Detroit is continuing to develop and create new businesses. One
of the newest projects in the city is at 2051 Rosa Parks Blvd., where developers are seeking new possibilities for the Corktown neighborhood.
Investors Scott Griffin and Angel Gambino from New York
City bought the collusive 100,000 square feet space in Corktown, one of Detroit’s oldest neighborhoods, in early September 2011. The two plan to renovate the building and turn it into a mixed-use space for up to 50 entrepreneurs, according to a DetroitMakeItHere.com article.
On a February tour of the space, The South End learned of what developments are in the works for the investors’ Corktown space.
2051 Rosa Parks Blvd., once the Lincoln Brass Works foundry, which produced metal castings and bullets during World War II, according to a ModelDMedia.com article, has traded hands through the years leaving scars of the past, making it all the more interesting. The right half of the building has already been transformed into a workable, carpeted environment. The left side looks as if the previous owner left it while still in transformation.
This two-faced building has multiple levels. The second floor contains most of the office space available. The upstairs is a long hall with doors on each side opening to rooms generously sized for two to four people, and some with views of the Michigan Central Train Station. The hallway leads to shared kitchen space and bathrooms, and a recording studio in process to move in.
Curbed Detroit, Huffington Post Detroit, Detroit Soup and LoveLand Technologies have already rented a few of the spaces. Vistas Nuevas Head Start, a federally funded preschool, has been located on the majority of the right side of the first floor since early 2000s. The other portion of the upstairs was once the top floor to a house now engulfed. This office space has a separate kitchen, bathrooms and a turn style bank vault.
“If possible the bank vault could be used as a radio station,” said Samantha Johnson, building manager for 2051 Rosa Parks and employee of Ramscale, Inc., Griffin’s New York City development firm. The heavier renovations are to be done on the left side of the building, including the indented front that will be converted to store fronts for possibly a bakery and bookstore, Johnson said on the tour.
Corktown Cinema, formerly the Burton Theater, is to move in an existing smaller space to create two 50-person theaters. The theater would be accessed through a shared entrance and lobby, Johnson said.
The space for the yet-to-be lobby has a single staircase that leads to a second story space large enough for a small yoga studio, Johnson said.
The largest of the rooms on the main floor is to be for rentable event space, she said. The room is filled with natural light beaming through the glass-paneled skylights, which is also open for flow of air, making this building’s transformation to environmentally friendly all that much easier.
There is additional space that would have a private entry, bathrooms, and an adjacent parking lot. The windows would
look out onto the grand train station, with potential for outdoor seating and a view in the warmer seasons.
The roof is to be converted from bare space to greenery space with seating for employees and customers to lounge, creating an area of outdoor relaxation in this building of offices and shops.
“Two sisters hope to open a juice bar on the roof,” Johnson said about the roof ’s open space.
Though much is still to be done, the creative innovation sheds light to the many possibilities and potential of the Rosa Parks Boulevard space.