The University of Michigan has announced plans for a $300 million research and education center that will anchor a fourteen-acre innovation hub in downtown Detroit.
Expected to be the centerpiece of the initial buildout of the Detroit Center for Innovation, the 190,000-square-foot center will serve up to a thousand U-M seniors and graduate students pursuing advanced degrees in a range of high-tech innovation disciplines, including mobility, artificial intelligence, data science, entrepreneurship, sustainability, cybersecurity, and financial technology. An interdisciplinary committee of faculty from U-M's three campuses will develop the center's academic programs across several technology-based fields and provide design input based on academic needs.
Construction of the facility will be funded by a major gift from Stephen M. Ross, chair of Related Companies — which is developing the Detroit Center for Innovation in partnership with Bedrock — as well as leadership gifts from Quicken Loans founder Dan Gilbert and other public and private funders. Ross's previous support for U-M includes $50 million for the Stephen M. Ross School of Business in 2017, $200 million split between the business school and U-M Athletics in 2013, and a naming gift of $100 million to the business school in 2004.
Designed to stimulate entrepreneurial activity and diversification of the regional economy, the hub also will feature incubator and start-up spaces and services, collaboration spaces for established companies, residential units, a hotel, and conference and event spaces.
"I spent my childhood and many of my young adult years living and working in Detroit and have long wanted to find a way to have a real impact on my hometown," said Ross. "The University of Michigan helped spark my entrepreneurial spirit and nurtured my curiosity for all aspects of innovation, leading me to not only become a founder but an incubator and investor in a variety of technologies and businesses. The idea of the new center reflects the shared commitment of Dan, myself, the city, the county, the state, and the University of Michigan to create a transformative center for innovation that will help fuel the city's next chapter of growth. The center has the potential to not only attract new businesses to Detroit, but the school and its graduates will generate new ideas, new companies, and new opportunities for the community, the city, and the region."