Chinatown, Detroit

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Neighborhood of Detroit
MGM Grand Detroit in the location of the first Detroit Chinatown
MGM Grand Detroit in the location of the first Detroit Chinatown
Coordinates: 42°19′53″N 83°02′45″W / 42.33139°N 83.04583°W / 42.33139; -83.04583
Country  United States of America
State  Michigan
County Wayne
City Detroit
ZIP Code 48202
Area code(s) Area code 313

According to the Argus Press in 1889, Detroit had at least two locations that were once called "Chinatown", with the first being in a downtown location at Third Avenue, Porter St and Bagley St, now the permanent site of the MGM Grand Casino.[1][2] In the 1960s urban renewal efforts facilitated its move to Cass Avenue and Peterboro, which was also an opportunity for the Chinese business community to finally purchase property.[3]

In 2017, Detroit Chinatown LLC was formed and proposed to build a new Detroit Chinatown in the city limit of Detroit. The project will cost up to 350 million USD. Most of the funds are expected to be from China.


Historical population
Census Pop.
1870 14
1880 27 92.9%
1890 50 85.2%
1920 497
2000 0
Chinese-American population [4]

According to historical records gathered through several sources and compiled by a research project, Detroit's Chinatown started in 1872, but was relocated to Cass and Peterboro sometime in the 1960s when the Detroit Housing Commission officially condemned Chinatown. After decades of depopulation and decline, the last Chinese restaurant, "Chung's", was closed in the year 2000 after 40 years of service.[5] Although there is still a road marker indicating "Chinatown" and a mural commemorating the struggle for justice in the Vincent Chin case, few Chinese American establishments still operate within the City of Detroit. The Association of Chinese Americans Detroit Outreach Center, a small community center, serves a handful of new Chinese immigrants who still reside in the Cass Corridor.[citation needed]

Healthcare and elderly services[edit]

The Association of Chinese Americans operated a Chinatown clinic in the Cass Corridor Chinatown, which opened on September 9, 1973 in the On-Leong Merchants Association building. At the time of its opening, about 300 older Chinese American adults received services at the clinic. The clinic also serves individuals from other age groups. In 1985, the clinic moved to a renovated building on Peterboro Avenue. It closed in 1996 due to demographic changes.[6]

The Detroit Drop-In Center, a center providing services to older Chinese Americans in the Cass Chinatown district, opened in October 1990. In January 2011 the main center moved to a new location in the Hannan House along Woodward Avenue.[6]

New Detroit Chinatown Project[edit]

In 2017, Jeff Li, Zhanying Hu, along with Paul Gaines founded Detroit Chinatown LLC. The company is working with Detroit government, Chinese government and investors to construct a new Chinatown in the city limit of Detroit. The cost estimation of the project is 350 million USD. The new Chinatown is planned to complete by 2022.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Chinatown, Burton collection, Detroit Public Library
  2. ^ "Detroit's Chinatown: forgotten part of history". 
  3. ^ Detroit News, Feb 19, 1960
  4. ^ "Detroit Chinatown". 
  5. ^ "History-Timeline of Detroit Chinatown". 
  6. ^ a b ""History of Association of Chinese Americans". Association of Chinese Americans. Retrieved April 14, 2016.