Development in Detroit’s Downtown and Midtown is front and center, but what about Uptown? What is its future? And what role can the development of the Michigan State Fairgrounds – site of the historic annual State Fair - play?

What about Uptown

The Michigan State Fairgrounds’ development is yet to be determined, but its future will impact “Uptown” Detroit and the surrounding region. For a century or more, it was the site of the oldest State Fair in the country. But that all changed in 2009, when Governor Jennifer Granholm decided it should be closed.

Three years later, legislation promoted by Gov. Rick Snyder opened the site for private development. Since then, there’s been an ongoing debate, mostly under the radar, about just what the future of the fairgrounds should be. How will the historic and iconic 160-acre tract of land best serve the people of Detroit, the Region and the State?

Two different approaches

State Fairground Development Coalition (SFDC)

Since the State Fair’s defunding in 2009, a community coalition of concerned residents, businesses, professionals, community organizations and more, has been working to provide citizen input on the best uses of the site. Those efforts coalesced into the State Fairgrounds Development Coalition (SFDC), which created the METAexpo community vision. Learn More →

Magic Plus LLC:
Selected Developer

The State of Michigan selected the bid of private developer, Magic Plus LLC, headlined by Earvin “Magic” Johnson, and chaired by Lansing Developer, Joel Ferguson. Their proposal: a suburban-style 1990s auto-centered mall complete with a Cineplex and market-rate housing.
Learn More → 


Find out about the State Fairground Development Coalition, our mission, partners, goals, and results of our work.

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Add your voice

Ready to take the next step? Take our Survey, join our email list, contact us and get involved.

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What is METAexpo?

 METAexpo is a citizens led vision and conceptual masterplan for 21st century transit and economic development at the Michigan State Fairgrounds, in response to the current Big Box Shopping Center development proposal at this historic property. 

It is a visual communication of the collective ideas of community members and a request for public sector participation and planning for our shared future. Scroll down to read more and click here

Detroit is the first U.S. city to receive the “city of design” designation from the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO).  The Michigan State Fairgrounds can be a global center to showcase, incubate and develop all that is accomplished and created in Michigan, and serve as Detroit's Future City Gateway.