Grosse Pointe is a wealthy suburban city bordering Detroit in Wayne County in the U.S. state of Michigan. The city is just over one square mile, and had a population of 5,670 at the 2000 census. It is bordered on the west by Grosse Pointe Park, on the north by Detroit, on the east by Grosse Pointe Farms, and on the south by Lake St Clair. Downtown Detroit is about west of Grosse Pointe, accessed by Jefferson Avenue, or several other cross-streets. Grosse Pointe is one of five similarly named municipalities in northeastern Wayne County, and is often called "the City," or Grosse Pointe City.
Together with the Park and the Farms, the City is part of the older, southern Pointes, which have a greater overall population density than the northern Pointes (Grosse Pointe Woods and Grosse Pointe Shores). These areas became heavily populated 1910-1930 as one of Detroit's first commuter suburbs; in the previous century Grosse Pointe was home to cottages, resorts, farms, and widely-spaced lakefront mansions. Grosse Pointe ("the City"), Grosse Pointe Farms, and Grosse Pointe Park make up the Grosse Pointe South High School district. Downtown Grosse Pointe, along Kercheval Avenue from Neff to Cadieux, nicknamed "The Village," is considered by many to be the central downtown for all five of the Grosse Pointes, although each of them (except Grosse Pointe Shores) has several blocks of retail.
The street layout of Grosse Pointe is basically a grid inside of its Cadieux, Mack, and Fisher Rd. boundaries. Inside of this small rectangle, most blocks have single-family homes built between 1910 and 1950, on parcels wide on average. Some streets have homes with large backyards, such as Washington and Lakeland, while streets offer less space. In some areas, the homes are configured in a more urban, close-together fashion, while in other nearby areas lots are as much as 150 feet wide.
Home sizes and styles vary widely, from 1,500 to , but slightly under on average. Most of the largest homes are found within a few blocks of the lakefront, and there are several blocks of mansions south of Kercheval. Predominant architecture includes the neo-Georgian, tudor revival, Dutch Colonial, and arts and crafts styles. Some Victorian homes and traditional bungalow homes can also be found, mostly just north and south of the Village retail district. Some blocks, generally just south of the Village, have townhouses and apartments. Most of these were built in the 1920s, though some appeared later in the 20th century. These can be seen along St. Paul, Maumee, and Jefferson Avenues, mostly west of Rivard Blvd., and between Notre Dame and Cadieux south of the Village retail district.
As of the census of 2000, there were 5,670 people, 2,388 households, and 1,559 families residing in the city. The population density was 5,297.9 per square mile (2,046.0/km²). There were 2,504 housing units at an average density of 2,339.7/sq mi (903.6/km²). The racial makeup of the city was 97.18% White, 0.79% African American, 0.07% Native American, 1.04% Asian, 0.02% Pacific Islander, 0.30% from other races, and 0.60% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 1.46% of the population. 19.9% were of German, 14.8% Irish, 13.9% English, 7.8% Polish and 7.2% Italian ancestry according to Census 2000. The largest reported religious affiliation was Roman Catholic.
There were 2,388 households out of which 30.8% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 56.7% were married couples living together, 7.1% had a female householder with no husband present, and 34.7% were non-families. 31.1% of all households were made up of individuals and 13.8% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.37 and the average family size was 3.02.
In the city the population was spread out with 25.4% under the age of 18, 4.3% from 18 to 24, 25.3% from 25 to 44, 29.3% from 45 to 64, and 15.7% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 42 years. For every 100 females there were 88.1 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 83.2 males.
The median income for a household in the city was $81,111, and the median income for a family was $101,889. Males had a median income of $79,637 versus $44,167 for females. The per capita income for the city was $53,942. About 2.2% of families and 2.5% of the population were below the poverty line, including 1.3% of those under age 18 and 1.9% of those age 65 or over.
After months of receiving citizen input regarding three possible plans from three different developers for two lots (on either side of St. Clair Ave.) currently used for municipal parking directly north of the current row of retail, the City decided to grant Morningside Equities Group of Ann Arbor the right to develop mid-rise buildings on both lots, creating an all-new street wall along St. Clair, and expanding the size of the Village with ground-floor retail and upper-floor condominiums. East of St. Clair a five-story neo-Tudor brick residential building with ground-floor retail space will rise. West of St. Clair a three-story structure with retail and a parking deck will be built.
Meanwhile, south of Kercheval along St. Clair Ave., another new residential or mixed-use development is in the works. "The Sterling," a senior-geared condominium building, was planned, but the deal recently fell through, with the developer citing the poor regional housing market. Another development proposal is expected soon.
Also, the former Jacobson's building along Kercheval, west of St. Clair, is now virtually completely redeveloped. Upper floor office space will accompany a slate of new retailers, including a now-open Trader Joe's grocer occupying specialized space in the renovated building.
Building upwards, and on top of former surface-lot space, in downtown Grosse Pointe is a rare chance for the city to add density without changing the landscape of any of the neighborhoods. The parking lots that will be built upon represent some of the only land that has not been built upon in this mature, mostly built-out city. Another goal is to return the Village district to its stature as a vital shopping destination, as it was when Jacobson's was still in operation.