Campus Martius

campus martius detroit

Campus Martius is the heart of the city’s revitalization.  Prior to the economic crisis, Detroit was positioned for improvement and Campus Martius was its shining center.  At the time this meant there was a Borders.  Financial struggles beat the bookstore but Campus Martius held on and today it is a stunning example of how far the city has come.  

In 2004 the park opened under the leadership of a conservancy.  It was nice and clean but there were few people and not a lot of activity downtown.  Without much to offer, Campus Martius was still popularly noted because “not abandoned” was the moniker for Detroit’s success. Not anymore.  Today, Campus Martius deserves its accolades and can honestly compete with other urban centers.

campus martius detroit

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 detroit

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.

campus martius detroit

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.

campus martius detroit

And in one of Gilbert’s many initiatives to attract business, residents and tourist to Detroit, his organization BLocal offered free pedicab rides last week.  

If you want to really experience the change in Detroit, visit downtown on a weekday afternoon.  Although you can go anytime because there are tons of activities to participate in day or night at Campus Martius. 

*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).

8 thoughts on “Campus Martius

  1. Wow, this place looks so good and modern, i really like it! And i hope that Detroit will keep on Improving and developing in this way!
    Thank you so much for your interesting blog and for your desire to make your city better:)


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