The Golden Corridor
The City of Sterling Heights is home to the Golden Corridor, a stretch of roadway between M-53 and I-94 designated as “golden” because of its immense economic impact in Macomb County and Metro Detroit. The Golden Corridor stretches through Utica, Shelby Township, Sterling Heights, Clinton Township, Macomb Township and Mt. Clemens — and is home to world-class shopping, dining and retail as well as colleges, hospitals, a minor league baseball park, a major performing arts center and bustling industry. The Golden Corridor is recognized by the Detroit Regional Convention and Visitors Bureau as an area of note, as its commercial assets exceed $1 billion. Consumer spending data for the Golden Corridor reveals more than $2.6 billion is spent annually, with $720 million in restaurants, $400 million in home improvements and $215 million in entertainment alone. Approximately 100,000 vehicles travel the Golden Corridor every single day. M-59 is inarguably one of the largest economic hubs of Macomb County.
Knowing the Michigan Department of Transportation (MDOT) was planning major roadway improvements in 2018, including $55 million within the Golden Corridor, regional community leaders developed a master plan to enhance the corridor brand through aesthetic enhancements, such as decorative traffic signal mast arms, enhanced landscaping, monument signage, elimination of chain link fencing, decorative cross-walks and the like. Newly installed mid-block sidewalk crossings are brand new sidewalks that connect both sides of M-59 through the median. There are two, located between Schoenherr and Hayes. These crossings are a way to connect Lakeside Mall area to shopping district in Shelby for pedestrian use. The entire cost of these improvements was less than 5% of the overall roadway improvements and consistent with industry standards for major roadway projects.
It was for these reasons the City of Sterling Heights decided to pursue dedicated branding signage and a standout icon to help promote this economically vital area of the city. The branding package in Sterling Heights included dedicated welcome signage featuring the names of the member communities and a 35-foot golden ring icon to help define the area. The cost for signage was $85,000 for each of the defining sings, and $180,000 for the golden ring.
Why did Sterling Heights pursue the dedicated branding and signage? To stand out and be different in a relatively undefined suburban landscape. Sterling Heights leadership knows, through data, that retail is an industry of flash, style, and excitement. Sterling Heights wanted the Golden Ring to represent that same flash style and excitement — and judging by the interest it has garnered so far — we are accomplishing that!
The 35-foot golden ring, which is illuminated at night, now stands out as an icon in the area, helping to define the roadway, region and shopping dining/opportunities that surround it. The icon establishes a universal monument that will become a memorable symbol celebrating The Golden Corridor. The design is a modern abstraction of the ancient moon gate, signifying prosperity and. The ring acts as a portal to each community along the corridor. It’s made of a steel frame covered in aluminum.
The golden ring icon was designed by Randall K Metz, President and Design Principal at Grissim Metz Andriese Associates. His work has received national and international recognition for enduring design, including the prestigious National Landscape Architecture Award received from Barbara Bush during her tenure as First Lady at the White House. Randy's work has been published internationally and nationally in such books as Landscape Architecture, The New American Garden, and Paradise Transformed; in magazines, including Landscape Architecture and Inland Architect; and in the press, including the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, and Detroit Free Press.
Ultimately, the improvements are intended to be implemented eastward to 94. The primary purpose of enhancing the Golden Corridor brand is to ensure the corridor remains a destination and to the extent possible, increase the number of visitors, shoppers and overall business development of the corridor. Doing so helps:
- Existing businesses remain viable
- Attract new businesses (including those that will want to be part of the new Lakeside Master Plan)
- Preserve tax bases in communities along the corridor
- Preserve and increase job opportunities
The City of Sterling Heights will continue to invest in the Golden Corridor and find new ways to keep it distinctive and attractive to our burgeoning business community. Sterling Heights will continue to seek ways to preserve prosperity for our great city’s future.