$27M mixed-use project to replace vacant Detroit riverfront soap factory

- A historic factory that used to churn out soap sat empty for 20 years, but now there's finally a new $27 million plan for the Riverfront property in Detroit.

The property at the corner of Franklin and Riopelle has been re-imagined to provide housing and retail.

"You've got a blighted, abandoned industrial building - been vacant for 20 years and people thought there would be nothing going on here. No we're seeing the development spread," said Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan.

Officials say it's part of larger vision to bring people to one of Detroit's underutilized assets - the river. Accessibility is the key in this project.

"The city has made the decision to take the high-end apartments and condos that were supposed to be on the water and is pulling them back so that riverfront is available," Duggan said.

The high-end structure is designed to attract a diverse population as well and it's all factored into the design. It will go beyond mixed use to mixed income - 20 percent of the 63 units will be made available for people with low income.

The demand for riverfront living is there - the Orleans Landing apartment complex right next door is nearly sold out. Developers are hoping to break ground on this project next year and have it completed in 16 months.

The city says this project is just the beginning. Atwater Beach is the pipe line along with a wetlands park set to be developed across the street. The idea is make sure the full potential of the riverfront is maximized.

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