Art meets history in Midtown Detroit, where storied homes retain their pristine architecture and world-renowned museums draw millions of visitors annually. Though it’s technically just on the outskirts of Downtown, Midtown is far from a fringe neighborhood; it’s truly a destination unto itself, with big draws like Wayne University, the Children’s Hospital of Michigan and the Detroit Medical Center, and Little Caesars Arena.
The neighborhood’s main stretch, Woodward Avenue, is home to many of the commercial businesses, religious institutions, and artistic establishments here. It connects Midtown to Downtown, providing proximity to major attractions on or just off the stretch, including Comerica Park and the Fox Theatre. Today’s Midtown businesses are a lively mix of galleries, startups, and world-renowned cultural institutions, such as the Motown Historical Museum, the Detroit Institute of Arts, and the Museum of Contemporary Art Detroit (MoCAD).
Midtown Detroit Office Space | Lease Data & Trends
Though Midtown is situated directly between the Central Business District and New Center, it falls into the Central Business District category. The average direct asking rent for Detroit’s CBD hovers around $23 per square foot, slightly higher than the $20 average in the greater Detroit area. The area has over 13 million square feet of inventory, more than 6 million square feet of which is Class A office space. Class A space asking rents are $24 per square foot. The remaining 7 million square feet of inventory in the Central Business District is Class B space; rents for Class B office space are about $21 per square foot. At the end of 2018, approximately 1.5 million square feet of space was under construction in the area, with 160,000 square feet of development having been recently completed—all of which is Class A space.
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Developments are underway to transform formerly shuttered sectors of Midtown. One such project, known as the Selden Innovation Corridor, will be spearheaded by Midtown Detroit, Inc.—the company plans to remodel an entire block adjacent to the Cass Corridor. The goal of the undertaking is to welcome entrepreneurs with low-cost space, as well as quality residential, retail, and dining establishments. Shinola, a luxury-goods maker whose inventory is all but synonymous with the renaissance of Detroit, is slated to open a manufacturing space in the corridor. As the site is a mixed-use project, two floors will also be reserved for mixed-income housing.
Midtown was also the selected site for the city’s first location of Blink Fitness, a New York-based gym company. The fast-expanding fitness franchise partnered with the Detroit Pistons to build a publicly-accessible location, which is projected to be about 15,000 square feet, inside the Henry Ford Detroit Pistons Performance Center.
The campus of Wayne University is spread throughout Midtown, an ideal proximity for companies looking to recruit fresh talent from its renowned research institutions. Just to the south of the university, the buzzing North Cass district is emerging as a hub for dining and shopping.
Tucked away in the northernmost border of the neighborhood, the Arts Center holds the city’s own College For Creative Studies, the artistic vibe of which has rubbed off onto the region and impacts its overall aesthetic and feel.
Midtown falls into the area generally considered “University” by Walk Score, which ranks it as the most walkable pocket of Detroit. The area scores a 95 Walk Score, and an 82 Bike Score. The neighborhood has a relatively low Transit ranking of 54, but with 10 bus lines passing through the area, as well as the QLine stretching from north of Wayne University to the heart of Downtown, it’s possible to get around the vicinity without a car.
Midtown is also home to the first Avalon Cafe & Bakery. The city’s beloved producer of organic, artisanal baked goods got its start in the Cass Corridor. It’s little wonder, then, that high-caliber cuisine is garnering demand in Midtown. In addition to long-standing institutions like Motor City Brewery, newcomers like Selden Standard and La Feria have quickly gained popularity. When national retailer Whole Foods decided to open its first Detroit location in 2013, it selected Midtown; the chain sourced and continues to vend produce from local merchants, including Avalon and Great Lakes Coffee.
Get to Know Midtown Detroit
When renowned artist Diego Rivera was commissioned to depict the industrial state of Detroit in a series of murals for the DIA, he and his new bride, equally-renowned artist Frida Kahlo, chose to reside in Midtown (at the Park Shelton) for nearly a year. Their stay was remarkably prescient: Today, Midtown is where the arts scene in Detroit comes to create, discuss, and admire.
A bit more spread out than its immediate neighbor, Downtown Detroit, Midtown still has many pockets of undeveloped, empty lots. But with more space comes more opportunity, and residents and developers alike are taking advantage of a neighborhood on the brink of resurgence. Tenants enjoy proximity—generally a walkable distance—to major venues like Little Caesars Arena and the Detroit Institute of the Arts. The main branch of the Detroit Public Library is also located in Midtown on Woodward Avenue; the sprawling building is the site of the library’s admin offices, and is also on the National Register of Historic Places.
It’s also home to one of the city’s oldest—and most celebrated—establishments, the Detroit Symphony Orchestra. The Orchestra Hall was restored in the early 2000s, as part of the $60 million music center project.