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Detroit Development News

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Co-working space, co-op pre-school, and childcare: Detroit Parent Collective opens in NW Detroit

A new take on a still-growing trend in Detroit has taken root in a northwestern part of the city. It's called the Detroit Parent Collective; part-coworking space, part childcare facility, and part co-op pre-school.

Detroit Parent Collective (DPC) recently celebrated its grand opening in the Live6 district, in a building located across from Marygrove College.

For the past several years, the co-working space has become a favorite among budding entrepreneurs and members of the gig economy. For those without an office or brick-and-mortar business to call their own, the co-working space provides the professional resources and increased networking opportunities not usually available from a person's home office.

At DPC, typical co-working amenities like workspaces and Internet access are provided on a membership-based system. What's different is the fact that DPC offers on-site drop-in childcare as well as lessons, workshops, and additional programming on breastfeeding, wellness, nutrition, yoga, early literacy, and more.

In addition to their co-working and childcare offerings, Detroit Parent Collective has also formed a co-op pre-school complete with a Montessori-like curriculum. Classes are led by a PhD master teacher complemented by a rotating cast of parents.

Detroit Parent Collective was founded by local mom and entrepreneur Krista McClure.

"I was inspired to open the doors to Detroit Parent Collective because I understood three things from three cycles in my own personal life: The at-risk teenage mother. The mother who relied on family. The mother who grew to become a successful figure in Detroit," says McClure.

"As I mentor young women throughout Detroit, I often share with them that their network is their networth. Surrounding yourself by influential people, like-minded people, and positive people is what will help one further grow into becoming who they always were destined to be. DPC is inclusive of all, with the intent to break barriers among socioeconomic class, race, etc."

Detroit Parent Collective is located at 8418 W. McNichols Rd. in Detroit. To learn more about Detroit Parent Collective, visit them online.

Got a development news story to share? Email MJ Galbraith here or send him a tweet @mikegalbraith.

A new gateway for the Gratiot corridor: Mixed-use development announced for old Joe Muer site

There's an odd-shaped 4.3 acre patch of land that greets those traveling southwest down Gratiot Avenue, toward downtown Detroit. This, the former location of the original Joe Muer seafood restaurant, has been announced as the future site of a new mixed-use development that features retail, commercial, and residential units.

Real-estate firm The Platform is pitching the development as the Gratiot corridor's gateway to downtown Detroit, and they say that they're approaching the project with the sort of reverence that befits a downtown landmark. The site is bounded by the Dequindre Cut, E. Vernor Highway, and Gratiot and St. Aubin avenues.

"We look at the site as one of the most prominent gateways to downtown that remain available," says Dietrich Knoer, co-founder, president, and CEO of The Platform. "We're excited to have it."



Not only is the site located just outside of downtown, but the future development counts both the Dequindre Cut and Eastern Market as its neighbors—two of Detroit's most democratic spaces, says Knoer. The Platform asserts that their development will adhere to the principles of inclusion and equitable development to create a community that serves and welcomes all.

[Read Model D's article about The Platform's inclusive approach to development]

While too far away for specifics, Knoer says that a mix of both bigger and hyper-local commercial and retail tenants could anchor the site. The residential unit count is still a way's away, too, but The Platform knows in which direction they're headed.

"It's hard to put a number [on the amount of units]," says Knoer. "But because of the size of the site and the nature of the site, it's going to require a high-density development to make it worthy of the site and to make the neighborhood proud and excited about it."

Construction could start as soon as October 2018.

Knoer says that The Platform has teamed with a number of firms to ensure that the new development best serves its prominent location and neighboring communities. Gensler Detroit has been tapped as the lead architectural firm, and they've assembled a team of partners that includes LAAVU, Hood Design Studio, Mass Economics, and Sam Schwartz Transportation Consultants.

DVP LLC, the most recent owner of the site, will now co-own the site with The Platform, which is serving as the developer of the project. DVP itself is owned by Charlie Edwards, who is developing the velodrome project at Tolan Playfield.

