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Tick, Tick, Tick...

More to follow on this story, but I had to alert the world to what's happening in Midtown today. According to The Detroit News, a group of Detroiters are announcing a plan to "re-densify" the area around the Detroit Institute of Arts, Wayne State University and the big Healthcare facilities.

Here's the skinny:

...The plan is "to develop up to 75 properties, create 200 units of mixed-income housing and the possible financing of new charter schools in the area. Living Cities, a New York-based consortium of 22 financial and philanthropic groups, is scheduled to announce today at the Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History that it is awarding $2.75 million in grants, $4 million in investments and $15 million in commercial debt to the Detroit projects to help reconcentrate or "re-densify" people in the area around Woodward Avenue."

And here's what my buddy and pal, Dave Egner, had to add:

"If Detroit is going to turn (around), it's going to happen in Midtown," said David Egner, president and CEO of the Hudson-Webber Foundations and executive director the New Economy Initiative for Southeast Michigan.
I'm holding out hope for this one. Love me some Midtown. Think big, Detroit!
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  • 1

    It's great to hear good news. I hope this happens.

    People are thinking and planning. What can we all do to help?

  • 2

    The University Cultural Center Association has done a great Job through the years and so has the Citizens District council and this is most welcome news.

    When I attended Arts and Crafts in 59 the area was not too savory, parking was iffy and a few of the houses nearby looked a bit iffy.

    When Jane Morgan and Walton Lewis and the University got together and led the area out of the abyss and showed us that it could be done.

    I was proud to be the Architect for the Restoration of the David Mackenzie house and thought that the students of Preservation Wayne were absolutely magnificnet and still are.

    There was talk of Demolishing the Scarab Club and so we worked upon historic Designation of the Club to keep it from getting the Detroit treatment... DEMOLITION.

    I represented the Club at the meetings of the UCCA and the UCCA located it's offices there.

    And I must confess that at the meetings I was embarassed by staring with my mouth agape at the beautiful and eloquent Jane who Coleman had appointed as head of the Library. (BTW... HE was a Great Man regardless of what some revisionists say.)

    What has unfolded is absolutely wonderfu... far more interesting an beautiful than Downtown Birmingham and the great progress continues..

    What has been accomplished at Wayne and around Wayne is a wonderful example of what can Downtown if the nuckleheadded powers that be maintain some sanity.

    The loss of Hudson's was hugely tragic and many don't get that.

    The question remains, "Do you want to have a great City or not?"

    The Illich family answered that for themselves a long time ago and if they can help lead the way and maintain high architectural ideals, It can happen.

    Show ignorance and put up trash, squander monies of stupid things like light rail and all hope will be lost

    Downtown is the real issue.



  • 3


    There should be a beautuful portrait of Jane at the Library and a monumental sculpture of Coleman Downtown.

    It was out of love for Coleman and the City that Henry Ford II built Ren Cen.

    I was there the morning of the Auto Show when GM removed the rather nice bust of Henry staring off into the space and the void left by the removal of the stunning fabric sculpture by Gary Knodel who did such a marvelous job at Cranbrook.

    There should be a wonderful sculpture of Coleman Downtown. Since he had such a wonderful sense of humor and humanity perhaps he could be presented with a loving smile.

    The Gas Company needs to fix up the Yamasaki building before it meets the same fate as the WTC out of neglect.

    Really, the University of Michigan should move in Downtown and set up a campus that is done with enlightened architectural design to inspire more people down town. Too bad that Ken Newman died because he was doing some neat things, not to mention one of the world's best gymnasiums on the Wayne Campus.

    The UCCA is well underway. The Feds have left us with a mess with the Brewster Highrises. They fixed it up with new windows and all sorts of improvements and then they abandoned it.. The scavengers got the windows and made a mess out of the place.

    Perhaps that is the spot to have a great international housing competition to see if a younger generation of Architects can do better than Mies. It would be neat if it was campus housing for the U of M though.


  • 4

    Here's a link to an article in the Cleveland Plain Dealer that explains who is behind this effort. Good ideas of what we can do.

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