Corktown to get $150 million facelift for mixed-use development

Posted at 5:59 AM, May 08, 2017
and last updated 2017-05-08 18:55:03-04

Detroit’s Corktown is preparing for it’s largest facelift since the Detroit Tigers left the area.

Monday marks the groundbreaking for “Elton Park.” The development team behind it, Soave Enterprises, touts it as a $150 million mixed-use development that will include apartments, retail and walkable open space.

The first phase will account for a $45 million investment near the corner of Eighth and Elizabeth Streets just behind the historic Nemo’s restaurant, and across the street from the old Tiger Stadium site. The project spans five blocks and is comprised of six buildings.

Tim Springstead, the co-owner of Nemo’s, told 7 Action News he’s looking forward to the changes noting that downtown has had a resurgence with the recent additions of the downtown stadium, and the soon-to-be opened Q-Line. According to Springstead, it’s a big leap from where they saw the area heading just two decades ago.

“I think it just adds to it,” said Springstead. “The potential here to bring more people — I love the design of the area. It’s more walkable.”

He noted that some of the parking in the area will be upset, but he added that it’s nothing that they can’t adapt to. The handful of long-time businesses in the area, according to Springstead, are more than happy to see more people live in the area. He also said that adding retail and walkable space in Corktown can only help restaurants like his.

“It’s good the community, it’s good for Corktown so it’s good for us,” said Patrick Osman, his long-time manager.

The change comes at an interesting time for Corktown.

It took years of debate, court battles and planning before old Tiger Stadium was tore down. Now as the new Elton Park is breaking ground, ground is also moving across the street at Michigan and Trumbull Avenues. The Detroit Police Athletic League is developing a new headquarters and youth sports facility while leaving the historic playing field open for daily use.

An early rendering of the Elton Park project shows the old Checker Cab building is incorporated, though the business has already vacated the property. Signs posted in the area tout a message that the development will be “Coming in 2018.”