Why Macomb County’s inner-ring suburbs have a lot to offer

Inner-ring, or first-ring, suburbs surround large cities. Typically, these communities were the first to be established following the post-World War II sprawl to the suburbs. 

Macomb County is home to two inner-ring suburbs: Warren and Eastpointe — both of which border Detroit. While they may not have large central downtown structures, inner-ring suburbs offer unique experiences and benefits to their residents.

What began as a village in the early twentieth center became the city of Warren in 1957. The area’s population grew significantly throughout the 1940s and through the 1970s, and with a population of approximately 140,000 people, it is the largest city in Macomb County today. 

Only about three miles down the road is Eastpointe, the "Gateway to Macomb County" — a much smaller community of approximately 34,000 residents. The city was initially dubbed the City of East Detroit in 1929, but due to the frequent confusion with Detroit, it was renamed Eastpointe in 1992 and developed a unique identity. 

Job Opportunities 

Warren is in close proximity to three major highways: I-696, I-94, and I-75, providing easy access to Detroit and other connected cities. 

“If I want to go up north for the weekend, I can pop right on there,” Warren City Council President Patrick Green says. “If I want to go downtown Detroit, it's 20 minutes away, [or] if I want to go to the west side. As far as a jumping point to do a lot of things in the community and getting somewhere, it's wonderful for that.”  

The Warren Civic Center.
Warren is also a hub for technical, manufacturing, and other STEM jobs. Home to the Stellantis Warren Truck Assembly Plant, the General Motors Technical Center, and the U.S. Army Tank-Automotive & Armaments Command (TACOM) headquarters, the city is a centerpiece of the automotive industry. 

“We have a population of 138,000, but when you go in the daytime, with all the people coming to work, it blossoms up to close to 200,000,” Green says. 

While these companies are also close for Eastpointe residents, Kem-Tec – a full-service land development consulting firm – is also headquartered in the city. Additionally, Eastpointe offers a variety of jobs in the service industry, as well as a market for entrepreneurship and start-up businesses. 

Eastpointe City Manager Mariah Walton. (Courtesy of Mariah Walton)“Eastpointe has been supportive to many start-up businesses including specialty boutiques, family-owned restaurants, and dog groomers,” City Manager Mariah Walton says. “Our Building Department and Economic Development managers are open to assisting those interested in opening business in Eastpointe and providing all information needed to move forward.” 

Affordable Housing

Macomb County is a hotspot for homebuyers. According to RE/MAX’s 2022 Housing Report, the average number of days on the market for houses in Macomb County was 32 — two days less than Wayne and Oakland Counties at 34 days. 

Housing prices in the county — and in Warren and Eastpointe specifically — are on the rise, but remain affordable in comparison to neighboring counties such as Oakland and Livingston. As of January 2022, the median house price in Macomb County was $215,000 while it was $295,000 in Oakland and $338,000 in Livingston. 

“If we compare the values for example, Eastpointe’s [median house sale price] last year for the month of June was just $135,000,” RE/MAX real estate agent Alexander Dembitsky says. “The same month in 2022 jumped to $157,500, so the value goes up. If we compare the same month in Warren, the average for last year in June was $185,000, and in June of 2022 it jumped to $215,000.” 

The median house sale price for a house in Eastpointe was $157,500 in June 2022.

According to Dembitsky, South Warren — which borders 8 Mile Road — is the most affordable part of the city with house prices similar to those in Eastpointe. 

“If we compare those two cities, Eastpointe and Warren, I would say even though they’re close to each other, [...] Warren is more popular where Eastpointe is more affordable, so it depends really on somebody's desires and obviously their buying power,” Dembitsky says. 

Community Development 

While Warren and Eastpointe may not have traditional downtown areas, they still offer central hubs and a variety of opportunities for community activities. 

“[Warren has] a lot of different offerings, just things to do together as a family — we have movies in the park on Friday nights, we have farmers markets on Sundays, and we have concerts in the square at City Hall on Sundays,” Green says. 

In addition to the activities at City Hall, Warren has 24 parks, a Community Center with an indoor waterpark, and programming for youth sports and theater groups. 

Eastpointe City Hall.
Eastpointe has their Downtown Development Authority located at 9 Mile Road and Gratiot, where there is a public gathering space that the city is continuing to develop. Additionally, the city offers an array of park space and outdoor recreation activities for residents to enjoy from a dog park to tennis, pickleball, basketball, and roller hockey courts, to a walking trail and more. 

Residents can also elect to get involved in the beautification of the city by volunteering at the Community Garden. Those who do not have a green thumb can participate in the Adopt-a-Flowerbed program, which maintains flowerbeds throughout parks, city buildings, and medians. 

“The city of Eastpointe is a family-friendly town that is in the perfect proximity to engage in the incredible history, art, and culture available in the city of Detroit and surrounding communities,” Walton says.
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Read more articles by Sarah Gudenau.