Conventional wisdom in Detroit dictates that The Villages is one of the ripest areas for retail success in the Motor City. A small group of local stakeholders has come up with a plan to help make that happen through a pop-up retail pilot program.
The Villages is a conglomeration of high-end neighborhoods (Indian, Islandview and West Village) on Detroit’s East Side near Belle Isle. The new program seeks proposals to create retail and restaurant/bar businesses along Agnes Street between Van Dyke and Parker streets in West Village.
“The Villages are very dense neighborhoods,” says Brian Hurttienne, executive director of The Villages Community Development Corp. “We are just lacking a commercial component to make it a very vibrant neighborhood, like bars, coffee shops, ice cream parlors. It’s those sorts of things that raise the quality of life.”
To make that happen, The Villages Community Development Corp is teaming up with the Detroit Economic Growth Corp, West Village Manor Apartments and Parkstone Apartments to solicit proposals to create full-time and temporary (commonly known as pop-up retail) businesses this fall and winter. The businesses would utilize vacant ground floor retail space in the apartment buildings.
“The pop-ups are expected to be a bit of an infill,” Hurttienne says. “They could turn into a long-term tenant or be something quick, like an art gallery.”
This pilot project is the first phase of a larger retail initiative for The Villages. The goal is to attract stable, long-term businesses to The Villages and other similar neighborhoods in the city. Participants in the program will have access to help to create innovative marketing and engagement strategies, real estate matchmaking services, and the suite of implementation resources that will be made available.
The DEGC is heading up the pilot program and is working to spread it to other local neighborhoods. For information, email Michael Forsyth here. The deadline for proposals is 10 a.m. on Sept. 10.
Jon Zemke, ModelMedia