti made in The Yard Graffiti Museum within its recently opened Southwest Greenway. Street artists appreciate the acknowledgement but have a diverse range of conflicted feelings about the way street art has changed in the city. (BridgeDetroit)
A slice of paradise
Developers are finally making modest progress on reviving a historic African American business district that’s been in the works for years. The Paradise Valley Cultural and Entertainment District began in 2016 with big goals to redevelop buildings near downtown around Harmonie Park lost to urban renewal. The first building on Randolph Street is now set to open this November with a cocktail lounge and other Black-owned businesses. Restaurants, apartment buildings and other entertainment venues are said to be in the works. Nearby on Monroe Street, Bedrock Detroit has plans to break ground on its Development at Cadillac Square next year. It’s not expected to open until 2031 but should include a music and performance venue. (Detroit News)
More music (hall)
Music Hall Center for the Performing Arts is seeking $80 million in tax-exempt bonds to pay for part of its $122 million expansion. The Detroit Economic Growth Corp. (DEGC) plans on issuing the bonds in the next few months, and the Music Hall should break ground early next year. The plan still needs to be approved by DEGC’s board and Historic District Commission. The expansion would create a new 108,000-square-foot facility built on a vacant lot next to the current space. The Music Hall hopes to double its programming to 650 events a year. (Crain’s Detroit Business)
Lining up funding
The Michigan Strategic Fund approved a nearly $6.5 million loan for the redevelopment of seven buildings on Henry Street in the lower Cass Corridor. The project, a collaboration between Olympia Development of Michigan LLC and Cinnaire Solutions Corp., is expected to bring 170 units, half of which will rent to people making between 30-60% of the area median income. The City of Detroit is contributing $2 million in HOME Investment Partnerships Program funds. It’s also been approved for about $7.5 million in low-income housing tax credits. Developers have not said when construction will start. (Urbanize Detroit, Crain’s)
Transit news roundup
Ridership of the QLine increased 62% this year through August compared to the same time period last year, according to its nonprofit operator M-1 Rail. It attributed the increase to free fares and better on-time performance… Gov. Gretchen Whitmer is poised to sign bills that would allow for the introduction of carpool lanes to highways. The first of these lanes are planned for I-75 in Oakland County… Those affected the most by Detroit’s unreliable bus system are commuters. Watch the story of one woman’s daily struggle to get to work on time. (Detroit Free Press, Crain’s, Outlier Media, CBS Detroit)