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The riverfront is starting to heat up as a development destination.

On Tuesday, Partners of Rivertown Phase, LLC were joined by business and community leaders to mark the start of construction with a ceremonial groundbreaking for Orleans Landing — a $65 million public-private funded, mixed-use development located on the Detroit Riverfront, and the first market-rate residential construction project on Detroit’s East Riverfront in 25 years.

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Rendering. Courtesy Orleans Landing.

Located on 7.7 acres, adjacent to the Central Business District, the space will offer 278 apartments, 20% of which will be “affordable housing” in the form of one-bedroom units, in addition to 10,000 square feet of retail space and other amenities.

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Rendering. Courtesy Orleans Landing

While other developments on the Riverfront have seen modest success, the neighborhoods have not yet managed to gain a strong enough foothold to secure consistent growth.

However, Orleans Landing differs from past projects in that it will not be a gated community, but rather a functional addition to the developing neighborhood, built into the existing street grid along the riverfront to make it an inviting, walkable space.

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Rendering. Courtesy Orleans Landing.

The one and two bedroom flats and hybrid retail/loft space will include:

  • 30 two-bedroom town houses with their own garage
  • 48 two-bedroom apartments (six live/work units)
  • 200 one-bedroom apartments
  • Swimming pool, fitness center, community center, interior bike storage
  • Secured parking
  • Units built to Enterprise Green Community criteria standards and Energy Star for homes certified
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Orleans Landing Under Construction. Daily Detroit Photo.

Another benefit of the new space is the prime location — directly adjacent to the Detroit RiverWalk and the Dequindre Cut Greenway, as well as the newly opened DNR Outdoor Adventure Center in the historic Globe building, Chene Park and Rivard Park; as well as expansive views of the river, of the Windsor, Canada skyline to the south and of downtown Detroit to the northwest.

Milliken State Park and Marina is just down a block from the Orleans Landing development. Daily Detroit photo.
Milliken State Park and Marina is just down a block from the Orleans Landing development. Daily Detroit photo.

The project is personal for Richard Baron, co-founder, chairman and CEO of McCormack Baron Salazar, one of the developers on the project.

His grandparents immigrated to Detroit from Russia and Poland. He ran errands for his grandmother’s woolens store — located ten blocks from the Orleans Landing site.

“Orleans Landing is a great example of what McCormack Baron Salazar has been undertaking in the past four decades — great design for an inclusive, mixed-use neighborhood connected to significant community investments — and I’m so proud that we are a part of this vibrant Detroit story,” said Richard Baron, co-founder, chairman, and CEO of McCormack Baron Salazar and Detroit native.

McCormack Baron Salazar has a 40-year history developing urban, residential projects from Kansas City to Pittsburgh, from New Orleans to Atlanta and St. Louis, and the firm has developed more than $3 billion of urban residential and is considered one of the leading firms in urban projects and public-private partnerships. And there were a lot of funders, including traditional sources such as banks but also foundations and a Brownfield Development EPA loan.

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News conference announcing the groundbreaking. Daily Detroit photo.

Now, if you’re wondering where to sign up, you’re going to have to hold off while longer. A limited number of units will be available in the fall of 2016 — the rest to be available in the second quarter 2017, with the project wrapping up completely in April 2017. Pricing on the units isn’t available yet.