University of Michigan
6567bb558dde58001ecbe062 Um Innovation Center

University of Michigan will break ground in Detroit on a Center for Innovation

Nov. 29, 2023
Officials say the $250 million project shows the university's increased commitment to improve Detroit's economy.

The University of Michigan is set to break ground next month in Detroit on a $250 million Center for Innovation.

The Ann Arbor News reports that the groundbreaking is the latest chapter in an up-and-down journey for the project. In 2021, the university abandoned a proposal to build the innovation center on land where plans for a new Wayne County Jail had been canceled.

The latest plans for the innovation center envision a six-story structure on a donated two-acre site at Grand River Avenue and Columbia Street. Funding for the center comes from a $100 million gift from donor Stephen Ross, $50 million will be raised from other donors, and another $100 million from the state of Michigan.

The center intends to meet economic development goals for Detroit, as well as statewide and regional job creation. There will be graduate programs focused on technology, robotics, sustainability and computer sciences, as well as workforce training, professional development and certificate programs, officials said.

“Our founding as a university traces back to Detroit in 1817," University President Santa J. Ono said, "so it’s critical to me that we are more than the University of Michigan, we are also the university for Michigan.”

The university says the innovation center will benefit from being near a proposed $1.5 billion, 10-building, mixed-use development that Related Companies and Olympia Development are developing in The District Detroit.

The innovation center eventually will collaborate with Detroit partners at the Rackham Educational Memorial building, which is near the Detroit Institute of Arts, Wayne State University and the Detroit Public Library, which makes it ideal for educational opportunities, officials said.

The architect for the innovaton center is Kohn Pedersen Fox.

About the Author

Mike Kennedy | Senior Editor

Mike Kennedy has been writing about education for American School & University since 1999. He also has reported on schools and other topics for The Chicago Tribune, The Kansas City Star, The Kansas City Times and City News Bureau of Chicago. He is a graduate of Michigan State University.

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