Area around campus improves

The area around the University of Detroit Mercy’s McNichols campus is turning around economically and socially.

For a long time now, the area known as the McNichols corridor has been blighted. But thanks to efforts of the university and groups like Live 6, everything from coffee shops and restaurants to clothing boutiques and video game stores are opening in formerly empty storefronts.

Small business owners and university officials are excited to see the area flourishing, thriving and, more importantly, seeing the interaction of students.

 “I really love the idea of students having the option to go somewhere off campus that is within walking distance, and it seems as though that is becoming the reality more and more,” said Tim Nelson, the university’s web communication specialist.

Nelson said he believes that any fear of stepping outside the gated campus is only a matter of perspective and that there nothing nor anyone to be afraid of.

Second year student Emmanuel Philah said he enjoys living in the neighborhood and that although he misses living directly on campus he enjoys the going home for lunch and then coming back for his classes.

The separation between work and play in a physical sense makes for a more productive study regimen.

Students said that in their first year when they heard rumors and various stories about the surrounding neighborhood, it did scare them.

 “I think you just have to be smart about when you go out, and if it’s late night that you’re not alone,” said sophomore Jason Tran.

The overall feeling now is that the surrounding neighborhood is not a bad one and that crime can happen here just like it does anywhere else.

Tran did mention that his family has lived in and around the area.

Although not exactly at home, he feels as if he knows the neighborhood very well and feels comfortable. His only complaint?

“I wish China Wok down the street was open much later than what it is now, but there’s always Nicky D’s,” he said.

The lack of restaurants in the immediate neighborhood has been a long-time complaint about the neighborhood. There’s few options beyond U of D Coney and the newly-opened Burger King.

Architecture Professor Tadd Heidgerken believes its “only a matter of time before the area is flooded with pop up shops.”

He believes that the need for these shops is present and so is the space.

He also said many of these business owners could very well be locals that have yet to move into a brick and mortar business spaces.