Visit this page for Downs updates

Section of soil containing zinc to be removed

As progress continues on Phase I North of The Downs project, BNV Earthmovers will be conducting soil remediation the week of June 10 due to an environmental assessment that indicated zinc levels above Part 201 criteria on the east side of the site (see light blue arrow in Northeast section of map). Remediation in this location involves excavating soil to two feet below grade for disposal off-site in a Type II landfill.

Clubhouse demolition permit issued
Renascent has been issued a permit for demolition of the Downs Clubhouse following a review of the area and a confirmation report from Atlas that the building has been cleared of asbestos and other contaminants. When the demolition schedule is set, Renascent will take down the clubhouse. The company will bring larger equipment onto the site and the demolition should be fairly quick. However, it could take several weeks to haul away the scrap material. (Watch social media and the city website for news about the date of demolition.)

Grading is 75% complete in Phase I North (the northwest corner of Beal Street extension and Griswold). The work will now begin on sanitary sewer improvements in this area. As a condition of the Downs development agreement, a section of the city’s sanitary sewer main will be rerouted to a roadway easement instead of being internal to the development. The relocated sanitary sewer main will run from Beal Street, north along Griswold to Cady and along the south side of Cady to Hutton.

Sanitary sewer reconstruction on Cady
To prepare for the sanitary sewer work, the construction fence along Cady and Griswold will be
removed and sections of the asphalt roadway will temporarily become gravel. Additional equipment and materials will be moved onto that site. The sanitary sewer main in this area is 12’-15’ deep so substantial trenching is required. This sanitary sewer line serves downtown Northville and the improvements provide infrastructure upgrades to better serve this area.

Demolition began in Phase I South (the former Farmer’s Market site on the northwest corner of Center and 7 Mile) the week of May 27. The large shed was removed as well as the asphalt and concrete surfaces that formed the ancillary parking lot to the Downs. Toll Brothers is developing this site with single-family attached homes.

The city team monitoring the Downs project has expanded. A full-time building official, Scott Weaver, has joined the city of Northville staff, and Sara Shields, employed by OHM, the city’s engineering firm, now serves as a full-time site inspector. Phil Maly, also with OHM, provides part-time site inspections and construction coordination. These professionals join City Manager George Lanhanas, DPW Director Mike Domine, additional OHM engineering staff and other city leadership staff in project oversight.

Any observations or concerns about the project activities can be directed to [email protected] or [email protected]

Downs site with zinc section

May Update - Grading begins on Phase 1 North
BNV Earthmovers, of Brighton, has been issued a grading permit for the Phase I north, which includes the area north of the Beal Street extension and west of Griswold. This encompasses the future Central Park as well as the Beal Street extension that starts at S. Center Street and continues to Griswold St. The site will be brought to rough elevations and leveled in accordance with the grading plan.

The city has two inspectors visiting The Downs site at least daily: the city’s building official and an OHM engineering inspector. They monitor dust control activities, inspect soil erosion and sedimentation control measures, and observe other on-site construction activities. The purpose of dust control measures is to reduce the potential for construction activities to generate dust and to limit the dust that travels off the construction site. Dust control measures being implemented include wind barriers surrounding the property, regular water applications, and maintaining existing vegetative cover as long as possible. The city’s inspectors report that overall, the dust control measures are being administered properly and functioning as intended.

Air monitoring is continuing around the site and pest control measures remain in place at the buildings still standing. The air monitoring consultant, Atlas, is monitoring for lead, cadmium and asbestos, all of which have been below detectable levels. Pest activity has been minimal and is noted primarily at the bait stations. Soil erosion control measures are also in place and are being monitored by Franklin Construction Co. and OHM on the city’s behalf.

Any observations or concerns about the project activities can be directed to [email protected] or [email protected].
Groundbreaking heralds start of new partnership
Hunter Pasteur hosted a groundbreaking on Monday, May 13, at the northern-most side of the 48-acre property being transformed from a former race track to a new mixed-use development with single- and attached-homes, apartments, luxury condominiums, parks and retail/restaurants/office space. The site featured a vast tent for the speeches, a ceremonial ground-breaking, and refreshments prepared by Tuscan Cafe. At the start of the private event, as approximately 150 people started to arrive, a Renascent water truck was spraying down the actual Downs site to keep dust at a minimum.

