Skip to content
Thoms Bros Landscaping Creator and Keeper of Fine Landscapes

Monroe Street Midway

The two blocks along Monroe Street that make up the “Monroe Block” were known historically as Detroit’s first theater district, lined with Italianate stone and brick buildings built between 1852 and 1911. The site was razed in 1990 with the exception of the National Theater, which was designed by prolific Detroit architect Albert Kahn and opened as a vaudeville house in 1911.

The theatre hosted a series of acts after vaudeville went out of fashion, including motion pictures and burlesque. After finally closing in the 1970s, the theatre remained vacant and open to the elements for over 40 years. During that time the structure incurred extensive and irreparable damage.

This area is located in the heart of Detroit’s Central Business District and is under control of Bedrock (aka Dan Gilbert).  In 2017, Bedrock announced an exciting and distinctive blend of accessible open spaces, destination restaurants and retail, modern office space, and residential options, Monroe Blocks is the very definition of a “live, work, play” master planned development.  Plans for the massive project include the first high-rise office tower to be built downtown in a generation, as well as more than an acre of open space, nearly equivalent to the size of the adjacent Campus Martius Park. This novel approach will deliver a compelling proposition for residents, commercial tenants, and the community alike.

The project was scheduled to begin in 2018 and in-fact had a groundbreaking ceremony in December of that year.  In 2019, with more than $2 billion worth of Detroit construction projects to juggle, developer Bedrock LLC has ratcheted down activity at its $830 million, mixed-use Monroe Blocks project to the point that work has come to a standstill, Crain’s Detroit Business reported.

With COVID-19 shutting down social activities in 2020 and downtown workers not returning to the office in full force, Bedrock did not stop its creative flow in bringing life to Downtown Detroit.  In 2021, Bedrock activated the once parking lot into the Monroe Street Midway.  Detroit’s largest real estate company transformed this lifeless site into a hub of outdoor recreation right across the street from the award-winning Campus Martius.  Part of this fun destination included an outdoor skating rink operated by RollerCade, Detroit’s oldest continuously open, black-owned roller rink.  This rink was on the asphalt surface and painted by Detroit’s own Sheefy McFly, Phil Simpson, Olivia Guterson and Jessica Care Moore.

In April of 2022, officials announced the Monroe Street attraction would return again and open to the public on May 27 and stay open through the summer.  The Rollout Detroit roller rink will once again offer outdoor roller skating, but with a “new and improved rink,” officials said. Skating sessions cost $13, which includes skate rentals.  To learn more about the Monroe Street Midway please visit Decked Out Detroit.

As Michigan’s premier VersaCourt dealer/installer, Thoms Bros. was contacted by Grounds Well Design Group based out of Philadelphia, PA to collaborate and install a better alternative skating surface compared to asphalt.  The Speed Outdoor tile was chosen for this project.  VersaCourt Speed Outdoor court tile was designed and developed for outdoor inline hockey, roller sports, and multi-sport applications. The patented design offers incredible wheel grip and excellent traction for multi-sport activities.  VersaCourt Speed Outdoor courts are engineered to stand up to the toughest weather conditions and its specially shaped perforations allow water to drain easily and the surface to dry quickly, so your facility can be up and running quickly, even after heavy rainfall.

The VersaCourt brand was originally founded in 2004 as a superior alternative to competing court tile systems. Its innovative design provided the company with worldwide growth and in January of 2013, its assets were acquired by The Recreational Group (RG), one of the leading sports surfacing suppliers in the United States. As part of the RG family of companies, VersaCourt is focused on providing exceptional products backed by a company that cares.  Along with VersaCourt, RG consists of Swisstrax (interlocking garage floor tiles), XGrass (synthetic turf), Mulch Outfitters (playground mulch) and IceCourt.

Thoms Bros. Landscaping, Inc. is not only a leading and award-winning landscape design, build and management firm servicing the greater Southeastern Michigan area, but we are an outdoor experience creating firm.  Along with VersaCourt basketball, pickleball and other sportscourts design and installation, Thoms Bros. installs golf greens, In-Ground trampolines, bocce ball courts, and other recreational areas for families, organizations and businesses.

Proudly serving Auburn Hills Rochester Hills Birmingham Bloomfield Chesterfield Macomb Shelby Township Washington Township Romeo Clinton Township St. Clair Shores Grosse Pointe Lake Orion Oakland Township Royal Oak Troy