Everyday people meet at Campus Martius to relax and enjoy the sounds and spirit of the city. In the winter it’s an ice rink and in the summer it’s a concert venue and beach bar. Yes – a beach.
Campus Martius is the core of Dan Gilbert’s Detroit empire.* After the Great Fire of 1805 leveled the city, this location was used to lay out the streets and squares of Detroit. For all intents and purpose the region’s largest thoroughfares originate from Campus Martius: Woodward, Michigan, Grand River, Gratiot and Jefferson Avenues. Gilbert has plans for all of them and is impressing many with his no-nonsense strategy to revitalize Detroit. Where some people are all talk, he is all action. Hardly a month goes by without an announcement from the Gilbert camp located in the Compuware building pictured above.
Quicken Loans (Gilbert’s largest company) has been in Detroit as long as I have and the changes I’ve witnessed are unbelievable. For example, at the beginning of the year One Kennedy Square had an empty ground floor but now it has a Starbucks, Potbelly and a Central Michigan University extension.
*Dan Gilbert does not own Campus Martius, it is managed by a conservancy; however, he has been integral in the surrounding development (and the beach).