11 May Urban Land Institute Hosts Spring Meeting in Detroit: Why it Matters
For the first time in 40 years, the Urban Land Institute (ULI), an international nonprofit association of city builders, real estate developers, urban planners and the like, brought their spring meeting to Detroit. The significance of this extends well beyond the 4,000 visitors that graced our city last week and exposes the city’s recent rebirth to a key set of worldwide influencers, critics and innovators. ULI shared some key reasons why Detroit was selected in this video:
ULI and Detroit hosted 4,000 attendees last week (May 1-3) at Cobo Center and various other venues to ruminate and expand upon the latest trends in real estate, urban core redevelopment, best practices, and challenges while discussing and visiting Detroit landmarks with industry icons like Dan Gilbert and Chris Ilitch and Midtown Inc.’s Sue Mosey (see picture below; credit: ULI) and tour the city. Visitors were able to explore Detroit’s urban farms, the RiverWalk and many of the ongoing, downtown development projects. In fact, during the tour many of ICONIC’s properties were on display.
Several standout projects, including DTE’s Beacon Park were featured in Detroit. This park covers 1.5 acres of green space with a restaurant, concert venue, light features and is home to hundreds of unique events each year. ICONIC acted as a trusted advisor in the Beacon Park development, assisting DTE in identifying, vetting and negotiating for the restaurant that is now Lumen (pictured below; via Eater Detroit), while ensuring it was a great fit for the area. Bedrock hosted attendees for a reception at another public space and ICONIC location, PARC. They were also toured around many of our current listings while in the city such as 415 Clifford, 305 Michigan Ave (pictured above), 3075 Grand Blvd and 1307 Broadway.
If you have tried to cruise through downtown Birmingham lately, you’ll know the city is undergoing a major infrastructure update; South Old Woodward will receive extensive upgrades, including new sewers, water main, pavement, street lights, traffic signals, planters and parking meters. ICONIC recently leased out 124 S. Old Woodward, which was also along the attendees’ travels in the metro Detroit area. This will soon be a quick casual sushi poke restaurant, Kaku Sushi & Poke’s second location.
Royal Oak is rapidly transforming, there are nearly half a dozen active development projects focused on expanding the office, retail and residential offerings in the city, particularly in the downtown area. ICONIC recently represented a client in an off market acquisition of the 110 S. Main St. building, home to Leo’s, Coney Island a Royal Oak staple.
Why it matters
Detroit’s renaissance is a hot topic over the last several years. ULI and its members’ interest in the city seem to show that there is momentum moving into the future and the world’s most interested eyes needed to see it for themselves. New restaurants and businesses aren’t cropping up by happenstance, the real estate industry is working hard to show entrepreneurs, established moguls and more, that Detroit and its surrounding communities offer exceptional locations and value for thriving and budding businesses alike.
As I look back on the last 10 days in Detroit, one of the most interesting components to the ULI Spring Meeting was the abundance of capital market real estate fund professionals. These are the people providing, creating, and layering the dollars for development and acquisition. The robust presence and excitement I experienced with these folks during a 4-hour craft cocktail overload at Bad Luck Bar provided a strong footing for what’s to come in Detroit. Professionals from Brookfield, John Hancock, HFF, Tishman and Blackstone all created time in their schedules to see what was up in Detroit. About a week prior to the conference I was tasked by an old college friend, to “show me the Detroit that makes me want to come back.” Judging by the follow up emails, text messages and calls, we were all successful in doing so.