As Detroit looks to build tech hubs, collaboration becomes key

With the proposed DCI as another anchor for the district — the first being the $862.9 million Little Caesars Arena for the Detroit Red Wings and Detroit Pistons — the team at Related and Olympia envision a new hotel on the vacant lot south of the stadium, new office and retail space in the surface parking lots across from Woodward for Comerica Park, more retail development along Columbia Street, and affordable, market-rate residential space along Park Avenue.

Ross and Ilitch earlier this year received a $100 million allocation from the state for the development of their campus.

UM officials did not respond to Crain’s requests for comment for this report seeking details about the schedule and how the university views its role in the growth of the southeast Michigan startup tech space.

TechTown Detroit’s Staebler said he wasn’t surprised university officials kept these details under wraps.

“I think the good news is that all of those parties recognize that you can’t just parachute into Detroit and save it. In fact, you have to make a long-term commitment,” Staebler said, adding that he has been in close contact with many of the groups that develop the different campuses. “And I think that’s part of why it’s taking them so long to publicly say everything they’re doing. They want to make sure they’re doing it right.”

However, UM’s Innovation Partnerships, which is responsible for the institution’s technology transfer and licensing efforts, tracks the growth of university start-ups. In 2021, Innovation Partnerships reported that 23 startups grew out of college and generated $42.9 million in revenue, 287 technology license or option agreements, and more than 2,000 jobs created since 2000.

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An overarching vision for DCI is to provide “a space for the university to engage with industry, nonprofit and community partners to develop the most relevant academic programs and identify research opportunities of mutual interest and benefit,” he said. former UM president Mark Schlissel last December. .

Meanwhile, just a couple of miles southwest of the proposed DCI, Ford and other partners are moving forward with the Michigan Central campus, centered on the renovated Michigan Central Station that the Dearborn-based automaker is turning into a facility for much of its mobility technology work.

Joshua Sirefman, who was appointed earlier this year as executive director of the Central Michigan Innovation District, told the Homecoming crowd that stakeholders in the project — Ford, established and tech start-ups, academia, philanthropy, organizations governmental and civic) focus on “the intersection of mobility and society”.

The idea, according to Sirefman, is to go beyond testing or simulating technology.

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