Got a development news story to share? Email MJ Galbraith here or send him a tweet @mikegalbraith.

Out of the incubator: First-time entrepreneur rolls out on demand in-home health care app

A Detroit-based company has developed a smart phone app that serves as an online marketplace for on demand respite care.

It's the direction health care is heading, says CarePRN CEO Jason Wolfe, who's also a registered nurse. More and more patients are opting for in-home care, and something like CarePRN helps facilitate that.

While its patients' families that often carry much of the workload during cases of in-home care, CarePRN is designed so customers can dial up a licensed nurse to come over for an hour or two so they can take a well-deserved break from the stress of home health care.

The app also benefits those providing the in-home health care. Nurses choose their own rates, hours, and services provided. They then give 30 percent of their hourly earnings to CarePRN.

The company got its start two years ago, when Wolfe won an award at a Hacking Health competition at TechTown Detroit. He would go on to enter in TechTown's Business Incubation Center, where he learned the finer points of business.

"I didn't come in as a business man. I'm a nurse," says Wolfe. "But TechTown taught me the business acumen that I need to succeed as an entrepreneur."

Wolfe and his team rolled out CarePRN three months ago. They're taking a slow and methodical approach in getting this thing off the ground. Service is currently limited to Wayne, Oakland, and Macomb Counties. As they grow their base, Wolfe will take feedback from CarePRN users and improve the app, before eventually expanding service to the state and then the nation as a whole.

Currently, CarePRN has nearly 50 active home care providers in its system. The company wants another 100 more. All providers must pass a background check, and be licensed.

Got a development news story to share? Email MJ Galbraith here or send him a tweet @mikegalbraith.

Following arson, Motown Movement hopes to raise funds necessary to complete green housing project

Undeterred by arson, the Motown Movement continues on in its mission to promote affordable, envrionmentally sustainable housing.

Back in April 2017, there was some celebrating to be had on the city's northwest side. A group of Dutch architecture students successfuly raised $50,000 through a Michigan Economic Development Corporation-sponsored crowdfunding campaign, triggering a $50,000 matching grant courtesy of the MEDC.

The more-than-$100,000 raised was to go toward the Motown Movement, a project that seeks to demonstrate how to make sustainable housing accessible and affordable for everyone. A vacant, blighted house at 1995 Ford St. was to be transformed into a model of green living, as well as a community resource center and garden.

As construction progressed over the summer, the Motown Movement house was on track to receive its first resident by winter. And then something happened. An arsonist set fire to the building on Thursday, Aug. 30; the house only saved by a quick response from city firefighters.

The arson is obviously a major setback for the Motown Movement. Air ducts melted, windows shattered, and beams and joists were charred. So, the group has once again turned to crowdfunding to bring the project back on track. A Patronicity crowdfunding campaign has been started, with the group hoping to raise $35,000 to repair the damage caused by the fire.

"That same night [as the arson], volunteers and neighbors came out to help Jaap (our last remaining full-time team member in Detroit) with getting chip board and boarding the home back up. That showed such a beautiful compassion!" Motown Movement co-founder Ronen Dan writes via email from the Netherlands.

"In the days following we got emails and other messages from neighbors and friends supporting us. It was very motivating and needed for us to know for whom we were doing all of this."

The Motown Movement co-founders, assures Dan, are committed to completing this project, even if it idoes take a little more time, money, and effort.

Click here to view the status of the crowdfunding campaign.

Got a development news story to share? Email MJ Galbraith here or send him a tweet @mikegalbraith.

Hamtramck performance space and bar turns to crowdfunding for key renovations

Public Spaces Community Places, a state-sponsored placemaking initiative operated by the Michigan Economic Development Corporation, has set out to raise funds for a Hamtramck-based project. The campaign's focus is Planet Ant Hall, a performance and social complex located across the street from the original Planet Ant Theatre.

