Former racetrack makes way for master-plan near Detroit

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Property: The Downs
Developers: Hunter Pasteur, Forbes Co., Soave Real Estate, Toll Brothers
Architects: Presley Architecture, M Architects
Location: Northville, Michigan
Units: 472 (174 apartments, 53 condos, 245 single-family homes and townhomes)
Cost: $248 million

Following the closure of Michigan’s last horse racing track, Northville Downs, on Feb. 3, Farmington Hills, Michigan-based home builder and developer Hunter Pasteur has hit the ground running on the site’s redevelopment. 

The $248 million master-plan — The Downs in Northville, Michigan, 27 miles from downtown Detroit — broke ground on May 20. It is expected to encompass 174 apartments, 53 condos, 245 single-family homes and townhomes, 338 public parking spaces and over 18,000 square feet of commercial space, according to planning documents. 

The property will be co-developed with Fort Washington, Pennsylvania-based home builder Toll Brothers, Detroit-based broker Soave Real Estate and Southfield, Michigan-based retail developer Forbes Co. Farmington Hills, Michigan-based Franklin Construction Co. is the construction manager. Completion is slated for 2026.

The apartment and condo buildings will be located on the north end of the development site, separated by a 1.5-acre central park, according to the site map. The site’s commercial space will be located inside these buildings, including up to three spaces for restaurants.

The site architects — Petoskey, Michigan-based Presley Architecture and Northville-based M Architects — were inspired by the existing character of Northville, according to the development’s website. Design features will include variations in building heights and exteriors, a diversity of brick and trim colors and facade details consistent with nearby buildings.

To support the project, the Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy awarded a $1 million Brownfield Redevelopment Grant to the city of Northville’s Brownfield Redevelopment Authority on May 14. This will support the site’s remediation needs, which include reviving a branch of the River Rouge that was rerouted and buried in the 1960s, removing the contaminants used to bury the culvert and demolishing the former track and barns. 

The site will contain a total of three parks — the Central Park, the 1.25-acre Gateway Park and the 10.44-acre River Park, to be designed around the newly daylighted River Rouge. This park will connect to the nearby Hines Park Trailhead, and will be turned over to the city once complete, according to the EGLE.

Hunter Pasteur will be developing the apartments, condos and row homes, while Toll Brothers will build the remaining single-family homes in three phases and conduct the river restoration, according to the site plan. No further information is yet available about the multifamily developments.

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