Artisans wanted: Detroit officials will accept business proposals for downtown transit hub



For years, people waiting for a bus at the Rosa Parks Transit Center in downtown Detroit have had few ways to satiate their hunger or quench their thirst. Save for a gumbo spot's several year stint as a tenant in the eight-year old facility, there have been no businesses for riders to patronize. There's not even a vending machine or newsstand.

Let's pause for a moment to contemplate how strange this is. Think of Penn Station in New York, where the stores and eateries are so plentiful, transportation almost feels like a secondary service. The same holds true at transit hubs in Chicago, Washington, and elsewhere.

Now — with Detroit officials wrapping up a two-year, $850,000 upgrade of the facility — they're hoping to make the Rosa Parks Transit Center better resemble the thriving downtown to its east by attracting some business tenants.

The city will soon issue a request for proposals for three unused retail spaces at the three-story, 26,000 square foot site. Welcome are proposals that fall under the following categories:

- Farmers and artisans markets
- Vendor markets and pop-ups that can be used by local leaders, entrepreneurs, and artists to deliver their products, services, and ideas
- Support services for Detroit's new bike sharing program, such as a repair shop, helmet rental site, or bike lesson facility

A news release from the city says officials are "highly interested in proposals that complement the high-traffic, high-energy, grab-and-go culture of Downtown Detroit — helping to make the Transit Center an anchor of the neighborhood."

Prospective tenants can submit their ideas from July 6 through August 7. Those whose ideas are selected will be able to negotiate up to a five-year lease.

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