DDP’s Year in Review

Downtown Detroit skyline, featuring a Downtown Detroti park

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Welcome to Downtown Detroit, one of the country’s most talked about and evolving Downtowns in the country. Downtown Detroit is seeing record numbers in developments, visitors, events, and media attention, and the Downtown Detroit Partnership and our partners and stakeholders have much to be proud of.

To fully understand the value of the DDP, it helps to understand the impact Downtown brings to the city overall. The urban core’s is just 1.1 square miles (or less than 1 percent of the city’s landmass) yet it generates over 42 percent of the city’s general fund. Over a third of all workers in the City of Detroit are Downtown and equally over a third of all income taxes are generated Downtown. It also receives 90 percent of the visitors to Detroit and is the heartbeat of our State.

We have created an environment that is much more than a Central Business District. It is a Central Connector District. In 2023, the Downtown saw more than 30 million visitors and over three million in the six parks managed and curated by the DDP. The residential population is the city’s most diverse in race, income and education.

Our work positively impacts every business, resident, and visitor. 

Allow me to share just a few highlights from the past year:

The DDP has grown as the thought leader in urban innovation, we are taking on important issues such as the revisioning of I-375 and improving our public spaces. Our economic development, neighborhood, safety, mental health, and public/private partnerships strengthen the urban core, firmly establishing our value in our second century of making it happen in Downtown Detroit.

We are currently tracking $2.8 billion of investment Downtown. That includes an incredible 200 percent increase in pipeline projects over the last year. The number of office workers during the day hovers around 50 percent, but the buzz about the city is evident. Companies know they need to be in Downtown Detroit, and the DDP is making that a viable investment.

Members unanimously approved a 10-year renewal for the Downtown Detroit Business Improvement Zone. The BIZ and DDP help keep Downtown safe, clean, and welcoming. It’s a critical resource for our small business community and our efforts to attract local, national, and international events. Thanks to BIZ Board Chair Steve Ogden and the entire volunteer BIZ board for your leadership as well as the property owners that support our efforts. 

Crime rates are at historic lows, and while we can attribute it to many factors, our partnership with the Detroit Police Department has significantly increased, as has our investment – more than $200,000 in safety technology, including metal detectors and cameras. We are now training all Downtown Detroit BIZ Ambassadors in mental health awareness. Project Lighthouse, a nationally recognized initiative, is growing and will be a significant focus for 2024. We’re tracking research that shows strategic placemaking and creating walkable public spaces reduce crime with more eyes on the street.

The DDP once again served as fiduciary for the Detroit Grand Prix as it returned to the streets of Detroit. DDP Executive Committee Member Bud Denker and Board Member Roger Penske and their teams brilliantly executed this event as only they could. Detroit never looked better, and we were able to add additional support for local vendors. The critical relationship between the DDP and DetroitGP is hitting on all cylinders with the move back Downtown. 

We’ve put $3.5 million into digital kiosks — now 28 strong across all seven districts – these and and static wayfinding improvements are building connectivity with businesses and community organizations, improving flow, and enabling quick access to safety and other resources.

Our investment in mobility and infrastructure initiatives runs the gamut from improving connectivity, removing barriers, increasing inclusivity, building trust, and supporting economic development projects.

DDP’s nearly 2,000 events in ‘23 received outstanding attendance. Our hard-working Parks Programming team knows how to plan as well as pivot when the need arises, as we saw with Barbie in the Park, leveraging the blockbuster movie. Memories were made at the 20th Annual Tree Lighting in Campus Martius Park (named the No. 1 Public Square in the U.S.). We sold out the 39th Annual Detroit Aglow.

These are just some of the ways we use your investment wisely for the benefit of all. Add to this the national events we’re attracting each year,  I’d say it’s a pretty good ROI.

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