Detroit releases RFP to redevelop hundreds of vacant lots

Lots of Lots

Detroit releases RFP to redevelop hundreds of vacant lots

Orchard (City of Detroit)

The City of Detroit is working to rehabilitate 100 vacant houses and 257 empty lots in northwest Detroit. The Housing and Redevelopment Department has issued two Requests for Proposals (RFPs) in order to find developers for the sites.

One of the RFPs, the Fitzgerald Revitalization Project, targets the 100 houses. The other, a Productive Landscape Development RFP, seeks landscape development options for the 257 lots. Suggested programs for the empty lots include community gardens, orchards, meadows, and space for urban agriculture. Park and green space developed by the RFP will be maintained by the Parks and Recreation Department. Landscape architecture firm Spackman Mossop and Michaels (SMM) worked with the city and the community to outline a framework to develop new productive landscape projects.

The SMM plan outlines three phases to the landscape redevelopment: Vacant parcels will be converted into a public greenway and neighborhood park that will be redeveloped and maintained by the City and “Neighborhood Hubs,” smaller social spaces maintained in partnership with the community; larger clusters of vacant lots that can be redeveloped into productive landscapes, whether for crop production, orchards, or other uses to be proposed through this Productive Landscape Development RFP; and individual and highly dispersed parcels that can be redeveloped into lower-maintenance meadows through the Housing Developer RFP, or for compelling proposals, could be developed by the Productive Landscape Developer of Development Team.

Aside from the parcels in the first category which will remain publicly held, the framework plan allows flexibility.

The Housing Rehabilitation RFP focuses on rehabilitating “salvageable, publicly-owned structures.” Houses that are beyond repair will be demolished. The lots left behind will either be transformed into low-maintenance landscapes, or they will be attached to neighboring redeveloped houses.

The Fitzgerald Revitalization Project is part of the larger Livernois/McNichols Corridor Revitalization Initiative.  The initiative aims to transform northwest Detroit through coordinated projects addressing physical social and economic concerns. The Fitzgerald Revitalization Project represents one quarter square mile of that larger plan.

Detroit recently demolished its 10,000 vacant house in front of the press and public. At that event Mayor Mike Duggan commented on 2,000 houses are currently being renovated in the city. Jason Cole, Executive Director Michigan Minority Contractors Association also discussed plans to rehabilitate 1,000 more houses.