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kgourlay told me that there is really nothing going on around the area except next door. He said that GM must be doing something. Does anyone have any recent pictures of the area? Will it be finished by the MLB All Star Game?


Not much more than a fence. I hope the construction goes quickly. It will be interesting, too, to see how they handle traffic in the area. It's already pretty busy in there with the Ren Cen. Perhaps a moving walkway to shuttle people from the Ren Cen and People Mover?


Port Authority Terminal site

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  • 3 weeks later...

I was showing someone the new riverfront plaza at the RenCen last week and was appalled to discover that city has completely blocked access between the RenCen and Hart Plaza. Before, you could at least walk along Atwater St. but now Atwater turns north just east of Ford Auditorium and ends at Jefferson Ave. A large chain link fence runs from the southwest corner of the RenCen to the river's edge. Additionally, you can no longer legally cross Randolph St. on the south side of Jefferson Ave.! There are numerous signs stating that pedestrians are not allowed to cross. To avoid jaywalking you are required to walk a block east and cross Jefferson at Brush, walk west along the north side of Jefferson to Woodward and then cross Jefferson again. An alternative route would be to use the skywalk to the Millinder Center but that wouldn't be any faster. As many people in this forum have stated, there is no sign of construction at the Port Authority site, so who knows when the "River Walk" will be connected. Remember this is a city that took over 25 years to build a sidewalk along the river behind Cobo Hall. And this was not because they had to pry the property out of the hands of some greedy property owner. The city owned the property the whole time and used it to park cars! While attitudes like this prevail can any real renaissance be expected?

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Ramcharger, there are plans for a pedestrian bridge at Randolph and Jefferson. That road that is 'Atwater running to Jefferson' just east of Ford Auditorium is Bates. I am assuming that Atwater (which at this point is actually Civic Center Drive) is closed for that stretch for, hopefully, the beginning of construction on the Port Authority Terminal.

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I stand corrected on the street names. However, promises of pedestrian bridges and cruise ship docks notwithstanding, the fact remains that there is currently no easy way to walk between the RenCen and Hart Plaza and that is not likely to change for a very long time.

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  • 2 weeks later...

They could build a tunnel under the terminal with some groundfloor retail lining the path just like in Savannah, Georgia under the Hyatt. Riverstreet goes under the hotel so they managed to put some storefronts like a Ben & Jerry's Ice Cream. I think the street is very unique with the old and the new. I would love to see them do something like this under the Port Authority Terminal so the Riverwalk does not get cut off.

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Closing Civic Center Drive is slightly promising, at least that's some progress on the Port Authority Terminal Construction, even if it is annoying for people trying to get through there. I'll have to go down there and take some more pictures sometime soon.

About the idea of running the riverwalk under the terminal, sounds cool. I'd also like to see a walkway above the terminal so you can look down at the boats or across the river to Windsor. I'm sure they've thought of how to do this but I don't know what their plans are.

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  • 2 months later...

Progress at last on the Riverwalk connection in front of the Port Authority Terminal site:

Finally, it looks like there's movement on closing the gap in the RiverWalk, though still no details on how it will integrate with the Passenger Terminal or when the Terminal construction will begin.

COMMENT: Ugly gap in Detroit's riverfront rejuvenation will soon close

(This is my first post so I hope the formatting is OK!)

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  • 3 months later...
  • 1 month later...

Hi again. As nothing has been announced recently, I decided to e-mail someone at the Port Authority to inquire, and got the following informative reply:

Yes, progress on the site has been painstakingly slow, but positive. It's a very challenging site for numerous reasons. Once we got in there for additional sub-surface investigations, following the groundbreaking, we were confronted with shoddy seawall tie-backs (those seawalls date back to the 1920s!), lack of sewer lines, and of course new homeland security regulations that add cost to a project. Over the past year and a half we've hired our project management team (led by SDG Design) and Architectural/Engineering firm (led by Hamilton Anderson & Associaties). And, together, we went through an extensive 8 month permit process, finally obtaining our approvals this past Fall by the MDEQ and U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.

We've developed a very unique off-shore wharf concept that will allow us to venture into deeper water, and away from the shoddy seawalls and raw water intakes that line the shoreline. This off-shore wharf will be able to handle the largest cruise ship that currently sails the Great Lakes, the C. Columbus. We'll do some minor shoreline/seawall work which should allows us to handle smaller craft.

Our goal is to have site plans and elevations out by early February. We should have something in the press about that time, and more than likely, will have this information available on our web site at www.portdetroit.com.

Again, thanks for your interest! Feel free to check back with me down the road!

John Kerr

Director of Economic Development & Grants Management

Detroit/Wayne County Port Authority

So hopefully we'll hear more in the next month! It would be nice if the plans could also incorporate the Ford Auditorium site nearby. Otherwise once the river walk linkage and terminal are complete, the inevitable increased activity around there should spur more interest in redevelopment of that area and improvements to ajacent Hart Plaza.

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