The conversion of a historic riverfront structure, the Stone Soap Building, into a mixed-use development will also provide greater amenity to the underutilised area, increasing density and activity along the riverfront.
It is believed by using inclusive, accessible principles the new ‘riverfront for all’ framework will bring about economic change and have a positive effect on the urban area. Working in conjunction with the Detroit RiverFront Conservancy, Detroit Economic Growth Corporation, and City of Detroit Planning and Development Department, SOM’s masterplan will include a signification portion of land dedicated to parks and open green space for the public – keeping the Detroit River from over development. Former private developments will also be transformed into public parks, creating almost eight acres of open public space.
To ensure community access, existing arterial roads will be upgraded to greenways, with improved lighting, paving, and landscaping. Jefferson Avenue, a scenic road that runs along the eastern part of the Detroit metropolitan area, will be redesigned to accommodate pedestrians and cyclists, providing better links between the riverfront and neighbourhoods to the north.
“The riverfront belongs to all Detroiters. Thanks to the involvement of hundreds of residents, we have principles that frame an international riverfront that can be accessed and enjoyed by all,” says Maurice D. Cox, Director, City of Detroit Planning & Development Department.
Development works across the riverfront will begin in 2017.