Planet Ant and MEDC have launched a crowdfunding campaign to raise money to help finish and repair Planet Ant Hall. Should the crowdfunding campaign successfully raise $35,000 by Nov. 1, the MEDC will kick in an addtional $35,000 as a matching grant.

The campaign is being hosted on the Michigan-based Patronicity crowdfunding platform.

Though Planet Ant Hall opened earlier this year, organizers say that there is still much work to be done. The group plans on using its crowdfunding and matching grant money, a total of $70,000, toward a new HVAC system, an improved facade, a build out of the back stage area, roof repairs, an upgraded lighting grid, and new techinical equipment.

According to Planet Ant Executive Director Darren Shelton, "Planet Ant Theatre was founded 25 years ago on the core principles of artistic freedom and experimentation, and the belief that these principles are fundamental to the spirit of community, creative fulfillment, and success. The completion of Ant Hall will accelerate the pursuit of this mission by expanding our space and resources and thus, our overall impact."

The original Planet Ant, which is still open today, debuted across the street in 1993. Originally a coffee shop, the storefront became a small black box theater in 1996, and has been putting on scripted and improv productions ever since. Among its famous alums include Keegan-Michael Key, co-creator of Comedy Central's "Key and Peele."

The new Planet Ant Hall includes a 470 capacity performance space and the attached Ghost Light Bar, and features music, comedy, films, karaoke, and more.

Click here to view the status of the crowdfunding campaign.

Planet Ant Hall is located at 2320 Caniff St. in Hamtramck.

Got a development news story to share? Email MJ Galbraith here or send him a tweet @mikegalbraith.

From pop-up to permanent, classic arcade bar to celebrate grand opening in downtown Detroit

It was back in October 2014 when Offworld Arcade founder Don Behm told Model D that he was in no rush to open a permanent location for his "arcade gallery" pop-ups. In the nearly three years since, Behm has exhibited a patience that is now being rewarded with the grand opening of the permanent location for Offworld Arcade.

Behm has partnered with the owners of Grand Trunk Pub, Whisky Parlor, Checker Bar, and POP to establish Offworld Arcade's official home in downtown Detroit. POP, a pop-up dining experience located upstairs of the Checker Bar, has recently been renovated and will now share its space with the arcade, seven days a week.

Checker Bar has regularly hosted Offworld pop-ups over the years and now, with the official partnership, the upstairs gets a new name: POP + Offworld. The new venue will carry more than 30 original arcade games, from the 1970s and on throughout the decades. In addition to the classic games, POP + Offworld will feature New York-style pizza, a full bar, and live entertainment.

The renovated decor features 1980s-inspired murals from artist Michelle Tanguay as well as a collage of fashion magazine ads uncovered during remodeling efforts.

A grand opening celebration for POP + Offworld is being held Friday, Sept. 8, from 5 p.m. to 2 a.m. In addition to more than 30 arcade games and POP Pizza, the party features a Bell's Brewery tap takeover, classic console raffle, Hello Records DJ sets, and live synthwave from Phaserland.

The event is free and open to all ages until 9 p.m., when it becomes 21+.

"It's really cool to see parents and their sons and daughters come in and the kids just stare at these big games," Behm said in 2014. "You'll see kids come in and be amazed and say to their parents, 'I've never seen anything like this'."

POP + Offworld is located above the Checker Bar at 124 Cadillac Sq. in downtown Detroit.

Got a development news story to share? Email MJ Galbraith here or send him a tweet @mikegalbraith.

East African refugees win $50K Hatch Detroit grand prize, will open restaurant

For Hamissi Mamba, Baobab Fare is a chance to give back to the city he's come to call home. Mamba and his wife, Nadia Nijimbere, moved to Detroit as refugees from Burundi. They're now on track to open their own East African restaurant, market, and juice bar. And they're doing so as recent recipients of the Comerica Hatch Detroit Contest grand prize.

On Friday, August 25, Mamba and Nijimbere won 2017's Hatch contest, receiving $50,000 as the grand prize. They'll use that money to open Baobab Fare, a taste of their old home in their new one. It's slated for a summer 2018 opening.

