“The Cass Corridor in Detroit has positive and negative history, which some tend to focus more on the negative,” she said.
“We still see and hear a number of people refer to this as the Cass Corridor, but are now using it to represent the positive - developments, restaurants, businesses - rather than focusing on the older association with improper activities.”
In fact along several blocks just south of Wayne State University (student population 27,000) a transformation is taking place that is making the street downright trendy.
Several new restaurants and shops, for example, adorn the street, transforming the look so much you almost has to pinch yourself to believe it’s real.
Two are located in Gallerie Camille at 4130 Cass – La Feria, a Spanish Tappas restaurant – and TOTA, a small men’s and women’s clothing store.
At 4160 Cass there is Melt, a small gelato shop, just opened its doors.
Over the last three years two retail and restaurant hubs have also launched – one at Cass and Willis - and the, about a block away, at Cass and Canfield, both anchored by housing.
“This has really led to creating a more walkable and bikeable environment for residents, students, and visitors,” Fields says.
Fields says one of the reasons Cass is developing is because of its proximity – one block west- of Detroit’s main drag, Woodard Ave., which will soon see a modern street car line built along it.
And Cass also runs north through the heart of the vast and growing Wayne State University campus.
A couple of new housing projects have also been announced, symbolic of the restoration of some of the most rundown buildings in the area, and opening up the most rundown section of Midtown, its southern extremity.
One is Cass Plaza, a forlorn tower at the corner of Martin Luther King and Cass, which is being restored for 39 apartments and a coffee shop.
Then there is The Davenport, just behind Cass Plaza and equally rundown, its front yard overgrown with trees and brush.
But the once elegant 1905 building is expected to open with eight new units this fall.