5 Things To Know About The Fitz Forward Project In Detroit (And Why You Should Pay Attention)

Posted on April 6, 2017

A two year project was announced by Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan on Wednesday to help revitalize the Fitzgerald neighborhood in the city of Detroit.

We talked about it before when foundations set up a $4 million matching grant. Now, the project is in motion.

It’s the latest in a series of developments in Detroit’s neighborhoods that are worth paying attention to.

This is also interesting because this project is about rehabilitation instead of new construction. Many revitalization projects lean heavily, if you haven’t noticed, on new construction.

Although most of the media attention is focused on downtown Detroit since many readers on the local area internet are most familiar themselves with it, it’s what’s happening on a house-by-house basis that you should care about if you truly want Detroit to turn around. So we’re going to spend a little time on it.

Where is the Fitzgerald neighborhood?

So it’s within these streets outlined in the box below.

Yeah, the above is pretty specific. To get wider context of where it is in the city or compared to where you live, try this Google map. You can zoom in and out and drag it. The red box is what Google considers the entire Fitzgerald neighborhood.

Who are the key players?

  • The City of Detroit
  • Development firm Century Partners, co-founded by Andrew Colom and David Alade.
  • Development firm The Platform, with co-principals are Peter Cummings and Dietrich Knoer. They’re busy in the city – for instance, The Platform just last week announced a project over on Jefferson and Grand Boulevard. You can read about it here.
  • The Kresge Foundation, Knight Foundation, JPB Foundation and Rockefeller Foundation will invest more than $4 million in the Fitzgerald Revitalization Project through the Reimagining the Civic Commons grant via the Strategic Neighborhood Fund Initiative, according to the city. It’s a matching funds grant.
House in the Fitzgerald neighborhood of Detroit. Daily Detroit photo.

What’s happening:

  • 115 Vacant homes will be rehabilitated over two years. The plan is that they will be a mixture of rental properties and homes for purchased priced at the neighborhood market rate. As is now usual with projects that get city support, 20% will be set aside as affordable for Detroit families making 80 percent or less of the area median income.
  • 192 vacant lots will be landscaped
  • A new two acre park, the “Ella Fitzgerald Park and Greenway” will be created and should be finished by the end of 2017

Council still has to approve:

The Detroit City Council has to approve a bunch of land transfers from the Detroit Land Bank to the developers, the City of Detroit and the city’s recreation department. This is going in front of them April 11, 2017.

Commercial Development Is Next:

Once this is done, the city says there will be a phase two with an additional $5 million investment from the city and Strategic Neighborhood Fund partners for commercial development.