"Winning this prize is incredible—a dream come true," says Mamba. "It's something I couldn't even have imagined."

"This prize is emotional because I owe everything to this city. I want to do something for this city and share a piece of my culture."

This is the seventh annual Hatch Detroit, a contest designed to help small businesses get off the ground and into their first brick-and-mortar storefronts in the communities of Detroit, Hamtramck, and Highland Park. More than 160 entrepreneurs applied this year and over 200,000 votes cast in the public voting round. A final group of four pitched their businesses in a "Shark Tank"-style event with Baobab Fare taking home the top prize.

The restaurant, market, and juice bar will offer items unique to East Africa. In addition to prepared foods and juices in a restaurant setting, the Baobab Fare market will offer herbs, produce, fresh meat, and more.

Winning the Hatch Detroit contest is worth more than the $50,000 top prize. Mamba and Nijimbere will also receive more than $200,000 in pro bono business services from Hatch Detroit and its partners.

Got a development news story to share? Email MJ Galbraith here or send him a tweet @mikegalbraith.

Detroit's Whitney to receive nearly $1M worth of energy efficiency upgrades

Wayne County has scored its first PACE project and it's a notable one: The landmark Whitney mansion and restaurant on Woodward Avenue. The 123 year old building is set to receive $863,130 worth of energy efficiency upgrades thanks to financing from Petros PACE Finance of Austin, Texas.

PACE, or Property Assessed Clean Energy, is a national program that helps businesses finance energy efficiency and renewable energy projects that save money in the long run but require expensive investment up front.

It allows property owners this ability through a special property tax assessment with local governments. The tax assessment then frees up lenders' ability to provide up to 20-year, low rate, fixed-interest loans.

"It's a great story to have a building with such an incredibly rich history in the PACE program," says Andy Levin, president of Lean & Green Michigan and managing partner of Levin Energy Partners.

"The fixtures in the Whitney mansion were literally installed by Thomas Edison and now, at 123 years old, it's going to become a model building of our low-carbon future."

Of the improvements planned are storm windows designed for each of the building's 200-plus windows, LED lighting throughout the building, including the chandeliers, energy efficient HVAC equipment, energy efficient kitchen equipment, and a building controls system that is operated via smartphone—virtually from anywhere in the world.

According to a Lean & Green Michigan Case Study, the energy efficiency upgrades will provide Whitney owner Bud Liebler an savings of $23,528 annually.

Construction is set to begin this month and could be finished by the end of 2017.

This is the first PACE project for Wayne County, joining Oakland and Macomb in the region and many more throughout the state that have taken advantage of the program.

The Whitney is located at 4421 Woodward Ave. in Detroit.

Got a development news story to share? Email MJ Galbraith here or send him a tweet @mikegalbraith.

Groups seeks to improve North Rosedale Park through public art projects

Prominent Detroit artists, neighborhood schoolchildren, and community boosters have teamed together to bring two pieces of public art to the North Rosedale Park neighborhood in northwest Detroit.

Having already won a $76,000 grant from the Knight Foundation, the Legacy Project is nearing its goal in improving public spaces through art. There is a catch to the Knight grant, however, and for the Legacy Project to receive the money, they must first raise a matching $76,000 of their own, which would bring the grand total to $152,000 to go toward the project.

Marsha Bruhn is chair of the Legacy Project, a group started to improve the North Rosedale Park Community House and its surrounding park. Bruhn says that they have entered the final leg of fundraising for the project, and need to raise just $20,000 to receive their $76,000 Knight grant.

The group has turned to Michigan-based crowdfunding platform Patronicity to do just that. The project, titled Great Art! Great Park!, has until 10:30 a.m. on Sep. 30 to raise the $20,000.

"Public art signals to the community that art is important, that the creative process is important. Creativity stimulates thinking," says Bruhn. "And it's another reason for people to come to the neighborhood. This will be the quality of art that is found in museums and galleries."

