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Lafayette Park : Detroit Development News

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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.

Motor City Match seeks business and commercial property owners for third round of grants

Detroit entrepreneurs and commercial property owners are once again being encouraged to apply for the city's Motor City Match program. Applications are open for submission March 1-April 1. It's the third round of the program intended to stimulate Detroit's commercial corridors.

There are four major award categories for which business and property owners can apply for a share of $500,000 in grant funding. Each category is designed for business and property owners at different levels of building a business.

The first category is for business plans, which Motor City Match will help entrepreneurs develop. 

The second category seeks to match commercial property owners with business tenants. Buildings must be in good shape and entrepreneurs must have quality business plans or successful track records.

The third category will award architectural design assistance, construction documents, and priority permitting to business and building owners with recently signed leases.

The fourth and final category is for those with signed leases, quality business plans, and bids for building out the space, but who still have to bridge a financial gap. This category awards cash to such applicants.

Motor City Match was launched by Mayor Mike Duggan and the Detroit Economic Growth Corporation in 2015. Roderick Miller, CEO of the DEGC, says in a statement, "After two rounds of Motor City Match awardees, it's clear this program is making an impact in Detroit. From restaurants and retail establishments to service companies and even manufacturing, Motor City Match is growing neighborhood small businesses across the city."

According to officials, the Motor City Mach program has invested $1 million in 20 businesses to date, leveraging an additional $6 million in public and private investment. Motor City Match also points out that 70 percent of the 196 businesses and property owners that have received support are minority owned. Furthermore, two-thirds are from Detroit and half are minority woman-owned businesses.

Visit motorcitymatch.com for details on how to apply.

Disclosure: Model D receives support from Motor City Match to tell stories of small business development in the city's neighborhoods.

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

2016 will be a year of big improvements to Detroit's cycling infrastructure

A new report released by the Detroit Greenways Coalition highlights five bike and trail projects that the bicycle and pedestrian advocacy group is most looking forward to in 2016. According to the DGC, Detroit will see a number of improvements to its cycling infrastructure in 2016, including the official completion of the Dequindre Cut, upgraded biking conditions along Cass Avenue, and the introduction of the much-anticipated public bike share program. The report also hints at an indoor velodrome that could be in Detroit's future.

Detroit Greenways Coalition works with both public and private entities, including city and state governments, and an array of foundations, to improve the quality of non-motorized transportation and recreation in Detroit. Todd Scott is the group's executive director.

Highlights from the DGC report include the following:
 
  • The Link Detroit project will officially be completed in 2016. Link Detroit connects a number of communities, from Hamtramck to Midtown to Eastern Market to the Riverfront, through a series of bike lanes and the Dequindre Cut.
  • Biking from Midtown to downtown should prove easier in 2016 as improved biking conditions along Cass Avenue are completed this year. Upgrades are designed, in part, to discourage bikers from using Woodward Avenue and the accompanying safety concerns of the M-1 Rail.
  • Automated counters will be installed along the Dequindre Cut and Cass to provide the DGC with real-time data as they look to better understand and utilize bicycle and pedestrian trends throughout those corridors. 
  • 2016 could also be the year that a public bike share program is introduced in Detroit. Though nothing is definite, the DGC says the Detroit Downtown Partnership is hopeful that the first phase of the program will open this year.
  • Bike lanes along a four-mile stretch of Livernois Avenue are being installed by the city of Detroit and will run from Grand River Avenue to W. Vernor Highway. Pop-up bike lanes, intended for viability tests, will also be installed along Livernois from McNichols to 8 Mile Road.
More information on the Detroit Greenways Coalition and its top projects for 2016 can be found here.

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

November development news round-up

It's been another busy month for development news in the city. Let's catch up on some of the biggest stories from the past four weeks.

