The Fitzgerald Project, Detroit’s Premiere in Urban Development

The Fitzgerald Revitalization Project focuses on 100 vacant buildings and 257 empty lots that will be converted to productive landscapes.

By Alexandra Pacurar

Rendering of a Community Garden in the Fitzgerald Area

Rendering of a Community Garden in the Fitzgerald Area

Detroit—The City of Detroit is looking for housing and landscape developers for the Fitzgerald Revitalization project. The unique initiative aims at transforming the area between Marygrove College and University of Detroit Mercy by demolishing dangerous structures, rehabilitating existing homes to create affordable housing and implementing and maintaining professional landscaping on abandoned parcels of land. The project includes 100 vacant buildings and 257 empty lots.

Developers must submit proposals by August 26th, while the final selection and award notice will be made on September 30th. The city worked with residents and local stakeholders to develop the vision for the Fitzgerald Projects. Also, award-winning landscape architecture firm Spackman Mossop & Michaels was commissioned to create the framework plan together with the community, to include every publicly-owned structure and parcel in the area.

The plan aims to create diverse, inclusive and affordable housing options, local workforce engagement and a holistic transformation. The city has outlined several opportunities for the re-use of vacant lots: conversion to a public greenway and neighborhood park, redevelopment of larger clusters of vacant lots into productive landscapes, whether for crop production, orchards or other uses individual, and transforming highly dispersed parcels into low-maintenance meadows.

Developers must purchase all publicly-owned structures in the Fitzgerald Project Area before proceeding to either demolishing or renovating them. When it comes to financing, the City of Detroit is ready to support the builders interested in the project with subsidies, allocations and customized tax treatments to make each initiative feasible. Detroit’s Housing and Revitalization Department is also ready to provide funds from the Community Development Block Grant to cover reasonable costs of demolition associated with this project.

Currently, the local government is focusing on redeveloping entire areas in the city rather than singular structures. Recently, the city gave the final seal of approval for a major mixed-use development project in Paradise Valley, a historic neighborhood in the city. West Village and Southwest areas are bound to be next on the list, according to Curbed Detroit.


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