Two pieces of art are planned for North Rosedale Park. The first is a 25-foot metal sculpture designed by Detroit's Charles McGee, a well-renowned artist and decades-long resident of the neighborhood.

The second is a mosaic from Kresge Fine Arts Fellow Hubert Massey. In addition to his own mosaic, the artist is working with third and fifth-graders at the neighborhood's Cooke STEM Academy to help them design and construct their own mosaics, which will also be completed and installed.

Approximately $8,000 has been raised at press time. Click here to see the fundraiser's current status.

Got a development news story to share? Email MJ Galbraith here or send him a tweet @mikegalbraith.

Black arts criticism journal to host book fair and fundraiser to help publish in Detroit

Taylor Renee Aldridge and Jessica Lynne, of Detroit and New York City, respectively, are bringing their internationally renowned arts criticism journal ARTS.BLACK to life in Detroit this August.

Recipients of the 2016 the John S. and James L. Knight Arts Challenge award, the co-founders of ARTS.BLACK are holding a Book Fair and "Friendrasier" at Good Lab in Detroit's Jefferson Chalmers neighborhood. The event takes place Saturday, Aug. 26, from 1 to 5 p.m.

The Knight Arts Challenge award is contingent on the recipients raising matching funds and the book fair is an opportunity for Aldridge and Lynne to do just that. Funds raised from the award and book fair will cover publication costs, payments for writers, and continued operations for the journal, which provides art criticism from a Black perspective.

"We operate online and we're constantly interacting with the different communities there. The book fair is an opportunity to take a step back and interface more intimately with each other," says Aldridge. "It's an opportunity to talk about critical literature that isn't off-putting or intimidating. It'll open it up to people."

The ARTS.BLACK Book Fair and Friendraiser features books that focus on issues of art, labor, or both. New and used catalogs, zines, history books, and more will be on hand. Many of the books have been donated by Detroiters like Janet Webster Jones, owner of Source Booksellers.

ARTS.BLACK t-shirts and totes will also be for sale at the event. Music, refreshments, and snacks may also be part of the day's festivities.

"In our research, we've found that labor is an essential theme of an artist's practice in Detroit," says Aldridge.

"We really want to examine that and explore those themes."

Good Lab is located at 14720 E. Jefferson Ave. in Detroit. Click here for more information on the ARTS.BLACK Book Fair and Friendraiser.

Got a development news story to share? Email MJ Galbraith here or send him a tweet @mikegalbraith.

NSO's Handlebars for the Homeless takes riders on a guided tour of city, with emphasis on '67

Neighborhood Service Organization is once again gearing up for its annual Handlebars for the Homeless bicycle tour. The 15-mile trek guides registered bicyclists through some of the city's more northern neighborhoods all the while raising funds for the 62-year-old non-profit organization, which promotes a comprehensive approach to eliminating homelessness, one of the largest such organizations in southeastern Michigan.

The event takes place on Sunday, Aug. 6 and begins at the NSO Bell Building, the organization's headquarters and home to 155 formerly homeless adults. On-site registration begins at 7 a.m. and the ride leaves the Bell Building at 9 a.m. and returns at noon. Riders can also register online.

Registration for the event costs $40 and includes a light breakfast, t-shirt, and spoke card. Registrants are also entered into a raffle with prizes that include an A-Type bicycle from Detroit Bikes—a $699.99 value—and bike helmet painted by Detroit artist Quinn Emery, among other prizes.

This year's Handlebars for the Homeless bicycle tour takes riders through the Live6 district, Sherwood Forest, Boston Edison, and Palmer Park neighborhoods, and the University of Detroit Mercy and Marygrove College campuses.

David Rudolph, founder of Handlebars for the Homeless and NSO board member, says this year's route will highlight some of the areas touched by the civil unrest of 1967. The event has multiple missions, celebrating the city but also addressing the struggles of those living on its streets.

"NSO's Handlebars for Homeless educates participants about the challenges that face the more than 5,000 homeless individuals living on our streets, while also highlighting some of Detroit's most beautiful, thriving and up-and-coming neighborhoods," he said in a statement.