Two of Detroit's most high profile real estate developments, Orleans Landing along the riverfront and DuCharme Place across from Lafayette Park, are beginning to take shape. Construction at Orleans Landing is revealing the bones of the mixed-use development, while DuCharme Place recently celebrated its ceremonial groundbreaking, though construction there had already begun weeks beforehand. Orleans Landing promises 278 residential units and DuCharme Place is kicking in another 185.

Add 230 more residential units to the combined 463 residential units of the aforementioned developments, so long as Peter Cummings gets his way in the city's New Center district. The Whole Foods developer says he has an agreement with Henry Ford Health System to purchase the parking lot at Third and W. Grand Boulevard and plans on building a brand new apartment building there. A redevelopment of the nearby Hotel St. Regis annex recently celebrated its own ceremonial ribbon cutting, announcing the December arrival of the Regis Houze and its 58 apartments.

In redevelopment news even more surprising than the decision to name an apartment building the Regis Houze is the news that someone is planning to redevelop the old Lee Plaza Hotel. Developer Craig Sasser announced plans for a $200 million redevelopment of the 17-story building. Sasser says he'll be bringing 200 luxury, market-rate apartments to the abandoned and derelict building, stripped to its bones after years of being open to the elements. One infamous incident, at least locally, was the discovery that 50 of the building's original terra cotta lions heads had been stolen, six of them found adorning a new condo development in Chicago. Even the FBI got involved. A rundown of the events can be found on Historic Detroit.

Writer: MJ Galbraith

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

April development news round-up

It's been another busy month for development news in the city. Let's catch up on some of the biggest stories from the past four weeks.

The first of the month saw the news that DuCharme Place, a $42 million, 185-apartment unit development across from Lafayette Park, will begin construction June 11. News about the development had been quiet ever since we first reported it in July 2014, but it appears things are back on track after missing an original groundbreaking target date last fall.

McIntosh Poris Associates and long-time developer Walter Cohen have been working on the DuCharme Place development since 2004. That development team is also responsible for the Foundation Hotel, a boutique hotel planned for the old Detroit Fire Department Headquarters downtown. In an article detailing the recent boom in Detroit hotel development, the Free Press reports that the Foundation Hotel could begin construction within 90 days. The possible Wurlitzer Building redevelopment is also mentioned.

In other long-delayed project news, the shipping container housing development has finally begun construction. Leslie Horn of Three Squared, Inc. spoke with the Detroit News earlier this month as she celebrated the three-story building. The apartments at Trumbull and Pine streets in North Corktown will demonstrate the shipping container-style apartment living set for larger developments in Midtown and North Corktown. Financing and land-purchasing woes slowed down the project.

The historic Brewster Wheeler Recreation Center is, unlike its sister residential towers, being spared the wrecking ball. The city recently announced a $50 million development which would convert the famous rec center into a community center with offices and a restaurant. Joe Louis once trained at the Brewster Wheeler gym. A 100- to 150-unit apartment complex will be built across from Brewster Wheeler.

Jefferson Avenue is set to receive a bit of a "road diet" as it will shrink from seven lanes to four, between Lakewood Street and Alter Road, with the addition of landscaped islands and buffered parking lanes.

Writer: MJ Galbraith

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

Photo by Matthew Lewis.

Detroit leads pack with 25 finalists for Knight Cities Challenge awards

Finalists have been announced for the first ever Knight Cities Challenge. Of the 26 cities eligible to enter the contest, Detroit is by far the best represented. Knight selected 126 finalists and Detroit claims nearly a fifth of the total finalist pool with 25 proposed projects. 25 other cities, including Duluth, Miami, and Philadelphia, account for the remaining 101 finalists.

The Knight Cities Challenge is a John S. and James L. Knight Foundation contest, one that will split $5 million in grants among winning projects that address how cities can attract and retain residents, how they can boost economic activity for everyone, and how to better connect and involve citizens in their collective future. Applications closed Nov. 14, 2014.

