SOUTHFIELD, Mich. – Midtown Detroit, Inc. (MDI) is breaking ground on a 30,000-square-foot, three-story commercial building at the corner of Woodward Avenue and W. Willis Street that will have Lawrence Technological University (LTU) as the anchor tenant.
The groundbreaking ceremony will be held Wednesday, December 18th, 10 a.m. to noon on the site of the new building.
This new commercial development is being funded by a wide variety of Midtown Detroit, Inc. partners including NCB Capital Impact, Invest Detroit, Kresge Foundation, Michigan Economic Development Corporation, Detroit Development Fund, Knight Foundation, JPMorgan Chase Foundation, Community Foundation for Southeast Michigan, and Peter Cummings.
The building will house LTU’s new Detroit Center for Design + Technology, which will consolidate existing programs in Detroit run by LTU’s College of Architecture and Design.
Invest Detroit, which played a major role in the financing of this project, will also have offices in the new building, as will the building’s architects, Quinn Evans.
The Kresge Foundation provided a $300,000 grant to support the creation of LTU’s new Detroit center.
“Having all LTU’s Detroit projects and academic programming under one roof will provide synergies that will position existing programs to have a greater social and community impact,” said Amy Green Deines, associate dean of LTU’s College of Architecture and Design. “Our partnership with Midtown Detroit and this new prominent location on Woodward Avenue will lead to more opportunities to engage organizations and groups that are working to rebuild and rejuvenate the city.”
LTU will move additional programming to Detroit after the new center opens in fall 2014.
“The arts are a driving force behind the resurgence of Midtown Detroit and this new center will add to that trend,” said Sue Mosey, executive director of Midtown Detroit Inc. “We also need creative development in this area, and the Lawrence Tech faculty and students can contribute to that process. Adding this center is an important step in the long-term redevelopment of this part of the Woodward corridor.”
The new LTU center will be the new home of three the university’s existing programs:
• Detroit Studio, which has moved to temporary facilities after being located in the New Center area for many years, has been providing design support for neighborhood and community-based projects in Detroit and elsewhere since it was established in 1999 by Associate Professor Joongsub Kim.
• detroitSHOP is an urban design studio in the offices of Rossetti Associates in the former Federal Reserve Building. Working in cooperation with Quicken Loans and Bedrock Ventures, LTU students have prepared design studies in the central business district and along the M-1 transit corridor.
• Studio Couture is a storefront exhibit space on Woodward Avenue. It exhibits the work of LTU design students and professional artists. It hosts lectures and panel discussions on architecture, design and urban issues.
The first phase of the Detroit Center for Design + Technology will provide approximately 8,000 square feet for these and other programs, research activity and a K-12 educational outreach program.
The second phase will add approximately 6,000 square feet for other LTU programming, such as the makeLab, which provides digital fabrication services for a wide range of design projects.
“There is nothing better for a student designer than to be part of what they are studying. They walk around the neighborhood and see how people interact with their surroundings,” Deines said. “Our new center will put our students right in the middle of the dynamic changes that are gaining momentum along the Woodward corridor.”
For over 30 years, Lawrence Tech has been engaged in projects in Detroit as well as many other southeast Michigan communities. Frequently, the student projects help community groups, businesses, residents and civic leaders evaluate and develop new ideas and solutions. Students gain practical hands-on experience in designing urban projects.
Midtown Detroit, Inc. (MDI) is a nonprofit planning and development organization that supports the physical maintenance and revitalization of Midtown Detroit neighborhood, while working to enhance public awareness, appreciation and use of the district. MDI works to develop and implement many investment and economic development strategies within the Midtown District of Detroit, Michigan, including, but not limited to: MDI’s North Cass Strategy, M1 Light Rail Corridor Transit Oriented Development Strategy, and the Midtown Anchor Strategy (which includes the Live Midtown Program). 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. MDI and its predecessor organization, the University Cultural Center Association, have raised over $50 million in direct support for Midtown initiatives over the past ten years for streetscapes, greenways, parks, community gardens and commercial and residential developments. In 2010, MDI and its philanthropic partners secured over $22 million in loans and grants through the Living Cities Integration Initiative. New programs launched as a part of this national project include a residential incentive program for anchor employees, financing for targeted mixed-use developments, procurement initiatives and a community land trust.
Lawrence Technological University, www.ltu.edu, is a private university founded in 1932 that offers more than 100 programs through the doctoral level in its Colleges of Architecture and Design, Arts and Sciences, Engineering, and Management. PayScale lists Lawrence Tech among the nation’s top 7 percent of universities for return on undergraduate tuition investment, and highest in the Detroit metropolitan area. Lawrence Tech is also listed in the top tier of Midwestern universities by U.S. News and World Report and the Princeton Review. Students benefit from small class sizes and experienced faculty who provide a real-world, hands-on, “theory and practice” education with an emphasis on leadership. Activities on Lawrence Tech’s 102-acre campus include over 60 student clubs and organizations and a growing roster of NAIA varsity sports.