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New $300 million U-M Research and Education Center to anchor Detroit Center for Innovation

Detroit’s planned Innovation Center for the University of Michigan will be anchored by a $300 million Research and Education Center. Rendering courtesy of Kohn Pedersen Fox

Detroit’s planned Innovation Center for the University of Michigan will be anchored by a $300 million Research and Education Center. Rendering courtesy of Kohn Pedersen Fox

A new chapter is being written in the transformation of Detroit.

Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer and Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan joined together with Stephen M. Ross, philanthropist and Chairman of Related Companies, Matt Cullen, CEO of Bedrock, and University of Michigan President Mark Schlissel to announce plans for a 14-acre Detroit Center for Innovation (DCI) in downtown Detroit. The development gives new purpose to the site of the abandoned Wayne County Jail project.

The Detroit Center for Innovation will build on Detroit’s growing presence as a center for innovation which now includes Ford’s new Corktown mobility innovation campus, Techtown and Wayne State University. Anchoring the site will be a world-class $300 million, 190,000 square foot research and education center operated by U-M. This academic building, designed by Kohn Pedersen Fox, will be a centerpiece of the first phase of a planned multi-building development at the east edge of downtown and will offer programs that focus on high-tech research, education and innovation.

The new U-M facility will eventually serve up to 1,000 graduate and senior-level undergraduate students pursuing advanced degrees in a range of high-tech innovation disciplines, including mobility, artificial intelligence, data science, entrepreneurship, sustainability, cybersecurity, financial technology and more.
Development of the academic building will be made possible by a gift from Stephen M. Ross, who envisioned the Detroit Center for Innovation and is a long-term benefactor of the University of Michigan and native of Detroit, and leadership gifts from Dan Gilbert and other public and private funders.

The initial phase of the DCI build-out also will include incubator and start up services for entrepreneurs, collaboration space for established companies, residential units, a hotel and conference center and event space.

“Detroit has always been a leader in innovation and this new center will help ensure that continues to be the case into the future,” said Mayor Mike Duggan. “It also sends a powerful message to our young people about the city we are trying to build together. Instead of turning this property into a place where Detroiters are taken to be incarcerated, we are going to build for them one of the finest learning centers anywhere, filled with hope and real opportunity.” 

“I spent my childhood and many of my young adult years living and working in Detroit and have long wanted to find a way to have a real impact on my hometown,” said Stephen M. Ross, philanthropist, founder and Chairman of Related Companies.

“The University of Michigan helped spark my entrepreneurial spirit and nurtured my curiosity for all aspects of innovation, leading me to not only become a founder, but an incubator and investor in a variety of technologies and businesses,” added Ross. “The idea of the new Center reflects the shared commitment of Dan, myself, the city, the county, the state and the University of Michigan to create a transformative center for innovation that will help fuel the city’s next chapter of growth.”