Donations are coming in and excitement is growing around the effort to transform the little house where Berry Gordy founded Motown into an international entertainment and education destination. The proposal is for a $50 million transformation that will see the bungalow that houses Hitsville USA anchor a 50,000-square-foot complex featuring interactive exhibits, a performance theater, recording studios, retail shops and meeting spaces.

The new museum, which was announced last October, will honor the music and legacy, but also will revitalize a neighborhood in need, and direct money outside the city’s core. Officials with the William Davidson Foundation, which recently announced a $2 million donation to the project, said they were motivated to give, in part, because of the impact the believe the project will have outside the city’s core.

“The resurgence of Detroit needs to move further away from the core and touch on more of the neighborhoods,” said Ethan Davidson, treasurer of the foundation established by his late father, Bill Davidson, who was the former owner of the Detroit Pistons and a community philanthropist.

“When you think about where Motown is, out there on Grand Boulevard … you get off Grand Boulevard and those neighborhoods get a little tougher,” he said. “Motown can act as an anchor to really redevelop that neighborhood.”

But beyond revitalization, he said, Detroit needs to embrace an international legacy that is uniquely its own.

“Let’s face it,” said Davidson, “Detroit has two — if you don’t count the sports teams — two worldwide franchises that everybody knows. They know Ford, and they know Berry Gordy. Most cities don’t even get one. Detroit has two.”

The museum expansion effort comes nearly 60 years after Gordy founded Tamla Records and 57 years after he incorporated the Motown Record Corp. here in Detroit. The company changed the face of American music, helping to integrate pop music and make stars of African-American singers and groups on formerly all-white charts. In the 1960s, according to biographies and history sites, Motown had 79 records in the Billboard 100 Top Ten.

It comes as Detroit leaders, who have watched business titans revitalize downtown and Midtown, finally focus more on neighborhoods in need, like the one surrounding Hitsville USA.

Motown CEO and Chairwoman Robin Terry said Friday that the donation was one of several that will be announced in coming weeks. That is some of the best news Detroit and America could get. This was the first major donation the expansion effort has received from a foundation.

“We hope the William Davidson partnership inspires other local and national foundations to get involved in the mission,” she said.

Terry also agreed that the expanded museum will do more than entertain.

“This development is certainly going to deliver a world-class museum experience, but what is equally important for us is that it will generate economic development and investment in what I call this district.”

She declined to say how much the museum’s expansion campaign has raised so far or when the campaign will end.

“Our focus is on raising the dollars necessary, and the dollars will tell us when we can build,” said Terry, granddaughter of museum founder Esther Gordy Edwards and great-niece of Berry Gordy.

Detroit City Councilwoman Mary Sheffield, whose district houses the current museum and the huge area to be impacted by expansion, said, “the foundation’s donation means that generations to come and visitors from around the globe will learn of the wonderful story of Motown,. It gives me great pride that District 5 continues to be ground zero for the resurgence of Detroit and the intersection for cultural and historical relevance in our great city.”

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