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Redefining Detroit: Gilbert outlines game-changing vision for downtown Detroit

(myFOXDetroit.com) – The movement to bolster the economy in downtown Detroit received some welcomed news Thursday, as upscale grocer Papa Joe’s announced plans to open a new store on Woodward.


Papa Joe’s has signed a lease to occupy 15,000 square feet in the heart of downtown, on the ground floor of the First National Building on Woodward at Campus Martius.


Like its other locations in Rochester and Birmingham, the downtown Detroit Papa Joe’s store will feature specialty foods, sit-down dining, a full bar and other amenities.


The news was announced by none other than Quicken Loans founder Dan Gilbert, who took his vision for a livelier down a step further.


In fact, you might want to take a picture of downtown Detroit now, because if the plan outlined by Gilbert and his partners comes to fruition, the entire area will look and feel drastically different.


Some say it will be exactly what they were hoping for.


Gilbert said he’s projecting Parisian-style sidewalk cafes, food carts and retailers that open into sidewalks.


Forget about the downtown Detroit you are used to.


This version is a place where the buildings, the streets and parks will live up to the motto, “live, work and play.”


Gilbert and his team rolled out the plan in front of a packed house Thursday afternoon. They built upon work that’s already been done, and spent months bringing in experts from around the country and talking to more than a thousand people about what they want to see in downtown Detroit.


The answer was pretty impressive. Buildings that literally invite you in with open architecture and unique retail. Partners like the Detroit Economic Growth Corporation and the Downtown Detroit Partnership are transforming Hart Plaza and the Riverfront.


Places like Campus Martius and Grand Circus Park will be greener, full of food carts, art festivals and places to just hang out and enjoy Detroit.


Gilbert also announced that he and his partners have acquired the Vinton Building on Woodward. It’s currently an empty office tower, designed by famed architect Albert Kahn.


Gilbert said the building could become a boutique hotel or a residential building.


Question: How do you feel about it? Are you for it or against it?

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