DJDS | Love Campus
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Program Partners: Allied Media Projects (AMP), Detroit Justice Center, Detroit Narrative Agency, Detroit Community Technology Project, Detroit Disability Power

Project Type: Mixed-use development

Status: Pre-development phase


The Love Campus is a community-driven development led by DJDS, located in Detroit at West Grand River Avenue and 14th Street. At its center is the Love Building, a nonprofit hub that will also contain low-cost studio space, gallery space, health and wellness tenants, and a food hub. During the community engagement process for the adaptive reuse of the Love Building, which was led by DJDS, participants surfaced a variety of infrastructure that is needed in the area in order to support formerly incarcerated people as well as the organizations that serve the community. To meet those community needs, DJDS identified eight parcels adjacent to the Love Building to purchase and transform into the Love Campus. 

The Love Campus, catalyzed by the new Love Building, will form a new urban landscape in the Core City neighborhood of Detroit. The proposed Love Campus may include: peace and justice spaces for restorative justice and deescalation, nonprofit offices and meeting spaces, multipurpose community gathering spaces, and a theater. To meet the various housing needs, AirBnB-style housing is being proposed for formerly-incarcerated people, tenant staff, and disabled community members and visitors at every level. Daily-needs retail and a food incubator will anchor the ground floor. The campus will also include arts and fabrication maker spaces, which will support the extension of the West End Gallery District being developed blocks away while also supporting workforce development and arts programming in the county jails and prisons. The Campus will be a true hub for social impact.

The Campus represents DJDS’s commitment to build the infrastructure to end mass incarceration by creating reinvestments that can divert funding from criminal justice into restorative community assets. The Love Campus is intended to be a national model for what to build instead of prisons, by creating an economic, environmental, and socially sustainable oasis for this beloved community and providing access to resources communities need to thrive. As both designers and developers of the Campus, DJDS will also push the edges of creative financing structures that allow investment at the community level; we do this as a core strategy to support wealth creation and access to capital that has historically been denied to Black and brown communities.

DJDS is currently in an extended due-diligence period for the purchase of the eight parcels, which will involve the typical technical requirements. In the process we are proceeding with community engagement, tenant/partnership cultivation, space programming, and financial modeling, including investigation of community ownership opportunities and master-planning. We plan to close on the property in early 2021.