The revitalization of Detroit continues to bring more people into the city to work and live. From young entrepreneurs to empty nesters to everything in between, individuals, couples, and families are buying and renting all different types of spaces in the city from carriage houses to micro apartments to extended stay apartments to Quonset Huts.
So, we thought it would be interesting to get some insights and perspectives of these varied and unique spaces all around the city from the people who experience them.
We start with Michelle, who secured funds from the Detroit Land Bank and worked closely with her best friend and her dad to purchase land and build a home in North Corktown.
Regarding this choice, Michelle says it happened by chance and all came together. “I was looking for somewhere to live and my best friend owned two lots in North Corktown and decided to sell. She is also an architect, so she helped me to design a house specifically for my needs and wants. My dad is a woodworker and created beautiful custom cabinetry and more for my home. The house is so special to me because of this.”
Of the area, she says, “It’s a total mixture. At times it’s quiet and feels suburban, and at other times there is a lot of action and it can get kind of wild. And I like that.”
She says the benefits are its walkability and the fact that her neighbors take care of one another.
We followed Michael and Chris, who rent a historic house on Canfield in Midtown that’s been developed into eight units.
“I coveted the homes on Canfield but thought they were all massively big and expensive and then we learned of this home that had been split into multiple units,” said Chris. “We moved into it in 2019 and it’s the best decision we made.”
Michael points to the community saying, “It’s the shared space that binds and bonds us and gives it a family feel that we’ve found here.”
Michael and Chris got married in their backyard recently, and their wedding invitation list included 35 neighbors.
They say they also love the walkability and frequent Tangent, Marble Bar, and their favorite restaurant – Midtown’s Seldon Standard.
Over in Indian Village, Alice said her carriage house ‘fall in her lap.’ “I had always wanted to live in that area as I had friends there growing up and I loved the big old houses. I found myself in a place where I needed to rent for a while and two different acquaintances told me about this beautiful and cozy carriage house on the same day. I decided it was meant to be.”
She became quite immersed in the neighborhood, joining the Women’s Garden Club and teaching yoga classes out of a studio, Christ Lutheran Church, and eventually, her living space.
“The space was newly renovated with original flooring, marble countertops, and Pewabic tiles in the kitchen and it perfectly suited my needs. I set it up traditionally at first, then ended up selling my living room furniture to host private yoga clients there and it worked out remarkably well.”
She also hosted local kids in the carriage house for tutoring.
She too points to walkability as a big plus, “I could walk or ride my bike to work.”
We also spoke with Randall Cook, CEO and Co-founder of Method Co. – the hospitality company behind the ROOST Apartment Hotel – about offering extended stay options for people relocating to the city or coming in for long periods to work.
He says, “As Detroit grows, so do its needs for short-term and extended stay accommodations that appeal and cater to travelers and locals who value design-forward, comfortable accommodations. We have also found the rise in remote work has made it easier for people to travel for extended periods, and ROOST Detroit is an ideal option for those travelers who need the extra space to work as it is right downtown and everything is accessible and walkable.”
ROOST Detroit is located at the newly opened Book Tower development, and offers several room options, ranging from studios to two bedrooms, and guests also benefit from kitchens with modern, full-sized appliances, a bike share program, and co-working spaces.
Saving arguably the most unique for last, Ish designed the Caterpillar and lives and works there full time with his wife and soon-to-be new baby.
When asked why a Quonset Hut, he said, “The hut space is spiritual. It’s calming yet has inspirational qualities. There’s a positive energy. With this design you can achieve volume and beautiful natural lighting unlike any other structure.”
Regarding the community aspect, he says, “The Caterpillar is designed to be communal living. There are eight units and a wraparound deck that intentionally promotes having experiences together.”
Ish, who used to live in Lafayette Towers points out the marked difference in dwellings.
Living in the Caterpillar is intentional. It’s sought out. You know going in that it’s communal living so that is intentional. It’s less possible to get that kind of connection in an apartment where things are more autonomous.
And finally, I myself rent a micro-apartment in Capitol Park for a workspace and “weekend getaway.” My husband and I also own a home in the suburbs. The micro-apartment allows for me to have a workspace right downtown, and a place to stay when we want to. It’s small but fully furnished, we can bike or walk anywhere we want, and we have a fantastic view of the park where people gather.
Among all the different ways of living, a common theme among all here no matter the type of living space or the area seems to be the strength of community.
To that end, I’ll wrap up the article with a community quote from Chris who said, “When it comes to neighbors there is a 50/50 situation. Half of it is luck, but the other half is the initiative you take to reach out, be a good neighbor, and form a connection. That’s how communities are made.”
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