Downtown Detroit may be undergoing revitalization at the moment, but this is one city where preserving the past is a priority. It’s par for the course for older properties to get a face lift or restoration before transforming from a warehouse into a restaurant or loft living, but at least they’re not torn down to pave the way for something new. Even brand-new additions like the Little Caesars Arena are carefully constructed to ensure they don’t impinge on classic architecture or drastically alter the ambiance of this historic city.
It should come as no surprise, then, that an institution like the Motown Museum would receive plenty of support for its upcoming expansion project, centering on the original Hitsville U.S.A. house, most recently pulling in $500,000 in funding from the Hudson-Webber Foundation. The house will not revert to an apartment living property, but rather become the central focus of the planned expansion honoring the city’s Motown history.
Near the end of 2016, the Motown Museum, which is home to the iconic, blue and white Hitsville U.S.A. house and Motown Records, announced a plan to expand this popular tourist destination into a 50,000-square-foot facility. The project comes in at an estimated $50 million and when completed, will feature interactive exhibits, recording studios, a state-of-the-art performance theater, expanded retail space, and meeting spaces designed by renowned architects.
The grant from the Hudson-Webber Foundation is just the latest showing of support for the project. To date, the Motown Museum expansion project has received a number of donations, including a $1 million gift from The Fred A. and Barbara M. Erb Family Foundation in September 2017, as well as a $6 million commitment from Ford and UAW-Ford in November.
Impact to Detroit
After the long recession, Detroit finds itself in full recovery mode. Upscale living spaces like The Lofts of Merchants Row are bringing young professionals back into the city, as are the growing food and spirits craft scenes and a burgeoning job market. It doesn’t hurt that Detroit institutions have banded together to support a massive development plan for the downtown area that makes apartment tips like seeking living space near amenities an easy sell.
The planned expansion of the famous Motown Museum is just part of a bigger picture that revolves around upgrading the city and making Detroit a place people want to visit and live in, without losing the flavor that makes this urban center so unique. Said Robin R. Terry, the CEO and chairwoman of the Board of Trustees for the Motown Museum, of the planned expansion, “Our goal is to bring an expanded Motown Museum to the world,” adding, “When the expanded Museum opens, it will be one of Michigan’s leading cultural institutions and an even greater international tourist destination providing economic growth and regional enrichment.”
Upon learning of the most recent donation of $500,000, Terry released a statement saying, “With our shared values and a mission to create a thriving, sustainable Detroit, we are grateful for the Hudson-Webber Foundation to offer its support as we grow the Museum and continue to share with the world the Motown legacy that was born right here in our community.”