Once synonymous with fueling Detroit’s 20th-century industrial growth, the historic Conners Creek Power Plant property on the city’s east side waterfront is now valued for its redevelopment potential. Owned by DTE Energy and nestled at the mouth of the Detroit River across from Belle Isle, the Conners Creek site is the largest contiguous parcel of land with development potential on the city’s waterfront. While power production ended at Conners Creek in 1988, native wildlife returned to site highlighted by the 2009 discovery of beaver living on the property.
Rather than demolish all of the Conners Creek buildings and infrastructure, DTE has secured and maintained the area to ensure a broader range of development options. Already hosting a marina and boat club dating back to 1914, DTE intends to work with the city and other partners to transform the entire site into uses befitting its gateway location, history, and potential.
In November 2017, dozens of visitors from around the world affiliated with the German Marshall Fund (GMF) toured the site to help DTE and city officials to envision new uses for the property. The GMF, a global leader in helping cities repurpose old economy industrial sites, sees a breadth of potential in the 75-acre Conners Creek tract. Beyond new residential and commercial use, the GMF team suggested possibilities including locating a museum of 20th-century energy production, technology, and industry on the site, along with incubator space for entrepreneurs and artists, as well as facilities for conducting biological and environmental research.