The Platform to build 8- to 10-story building at entrance to Belle Isle

$50 million project will feature about 240 apartments

A view of Belle Isle in Detroit, Mich. (WDIV)
A view of Belle Isle in Detroit, Mich. (WDIV)

BELLE ISLE, Mich. – The Platform announced Tuesday that it will build a new eight- to 10-story, mixed-use development at East Jefferson Avenue and East Grand Boulevard, with the goal of bringing retail and residential properties to the foot of Belle Isle and continuing its commitment to investment in Detroit's neighborhoods.

The Platform’s vision for 7033 East Jefferson in the Islandview neighborhood is of a multi-family residential development with around 11,000 square feet of ground-floor retail and on-site parking.

The $50 million project will feature about 240 apartments, with 20 percent set aside for affordable housing.

"Our vision for this major residential development is one that is both transformational and contextually sensitive," president and CEO of The Platform Dietrich Knoer said. "We look forward to engaging with our neighbors and community stakeholders about future programming and what they’d like to see come to Islandview."

Ground is expected to be broken on the project in the fourth quarter of 2018 with opening set for mid-2020.

The one-acre site is located at a major intersection along Jefferson Avenue between Grosse Pointe and Downtown Detroit, at the entrance of the Douglas MacArthur Bridge.

Immediately across from Belle Isle, the location allows access to Gabriel Richard Park and the East Riverfront, connecting it to downtown by pedestrian and bike paths.

"We are excited The Platform chose wHY and Hamilton Anderson as the architectural team," said Barry Randolph, pastor at Church of the Messiah. "Hamilton Anderson’s knowledge of Detroit makes them a great partner for this development. This project complements the work our church, neighborhood groups, and local businesses are doing to improve Islandview."

The site hosted the “Islandview Marketplace” each Friday afternoon during the summer of 2017, providing the parking lot for the Eastern Market Farm Stand and other local vendors to sell their goods. Jeanine Hatcher, Director of GenesisHOPE, managed the youth-operated market as a second location.

"The Platform was a great partner for GenesisHOPE and the Islandview Marketplace last summer," Hatcher said. "They have been a familiar face at community meetings all year, and we are excited to see this project move forward."

Belle Isle park attendance increased each of the last three years, attracting more than 4 million visitors on an annual basis.

Since the Michigan Department of Natural Resources began managing the park, the island has received new LED lighting, a kayak launch, playground and infrastructure repairs.

In November 2017, construction began to rehabilitate Lake Okonoka, in order to improve fish habitats and recreational opportunities and open a channel leading to the Detroit River.

"This intersection at Jefferson and the Boulevard serves as both a symbolic and literal entrance to Belle Isle and downtown," said Peter Cummings, executive chairman of The Platform. "Our development will honor this location’s prominence along Jefferson and within Detroit."

The Platform selected Los Angeles-based wHY and Detroit-based Hamilton Anderson as the architectural firms for the project.

"Detroit hasn't seen a high-rise project of this scale built in the neighborhoods in some time, so it was important that we find partners who will not only design this project right, but do right by our neighbors in Islandview," Knoer said. "The team of wHY and Hamilton Anderson will create a design that integrates planning, community engagement, architecture, landscape and construction seamlessly into a development that all of Detroit will be proud of. Hamilton Anderson’s history of community engagement and understanding of Detroit is key to ensuring this project’s integration into the fabric of this neighborhood."

The property was acquired by The Platform in March 2017 after its previous owner decided to close the Big Boy restaurant that had occupied the site for 50 years.

Demolition of the structure will begin Wednesday morning.

The Platform also controls five contiguous pieces just north of the site on East Grand Boulevard. New details of those properties are expected to be announced in early 2018.