"The challenge has introduced us to a host of new ideas and people who want to take hold of the future of their cities," says Carol Coletta, Knight Foundation vice president for community and national initiatives. "Through these new connections we hope to grow a network of civic innovators to take on community challenges and build solutions together."

The 25 ideas from Detroit were submitted by individuals and organizations alike. Graig Donnelly's Border Talks proposes to create an actual physical space that encourages Detroiters and Grosse Pointe Parkers to engage with one another.

In a proposal submitted by Jan Shimshock on behalf of the Detroit RiverFront Conservancy, Information Supergreenway would install continuous wifi Internet access along the RiverWalk, Dequindre Cut, and Eastern Market.

Bus Riders Need to Be Engaged Too, submitted by Jacob Rayford Jr., would place information agents on public transit to answer questions about the city and city transportation.

The winners of the contest will receive a portion of $5 million and will be announced in March 2015. Over 7,000 proposals were initially submitted to the Knight Cities Challenge.

A full list of finalists with project descriptions can be found here.

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

Detroit Greenways Coalition leads non-motorized charge into 2015 with bevy of bike-related projects

The nonprofit group Detroit Greenways Coalition has released its Top 5 Detroit bike and trail projects for 2015 and it's looking to be a very good year for Detroiters who enjoy the outdoors. According to the DGC, the city's bicyclists, joggers, and walkers will see miles of new pathways added, current routes improved, and safer road conditions in 2015.

Detroit Greenways Coalition is led by Executive Director Todd Scott. The group works with both public and private entities, including city and state governments and an array of foundations, to improve the quality of non-motorized transportation and recreation in Detroit.

Highlights from the DGC report include the following:
 
  • Bicyclists and pedestrians can expect the Link Detroit project to be finished by summer. Link Detroit extends the Dequindre Cut to Eastern Market and connects Eastern Market to Midtown and Hamtramck with surface street bike lanes.
  • The DGC helped secure $4.5 million in grants which it expects the city of Detroit to use to purchase an 8.3 mile stretch of abandoned railroad this year. That property will then be converted into a bike path and greenway, filling in a significant gap of the Inner Circle Greenway, the DGC's 26 mile-long circular pathway that rolls through Detroit, Hamtramck, Highland Park, and Dearborn.
  • The almost-finished Conner Creek Greenway, which travels northward from the riverfront at Maheras Gentry Park, will see the completion of an extension from Conner Street at E. Outer Drive all the way into Warren, where it merges with Van Dyke Avenue and ends at Stephens Road. The greenway is to be part of Governor Snyder's Showcase Trail, a system of paths, trails, and bike lanes that reaches from Belle Isle to Wisconsin.
  • The first protected bike lanes in the state are set to be installed along six blocks of East Jefferson Avenue between Alter Road and Lakewood Street. Efforts by groups including East Jefferson, Inc. are underway to extend those bike lanes to the Belle Isle entrance.
  • Cass Avenue is to receive bike lanes from W. Grand Boulevard to Lafayette, which will then zig zag to the RiverWalk. Public bike repair stations and air pumps will be installed along the way.
More information on the Detroit Greenways Coalition and its top projects for 2015 can be found here.

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

Twenty new 'Little Free Libraries' sprout up across Detroit

Since Nov. 6, twenty new libraries have opened in Detroit -- though perhaps not the kind that immediately comes to mind. They're called Little Free Libraries and come from a nonprofit organization out of Madison, Wis. that has erected nearly 20,000 "libraries" in places around the U.S. and Canada (and as remote as Antarctica!) since 2009. Detroit received twenty of these Little Free Libraries early this month.

Uniquely designed and attractively built, a Little Free Library is basically a box on a post filled with books. It's a leave-a-book, take-a-book system where everyone is encouraged to take a book or two and replace them with a book or two from their own shelves. According to the organization, Little Free Libraries foster a sense of community, literacy, and a love for reading.

