A short drive—most commutes clock in at under 15 minutes—from the urban playground of Detroit, Dearborn is an alternative area with rich variety. The city, part of the greater Detroit metro area, landed on the map when it became the world headquarters of Ford Motor Company in the early 20th century. Since then, its continued growth has spurred two vibrant downtowns.
Today, Dearborn boasts a combination of corporate sites, including steel processing factories, along with small, family-owned shops and restaurants. Education is big here, too; the University of Michigan at Dearborn and Henry Ford College both have campuses in the area.
Given that Henry Ford was born (and spent most of his life) in Dearborn, it’s no wonder his legacy lives on here at the largest indoor-outdoor historic museum complex, The Henry Ford. The self-billed “history destination” is also the leading tourist attraction in the greater metropolitan area of Detroit.
Dearborn Office Space | Lease Data & Trends
Dearborn has nearly 3 million square feet of total inventory. Its vacancy rate clocks in at 25% across all building classes, indicating potential for growth and expansion.
Less than 500,000 square feet of inventory in Dearborn is Class A office space, which has a direct vacancy rate of only 1% (markedly lower than Dearborn’s 25% total vacancy rate, and the vacancy rate of 20% in the greater Detroit area). This stark difference hasn’t yet translated to inflated direct asking rents: Class A space in Dearborn goes for $24 per square foot.
The remaining inventory, just over 2 million square feet, is Class B space, with asking rents hovering around $18 per square foot.
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There are five distinct business districts in Dearborn: East Downtown, Dix-Vernor, the Commercial Corridor (South Side), the Warren Avenue Business and Shopping District, and West Downtown.
West Downtown has seen an abundance of developmental activity in recent years: New restaurants, entertainment, retail, and office spaces have popped up, complemented by a boom in residential real estate. The neighborhood is also the site of the Dearborn Farmers’ and Artisans Market, which draws crowds during its annual run from May through October.
In a once-bustling East Downtown, long-dormant department stores and movie theaters are opening their doors again—reinvented as restaurants and record shops. This mile-long nook is also home to the growing City Hall Artspace Lofts, an artist community that has over 50 live and work units. The campus plans to expand, projected to hold almost 20,000 square feet of commercial space. Much of this space will include studios and artist-in-residence units designed to foster entrepreneurship, as well as artistic and cultural collaboration.
With three shopping centers—the Westborn Mall, Fairlane North, and Fairlane Meadows—Dearborn has all the draws of a well-developed suburb. In fact, with over 160 stores and restaurants, the Fairlane Town Center shopping complex is one of the largest malls in Michigan. Additionally, the Warren Avenue and South Side shopping and business districts are both located here.
But Dearborn is home to much more than just shops; AK Steel’s Dearborn site spans over 350 acres. Known as its Dearborn Works campus, its operations include carbon steel melting, casting, hot and cold rolling, and finishing operations. Other steel companies in Dearborn include Xcel Steel and Dearborn Steel.
Carhartt, the premium workwear brand whose jackets, coats, dungarees, and hats have trickled beyond their humble working-class roots and into conscious of the fashionable elite, has its international headquarters in Dearborn.
The city counts a number of healthcare practices and facilities spread throughout its region: The Beaumont Health hospital has been operating in Dearborn for over 60 years. The Henry Ford Health System oversees the eponymous Medical Center in the Fairlane Campus.
It can be difficult to get around Dearborn without a car: the city has a 58 Walk Score and 47 Bike Score, and not much by way of public transportation. To get to Downtown Detroit without a car, the best option is by Amtrak or a SMART Bus; the Dearborn station, known as the John D. Dingell Transit Center, is just south of the Ford Field Park. Because the station is serviced by Amtrak, it also provides commuter services to and from Ann Arbor. For visitors, the station boasts proximity to the Henry Ford Museum.
On Michigan Avenue and Monroe Street, the Ford Motor Company has invested over $60 million into a development project called Wagner Place. Upon its completion, the site will be a meld of mixed-use offices for 600 Ford employees restaurants, and retail space, complete with a new parking structure.
When the weather is pleasant, there are an abundance of nature sites in Dearborn for visitors and residents alike to enjoy. Take a stroll in the grounds of Fair Lane, the Henry Ford Estate, for an afternoon of history and nature. Alternatively, head to Ford Field Park or Crowley Park for a picnic and some tennis.
Get to Know Dearborn, Michigan
Families come here for the proximity to Detroit, and stay for the vibrant community and excellent public school system. In a state where the average graduation rate is 80%, Dearborn recently wrapped up the year with a 93% graduation rate (a marked increase from the 72% it saw just seven years ago, in 2011). A partnership with the locally-based Henry Ford college allows students to take classes on campus, where the Henry Ford Early College curriculum is free.
Dearborn boasts a large Middle Eastern population–over 30% of its nearly 100,000 citizens are Arab-American, or of Arab descent. The city is home to the largest Lebanese-American population in the nation. To learn more about Arab-American culture, head to Dearborn’s Arab American National Museum—established in 2005, this is the world’s first museum dedicated to exploring Arab-American history.