Christmas in Detroit: A Downtown Being Reborn

Sights and scenes from around Downtown Detroit during the holiday season.

11. Founded in 1997, Meridian employs 1,200 employees in downtown and is the state’s largest Medicaid health plan. Meridian was recently sold to Tampa-based WellCare Health Plans, Inc. for $2.5 billion. The deal was the biggest HMO deal in Michigan history.

12. The Woodward Avenue Esplanade is a public park in the median of Woodward Avenue that opened in 2017. It is the result of a $400,000 investment by Quicken Loans, Inc. to convert the median of Woodward into a gathering place that includes sidewalks, public art installations, seating and other interactive amenities.

13. Little Caesars World Headquarters Campus Expansion between The Fillmore and Fox Theatres. The $150 million, nine-story, 235,000-square-foot building will be home to 700 employees when it opens this year.

14. Opened on September 5, 2017, the $862.9 million Little Caesars Arena is the new home of the Detroit Red Wings (NHL) and the Detroit Pistons (NBA). It is the anchor of a new $2.1 billion sports and entertainment that will include mixed-use neighborhoods with new residential and retail between Downtown and Midtown Detroit.

15. The QLine is a privately operated 3.3-mile modern streetcar line that opened on May 12, 2017. Connecting downtown with Midtown and New Center, the fixed transit system averaged 3,700 riders a day during its first year of operation.

16. Downtown Detroit’s emerging retail scene along Woodward Avenue is dominated by locally owned businesses as opposed to national chains.

17. Tower cranes reign supreme on the downtown skyline these days. A tower crane for the expansion of One Campus Martius can be seen in the background. Built in 2003, One Campus Maritus is a 16-story landmark office tower overlooking Campus Martius Park. A $95-million, 14-story addition is currently underway to add 310,000-square-feet of office space.

18. A $313 million restoration project is underway on the historic 38-story Book Tower. Abandoned since 1989, it anchors the Washington Boulevard Historic District and was the tallest building in the city when it was completed in 1926. Acquired by Bedrock Real Estate in 2015, the tower will include 95 residential units, 180,000-square-feet of retail and office space and a hotel when it is completed.

19. Purchased in 2016 by The Roxbury Group and Invest Detroit, the Louis Kamper Building is being renovated to maintain 165 affordable senior housing apartment units. As a part of the project, 9,000-square-feet of long-dormant retail will be reactivated. This project was financed with the assistance of low income housing tax credits, historic tax credits and HOME funding.

20. Walking down Griswold Street. The 565-foot tall Penobscot Building can be seen rising in the background. Once the world’s eight tallest building, the Penobscot was the city’s tallest from 1928 to 1977.