Hunter Pasteur COO and Partner Seth Herkowitz opened the event by thanking all who came. He also served as the master of ceremonies.

Mayor Brian Turnbull said the Downs is a “phenomenal piece of property” that will include a 10-acre park with a bioswale and daylighted river – in total the site will have more than 30% of green space. He noted there is waterfront on two sides of the property where the Rouge River and Johnson Creek converge. In the long-term, he said the Downs will be transformational not only for Northville residents, but for all in southeastern Michigan.

U.S. Rep Debbie Dingell referenced the mayor’s intensity, passion and “never giving-up” spirit. She gave a nod to the state legislators, county commissioners and mayors who attended the groundbreaking, noting, “This is about the southeast community coming together. Our strength is our unity.”

She touched on the water aspect of the project, saying that daylighting the Rouge River portion under the Downs racetrack property will help prevent flooding downriver and reduce sediment. She said clean water is a priority for her office. She said the river walk being planned will become a part of the pathway between the city and township, county and state, linking to the state trail system.

“Time moves on,” she said. “History moves on. It’s great to see so many people here. It’s an important moment in our future.”

Deputy Wayne County Executive Assad Turfe said he wants to be remembered during his tenure for bringing people together. He noted that the groundbreaking event also represents people from surrounding communities. He said it took a long time to bring the $350 million project to this point and he looks forward to being at the ribbon-cutting in the coming years.

Several of the speakers mentioned the public/private partnership at work with the Downs development, which shows how big projects can be achieved.

Herkowitz called the project a generational redevelopment, and said Randy Wertheimer, Hunter Pasteur CEO, brought sheer determination to the project to make it a reality.

When Wertheimer went to the microphone, he said Seth played a major role in getting the project approved and earned the trust of the staff, City Council, Planning Commission – “who held our feet to the fire” – and the Historic District Commission.

He praised Mayor Turnbull’s leadership and cited his role in creating the task forces that provided greater input into the project, even though he (Randy) had to be convinced of the value of doing so. Half-jokingly, he said he was the only developer ‘delusional’ enough to take on this project, not knowing that it would take 5-1/2 years to get to this point.

He gave a nod to the task forces for helping to design a project that will “make you and your family proud.”

He appreciated the residents’ role, giving kudos to Nancy Darga as chair of the River Task Force and for her involvement with the development agreement. “She believed in us and our project, which was not easy or popular.”

Wertheimer mentioned that his brother-in-law, Nate Force, who manages Somerset Collection Mall, is also involved in the project. “We will create a destination to make all proud for generations to come.”

He expressed gratitude for all involved with the project, referencing the architects, builders, HP consultants, city staff and consultants, and government officials, noting, “It took a big team to execute.”

After the speeches ended, a group of 20 individuals picked up a shovel engraved with the event name and date, and dug into the dirt from the trough they stood behind to symbolize breaking ground.

Presentation made at Special meeting of City Council on April 24
Downs update by Seth Herkowitz, of Hunter Pasteur – Permits for the Riverpark have been submitted to EGLE and FEMA and the public comment period expired on April 15. He expressed gratitude for the $1 million EGLE grant secured through the Brownfield Redevelopment Authority. Environmental testing will begin in early May. Bi-weekly meetings between the developer and city staff are going well and will improve the project, going forward. Consultant ECT has approved 18 of 19 structures for abatement; the last remaining one is the grandstands, which will be demolished by the end of June. Three buildings in the south portion have been torn down this week. DTE has delivered light poles to the construction site. Air quality reports will be submitted to the city as they are received by the developer. Toll Brothers is commencing the first phase of the project west of Center. Two vacant structures were demolished and grading will begin after permits are obtained.

View meeting video here for Herkowitz's full presentation. 

Downs Redevelopment Public Meeting - held March 26, 2024
Strong attendance at Downs demolition/redevelopment meeting

The city hosted a meeting at the Northville Community Center on March 26 that drew approximately 140 people to learn about the demolition and construction plans for the Downs redevelopment project.

City Manager George Lahanas opened the meeting by welcoming citizens. “I’m really excited about this project,” he said. “It’s bringing a lot of great things to the community,” Topping the list are a daylighted river, new trails and a “smart, sustainable development” that “repurposes land without the need to build additional infrastructure.”

