by Kelli B. Kavanaugh – Found on

The New Economy Initiative has announced a $2.5 million investment into the Sugar Hill District development. The University Cultural Center Association, in partnership with Garfield Real Estate Properties LLC, is developing Sugar Hill as a dense business/residential arts district in Detroit’s Midtown neighborhood, specifically the area bounded by Woodward, Canfield, John R and Forest.

UCCA president Sue Mosey estimates the entire project’s cost to be $34 million; approximately $33.5 million has been committed from the New Economy Initiative, Michigan Council for Arts and Cultural Affairs, brownfield and historic preservation tax credits, and City of Detroit Community Development Block Grants.

Sugar Hill consists of several complementary developments, all of which will contribute to the cultural fabric of the district. The following projects are part of the mix:

  • 71 Garfield is currently undergoing rehabilitation. It will provide 22 studio spaces and 16 rental apartments for artists when completed later this year.
  • Next spring, construction will begin on a 132,000-square-foot, four-story mixed-use building at the corner of John R and Canfield. The Sugar Hill Arts District Building will consist of 12,000 square feet of commercial space, 44,000 square feet of residential and a 213- space parking deck that will be incorporated into the structure.
  • The third building that UCCA and Garfield will team up on developing will be located on the south side of Garfield behind MOCAD. It will be a 25,000-square-foot, two-story commercial building with associated green space.
  • The Michigan Council for Arts and Cultural Affairs funded a public improvement plan for Sugar Hill that was developed by Albert Kahn Associates last year. It includes streetscaping, outdoor performance spaces and seating as well as a water management plan that incorporates bioswales.

MOCAD and George N’Namdi have been planning partners on the Sugar Hill district, and both have their own projects to contribute to the district overhaul. N’Namdi’s new gallery will open this summer, and MOCAD is developing a a sculpture garden.

Source: Sue Mosey, UCCA