Stephen Ross, Dan Gilbert, University of Michigan to build Detroit Center for Innovation at the ‘fail jail’ site


As early as May of this year, there was speculation that real estate moguls Dan Gilbert and Stephen M. Ross wanted to set up a research and development facility in Detroit with a connection to the University of Michigan. Early details of these plans were finally revealed.

Gilbert and Ross announced today that they will be partnering with the University of Michigan to build a campus on the eastern edge of downtown that will focus on high-tech research. The anchor building will be the Detroit Center for Innovation – a $ 300 million research and education center on the site of the unfinished Wayne County Jail on Gratiot Avenue.

It is designed by the New York architecture firm Kohn Pedersen Fox. Construction is scheduled to start in 2021.

DCI is part of a multi-building project that includes a business incubator, established business collaboration space, residential units, hotel, conference center and event space at the former headquarters of the Detroit Police Department owned by Bedrock Detroit.

Kohn Pedersen Fox

Ross told Crains Detroit Business that the total cost of the campus could exceed $ 750 million.

“I lived and worked in Detroit through my childhood and many of my young adult years and have long wanted to find a way to truly impact my hometown,” said Ross, founder and chairman of Related Companies, in a press release. “The idea of ​​the new center reflects the shared commitment of Dan, me, the city, the county, the state and the University of Michigan to create a transformative innovation center that will drive the city’s next growth chapter.”

Among the many projects in his portfolio, Ross led the construction of the $ 25 billion 28-acre mega-project, Hudson Yards, which opened in Manhattan this year. This is his first development in Detroit.

DCI will primarily be an academic center for graduate or final year students. UM envisions an interdisciplinary group of faculties in technology-related areas that mix with entrepreneurs and other companies to create a “collaborative approach” to learning.

The development would be a significant expansion of UM’s presence in Detroit. Ann Arbor-based University currently operates its Detroit Center in Woodward and MLK, the Horace H. Rackham Education Memorial Building in Farnsworth, and a new partnership with the Detroit Public Schools Community District on Marygrove College campus.

Ross told Crain’s he hoped the center would encourage other companies to move to Detroit to “capitalize on the talent that gets there”.

Following this news, when combined with Wayne State University’s growing innovation district near the New Center and Ford’s Mobility Campus in Corktown, Detroit could actually become a destination for tech talent.


Dusty Kennedy