Detroit unveils 330 new housing, retail units in historic Brush Park

May 6, 2015

An artist's rendering of new development planned for Brush Park
Credit City of Detroit

Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan today announced what he says is the city's first major housing development in decades.

Some 330 houses, apartments, and retail units will be built in Brush Park, right on the edges of trendy Midtown and Downtown, and should have people living in them sometime in 2017.  

Demand for housing in those areas is booming.

The developers are part of Dan Gilbert’s family of companies.

Building in historic Brush Park, dotted with Victorian mansions 

It’s a big, 100-acre historic area that dates back to the 1800s, when the city’s wealthy built elaborate Victorian mansions there.

The developers are going to build on eight of those acres.

Some of the old Victorian mansions in Brush Park.
Credit Kate Wells

Today, several of the old mansions are still standing, dotting blocks and blocks of open fields between the Detroit Medical Center and major highways.

Four of those homes will be rehabbed and integrated into the new development.

“This is gonna be the next area that takes off,” Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan told a small crowd at a press conference today announcing the deal.   

The Brush Park development will take up 8 acres between Midtown and Downtown Detroit
Credit City of Detroit / http://www.detroitmi.gov/News/ArticleID/188/Detroit%E2%80%99s-First-Major-Residential-Development-in-Decades-Blends-Historic-Preservation-and-New-Construction-in-Brush-Park#prettyPhoto

“For lots of reasons at lots of times, it never did. But you’re in an absolutely ideal location. Huge employment centers to the north and south. M-1 rail and all of the office and retail development over there to the west.

"I really think this is going to be a place that people want to live. And the fact that we had 9 serious proposals [for this area] tells you that people agree with me.” 

The development’s local links: Dan Gilbert connections all over the place 

The developers have several links to Dan Gilbert, the billionaire founder and chairman of Rock Ventures and Quicken Loans, who’s bought up lots of Detroit real estate.

Calling themselves the Brush Park Development Partners, LLC, their principal investor is Steve Rosenthal. He’s also the president of Rock Companies, according to their website, and a principal at Rock Gaming.

Rosenthal told reporters today that the whole Brush Park project is going to cost an estimated $70 million.

Both and he Duggan say there are currently no tax credits going into the project.

An artist's rendering of Brush Park development, including integrated historical homes blended with modern development
Credit City of Detroit / http://www.detroitmi.gov/News/ArticleID/188/Detroit%E2%80%99s-First-Major-Residential-Development-in-Decades-Blends-Historic-Preservation-and-New-Construction-in-Brush-Park#prettyPhoto

They’ve pledged that 20% of the available housing will be set aside for affordable housing, and that half the construction workers hired will be local.

A third of the construction cost will go to Detroit-based contractors, according to a press release.

Also on the team is Marvin Beatty, who runs public relations over at the Greektown Casino (which is owned by Gilbert) and is behind the new development planned over at the old state fairgrounds.

Next up: City Council has to give the OK 

The City Council will have to approve these plans, according to Duggan.

“Today is the selection of the developer and the concept,” he says. “There will be several weeks of conversation with the community before we submit the plan to city council. So [details] may or may not change, depending.”

Rosenthal says work to rehab the four old mansions will begin immediately, and groundbreaking will happen this fall or next spring, according to Duggan.