Ren Cen Groundbreaking

Powerful business interests joined together to form the Detroit Renaissance Group. This organization saw investment in the downtown area as a way to attract business back to the city and create jobs for all. Initial plans included a riverfront football stadium project, which was aborted when the Detroit Lions announced their intention to move to Pontiac. The crown jewel of the business collective was the Detroit Renaissance Center, a state-of-the-art structure to symbolize rebirth and serve as a catalyst for renewal.

Detroit Renaissance Center; Construction; Groundbreaking Ceremonies

Image from the groundbreaking ceremony of the Detroit Renaissance Center. May 22, 1973. Source: Detroit News Photograph Collection. Source: Detroit News Photograph Collection.

Detroit Renaissance. Construction.

Mayor Coleman Young in front of the under-construction Renaissance Center. June 20, 1975. Source: Detroit News Photograph Collection.

Newspaper clipping

“What It Really Means!” Detroit News story on the Renaissance Center. April 15, 1977. Source: Detroit Renaissance Records, Box 3, folder 19.

Mock-up of the proposed riverfront domed football stadium.

Mock-up of the proposed riverfront domed football stadium. c. 1969. Source: Detroit Renaissance Records, Box 5, folder 33.

How would a new sporting complex have affected Detroit’s long underutilized riverfront area?

Continued Economic Struggles

Municipal/State/Federal Employees, Unemployment Office, Detroit, Michigan

Three workers assist patrons who wait in line at an unemployment office. Municipal/State/Federal Employees, an Unemployment Office in Detroit. Undated. Source: Tony Spina Collection.

Carter, James Earl; United States President. –In Detroit to Attend a Two-Day Conference on the Needs of the Nation’s Poor (Sponsored by the Committee Services Administration). –At the Veterans Memorial Building

Protesters outside the Veterans Memorial Building where a conference addressing the needs of the nation’s poor, attended by President Jimmy Carter, was taking place. 1977. Source: Detroit News Photograph Collection.