The Challenge

Detroit is rebuilding itself with an energy that is attracting entrepreneurs and creative talent from across the nation, including both millennials and baby boomers. Downtown Detroit is experiencing a commercial and residential development boom which has begun to regenerate the downtown core and reconnect vibrant neighborhoods to one another. 

One of the main anchors of booming Downtown Detroit is the Rosa Parks Transit Center. The Transit Center, which is in the heart of downtown Detroit, services an estimated 6,000 transit riders per day, is adjacent to the financial business district, and is across the street from the Detroit People Mover's Time Square Station and Michigan Avenue Station. The Transit Center is a three-story, 25,700 square foot structure that includes restrooms, an indoor waiting area, retail space, and transit police offices.

The Transit Center currently has three available, underutilized spaces: 1) on the first floor of the Transit Center; 2) on the second floor of the Transit Center; and 3) a building south of the Transit Center. The City of Detroit wants to improve its design and programming capacity to transform the vacant spaces into a destination that improves the traveling experience of transit riders by delivering grab-and-go services and products.

What the City of Detroit is Looking For

The City of Detroit is looking for proposals on how to turn three unused spaces at the Rosa Parks Transit Center into assets that add value to the commutes of transit riders. The City welcomes creative proposals of all types in the form of products, services and activities that fall under the following categories:

  • Farmers’ and artisans’ markets (all-in-one destinations for local food businesses to sell their food directly to customers);
  • Vendor markets and pop-up activities (space for local leaders, building owners, business owners, entrepreneurs, and artists to activate the space for a short term to deliver their products, services, and new ideas); and
  • Support services for the City’s new bike sharing program (i.e., bike repair shop, helmet rentals, or bike lesson facility). 

The City is highly interested in solutions that complement the high-traffic, high-energy, grab-and-go culture of Downtown Detroit—helping to make the Transit Center an anchor of the neighborhood.

The City is seeking solutions to take up occupancy in the unused spaces of the Rosa Parks Transit Center for a period between 1 to 5 years. The period of occupancy is negotiable.

The Opportunity

This is a great opportunity for any Respondent to start or expand their business/solution in midtown Detroit, in the heart of the City, and in a high-traffic area.

The winning solution(s) will be invited to negotiate an appropriate contract framework with the City of Detroit to accommodate the successful implementation of their solution at the Rosa Parks Transit Center, based on the Sample/Model Lease agreement (to be provided in advance). The winning solution(s) will have the opportunity to set up shop in one, two or all three available spaces at the Transit Center. The City has the authority to select more than winner and will negotiate with the winners to determine where they set up shop.   

Please note that the City of Detroit is not able to provide start-up financial support and the selected bid will have to pay a monthly rental fee to occupy a space at the Transit Center. The City and winning solution(s) will negotiate an appropriate monthly rent fee based on the Fair Market Value. 

How to Submit a Response

The Request for Proposals (RFP) is available on and search for bid number 17AC1151. To view the RFP, you will need to first register for free with BidSync. 

To apply, submit your proposal by Thursday, August 31st 2017 at 4:00 p.m. Eastern Standard Time (United States).


Additional information


The Request for Proposals (RFP) is available on and search for bid number 17AC1151.



You can ask questions about the Challenge and access the answers on

For international vendors to register on BidSync, submit N/A into the zip code field and 800-000-0000 into the phone number field. 

Press Release

Read the press release from the City of Detroit about the Challenge.



The Detroit Department of Transportation (DDOT), which is the largest bus transit carrier in Michigan, offers service to residents of the City of Detroit, as well as 23 surrounding communities. DDOT provides service along 44 fixed-route bus lines. The system carries approximately 80 percent of the region's bus passengers, which includes commuters, students, senior citizens, and persons with disabilities.  DDOT also offers the Detroit Metro Lift ADA Complementary Paratransit Service. Metro Lift serves all trip purposes, origins and destinations for ADA certified passengers in the DDOT service area within 3/4 mile of an operating fixed route.


Citymart transforms the way cities solve problems, connecting them with new ideas through open challenges to entrepreneurs and citizens. Our method has helped more than 60 cities around the world from San Francisco to London and Barcelona to Rio de Janeiro find proven solutions. Citymart partners with cities to rethink their spending habits so they focus on what problems they need to solve instead of what things they want to buy.