Detroit, MI

Detroit, Michigan:
Reviving Livernois Avenue as a thriving urban main street

Livernois is a primary neighborhood commercial thoroughfare that once thrived as the “Avenue of Fashion.” While many businesses remain on the corridor today, the quality and diversity of the retail mix is not adequate for the adjacent neighborhood causing significant retail leakage. While the corridor has seen an increase in both public and private investment over the past few years, these investments have not yet yielded the transformation necessary to make Livernois a destination place for retail and restaurants again. Fostering an environment that cultivates business retention and attraction is essential.

Livernois is home to the University of Detroit Mercy, a private commuter college with over 5,600 students and has a unique history of a high concentration of popular, long-standing African-American owned businesses. In partnership with University Commons and other stakeholders in this area, it is our desire to see Livernois once again thrive as an urban main street that draws visitors from the City and region.

Some of the specific challenges include:

  1. Creating a higher quality, diverse mix of retail.
  2. Lack of parking. Nearly all designated parking is on street, metered parking. Patrons and employees target the same parking spots and there is not enough for both groups. This is further exacerbated by the reality that there is not much vacant land along the corridor, which limits solutions to the parking challenge.
  3. Land/property owners that hold critical property along the corridor do not adequately maintain them, nor do they have feasible plans for putting the properties back into productive use. These owners are savvy on paying taxes and doing enough to prevent code violations but do not appear committed to attracting the highest and best use for these key buildings.
  4. Lighting. The current street lighting is not adequate, causing significant safety concerns among business owners and patrons.
  5. Signage. The current signage is unattractive and cluttered. Visibility of businesses is also low due to poor signage and lack of maintenance of street trees.

Its assets include:

  1. Notable architecture
  2. Rich history
  3. Beautiful, stable surrounding residential areas with active neighborhood associations
  4. One of the highest income areas in the City
  5. Universities within .5 miles
  6. Proximity to freeways, 8 Mile Road an Woodward Avenue