Whole Foods Market this morning makes official months of speculation about plans to build a new store in Detroit’s growing Midtown, part of a string of national retailers giving Michigan’s largest city a fresh look.
Just last week, Forbes reported “Neiman Marcus and Saks stick their toes into once-dead Detroit.” The retailers are part of Somerset Collection’s CityLoft retail center which features 41 farmers market-style kiosks on Woodward Ave. in downtown Detroit. Meanwhile, several Detroit-employers made international news as with new incentives to get Detroit workers to Live Downtown.
Midtown, home of the city’s Cultural Center including several museums and Wayne State University north of Downtown, now has Detroit’s highest concentration of “income per acre” ($231,361) according to a 2010 Social Compact study. The study also found the average annual income of new homebuyers was nearly $114,000 in Midtown, with comparable numbers in Downtown and in the Indian Village neighborhood.
The Michigan Economic Development Corporation and other partners all anticipate investing funds to enable the project. Donald Snider, MEDC’s senior vice president for urban economic development, spoke at the 10 a.m. news conference at the site of the new Whole Foods at the corner of Mack Avenue and John R. The MEDC is committed to the revitalization of core urban communities for the purpose of job creation and assisting the creation of a quality sense of place.
Whole Foods, based in Austin, Texas has established suburban locations and contracted with numerous Michigan-based food suppliers to accommodate the expansion. The new growth in the city earlier this month was the focus of a New York Times piece that looked at “young muscles” revitalizing the city while The Detroit News recently wrote about a “cool factor luring the young, artsy.”