(Read more on the multifamily market.)

DETROIT-Today marks the grand opening of much of the new Detroit RiverWalk, sponsored by the Detroit Riverfront Conservancy, with more than 75% of the east section of the Detroit River now walkable Downtown. Development projects are also springing up along the new area, including the recent announcement by a joint venture of Hines and General Motors Corp. to develop multifamily buildings on six acres next to the automaker’s world headquarters at the Renaissance Center. The venture initially plans to build an 80-unit condominium building on the site.

The conservancy is working to get the Walk complete on both east and west sides of the Renaissance Center, contributing $140 million in donations to the $300-million project. The Walk is a five-mile lineal park along the river which will ultimately span from the Ambassador Bridge to beyond the MacArthur Bridge at Belle Isle into Gabriel Richard Park. New portions opened include Rivard Plaza, Gabriel Richard Park, a mile from east of Stroh’s River Place to Mt. Elliott Park, the Civic Center Promenade, GM Plaza and Promenade and the Tri-Centennial State Park Harbor.

For the new condos, Hines will be responsible for the financing and construction of the condominium development on GM’s surplus property. The automaker will receive a portion of future revenues from residential sales. The building will go up on a one-acre site between Beaubien, St. Antoine and Atwater streets. A spokeswoman with Hines says the company is not yet releasing the size or cost of the buildings. “There are plans for more residential on that space,” she says.

The spokeswoman says the overall housing market is a concern, but that Detroit’s housing is doing better than the office, retail and industrial markets. “The housing market in downtown is quite healthy,” she tells GlobeSt.com. “In 2006, Detroit experienced more housing starts than anywhere in the state, and there is a demand for premium waterfront property.” The residents of the new condo will be able to enjoy Renaissance Center amenities, she says, such as retail, restaurants, a fitness center, a movie theater and 24-hour security.

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