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The District Detroit: A Hopeful Outlook

We have all talked and talked and TALKED about the rebuilding of Detroit. ENDLESSLY. But it is finally starting to feel like a city again and I am very hopeful. While there are still many things to be done (better schools, demolishing abandonment, etc.), there are big changes happening. I am in a no way a fan of Woodward Avenue construction, but the M1 rail project is underway. Hope. There are new windows constantly being added to Michigan Central. Hope. Eastern Market is open on Sundays! Hope. And the biggest addition to the rebuild – The District Detroit. HOPE!

By definition, hope is a feeling of expectation and desire for a certain thing to happen. That certain thing for me is for Detroit to be taken seriously. I am sick of defending it. So all I can hope for is more and more to be created, restored, rebuilt, and whatever else it takes to make Detroit “a real city,” which it is, but anyone who has lived in Detroit can relate to the doubters and haters and the ignorance. So FINALLY we have a build of EPIC proportions. Not only do we get to say “buh-bye” to the treacherous and hazardous Joe Louis Arena, we are getting a whole development. Some people have a problem with two dudes (Uncle Dan and Mr. Ilitch) owning a city. I am not one of those people.

The District will have first and foremost a new hockey arena and entertainment center. The brains of Tom Wilson (who made The Palace of Auburn Hills what it is) were brought on board years ago to begin shifting Olympia Entertainment toward this new development. There will be five distinct neighborhoods, including Woodward Square, which will contain the new arena. There will be shopping , dining, loft-living, and it will be a gathering place. If this was all there was I would be satisfied. Thrilled, actually. But there’s MORE! Cass Park Village – a home to independent shops, local markets & galleries. Wildcat Corner – where the Tigers and Lions meet, and will be “party central.” According the the site, there will be a bricked road to really make you feel like the city was built this way in the first place. So we’re not Boston, but we can make you think we have an historic ballpark still standing in it’s original space! Maybe I am bitter about that.

This past weekend, The District made its first major move toward the future by imploding the Park Avenue Hotel. There are several blocks of Woodward now occupied by cranes and bulldozers. There is really nothing to see at this point, except for all that beautiful, wonderful HOPE.

Lauren McMichael
Lauren McMichael is an advertising account manager at SMZ, where her client list includes Broadway in Detroit and the Detroit Red Wings. Lauren is also a founding member of Detroit Passport to the Arts, which cultivates audiences within the Detroit arts and culture scene. Born and raised in Metro Detroit, Lauren is extremely passionate about the city. Aside from DVoice, Lauren can be found writing on personal blog, Black Tie Optional. Follow her @ellecavmc.