Downtown businesses welcome financial boom from Detroit Grand Prix return

For the first time in more than 30 years the Detroit Grand Prix is not on Belle Isle - but in the heart of downtown.

That means even more people can enjoy the sights, sounds and excitement of the races while drawing thousands of visitors to the city-- and local businesses are loving it.  People are pumped.

The first qualifying rounds for the Grand Prix started about an hour ago. It is also a huge weekend for the businesses close to the race track.

"It’s really cool our location being right next to it just being outside this morning, hearing the cars and everybody getting ready, it’s really exciting and great to see," said James Dannecker.

Dannecker is the general manager of the Detroit Foundation Hotel and the Apparatus room. This weekend business is great.

"Fully sold out, we have a bunch of reservations on the books," he said. "We’re excited to have a few groups in, related to the Grand Prix and some other teams and all of that. So being able to interact with them and have them for when they stay is just awesome for us."

A couple blocks away at the Sweetwater Tavern, Manager Brandi Cosley echoes the same enthusiasm.

"We are all hands on deck for sure," Cosley said. "We are doing our to-go drinks, we’re all set in the kitchen we’re full staffed all through and through. We already have business going on. our kegs are full."

"I am so excited the Grand Prix is back on the streets, which is so good for local businesses and local bars."

The Chevrolet Detroit Grand Prix presented by Lear is expected to bring in $45 million to Metro Detroit.  Cosley says local businesses really need the boost.

"The bottom line is it’s money because we are still recovering from Covid," she said. "We were down for a long time - unemployment, basically it was just getting us by, and now we're back."

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Meanwhile, Dannecker says bringing race weekend back to downtown is another example of great things in the Motor City.

"It’s so exciting the past 5 to10 years of what Detroit has had, and then what these next 5 to 10 years what Detroit will be doing," he said. "We’ve been on the map but now we are really firmly on the map."

There's a lot going on in addition to the races-- there are concerts, food trucks-- activities for fans.