The libraries are scattered throughout the city and can be found in, around, or in front of the following locations:
  • North Rosedale Park Civic Association
  • DetroitLoves You Airbnb
  • Corktown's Murphy Play Lot
  • Westminster Church in Northwest Detroit
  • Highland Park's Ruth Ellis Drop-in Center
  • Write-A-House
  • Residential homes in Palmer Woods, Palmer Park, and Boston-Edison
  • Clark Park
  • Weiss Park
  • Hawthorne Park
  • Bennett Park
  • LaSalle Ford Park
  • Lafayette Central Park
  • Wilson Park
  • Edmore-Marbud Park
  • Butler Park
Todd Bol, founder of the Little Free Libraries organization, donated the first twenty. Kim Kozlowski founded Detroit Little Free Libraries and says that these libraries are the first of 313 planned throughout Detroit, making the city the "Little Free Library Capital of the World."

"The first 20 locations aim to promote a sense of community and engagement, not only within Detroit's diverse neighborhoods, but also among visitors in Detroit who chose to rent while staying here, to literary artists as well as community groups," says Kozlowski.

Sam Constantine and Chris Behm of the End Grain Woodworking Co. helped with the project, using reclaimed wood from the city in building the libraries. 

Source: Detroit Little Free Libraries press release
Writer: MJ Galbraith

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

185-unit apartment development to begin construction this fall

What started as a community of town homes nearly ten years ago has morphed into a four-building, 185-unit apartment development on the edge of downtown. Keeping the original name DuCharme Place, architects McIntosh Poris Associates and long-time Detroit developer Walter Cohen have secured financing to start construction this fall. A late 2015 opening is expected.

DuCharme Place is located at 1544 E. Lafayette St., across from the Lafayette Foods grocery store.

The team began planning DuCharme Place in 2004. The original town home design was scratched, however, when the housing market dropped out during the recent recession. The team revisited the development in 2012, this time with a completely new design. By incorporating heavy landscaping into the development, Michael Poris, architect and principal at McIntosh Poris Associates, says the team is giving a nod to the neighboring Lafayette Park community and its emphasis on green space that resulted from the collaboration between famed architect Mies van der Rohe, landscape architect Alfred Caldwell, and urban planner Ludwig Hilberseimer.

The four apartment buildings surround a common courtyard and pool. The buildings are spread across three platforms raised one story above a ground level parking facility of over 200 spaces, which runs underneath the complex. As for the apartments themselves, they'll be 185 market-rate studio, one bedroom, and two bedroom units. Energy efficiency and a living roof are part of the plans, as well.

"They're going to be contemporary. The floor plans are pretty open but the bedrooms will be enclosed," says Poris. "Kind of a 'soft loft.'"

Architects McIntosh Poris and developer Walter Cohen are also working together on the current redevelopment of the old Detroit Fire Department Headquarters. Redevelopment plans for the historic building include the 100-room Foundation Hotel and a restaurant.

The Detroit City Council recently approved a nearly $5 million Detroit Brownfield Redevelopment Authority brownfield tax increment incentive plan for the DuCharme Place development.

Source: Michael Poris, architect and principal at McIntosh Poris Associates
Writer: MJ Galbraith

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

I-375 Alternatives Study hosts first public meeting

Business owners, residents, and commuters affected by a potential transformation of I-375 were joined by the otherwise curious Thursday evening, Feb. 13, as the Downtown Development Authority hosted the first of three public meetings. A crowd gathered at Stroh River Place in an open house setting as the DDA and their partners in the study, the Michigan Department of Transportation and the Detroit Riverfront Conservancy, guided visitors through a series of informative stations.

Each station provided data regarding project study areas, ranging from cost estimations to current vehicular usage. One station had a map of the area and visitors were asked to place stickers at the points where they felt unsafe as pedestrians. Another map asked visitors to place stickers at places they thought to be aesthetically unpleasing. Visitors were asked, too, of their overall opinion of I-375 and whether think it should remain an expressway or be transformed for a different use.

