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The M Den is coming to the D.

The official merchandise retailer for University of Michigan athletic apparel said Thursday it plans to open its first location in Detroit, where its namesake was founded more than 200 years ago. It would occupy two street-level storefronts in a 4,000-square-foot space along Columbia Street in the new $150 million, nine-story Little Caesars world headquarters. The store is expected to open in the second quarter of 2019.

"We want to be a part of the great things going on in Detroit," said Scott Hirth, co-owner of The M Den. "It's a great location, we think, and we are excited to bring Michigan to the east side and into the city."

Located next to the Fox Theatre in the Ilitch family's District Detroit, the block-long Columbia Street destination owned by Olympia Development offers nearly 40,000 square feet for shopping and dining along a promenade that will feature outdoor dining and festoon lighting. Frita Batidos, another Ann Arbor-based business, earlier this month said it would open its first Detroit location there, as well.

The M Den store in Detroit would be the company's seventh brick-and-mortar store. It would feature merchandise from The M Den and from its Victors Collection, which focuses on alumni and features high-end accessories and golf and business casual apparel. The store also would offer new Detroit-themed Michigan options and plans to have signings with professional athletes.

Events such as that were the reason the company began looking to open a Detroit location more than five years ago, Hirth said. Former Michigan athletes living in Detroit asked if the store could hold signings in the city.

Hirth said similarly sized locations to the Detroit store have two or three senior-level managers and 20-30 hourly employees.

The company recently expanded its location at Briarwood Mall and plans to re-open its Ann Arbor store on Main Street in a newly constructed space early next year. Detroit will be its first new store since 2014.

bnoble@detroitnews.com

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