September 24, 2019
Greektown Reveals Vision to Guide Neighborhood Forward
Greektown Neighborhood Partnership releases the results of its privately funded and community-led urban planning initiative, created in close coordination with downtown stakeholders
DETROIT, Mich., September 18, 2019 – The Greektown Neighborhood Partnership (formerly known as the Greektown Preservation Society) is sharing the outcomes of a privately funded strategic community planning initiative, the Greektown Neighborhood Framework Vision, which assesses and provides inspiration for opportunities within and around the neighborhood.
The Greektown Neighborhood Framework Vision was spearheaded by a group of stakeholders representing the neighborhood’s businesses, organizations, cultural spaces, and families. The purpose of the Framework Vision is to unite the neighborhood, city leaders and planners, private developers, and other stakeholders behind a common vision for the future of Greektown. The creation and upcoming implementation of the Framework Vision, along with the expanded focus of the Greektown Neighborhood Partnership, will ensure thoughtful development and transformation in the neighborhood.
“Greektown has been, and will always be, an incredibly special and important place to my family and to me,” says Athina Papas, board president of the Greektown Neighborhood Partnership. “The Greektown Neighborhood Framework Vision gives us a look at the potential future of Greektown: a vibrant neighborhood, with new energy and an array of experiences, that is well connected to the larger fabric and movement of downtown Detroit.”
Stakeholder outcomes from the planning effort focus on five key categories: Public Realm, Mobility & Parking, Culture & History, Development Opportunities, and Neighborhood Experience. Design strategies are focused around connectivity to surrounding neighborhoods and the downtown core, increasing built density, the introduction of new public open spaces connected by activated pedestrian paths, and the creation of a mixed- use neighborhood, expanding uses beyond entertainment. The Greektown Neighborhood Framework Vision considers all opportunities, from public to private, and provides an inspiring roadmap for the future of the historic neighborhood. As the east gateway to downtown, Greektown will emphasize connected, contextual, and inclusive development. The Framework also amplifies opportunities in conjunction with planned new development in and around the neighborhood.
“One of the key elements of the Framework is the development of public space in the district and the first effort toward implementation is already underway,” said Melanie Markowicz, Executive Director of Greektown Neighborhood Partnership. “The plan highlights the large intersection on Randolph Street between Monroe and Gratiot and we are working with the City of Detroit and other stakeholders to develop a plan for the gateway to Greektown, converting it into a public pedestrian plaza through a phased approach.”
The Partnership is working closely with the Rock Family of Companies and Downtown Detroit Partnership to create a cohesive downtown atmosphere; Randolph Plaza is a way of connecting Greektown to the central downtown and creating a pedestrian-friendly setting.
The Greektown Neighborhood Framework Vision was a collaborative effort created by SOM (Skidmore, Owings and Merrill), widely considered the leaders in urban design and planning. The group also worked in close consultation with HR&A, OJB Landscape Architecture, Sam Schwartz Engineering, McIntosh Poris Associates Architecture, and Kraemer Design Group.
The Framework Vision was privately funded by a range of stakeholders: The Rock Family of Companies, JACK Entertainment/Greektown Casino-Hotel, The Papas Family (Atheneum Suites Hotel, Pegasus Taverna), The Teftsis Family (Astoria Pastry Shop, Red Smoke Barbeque), The Gatzaros Family (Fishbones Rhythm Kitchen Cafe, 400 Monroe Associates), The Dionisopoulos Family (Golden Fleece), Old Shillelagh, Firebird Tavern, and Park Rite.
NEW NAME, EXPANDED FOCUS
The name-change of the nonprofit organization from “Greektown Preservation Society” to “Greektown Neighborhood Partnership” was done to express the expanded scope and purpose of the organization, which is focused on community planning, economic vibrancy, and stakeholder engagement.
With the new name, also comes a new brand for the neighborhood association. The Greektown Neighborhood Partnership logo was designed to tie back to Greek heritage, using the iconic key symbol seen throughout Grecian art and architecture as inspiration. The concept was modernized and instills a feeling of connectivity and moving forward.
To direct their expanded focus, Greektown Neighborhood Partnership has hired Melanie Markowicz as their first Executive Director. Markowicz comes to the helm of the organization from the Wayne County Economic Development Corporation, and is the former city planner for Hamtramck, past president of Preservation Detroit, consultant to the Michigan Historic Preservation Network, and project manager for the Savannah College of Art and Design in Hong Kong.
For more information about Greektown and the Greektown Neighborhood Framework Vision, visit www.GreektownDetroit.org.
About Greektown Detroit
Greektown is a celebrated nightlife, entertainment, and cultural district, serving both Detroiters and visitors from around the world all year round. The traditional center of Detroit’s Greek community, the Greektown neighborhood is one of the last surviving Victorian-era commercial streetscapes in downtown Detroit. Lively Monroe Street is the heartbeat of historic Greektown, and our district is bounded by Gratiot, Randolph, Lafayette, and I-375. For more information, visit www.GreektownDetroit.org.
About the Greektown Neighborhood Partnership
Greektown Neighborhood Partnership is a nonprofit organization dedicated to the long-term economic and cultural vibrancy of Greektown. Formerly known as Greektown Preservation Society, the organization was established in 1903 as a merchant association. As the cityscape has evolved though the years, so has the organization. In addition to representing the interests of its many business owner members, the organization’s focus has expanded in scope to align with its vision for the future. We support and enhance inclusive and equitable opportunities for growth within the district through community and economic development programs, all while celebrating our strong cultural roots.