Detroit’s New Playground Space Promotes Michigan’s Outdoors

A new outdoor activity center that aims to bring a touch of “up north” in downtown Detroit is set to open in along the city’s east riverfront in less than one week.

By Veronica Grecu, Associate Editor

Outdoor Adventure Center – Detroit

After nearly three years of extensive renovations and upgrades, the historic Globe Building in the Rivertown neighborhood between the Renaissance Center and Belle Isle is finally coming back to life as Detroit’s newest attraction: an Outdoor Adventure Center. The Michigan Department of Natural Resources is set to inaugurate the activity center on Monday, July 20.

Located at 1801-1803 Atwater at Orleans and 1900 Atwater, the century-old industrial building was originally constructed to house the Dry Dock Engine Works. In the 1960′s, the property was occupied by the Globe Trading Co., a wholesaler dealer of machinery and equipment, hence the name of the building. After several unsuccessful attempts to redevelop the 41,000-square-foot property into lofts or even casinos, the Detroit Economic Growth Corp. sold the building for $1 to local developer Roxbury Group in spring 2013. The company teamed up with contractor Walbridge Aldinger Co. and Ann Arbor-based Hobbs & Black Architects to redevelop the derelict property.

Outdoor Adventure Center – indoor – Detroit

As previously reported by Commercial Property Executive, the Globe Building’s renovation had a $12.8 million price tag—with $11 million coming from the Michigan Natural Resources Trust Fund and $1.8 million from a previously awarded brownfield tax. Right after completion, the revamped building was sold back to the state Department of Natural Resources for $11 million.

Attractions at the new Outdoor Adventure Center include a 40-foot-tall, manmade, interactive tree; off-road vehicle, bicycle, kayak, canoe and fishing boat simulators; a 60-foot-long archery range; a 15-foot waterfall; a life-size beaver lodge and eagle’s nest, and a 3,000-gallon freshwater aquarium. Visitors will also have access to a retail shop, food court and cafeteria, meeting and event space and all sorts of interactive features.

Images courtesy of the Michigan Department of Natural Resources via Flickr