When I moved back home in 2012 after living in Washington, DC and working as a federal consultant for IBM, finding a place to live in Detroit was relatively easy. The city’s rebirth was just beginning and very few people were asking about the best places to live in Detroit. If you really wanted to live downtown, you could handpick your favorite spot.
To give you some perspective, I shared my first apartment when I moved back with a guy named Jacob Smith (who I didn’t know at the time). Jacob and I ended up working together at Ambassador, a Detroit-area startup, and he now works at Castle, a real estate tech company (which, cough cough, is on the re:purpose platform).
Our apartment was on the 25th floor of a building downtown and our rent — for a 2-bedroom, 2-bathroom loft — was $580 per person, but we also got a $250 stipend from the city to live downtown. Oh, and that building — it was less than 50% occupied.
Today, renting an apartment in Detroit is a different story.
Just three years after signing our initial lease, there’s a 6-month waiting list to get into that same building. Even more incredibly, downtown Detroit is at near 100% occupancy and rent in some buildings has increased by more than 150%.
In other words, the city is experiencing a full-blown renaissance. And, now, I’m regularly asked (including at a re:purpose event in NYC this weekend): “Where’s the best place to live in Detroit?”
So, I decided to curate a list of what I think are the best apartment buildings and lofts.
Here’s our curated list of the best places to live in Detroit:
Best Places to Live – Downtown Detroit
The Malcomson – My current residence, formerly the site of the first State Capitol Building, the heart of Capitol Park now beats with an arts and cultural vibe. Energy is contagious in the area. Features: Exposed bricks, brand new appliances and overlooks capital park
Lofts of Merchants Row
Imagine living in an apartment high above the heart of a city that is transforming daily. Features: Loft with open floor plans, valet parking and located in central downtown
Originally designed by famed architect Albert Kahn and built in 1929 on the former site of the Miles Theater, The Griswold Building stands 12 floors in height and features first floor street level retail with 127 units/rooms above. This unique Detroit landmark was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1980. Today, the fully renovated building has become “The Albert” and brings luxury apartment living to Capitol Park. Features: Recently renovated apartments, fitness center, retail on ground floor
Located in the center of Downtown Detroit at Grand Circus Park and Woodward, the 34-story skyscraper is a historic landmark structure providing luxury residences with privileged panoramic views in the heart of Detroit’s growing commercial and entertainment district. Features: Overlooks Comerica Park, 2–story apartments, and exposed ceilings
The David Whitney Building stands as one of the most enduring and iconic legacies of America’s Golden Age. Completed in 1915, the 19-story building was the skyscraper of its time, representing a symbol of classic American strength and beauty. Features: Beautiful lobby, brand new apartments and half the building is an Aloft Hotel
Pro Tip: Late night stop by Cafe D’Mongo’s. Great music and atmosphere!
Best Places to LIve – Midtown Detroit
Graphic Arts Lofts
Huge windows and concrete accents set these lofts apart from others. Located next to the Wayne State police department, this building is super safe and secure. Features: Huge windows, 12’ ceilings and industrial style lofts
Centrally positioned on Woodward Avenue in Historic Brush Park, residents of The Scott have direct access to Detroit’s best neighborhoods including Downtown, Midtown and Eastern Market – all within walking distance. Features: Brand new, hot tub and outdoor lounge & spa with heated deck
Historical elegance. Legendary design. Modern amernities. Features: Amazing architecture, walking distance to the DIA and indoor fountain
55 West Canfield Lofts
An urban redevelopment with 30 authentic, residential loft condos. The lofts feature open floor plans, and the builder offers the flexibility of adding separate bedrooms wherever the buyer requests.. Features: Floor-to-ceiling windows, exposed bricks and within 250 feet of Shinola, Jolly Pumpkin and Run Detroit
Pro Tip: Grab a pizza at Jolly Pumpkin. Sit outside and enjoy the scene on Canfield St.
Best Places to Live – Rivertown Detroit
River Park Lofts
Close location to the water as well as Belle Isle. These lofts feature beautiful hardwood floors, high ceilings and exposed brick walls. And did we mention the view? Features: Overlooks the Detroit River, walking distance to Belle Isle and the Riverwalk
Modern interior finishes, impeccable grounds and innovative designs. Direct access to all downtown Detroit’s major entertainment venues, nearby amenities and the Detroit RiverWalk. Features: Spacious apartments with walk-in closets, 8-foot windows and covered parking
These chic lofts are less than three miles from downtown, and offer some great value. Stylish finishes, a variety of layouts and an industrial feel make this amenity-heavy spot a top property for loft-lovers. Features: Exposed brick & ceilings, outdoor pool and walking distance to the Dequindre Cut
Pro Tip: Grab a flight of beers and a homemade pretzel at Atwater Brewery!