Bedrock Breaks Ground on $820M Detroit Mixed-Use

The 1.4 million-square-foot downtown development is the latest milestone in the rebirth of the city, which emerged from bankruptcy in December 2014.

Monroe Blocks, an $830 million mixed-use project in Detroit, has moved one major step toward realization. Bedrock has broken ground on the 1.4 million-square-foot development, which will play a key role in the ongoing revitalization of the downtown Detroit area.

Ultimately, Monroe Blocks will comprise 847,000 square feet of office space, roughly 482 residential units, 117,000 square feet of retail offerings and 1.5 acres of public open space. Bedrock has brought aboard Turner Construction to serve as general contractor and expects to complete the project in 2022. 

The first phase of Monroe Blocks, Block A, will encompass a 35-story office high-rise featuring approximately 814,000 square feet, carrying the distinction of being the first WELL Certified building in Detroit. Block A will also yield a 17-story residential tower with 148 units and 66,000 square feet of retail space. 

Designed by architectural firm Schmidt Hammer Lassen, the project will take shape on an approximately 3.6-acre, two-block site that once thrived as Detroit’s first theater district. The location had been home to historic structures developed as early as 1852 until the barren location was razed almost in its entirety in 1990. Today, the site consists primarily of a surface parking lot and the parcels where the demolished structures once stood. However, one piece of valuable architecture remains—the 107-year-old, Albert Kahn-designed National Theater, the facade of which will be incorporated into the Monroe Blocks project.

“For decades, it seemed like all we saw in this town were buildings going vacant and buildings coming down,” Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan said in a prepared statement. “Now there is historic preservation taking place everywhere you look and demand is so strong we have new skyscrapers about to rise.”

Bringing Detroit back

Bedrock’s groundbreaking on Monroe Blocks comes almost four years after the City of Detroit emerged from bankruptcy. Detroit is now on the road to recovery with a bevy of new and adaptive reuse projects. Bedrock is spearheading other major undertakings, having announced plans for $2.1 billion in developments in 2017.

In addition to Monroe Blocks, the company’s multi-billion-dollar development agenda includes the $900 million redevelopment of the former JL Hudson’s department store site, where the company will erect what will be the tallest building in the State of Michigan. Bedrock is also orchestrating the $313 million adaptive reuse of the historic Book Building and Tower, as well as the $95 million office expansion at the One Campus Martius site.

Other developers participating in the city’s renaissance include Ginosko Development, which will build a $108 million residential tower featuring 314 rental units and 60 condominiums in the Lafayette Park neighborhood on the site of Shapero Hall, the former Wayne State University pharmacy school. In June 2018, Ford Motor Co. acquired Michigan Central Station for $90 million and announced it would transform the landmark facility into the centerpiece of a $740 million, 1.2 million-square-foot innovation hub in Detroit’s Corktown district.

Images courtesy of Bedrock Detroit