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Detroit Riverfront’s Atwater Beach Project Hunts for Food and Beverage Headliner

The park debuts in 2019

Atwater Beach rendering.
Detroit RiverFront Conservancy via Curbed
Brenna Houck is a Cities Manager for the Eater network. She previously edited Eater Detroit and reported for Eater. You can follow her on the internet at @brennahouck.

The Detroit RiverFront Conservancy is on the hunt for “master tenant” to helm the seasonal food and beverage programming at upcoming park development project Atwater Beach. That anchor tenant, according to a release, will be charged with helping “identify unique concessioners” to operate on in the beaches shed concessions area and on the floating barge.

The Detroit RiverFront Conservancy has been gathering support and financing for its “urban beach” project since early 2017 when the designs were submitted to the Knight Cities Challenge. The non-swimming accessible beach is inspired by similar projects in Toronto and Philadelphia and designed to fill a 3.2 acre parcel just east of Chene Park and west of Stroh River Place, according to Curbed. The plan has won several grants and awards for its designs that feature a sandy beach area, a lifeguard station-inspired playscape, and a children’s music garden in addition to the food and retail outlets.

As per an RFP posted to the organization’s website today, the shed will be enclosed by a tent over a base of shipping containers. It will be outfitted with electricity but the master tenant would be responsible for the plumbing, water, and HVAC as well as maintenance. A representative for the Detroit RiverFront Conservancy tells Eater that the shed could “easily” house one to two subletting tenants.

The barge will be comprised of seating areas and planters made from “recycled vintage truck tailgates from Detroit automakers” with space for one tenant. The barge will also include a vintage van that will be converted into a beer and beverage concession stand.

The master tenant would have a five-to-seven year lease on the space and would be required to carry property and liability insurance. It would also be required to collaborate with the Detroit RiverFront Conservancy on things like branding, hours of operation, menu items, and pricing.

Rendering of Atwater Beach.
Courtesy of Detroit RiverFront Conservancy

The RFP states that the “food offerings should be authentic as well as accessible to a broad economic spectrum. Menu items should be well thought out and should reflect the tastes of Detroit.”

Proposals from prospective master tenants are due by November 2. Construction on the Atwater Beach is slated to begin in fall 2018 and completed in time for a summer 2019 debut. Stay tuned for updates on the project.

Aerial design for Atwater Park.
Groundswell via Curbed

Update, 9/28, 2:20 p.m.: This post has been updated with additional information regarding how many tenants could occupy the barge and sheds.

Detroit Riverfront Conservancy Atwater Beach Master Tenant RFP [Official]
Urban Beach Could Bring New Al Fresco Dining Options to Detroit’s Riverfront [ED]
Atwater Beach Included in 2017 Knight Cities Challenge Winners [CDET]
All Developments Coverage [ED]
All Up For Grabs Coverage [ED]