Mar 28, 2012

Former Uniroyal Site - Detroit

I spent the better part of last week's gorgeous weather laid up in bed trying to recover from some sort of cold/flu, and for several days loud banging noises competed with my will to sleep. The banging noises were working in tandem with a high pitched, BEEP - BEEP - BEEP — from heavy machinery letting everyone know it's backing up.  So it was a constant, BANG BANG BANG BEEP BEEP BANG BANG…

Former Uniroyal Site Detroit
Former Uniroyal Site - Detroit
Noisy but Okay
Turns out it was the clean up at the site of the old Uniroyal plant across from Belle Isle on East Jefferson that was causing all the ruckus.  However, the noise was welcomed because it's a huge positive for the city when a long vacant stretch of contaminated land is getting cleaned up.

Former Use
The space being cleaned is a 43 acre area that was also used by other industrial concerns such as Michigan Consolidated Gas Co. (now DTE Energy) and Michigan Amonia Works. This timeline from Crain's Business shows some of the history of the area.  The land was eventually purchased by the city in 1981, and any remaining buildings were demolished. Then came many delays that centered on who would pay for the industrial waste clean up. Finally, today there is some real progress. Well, at least progress you can see and hear.

Clean Up at Former Uniroyal Site - Detroit
Belle Isle Bridge in the Background
Plan for the Future
The plan for the riverfront property is mixed use residential townhouses or apartments along with retail shops.  The riverwalk will connect to Gabriel Richard Park which is at the foot of the the Belle Isle Bridge.  The current plan has generated a lot of excitement in part because of the involvement of the ex NFL star and former Detroiter Jerome Bettis.  Let's hope that this space will thrive in the future, and on a personal note the next time we have 80 degree weather in March that I can actually enjoy it!

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