A building that has sat vacant for at least two decades is going to see new life on Detroit’s riverfront.

Today, city officials announced that Detroit-based developer Banyan Investments will redevelop the historic building into a mixed-use project and add three to six additional stories on the building.

In 1907, according to the city of Detroit, the first two structures in the industrial complex were built.

A three-story addition followed in the late 1920s.

The building is named after the Stone Soap Company, who started occupying the space in the late 1970s.

At the time the Detroit riverfront wasn’t a space for play, but for industrial production.

The manufacturer of commercial detergents was in the building until the late 1990s.

Above is a look at the new project.

Key project stats:

  • 33 rental apartments will be located in the renovated original structures, built in the early 1900s
  • 30 condominiums that will be newly constructed
  • There will be one, two and three bedroom units
  • 20 percent reserved as affordable housing for residents making 80 percent of the area median income ($38,000 a year)
  • Will include a gym, pool, rooftop gardens, storage, and bike stations for residents
  • 13,000 Square feet of new retail

There are a few interesting threads with this development, one of them being a market inspired by the Ponce City Market in Atlanta.

Ponce City Market in Atlanta. Photo via Ponce City Market.

This could be a big deal if executed right. Ponce City was built in an old Sears, Roebuck and Co. building and is a pretty active place with a variety options for both dining and shopping.

There’s also going to be a space provided to the nonprofit Shakespeare in Detroit theatre company at no cost to them. The theatre space will be in the round.

Interested in more details on Shakespeare in Detroit? We talked to their founder Sam White at the press announcement. The interview is below and on our News Byte podcast.

Stone Soap is expected to break ground in the spring of next year, following City Council approval, and complete by fall 2020.

Adding Two Cents: Instead of driving in, I biked down and took a different route on the way in and out, and it feels more cohesive than just a couple years ago.

It’s interesting to see now that things are starting to roll out on the Riverfront — the beach, the new bike lanes down Jefferson, among other projects — that Detroit’s de facto neighborhood futurist Maurice Cox seems to be sticking to his plan to not have luxury units right on the Riverwalk itself and occupying the space immediately on the water. He’s mentioned before, and so has the the RiverFront Conservancy, they’re they’re going to try to encourage folks from across Jefferson to cross into the riverfront area.

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