Proceeds raised from the event will be used for NSO programs like their Homeless Recovery Services. The comprehensive program includes a mobile unit that makes direct contact with the chronically homeless, a 24-hour walk-in crisis center, and the 155-room NSO building itself, among a number of additional services.

The NSO Bell Building is located at 882 Oakman Blvd. in Detroit.

Got a development news story to share? Email MJ Galbraith here or send him a tweet @mikegalbraith.

New parks in downtown and Morningside among city's latest outdoor developments

It's summertime in the city. Let's take a look at some of Detroit's latest developments in outdoor recreation.

On Thursday, July 20, Beacon Park will get its chance to shine in the northwest section of downtown Detroit. A four day-long grand opening celebration is being held to commemorate the event, which will feature live musical performances from the likes of Thornetta Davis, Robert Randolph & the Family Band, and Lord Huron, among others. Built by DTE Energy, the park boasts downtown Detroit's largest lawn, as well as year-long programming, light installations, and a brasserie-style restaurant. Beacon Park is located at the intersection of Cass and Grand River avenues.

The City of Detroit was awarded a $2 million grant from the Ralph C. Wilson Jr. Foundation to fund the design and pre-construction of the remaining uncompleted portions of the Inner Circle Greenway, a proposed 26-mile bike and pedestrian path throughout Detroit. The City of Detroit recently purchased a 7.5 mile stretch of abandoned rail to complete the greenway.

On Saturday, July 22, a dedication of the 12th Street Memorial and Pavilion is being held at the Joseph Walker Williams Recreation Center, located at 8431 Rosa Parks Blvd. The memorial and pavilion marks the 50th anniversary of the summer of 1967. A 5-by-7 foot permanent steel marker lists the 44 people known to have died from the events of that summer, while a small white cedar pavilion serves as a public gathering space and focal point for future community events. Musical performances from The Original Vandellas and The Robinson Singers are scheduled for the dedication, which runs from 2:45 to 6:30 p.m. It is free and open to the public.

Residents of Morningside have the opportunity to design a brand new park in their neighborhood, though the design competition is open to the public at large. Funded by the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, the pilot program Give a Park, Get a Park will take a decommissioned park at I-94 and sell it to residents through the city's side lot program. It will then build a bigger, more centralized park for the neighborhood at Three Mile Drive and Munich Street. The deadline for design submissions is Monday, July 31.

Got a development news story to share? Email MJ Galbraith here or send him a tweet @mikegalbraith.

Fast casual dining spot opens in the old Detroit News Building downtown

In its hundredth year, the Detroit News Building has opened its doors to the public with the addition of the Press Room Cafe, a nod to the building's past as well as a sign of a dining scene that could come to the still relatively quiet southwestern corner of downtown Detroit.

Located at 615 W. Lafayette Blvd. in the old Detroit News Building, the Press Room offers quick but quality dining options to area workers and passersby. Though it first opened in April 2017, a recent grand opening event was held to emphasize the point that the Press Room is open to the public, and not just nearby workers.

Bedrock, the Dan Gilbert real estate firm, owns the property, which counts Quicken Loans and Molina Healthcare among its tenants.

The Press Room is much more than a cafe. A breakfast, bakery, and coffee bar occupy one end, adjacent to a fireplace-lit seating area ideal for meetings. The breakfast spot features Avalon pastries and Intelligentsia coffee. In the center is a market, featuring items one might need to grab on their way home from work, including a number of local products.

It's at the west end of the space wherein lies the main attraction: lunch and dinner items from celebrity chef Fabio Viviani. Eurest, the dining services company behind Press Room Cafe, custom built the kitchen and grill to Viviani's exact needs.

"That stove is made specifically for him. It's kind of like the Ferrari of wood-fired pizza ovens," says Jessica Zucker, division marketing director of Eurest.