The I-375 Alternatives Study is a result of the impending reconstruction of I-375. Current estimates place reconstruction costs at $80 million. MDOT has enlisted the help of area stakeholders to determine whether the land in question could be utilized in a more effective way, such as demolishing the below-grade expressway and transforming it into a street-level boulevard.

Taking into account the information gathered from Thursday's public forum, the group behind the study will craft a number of alternative developments for the project areas. Five alternatives will be crafted for the primary study area, the nearly one-mile stretch of I-375. Two alternatives will be crafted for each of the secondary study areas, the I-75/I-375/Gratiot interchange and the I-375/Jefferson interchange. These alternatives will be presented to the public at a later date this spring.

I-375 was built in 1964.

Source: I-375 Alternatives Study public meeting, Feb. 13, 2014
Writer: MJ Galbraith

Got a development news story to share? Email MJ Galbraith here.

Link Detroit celebrates groundbreaking of five-phase cycling and greenway infrastructure project

The Community Foundation for Southeast Michigan, in partnership with the US Department of Transportation, State of Michigan, City of Detroit Department of Public Works, DEGC, Eastern Market Corporation, Midtown, Inc., and the Detroit Riverfront Conservancy, will celebrate the groundbreaking of the five-phase Link Detroit greenway infrastructure project next Tuesday, Sept. 24 at 6 p.m. in Eastern Market's Lot 1 (adjacent to Shed 2).
 
"This goes back a few years," says Tom Woiwode, director of the Community Foundation for Southeast Michigan's GreenWays Initiative. He says that when the Dequindre Cut opened in 2009, it was always intended to run further north than where it currently ends at Gratiot. When the first portion of the Midtown Loop opened in 2010, it was intended to go further south and connect to Eastern Market. Link Detroit is the fulfillment of those intentions.
 
The full $25 million scope of this project is fully-funded, thanks in large part to a $10 million TIGER (Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery) grant in addition to support from the Community Foundation and other partners (see above).
 
There are five phases to this project, and most are able to operate on independent construction schedules simultaneously. Though the "ground-breaking" celebration is next Tuesday, the event is mostly ceremonial. Woiwode says they hope to already have bulldozers at work by then.
 
The five phases include extending the Dequindre Cut north from Gratiot to Mack, rebuilding five bridges over the Dequindre Cut's extension (with funding from the Critical Bridge Fund), extending the trail system and providing some infrastructure improvements and amenities in Eastern Market along Wilkins and Russell St., connecting Wilkins to the Midtown Loop which will be extended south along John R, and the construction of bike lanes and greenways along Dequindre Rd. north of Mack connecting the Dequindre Cut to Hamtramck. Ultimately Link Detroit will connect Midtown and Wayne State to Eastern Market to the Dequindre Cut to both Hamtramck and the Detroit River.
 
They hope to have construction of all five phases completed by this time next year.
 
Source: Tom Woiwode, director of the Community Foundation for Southeast Michigan's GreenWays Initiative
Writer: Nicole Rupersburg

Got a Development News story to share? Email Nicole here.

Detroit solicits applications for new owner of Lafayette Towers

Looking for your chance to own a major of architecture by one of the world's most renowned architects? Detroit has your opportunity.

The city has taken control of the Lafayette Towers, a marquee part of the Lafayette Park neighborhood designed by world-famous architect Ludwig Mies van der Rohe. The apartment building had been foreclosed on by the U.S. Dept. of Housing & Urban Development and handed over to the city of Detroit to find a new owner. The Detroit Economic Growth Corp is soliciting redevelopment proposals for the city.

This high-rise apartment complex consists of two, 22-story buildings on nearly 10 acres of green space. The complex offers 584 market-rate apartments, along with a fitness center, laundry room, community space, pool and parking garage. A solid majority of the complex is leased and the city is looking for a developer with deep pockets to take over the complex and maintain it as a residential area.

