DETROIT – For years, residents in the North End neighborhood of Detroit have felt like the city's revival left them behind.
But on Thursday, a major development was announced that would inject more than $7 million into the neighborhood. Residents are hoping it can serve as a tipping point toward a brighter future.
The North End neighborhood is east of Woodward Avenue and south of Midtown. Develop Detroit targeted the area and bought up a lot of property, looking to create a critical mass for development.
The vacant lot is going to transform into new, single-family attached housing.
Develop Detroit is a nonprofit looking to put 70 new housing units in the neighborhood this year, after progress skipped it for several generations.
A boarded up 1960s-era gas station sits in the neighborhood across from crumbling and rotting housing stock. The intent is to take decay and turn it into townhomes and new single-family homes.
While some of the homes will be in the mid-$100,000 range, others will be more affordable.
Sonya Mays, of Develop Detroit, said getting Detroit back to a city of homeowners instead of renters is vital.
"The core of our idea is you cannot have a strong city without strong neighborhoods," Mays said. "It's what we do as an organization, and we designed this program as a statement of that."
The small corner of the city will see $7 million worth of development, which paints a picture of how much it will take to fully reinvigorate the city. But longtime residents see hope.
"We've been with abandoned homes, burned homes, so this will be an improvement for our neighborhood," resident Theresa Pettus said.
The project should help fill the gap between Midtown and Downtown and the neighborhoods, and show the city is committed to the residential areas as well.
The first $500,000 in seed money came from JP Morgan Chase. The rest of the money came from private investors.
Mays said the first phase of development will start almost immediately and get going in earnest during the summer.