Motor City on the Move: Occupancy

What’s larger than Manhattan, Boston and San Francisco put together? If you answered Detroit, you would’ve answered correctly. Yes, Detroit is 143 square miles. A lot of it is barren, empty, and useless. You could walk blocks upon blocks and not see a house, and if you did, it might not be inhabited.

Fortunately, there are some good parts in the city. Downtown,MidtownCorktownEastern MarketWoodbridgeIndian Village, there are plenty of great neighborhoods in the city. The population is shrinking in Detroit, it’s slowing down, but still shrinking. Luckily, there’s always a way to find the good in the bad.

The population as a whole may be shrinking, but in Downtown and Midtown, it is skyrocketing and it doesn’t look like it will stop.

Occupancy for both areas are at 97% and 96% respectively. Sound like some other city? Well, it’s not. Detroit is experiencing growth in these two areas alone like it hasn’t seen since the 1940s and 1950s. A few of the buildings Downtown and Midtown are being repurposed for apartments because there isn’t enough room.

Sue Mosey, the so-called, Mayor of Midtown, spoke to the Detroit Young Professionals about the occupancy rates.

“We’re desperately trying to bring more housing product into the the neighborhood, that’s the next thing we’re spending a lot of time trying to do,” said Mosey.

Downtown Detroit is experiencing a wave of population growth. A couple of buildings are being renovated into apartments. The Broderick Tower, which was formerly an office building in Grand Circus Park that was home to dentists, lawyers and doctors will open in a few weeks. Minor setbacks have pushed the opening date back, but once it opens, the Broderick will be nearly full, which is great for Downtown living.

Right across the street is the David Whitney Building. Opened in the early 1900s, the building was also an office tower, named for the great lumber baron of the area. You might recognize the name, as his house, where he lived, is a now famous, upscale restaurant in Midtown. The Roxbury Group will start construction very soon on the building to turn it into a boutique Aloft hotel.

Along with the hotel rooms in the building, there will be apartments as well. One project that was just recently announced Downtown is a conversion of a hotel to apartments. Right near Comerica Park in the Harmonie Park area is a building that says “Milner Hotel” right on it. Pretty soon, that will be apartments. The flatiron style building will close on Halloween, and was built in 1917.

It currently has 72 rooms, but there are no set plans on how many rooms will be available when it does start renovations.

The Live Downtown and Live Midtown incentive are going over extremely well. The program was started last year by the Henry Ford Health System, Wayne State University and Detroit Medical Center to get young people to live in Midtown. It quickly expanded and was started in the Downtown area as well. Blue Cross Blue Shield, Quicken Loans, Compuware, DTE Energy and Strategic Staffing are all doing their part as well.

The program just accepted applicant 676 and it’s still growing. If you’re graduating soon, looking for somewhere to find a job and live, Detroit is the place. Lots of young people are moving to Detroit. Many technology companies are coming to Detroit and pretty soon, the city will be living and breathing again, but the only way that will happen is if people, young people invest in it.

To read the original post that appeared in the fourth issue of The Michigan Journal, on Tuesday, October 2, 2012, go to www.michiganjournal.org

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