Google “Detroit Comeback” and you’ll get pages and pages of results. Many of these are predictions that Detroit is on the verge of the greatest American comeback of our time, describing the hundreds of new, trendy restaurants, the vibrant arts scene, and the millennials flocking to become part of the city’s rebirth. 
 
A Michigan State University study released in late 2016 sounded a more cautious note, asserting that most of the city’s rebirth has happened in a few areas concentrated on downtown and Midtown, and that areas outside of the core are not sharing in the renaissance. While it is important not to lose sight of the very real difficulties still facing the city in its revitalization efforts, the study downplays two important elements. 

The first is that, while it may seem like it, the comeback of the downtown and Midtown didn’t happen overnight. It was the result of decades of hard work, dedication, and belief in the city by its residents and champions.

QEA has been working in the city for over 30 years, and we have seen time and again how even small-scale rehabilitation projects have been catalysts for change. We’ve been fortunate to participate in many of those projects, and we see the current intensity of the redevelopment and infill in these areas as the achievement of critical mass built on decades of work.  

The second point is that the work of rebuilding the city’s struggling neighborhoods is already under way. The study itself acknowledged that the city is taking positive steps to rebuild neighborhood infrastructure and quality of life. QEA is seeing the direct impact of the city’s redevelopment efforts in our work on a neighborhood revitalization plan for Islandview/Greater Villages, one of several similar projects around the city, with more in the planning stages.  
 
Like our experience in Midtown and downtown, we are witnessing the impact of private development in neighborhoods that we have long worked in, like Corktown and Southwest Detroit, as well as newly redeveloping areas like the Avenue of Fashion on Livernois, where we are designing the redevelopment of a commercial block at the corner of Seven Mile Road. In our recent survey of nearly 200 remaining historic branch banks across the city, we saw countless instances of these historic buildings continuing to serve as neighborhood anchors, including religious institutions, restaurants and other local businesses, and community centers.  
 
We’ve never been more excited to be part of Detroit’s future, one that we know will include not just the downtown/Midtown core but also the neighborhoods that make up the city’s unique heritage. We’ve been keeping track of our progress with the map of our Detroit projects, above, and plan to unveil an interactive map on our website soon with project details and images. The map represents the full range of our projects, from cultural resource surveys and redevelopment studies, to historic tax credit consulting, to full scale restoration and rehabilitation projects.  

QEA Detroit Map