Detroit Evening Report: Detroit City Council expected to vote on $1.5B District Detroit development after delay

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Rendering of a proposed building in the District Detroit.

After delaying their decision last week, Detroit City Council is expected to vote on public tax subsidies for the District Detroit on Tuesday. Developers want to cover about half of the $1.5 billion project’s costs through tax captures and forgivable loans.

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Mayor Mike Duggan’s administration and allies support the project, which would produce 10 new and rehabilitated buildings for commercial and residential use, including two new hotels. They’re enlisting community leaders to spread that message.

Reverend Doctor Wendell Anthony, president of Detroit’s NAACP chapter, recently appeared in a video produced by the city.

“The owners, the developers, they’re putting up $1.5 billion of their own money. We’re talking about 12,000 jobs. We’re talking 6,000 permanent jobs,” Anthony says in the clip. “If we don’t do it, it’s just going to sit rotten in the community.”

Critics of the tax breaks say District Detroit developers have brought blight and disrepair to the city’s Cass Corridor through a decades-long process called “dereliction by design.” During that time, the Ilitch organization acquired dozens of properties — often from the city for cheap — surrounding what is now Little Caesars Arena.

Listen: Developers defend District Detroit project expansion

Many buildings remain empty today, with others being used as revenue-generating parking lots.

Other headlines for March 27, 2023:

  • Wayne State University suspends professor after threatening social media post
  • Demolition begins on abandoned La Choy building on Detroit’s west side
  • City of Detroit names Jack Akinlosotu as Office of Sustainability director

Do you have a community story we should tell? Let us know in an email at

WDET reporter Eli Newman contributed to this story.

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  • Tia Graham
    Tia Graham is a reporter and Weekend Edition Host for 101.9 WDET. She graduated from Michigan State University where she had the unique privilege of covering former President Barack Obama and his trip to Lansing in 2014.