The increasingly crowded sidewalks in Greater Downtown Detroit have left us all cheering for the city’s comeback. The vibrancy of the area is not only evident when the 70,000 employees from the downtown sector hit the streets for lunch, but also on evenings and weekends.
In 2013, Downtown saw over 9.3 million visitors, Midtown collected over 2.3 million visitors, and Eastern Market had an impressive 2 million visitors. You read that right – millions, not thousands. Between sporting events, special events, cultural attractions, and theatres, it’s no wonder the city is raking in these kinds of numbers.
Whenever I come across an article about family friendly activities in Detroit, they always include places like the Detroit Zoo and Greenfield Village…places that are not actually in Detroit, and the oh-so predictable Tiger’s game at Comerica Park.
But the city offers so much more, with an incredible variety of activities throughout the year that are your ticket to family fun. I absolutely love special events like the Campus Martius tree lighting and ice skating, vintage baseball games at Historic Fort Wayne, and places like The Heidelberg Project and RiverWalk.
However, while there are numerous kid friendly events (just check out this site)…
… parents are left scratching their heads when thinking about places to go before or after the event.
Most families I know come into the city for a specific activity and then head straight home. They do not pass go and they do not collect $200. Just getting here requires thoughtful planning. It’s a serious commitment! What might be a 20 minute car ride to an activity in the suburbs is at least double that amount when visiting Detroit. Oh, the traffic (and the dreaded $20 parking!)
But Detroit truly offers an experience that no suburban city can touch. You can go to a carnival in just about any small town. But where can you go to a carnival with rides, sand sculptures, live music, riverboat tours, and awesome food all while enjoying an amazing waterfront view? Yup, Detroit has that. As a matter of fact, GM River Days just wrapped up last Sunday…don’t worry; you can check it out next year!
It’s boasting some pretty big numbers when it comes to visitors – so what retailers could entice families to stick around or come to the city when there isn’t an event? Kids retail stores, or even kid-friendly retailers; that’s who! The American Girl store has 19 locations in major cities across the United States. Marbles: The Brain Store carries all kinds of games to help your family have fun and get a good brain workout. Michigan’s first and only Lego Store is located at The Somerset Mall in Troy with a Legoland Discovery Center coming soon to Great Lakes Crossing. Detroit needs some love.
There actually isn’t much commercial real estate vacancy in the Greater Downtown area – great news for the city but frustrating for retailers who want to bring their business to Detroit. One space we have available for lease would be an amazing fit for a child-centered store. With floor to ceiling storefront windows that wrap around the corner of Michigan Ave & Washington Blvd, 305 Michigan Avenue can allow the heavy foot traffic to see all of the fun and exciting things happening inside. Over 7,100 sq ft is available, giving plenty of room for a major retailer or divisible options for tenants who need less space.
Besides the fact that it is conveniently located near several hotels and restaurants in case you want to make a night of it, this property is within several blocks of Cobo Center and Hart Plaza plus local parks and the library! If that wasn’t enough, it’s just a short distance from Campus Martius so you can check out the park and activities I mentioned earlier… all great places to take the kids! If you’re feeling really adventurous, the Michigan Avenue people mover is just steps away so you can explore the whole city.
What types of kids’ retail stores would you like to see in Detroit? What retail customer experience have you had that made it easy to shop with the kids (that you would like more retailers to offer)? Please let us know in the comment section.