Detroit proposes apartments, grocery store on East Jefferson

- The city of Detroit announced a $60 million project on East Jefferson that will bring retail and residential housing to an area that hasn't seen investment like this in decades.

It will be a mixture of new apartments and a new Meijer store right in the East Jefferson Corridor headed into downtown Detroit.

The 220,000 square foot project will include 213 units above the store and 20 percent of those units would be reserved for affordable housing.

It's a joy for longtime residents like Pastor Barry Randolph of the Church of Messiah.

"I never thought I would see this much development happening in Detroit in my lifetime. I saw it when downtown was beautiful, I watched it go down, and now I'm watching it be more beautiful than I ever thought it ever would be," he said.

Dennis Archer Jr. is leading the project, and he's getting a lot of support from the city and the county.

"We've controlled the site for four years. As you can imagine, we've gotten to second base, third base once, and finally we're able to come home with the team we have now," he said.

County and city leaders say not only will it bring more jobs into Detroit, but also provide an everyday need.

"Fresh fruits and vegetables aren't always things you find historically in downtown Detroit," said Wayne County Executive Warren Evans.

"For a lot of people on the lower east side, they're doing their shopping in the suburbs. We're not capturing that retail in the city of Detroit," said Mayor Mike Duggan.

The plan is to have 221 underground residential parking spaces and 120 for retail.

Another portion of the plan is to buy some of the green space that is next to the vacant lot to complete the project.

"I've written a lot of checks myself to start, and then we're going to get financing through HUD. We're pursing some incentives, none of which have been approved yet," Archer said.

"As we move forward, we still have a lot of things we need to negotiate as it relates to parking and making sure the amenities and the park are what the community wants," said Councilwoman Mary Sheffield.

The plan is to have the project finalized by the end of this year, and have the ribbon cutting by the fall of 2019.

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