Encyclopedia Of Detroit

New Center Area Historic District

The New Center Area Historic District is adjacent to Midtown, one mile north of the Cultural Center and approximately three miles north of downtown Detroit. This commercial and residential historic district is positioned just west of the intersection of Woodward Avenue and Grand Boulevard, approximately bounded by the Virginia Park Historic District to the north, the Ford Freeway to the south, John R Street to the east, and the Lodge Freeway to the west.

The New Center Area Historic District developed as a part of the northward expansion of the City of Detroit, and the subsequent migration of the professional class. Between 1895 and 1920, many single and multi-family residential structures were built in this district to accommodate this migration. These homes were constructed in a variety of architectural styles including Neo-Georgian, Arts and Crafts, Bungalow, and Neo-Tudor. Between 1915 and 1940, many of the single-family homes were replaced by moderately-sized apartment buildings.

The heart of the New Center Area Historic District was built in the 1920s as a business hub that offered convenient access to both downtown Detroit and to its many outlying factories. From 1923 to 1996, General Motors maintained its world headquarters in what is now Cadillac Place before relocating downtown to the Renaissance Center. New Center’s standout piece of architecture is the Fisher Building, the Fisher Brothers and Albert Kahn’s Art Deco masterpiece, completed in 1928. Other significant structures in the district include the Argonaut Building (now part of the College for Creative Studies campus), the Albert Kahn Building (formerly the New Center Building), Cadillac Place (now home to many State of Michigan agencies), and Henry Ford Hospital, in addition to various other government and commercial office buildings, retail stores, and restaurants.

Since 2010, there has been significant investment in new construction and renovation in the area including Wayne State University’s Integrative Biosciences Center on Woodward just south of Grand Boulevard, the Q-Line headquarters on Woodward just north of Grand Boulevard, U-Haul’s renovation of their offices in the historic NBC-Nabisco Building on Baltimore Street, and the City of Detroit’s $2.5 million federal housing fund grant plus $1.6 million in tax breaks to the Central Detroit Christian Community Development Corporation to renovate the 44-unit Casamira Apartments on Delaware Street.



Aerial view of the New Center area, 1965 - 2009.019.339

General Motors and the Fisher Building in New Center, 1982 - 2008.033.718

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