27. 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.

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

29. 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.

30. 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.

31. 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.

32. 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.

33. Transit riders waiting for the next QLine streetcar to arrive.

34. Dating back to 1933, the Kern’s Clock is a very popular Detroit landmark. It was originally installed at the entrance of the Ernst Kern Company department store on Woodward Avenue. The 10-story department store building was demolished in 1966 as a part of downtown’s mid-to-late 20th century decline.


36. In 2005, Dan Gilbert’s Bedrock Real Estate Services invested millions into the restoration of the Albert Kahn-designed historic First National Building. Initially completed in 1922 and overlooking Campus Martius Park, street level tenants added since the renovation include the popular Roasting Plant coffee shop, Central Kitchen + Bar and Shake Shack.

37. In July 2019, Michigan-based grocery chain Plum Market opened an 8,000 square-foot grocery store at the Ally Detroit Center (500 Woodward Avenue).

38. In 2013, Dan Gilbert acquired the Albert Kahn-designed Vinton Building. Dating back to 1916, at the time the decaying structure was known as one of the city’s most dangerous buildings after dropping brick onto Congress Street. In September 2018, a new modern fine-dining restaurant called Besa opened on the ground floor of Bedrock-owned Vinton Building.

39. In 2015, 314-seat restaurant Townhouse Detroit opened on the ground floor of Ally Detroit Center, downtown’s second tallest building.

Article by Ennis Davis, AICP. Contact Ennis at edavis@moderncities.com