Grand Prix's return to downtown Detroit expected to boost businesses

Posted at 11:39 PM, Nov 03, 2021
and last updated 2021-11-03 23:46:39-04

DETROIT (WXYZ) — The Detroit Grand Prix is officially coming back downtown. Starting in 2023, the race will move off of Belle Isle and into the streets of Detroit.

Race organizers described the new route as a fast course. It's 1.7 miles long with a straightaway right down Jefferson Avenue.

Restaurants like the Sloppy Crab now find themselves with a trackside view.

I'm excited,” manager Sarah Thomas said.

Thomas says their restaurant has only been open a few weeks. It has a rooftop patio, which overlooks the longest straightaway of the race course.

“We do have outside party events, we do have barbecues outside as well. A lot of people do buy the whole upstairs, so it’s eventful,” Thomas said.

The track stays between downtown and the riverfront, with the main stretch on Jefferson. Half of the course can be viewed for free, and the design is meant to limit headaches for businesses.

“A lot of thought was given and taken into consideration about how this could be a benefit to the surrounding businesses and not be something that became intrusive,” said Ron Brundidge, director of the city of Detroit Department of Public Works.

Race organizers say a study from the University of Michigan showed a city route would increase downtown business by 20%, with $77 million in spending overall.

“Watch out: We’re going to have the biggest event that we've had since Super Bowl 2006,” said Bud Denker, chairman of the Detroit Grand Prix.

Still recovering from the pandemic, that business downtown is much needed.

“This is a beautiful place to be and the business can look forward to expanding and looking forward to that extra growth to come through,” said Hakim Berry, chief operating officer for the city of Detroit.

By the time those cars hit the streets, business hope the pandemic comeback will be well on it’s way, expecting this marquee race to give them that final push across the finish line.

“I think it’ll give more people reasons, like you said, to come out, have fun, get their children out, just enjoy what downtown has to offer,” Thomas said.

The race for 2022 will remain on Belle Isle before officially making the move downtown, where it will stay through 2025.