He noted the city has a lot in alignment with the developer, Hunter Pasteur, and its partners, but also has the responsibility of ensuring the project is properly implemented. He introduced the city team working on the development oversight who were present at the meeting, including DPW Director Mike Domine, Strategic Planning Director Wendy Wilmers Longpre and OHM engineer George Tsakoff.

Hunter Pasteur Executive Seth Herkowitz introduced his team: Hunter Pasteur VP of Development Omar Eid; Andy Milia and Ian Sakwa, of Franklin Construction; and Tim O’Brien, a project partner.

Project Manager Sakwa presented information about the status of the project site work.

The project is beginning with a 6-foot-tall fence and wind screen being installed around the redevelopment site, with a secure gate at the entrance on Center Street and “no trespassing” signs. City officials who need to inspect the site will be accompanied by the developer or a partner representative, Herkowitz said.

The demolition company, Renascent, will remove 19 buildings on the site and a small building on the track, along with the asphalt and concrete. These materials will be loaded into trucks and crushed off site. Water will be sprayed on the debris to help contain dust. Griffin Pest Solutions has been contracted to handle the pest control and has found small animals such as raccoons and porcupines on the site as well as mice but very few rats. Pest control will involve fumigating any underground tunnels and baiting with poison. Vermin are expected to remain within the confines of the screened fence during this process.

Midwest Environmental is the asbestos abatement contractor, charged with removing any asbestos identified in the asbestos survey. Before the buildings are demolished a third-party consultant, hired by the developer, will perform clearance testing to confirm all asbestos is removed and also conduct air quality monitoring. Water will be used on the debris to help prevent particles from becoming airborne.

A joint permit application is in process with EGLE and FEMA for the river daylighting. The new river bed will be graded and stabilized and then the culvert will be broken first at the south end then at the north end, allowing the encased river to flow into the new channel. Soil erosion permits are being obtained through Wayne County and inspections of the soil erosion control will be conducted by Franklin Construction.

The sidewalks on River, Center and Cady will remain open during demolition and construction.

Hours of operation will abide by city code, which is seven days a week, from 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. At this stage, the developer doesn’t anticipate weekend work except for the occasional Saturday.

Both the city manager and developer said they want to keep information open and available to the public throughout the redevelopment process. Hunter Pasteur will maintain The Downs website,, for the duration of the project and will regularly post project documents and updates. HP has also established an email for citizen comments and observations.

At the end of the meeting, the developer and city answered questions from the public.

The developer plans to have a pre-construction meeting with the city soon and will also attend public sessions held by the city to provide construction updates to the public.

Lahanas encouraged individuals to sign up for email notifications about the Downs demolition and construction, which will be delivered monthly or more frequently as the project gets underway. (See link below.) Articles will also appear in City News and on the city website, where a new landing page is being devoted to this project.

The Audio recording of the meeting held at the Northville Community Center.

View the presentation given by Hunter Pasteur at the meeting. 
View Final Site Plan
All renderings and submissions reviewed by the Planning Commission and Historic District Commission relating to the Downs project reside on the Proposed Redevelopment Projects page. For convenience, here's the link to the approved final site plan.
You’re invited to join the “Downs Reconstruction Update” email list
The city administration is inviting anyone interested in the Downs redevelopment project to join the city-generated email list to let them know what’s happening on the construction site. Members of the city’s team* will meet with the developer’s team bi-monthly to review action plans, discuss concerns and resolve any problems as the project moves forward. We anticipate sending out monthly emails and will increase the frequency when there’s new information to share. If you’d like to be added to the list, please sign up here.

Please note that you can still receive news about the Downs redevelopment project in City News and Northville Matters, but the email notifications will be more specific about what’s happening on site in terms of dust, pest control, sanitation, traffic, etc.

*The city’s team working on the Downs project:
City Manager George Lahanas
Director of Strategic Planning and Special Projects Wendy Wilmers-Longpre
DPW Director Mike Domine
OHM Engineer George Tsakoff
City Building Official/Project manager
Finance Director Sandi Wiktorowski
Communications Manager Liz Cezat
Director of Community Development