"It's all from-scratch pastas and pizzas. Fabio brought in his team and measured the humidity of the room to figure out how to make the right dough, which is made in-house. Everything's made from scratch."

In addition to Viviani's pizzas and pastas, the Press Room includes signature burgers, paninis, and salads among its other offerings.

Got a development news story to share? Email MJ Galbraith here or send him a tweet @mikegalbraith.

Info sessions announced to help Detroit business owners and landlords apply for matching grants

This Thursday and next, information sessions are being held to assist city businesses through the application process for Detroit's latest small business booster program. Dubbed Motor City Re-Store, the program is designed to help existing businesses and their landlords in rehabilitating and improving the conditions of their buildings' exteriors.

The program offers matching grants for a range of construction projects, including improved facades, landscaping, and parking lots. Matching grants for design and architectural services are also available.

Much like Motor City Match, which city officials consider to be Re-Store's "comparison" program, Re-Store will offer up to $500,000 in matching grants to Detroit businesses and landlords every three months. Unlike Motor City Match, which is designed more to help businesses that are new to having a brick-and-mortar location in the city, Re-Store is designed with pre-existing business owners in mind.

The first information session is Thursday, June 22, from 6 to 8 p.m. at Good Cakes and Bakes, which is located at 19363 Livernois Ave. The second information session is Thursday, June 29, from 6 to 8 p.m. at Matrix Center / Osborn Neighborhood Alliance, which is located at 13560 E. McNichols Rd.

Both are free and open to the public.

"The small neighborhood businesses that have hung in there over the years and have sustained our city are part of Detroit's revitalization. That's why we created Motor City Re-Store," Mayor Duggan said in a statement. "This is how we are going to bring our city back, by supporting our existing businesses and residents as we welcome new ones to our neighborhoods."

The application window for the first round of Motor City Re-Store is open from June 15 through Aug. 1. Applications are available online.

Got a development news story to share? Email MJ Galbraith here or send him a tweet @mikegalbraith.

Two new businesses, a bakery and boutique, slated for fall openings in the historic Fisher Building

The ornate art deco lobby of the Fisher Building, a building celebrated as a major work of art by architects and enthusiasts the world over, stands to attract even more people craning their necks as they take in their surroundings.

This fall, two noteworthy businesses are scheduled to open there: Yama, the third women's retail store from The Peacock Room and Frida's Rachel Lutz, and City Bakery, a popular New York City-based bakery and cafe.

Lutz's first two stores, The Peacock Room and Frida, opened in 2011 and 2014, respectively. Both are located in the Park Shelton building in Midtown.

While The Peacock Room curates a more vintage-inspired collection of women's clothing and accessories, and Frida features casual and bohemian fashion, Lutz says that Yama will focus on edgy, architecturally-inspired clothing. Yama is named in honor of renowned Detroit architect Minoru Yamasaki.

"I'm excited at the thought of joining a strong, veteran retail mix at the Fisher," says Lutz. "I'm joining Gallery of Contemporary Craft, Pure Detroit, the Fashion Place, and Vera Jane. Yama will offer a fresh energy, and we'll bring a lot of destination shoppers to New Center.

"Complementing its dense population, New Center's food and retail scene is poised to blossom within the next few years. I want to jump start that by pushing our existing foot traffic up the Woodward corridor."

With its first location having opened in New York City in 1990, and a second in Japan, the popular City Bakery will open their third location in the Fisher lobby this fall.

Famous for its hot chocolate, City Bakery is also a bakery, coffee shop, cafe, and catering company. Its Annual Hot Chocolate Festival attracts more than 50,000 people each February. 

Detroit-based development company The Platform, which owns the Fisher as well as a number of other notable New Center buildings, recruited the two businesses as their tenants.

"I'm thrilled that the Fisher Building is the crown jewel of The Platform's development," says Lutz. "This architectural gem now has owners that don't see it as just square footage--they envision it as a vibrant public square."

Got a development news story to share? Email MJ Galbraith here or send him a tweet @mikegalbraith.
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