New Center is located
approximately three miles (4.8 km) north of downtown along Woodward Avenue. This "city within a city" offers
two National Historic Landmarks as well as a number of shops, restaurants,
art galleries, the renowned Fisher Theatre,
and the Motown Historical Museum. Developed in the 1920s,
New Center was designed to create a business hub that would offer convenient
access to both Downtown resources
and outlying factories. Some
historians believe that the New Center may be the original "edge
city", a sub-center remote from but related to an urban core. New
Center continues to experience steady growth, including several recent
condominium and loft developments.
Spend a fun-filled day in Detroit's unofficial second downtown!
3011 West Grand Boulevard, Detroit
National Historic Landmark is an architectural gem and entertainment
destination all-in-one. Built in 1928
in art-deco style (see photo above) and featuring a "golden tower,"
the Fisher Building is an icon of the Detroit skyline. It was designed by master architect Albert Kahn and is perhaps his
most significant achievement. In
addition to a number of restaurants,
shops, and galleries, the Fisher
Building houses the
highly regarded Fisher Theatre. This 2,089-seat theatre hosts a variety of
Broadway performances and has held world premieres of Hello Dolly, Fiddler
on the Roof, Sweet Charity and Golden
Cadillac Place (General Motors Building)
3044 West Grand Boulevard, Detroit
Cadillac Place, also known
as the General Motors Building,
is the New Center area's second National Historic
Landmark. The building served as GM's
headquarters from 1923 to 1996 prior to relocating downtown to the Renaissance Center. Like the Fisher Building,
was designed by Albert Kahn. Consisting
of eight wings projecting from a central spine and a five-story hipped-roof
annex connected to the rear façade, the building symbolized GM's dominant
position in the automobile industry.
The building is now occupied by State of Michigan government offices.
2648 West Grand Boulevard, Detroit
In 1959, upstart Detroit
songwriter and record producer Berry Gordy Jr. purchased a humble two story
home, moving his family into one half and setting up a studio in the
other. He christened it "Hitsville U.S.A."
and from this building grew Motown from a startup business to what became by
the mid-70s the largest independent record company in the world. The Motown Historical
Museum includes models
of eight houses on West Grand
Boulevard acquired by the company to house its
growing operations until it moved its offices to a high-rise in downtown Detroit in 1968. Among the many displays, visitors are
treated to a tour of the studio where Motown greats such as Martha Reeves and the Vandellas, Marvin Gaye, Stevie Wonder, Smokey Robinson
and the Miracles, the Temptations, the Four Tops, Gladys Knight and the Pips,
Diana Ross and the Supremes, and the Jackson Five actually recorded their
hits. The Motown Historical Museum is
located on West Grand Boulevard just west of the New Center area across the
M-10 Lodge Freeway.