In development news this week, the Michigan Department of Transportation (MDOT) might change the design of the boulevard set to replace I-375 after it received widespread criticism. Elsewhere, troubles mount for local development firm The Platform and the city begins work on a new $160 million bus terminal. 

Redesigning the redesign 

MDOT said in a statement last week that it would “modify its approach” regarding the design of the boulevard to replace I-375 after it received widespread criticism from residents, stakeholders and elected officials. Dozens of residents expressed disappointment with the project’s engagement process and design at a community meeting last week, saying the boulevard would be too wide, the process isn’t transparent and that the plan wouldn’t do enough to address the harms to Black residents when the highway was constructed. Some even called for the entire process to start over. MDOT’s statement doesn’t say how the design could be altered, only that it will take into account a traffic study that’s underway and delay further meetings until early 2024. (MDOT, BridgeDetroit)

Shaky platform

Local development firm The Platform is scaling back on projects as it faces some financial difficulties. The firm, which co-owns the Fisher Building, recently canceled two developments and put four of its properties up for sale. The four properties include a former Big Boy that was controversially demolished in 2017, the unrealized Baltimore Station 2 site, land near Riverfront Towers and a 4.34-acre site at Gratiot Avenue and St. Aubin Street. The Platform said in a statement that the company decided to focus on its “core assets.” The news is part of a larger trend of the firm unloading property, including the Lakeshore Global building plus nearby land, and a major stake in the Fisher Building to Michigan State University’s endowment fund. The sell-off may be motivated in part by one of the firm’s largest tenants, WeWork, filing for bankruptcy. The coworking company owes The Platform more than $5.1 million, making the Detroit company one of its largest creditors. (Crain’s Detroit Business, Detroit News)

Nerds love Duggan 

Mayor Mike Duggan has become a hero to adherents of a niche economic philosophy that believes a single tax on land could fix most of society’s woes. They’re called Georgists — named after the 1800s economist Henry George — and they’re exhilarated that Duggan is pushing for Detroit to be the first city of any significant size to adopt a land-value tax. Some economists are strongly in favor of the tax because it encourages development, doesn’t discourage working unlike income tax and is difficult to avoid. The movement was popular during George’s time, then faded for decades until once again coming to prominence in recent years alongside the rise of YIMBY (Yes In My Backyard) proponents. Duggan had no idea he’d become an icon of the faction, telling a reporter, “This isn’t any deep philosophical movement. I’m trying to cut taxes.” It’s nice he’s willing to make himself available for national publications — we just wish he’d do the same for local media more often. (New York Times)

Development news quick-hitters 

The Historic District Commission approved demolition of a building in Jefferson Chalmers to make way for a parking lot that will be part of a $45 million performing arts center. The approval came despite concerns from commission staff about lack of community engagement and stormwater mitigation. (Metro Times)

The City of Detroit began the $10 million demolition of a defunct westside bus terminal to make way for a $150 million, three-building complex that will house maintenance, bus storage and administration for the Detroit Department of Transportation. It’s expected to be completed by 2026. Note: At the demolition of the former bus terminal, Duggan said, “We have the talent, the management, the operators and the mechanics to run a first-class system.” Reporting from Outlier found that Detroit is around 130 bus drivers short of what it needs to operate at full capacity. (Detroit Free Press, Outlier Media)

Developer Richard Hosey celebrated the opening of a new 36-unit development on Willis Street in Midtown. Nine of the units will rent for 80% of the area median income. (WXYZ)

More than 300 renters have been approved for Detroit’s Downpayment Assistance Program as of Nov. 2, receiving up to $25,000 toward a down payment and other closing costs. So far, 241 have closed on a home and the city expects 480 will make use of the $8 million pot of funding. (BridgeDetroit, Outlier)

Aaron (he/him) believes in telling true stories about real people. He doesn’t think there’s anything better than a crisp fall afternoon at the Detroit Jazz Fest.