Flanked by iconic skyscrapers, bordered by the Detroit River, and uniquely positioned directly across from Canada, Downtown Detroit is the Central Business District of the entire Motor City. Within its 14 varied neighborhoods, it counts the Financial District, Greektown, and the Capitol Park Historic District.
This is a city of do-it-yourself reinvention, and businesses here are invested in the economic health of the overall region. Over the course of the last 20 years, major corporations have either returned or opened in Downtown, and fledgling startups have taken advantage of a city that’s receptive to the entrepreneur mentality, and put down roots. Likely in anticipation of this economic revival, tech companies like Lyft and Spotify have recently announced plans to enter the market.
With more than 90,000 workers, Downtown Detroit accounts about one-fifth of the city’s total employment base.
Downtown Detroit Office Space | Lease Data & Trends
As Detroit’s Central Business District, the Downtown area boasts more than 13 million square feet of total inventory. Downtown’s vacancy rate hovers around 14% across all building classes, which is lower than the citywide 19% direct leasing vacancy rate.
Over 6 million square feet of inventory in Downtown Detroit is Class A office space, which has a direct vacancy rate of just over 9% – compared to the 13% across the city. The average direct asking rent is just under $24 per square foot, similar to the citywide average. There is more than 360,000 square feet of Class A space currently under construction.
The majority of Class A space vacancy is inside the Renaissance Center; elsewhere, Class A rents are expected to rise significantly in the CBD as large-scale office projects continue being developed.
The remaining inventory, just over 7 million square feet, is Class B space. These spaces feature a direct vacancy rate of almost 18%, compared to 21% across the city. There is currently no development of Class B space in Downtown Detroit.
What Our Brokers Say About Downtown Detroit Office Space
From boom to bust and back to boom, Downtown Detroit has seen tremendous growth in the past two decades.
In 2003, Compuware Headquarters opened at One Campus Martius, a high-rise building whose 17 floors include restaurant space, retail for Compuware, a fitness center, and an atrium. The company also shares a roof with Microsoft’s new office; Meridian Health; Plante Moran; and Quicken Loans, whose HQ span five floors (over 300,000 square feet total) in the building. Meridian and Quicken Loans purchased the 1-million square foot building in 2014, and Quicken Loans’ CEO has indicated plans to significantly expand the campus by 250,000 square feet.
Blocks away towers the Renaissance Center, which General Motors rebranded as the GMCRENCEN in 2015. At over 5 million square feet, the center is one of the largest commercial complexes in the world; at its center stands the 1,300-room Detroit Marriott. Other hotels in the Downtown Detroit area include the Shinola Hotel, which is expected to open in late 2018, and the Detroit Foundation Hotel, whose Apparatus Room routinely draws well-heeled locals for a much raved about happy hour. We also recommend Standby, Republic Tavern, and Parc at Campus Martius.
With its cluster of businesses and urban-style residences, Downtown Detroit is the second most walkable neighborhood in the city. It has a 74 Walk Score and 70 Bike Score; bike-sharing platform Mogo Detroit has 13 stations in the Downtown area. Its Transit Score is less favorable, clocking in at 51, but the 3-mile Detroit People Mover loop has 13 stations connecting key Downtown hubs. Thanks to a relative abundance of parking lots, finding parking spots is easy in the greater Downtown area.
It’s hard to overstate the grandeur of the Guardian Building, which – since its construction in the 1920s – has swung open its art deco doors to numerous businesses and corporations. Its current tenants range from yoga studios to the seat of Wayne County. Today, its bottom floor welcomes visitors with boutique shops and a dining hall.
Get to Know Downtown Detroit
In the five years since Detroit declared bankruptcy, it’s defied expectations – with Downtown a prime indicator of its progress. New developments are taking over vacant lots at impressive speed, attracting a new wave of residents who appreciate the lower cost of living and exciting, welcoming mentality that defines the comeback city.
Within just a few block radius, the Downtown area counts an impressive set of destination venues. The open-air Comerica Park, home to the Detroit Tigers, blends seamlessly into the city backdrop. Across the street glistens the Fox Theatre, built in 1928 as a movie theater; today it hosts such big names as David Byrne and Leon Bridges, and is a National Historic Landmark. Rounding out the swath known as the Entertainment District is the Ford Field, where the Lions draw thousands of loyal fans on a consistent basis.
A stroll down to the nearby River Walk kicks off with the Monument to Joe Louis, and affords surreally close views of Canada. The Greektown Casino is one of the many skyscrapers hovering on the U.S. side, drawing a lively gaming nightlife that’s unique to the D.
If the sounds of lively music are emanating through the air, chances are it’s coming from Campus Martius Park. The public space is open year round, offering ice skating in the winter and free, casual concerts during the summer.