Renewal & Redevelopment: Spotlight on GM Flint Factory, Chicago and D.C. Initiatives

This summer, Renewal & Redevelopment magazine will take an in-depth look at the General Motors restoration of an old factory in Flint that’s considered to be the company’s birthplace. The particular theme that this narrative will take involves the challenge of historic restoration during a redevelopment initiative.

The Durant-Dort Factory One, which reopened in April, includes event space and an archive with about 100,000 historical documents, photos and other artifacts about carriage building and early automobile manufacturing. The public can visit by appointment.

The archive was relocated from nearby Kettering University.

Parts of the factory date to 1880. William Crapo Durant and business partner Josiah Dallas Dort established the Flint Road Cart Co. in 1886 to build horse-drawn carriages.

Durant later took control of Buick, built GM and formed Chevrolet. GM executive Mark Reuss says the restoration preserves the stories of early visionaries who built a new industry in Flint.

GM in 2013 bought the building, which was in disrepair.

In addition to this spotlight, Renewal & Redevelopment in June will focus on two other very ambitious projects—one on the verge of completion and the other that may come to fruition by 2019.

After much anticipation, Ampeer—a new brand of exclusive turnkey luxury residences—will open the doors to its flagship Dupont Circle property in July in the District of Columbia. The property, which is the result of a highly-detailed and meticulous renovation of the legendary Patterson Mansion, will offer a total of 92 uniquely-designed residential units, communal living spaces that encourage social interaction, dedicated food and drink service, events programming and even replete with linens and glassware hand selected by the design team.

Meantime in Chicago, global developer Related Midwest reveals it will take its time to develop a “city within a city” on a 62-acre parcel of land along the Chicago River.

The project is described as “one of the most ambitious developments ever conceived in Chicago,” and would include more than 10 million sq. ft. of residential, office, hotel and retail space on the site south of Roosevelt Rd., that would eventually link Chinatown and the South Loop.

One of the points of emphasis around this project us that Related Midwest plans to install pop-up food trucks and other temporary elements to lure people to the site during the redevelopment phase. It’s all part of interim brownfield strategizing. One member of the development team said that these interim destination components are being installed to generate interest and bring people to the site, if for no other reason to get them acclimated to a parcel that’s been dormant for decades. Interim use brings in the foot traffic while the long-term development is in the works.

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