The Ilitch organization, billionaire Stephen Ross and the University of Michigan on Monday revealed that the new planned location for their Detroit Center for Innovation will be what is currently a surface parking lot that is west of the Fox Theatre in downtown Detroit.
The center will be part of a three-building campus. It will be built on what is now a four-acre parking lot between Cass and Grand River, and between West Columbia Street to the north and Elizabeth Street to the south.
The centerpiece will be an estimated $250-million, 200,000-square-foot “world-class research and education center to be operated by the University of Michigan.”
The campus also would have a” technology incubator” in the to-be-restored and expanded former Loyal Order of the Moose Lodge, 2115 Cass Ave. The third campus building would be a 300-unit apartment complex along Cass.
The campus also would feature significant green space, according to a news release.
The project’s research and education component will be seeded by a $100 million donation by Ross and the contribution of land by the Ilitch organization. The groundbreaking is expected to happen in 2023.
A news conference about the new location is scheduled for 10:30 a.m. Monday.
The Detroit Center for Innovation was originally proposed in 2019 and envisioned as a co-development by Ross’ New York-based Related Cos. and Dan Gilbert’s Bedrock real estate firm. However, those early plans to build the center at the “fail jail” site off Gratiot near the entrance to downtown were canceled this summer, and the Gilbert-Ross partnership dissolved.
The Free Press was the first to report that the project could be resurrected through an Ilitch-Ross partnership and involve land behind the Fox Theatre. The Ilitch family owns much of that property around the Fox, Comerica Park and Little Caesars Arena.
Monday’s announcement also said that ServiceNow, a California-based software company, plans to expand its presence in Detroit as part of the center for innovation project. Further details of ServiceNow’s expansion plans were not immediately available.
“As a native Detroiter, I believe it is critical for the DCI to have a catalytic economic and social impact on the people of Detroit. That impact will be best achieved in The District Detroit where it will connect with existing density and ignite additional development,” Ross, chairman of New York-based Related Cos., said in a statement.
“I have tremendous respect for Christopher Ilitch and Olympia Development’s longstanding commitment to Detroit,” Ross added, “and am thrilled to partner with them to contribute to the vision of The District Detroit for the betterment of our entire community.”
Chris Ilitch, president and CEO of Ilitch Holdings, said that the center for innovation “will increase access to opportunity for Detroiters, help nurture and retain talent, and drive positive social and economic impacts throughout the city, region and state.”
Check back to freep.com for more details on this developing story.