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Former Detroit stars investing in city’s future

Former Pistons great Dave Bing

An investment group headed by some notable basketball players from Detroit's past is developing a new residential project on downtown Detroit's eastern riverfront. From today's Detroit Free Press:

If nothing else, investors in one of Detroit's planned eastern riverfront condominium projects would make a pretty good pickup basketball team.

Dave Bing, a Detroit industrialist and former Detroit Pistons great, said Wednesday he has confirmed investment commitments for his riverfront residential project from several former Pistons or University of Michigan greats: Joe Dumars, Isiah Thomas, Chris Webber, Jalen Rose and Derrick Coleman.

He didn't say how much each would invest in his project, which is estimated to cost about $40 million in all for about 110 condominiums and townhouses. Known informally as Atwater West for the city-owned parcel it will occupy, Bing's project is one of several slated to add several hundred new residential units on eastern riverfront land in the area occupied for decades by cement silos.

Bing talked about his plans and his investors at a symposium Wednesday conducted by the Detroit chapter of the Urban Land Institute, a nonprofit organization dedicated to educating the public on important real estate issues.

As announced earlier this year, various projects in total will add several hundred upscale residential units to a district running east of Renaissance Center to the existing Stroh River Place development. At least four major projects are in the planning stages, with construction expected to begin late this year or next year.

I remembered hearing about this project a while back, but I didn't realize it had all of those names attached to it. After some digging around, I found a more detailed description of what the project will entail. From Model D:

Chene West is about two acres. Designed by the Kraemer Group, it calls for a six-story residential tower built above a recessed parking structure, three-story live-work lofts in two connected buildings along Atwater, six single-family "marina homes" which look over the neighboring Tricentennial Marina, and a community pavilion complete with indoor and outdoor pools and a workout facility. The five buildings are situated on a north-south axis along an interior pathway, with provision made for the Detroit RiverWalk to continue across the site. Bing’s Spinarn is the developer for the $29 million Chene West, which will bring a total of 108 residential units to the East Riverfront.

And, as you may remember, another notable Detroit native is involved in one of the other nearby projects -- recently retired NFL running back Jerome Bettis is investing in a mixed-use development (residential and business) not too far away from Bing's project.

Basketball stars line up to back riverfront condos [Detroit Free Press]
Detroit sports stars make team to develop riverfront sites [Model D]
A rebirth on the city's riverfront [Detroit Free Press]