Public-Private Partnership to Develop $300 Million University of Michigan Research Center in Downtown Detroit

by Katie Sloan

Detroit — A public-private partnership has unveiled plans for a $300 million, 190,000-square-foot research and education center in downtown Detroit that the University of Michigan (U-M) will occupy and operate.

Kohn Pedersen Fox designed the building that will anchor the 14-acre Detroit Center for Innovation (DCI). The research building is expected to eventually serve 1,000 graduate and senior-level undergraduate students pursuing advanced degrees in a range of high-tech innovation disciplines, including mobility, artificial intelligence, data science, entrepreneurship, sustainability, cybersecurity and financial technology.

Construction of the DCI is slated to commence in 2021.

Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer joined Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan; Wayne County Executive Warren Evans; Stephen Ross, philanthropist and chairman of Related Cos.; Matt Cullen, CEO of Bedrock; and U-M President Mark Schlissel at the planned construction site on Wednesday to announce development plans.

Funding for the project is backed by donations from public and private funders including Ross and Gilbert. Gilbert owns Bedrock, which acquired the land from Wayne County in 2018. The company demolished the half-built Wayne County Jail. For the development of DCI, Bedrock will transfer land ownership to U-M, pending public review by the Wayne County Commission.

“This announcement represents an incredible commitment to Detroit by Stephen Ross, Mark Schlissel and Dan Gilbert that will allow us to develop, attract and retain world-class talent,” says Duggan. “Detroit has always been a leader in innovation, and this new center will help ensure that continues to be the case into the future.”

Other aspects of the initial phase of construction will include incubator and start-up services for entrepreneurs, collaboration space for established companies, residential units, a hotel and conference center and event space. The new multi-building complex will be located at Gratiot Avenue and St. Antoine Street on the eastern edge of downtown.

— Alex Tostado

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