"Somebody has to come in with a minimum of $16 million in financing," says Bob Rossbach, a spokesman for the Detroit Economic Growth Corp. "This is a going concern that is significantly rented."

For information on the request for proposals send an email to tdsmith@degc.org or click here.

Source: Bob Rossbach, a spokesman for the Detroit Economic Growth Corp
Writer: Jon Zemke

Read more about Metro Detroit's growing entrepreneurial ecosystem at SEMichiganStartup.com.

Detroit Bike Project seeks to link Detroit's greater downtown

Bike-sharing companies, which offer 24-hour access to bicycles for short trips around cities, have popped up in Europe, and along the East Coast; DC, Boston and New York City. If three CCS grads have their way, Detroit will be the next city to offer visitors and residents a network of two-wheeled transportation stations throughout the greater downtown district.

The Detroit Bike Project is the brainchild of Victor Quattrin, Stephanie Lucido and Jenna Przybycien. The three college friends have spent the past year working on the first phase of their plan, which they will submit to Hatch Detroit by the Sept. 1 contest deadline. No matter what happens with Hatch, the three say they're committed to launching the company within the next year.

Their plan involves building park-and-ride bike stations in the Renaissance Center, Wayne State's campus, the Detroit Institute of Arts, Woodbridge, New Center, Grand Circus Park, Corktown and Eastern Market, as a public transportation alternative "Sometimes, there's a little distance between the main veins of Detroit," says Quattrin. "Nothing is really that walkable," says Przybycien, comparing Detroit's layout to that of more densely-populated cities like New York. "If someone parks downtown and wants to head up to Wayne State, it takes a lot of time to get there. Bike sharing allows you to see a lot more of the city, and to get places quicker, because it's so spread out."

With a swipe of a credit card, customers will be able to rent a bike from any station and take a spin through the city -- then drop it off at the closest bike rental facility upon completion.

The Detroit Bike Project will operate as a nonprofit, and they hope the promise of increased mobility from residents and visitors throughout the greater downtown will inspire local companies to lend their support, through advertising or sponsoring a bike station on their properties. They're also committed to purchasing bikes made from recycled materials. The team estimates they'll need $137,000 in investment dollars to launch the first phase of the program.

Lucido says the team is encouraged by the immediate feedback, all of it positive, from the first 48 hours of their viral campaign, which launched last week. "In the first 48 hours, we had 500 page views on our website and 150 likes on Facebook," she says. "We know this can work."

"Our goal is to not let them down, and make things happen," Przybycien says.

Become a fan of the Detroit Bike Project on Facebook, and read more about the team's proposal here.

Sources: Jenna Przybycien, Victor Quattrin and Stephanie Lucido, co-founders, Detroit Bike Project
Writer: Ashley C. Woods

Lafayette Foods plans early summer opening

A new grocery store is coming to downtown Detroit, offering customers 14,000 square feet of shopping.

Lafayette Foods will open by early summer on E. Lafeyette Blvd. between Orleans and Rivard, in a shopping center that currently houses Cottage Inn, Metro PCS and Bahn Mai Thai.

Store manager Lance Atisha says Lafayette Foods will offer customers a fresh meat counter, hot and prepared foods, a deli counter, and fresh produce, much of which is sourced from Eastern Market. "It's good quality stuff, and we'll offer some organic selections," he says.

And amid recent media and community debate over the viability of opening a While Foods grocery in Midtown, Atisha says Lafayette Foods' prices will reflect the needs of the community. "It's definitely affordable. We're going to try to cater to the community," he says. "There will be high-end products, but it's not going to cost as much."

He says he's spent a lot of time on local online forums, talking to members of the community about prior ownership of the store and what he can do differently. He says the new owners are listening hard to what local residents say they want from a grocery store.

"People are always talking about, 'Detroit is a food desert.' I don't believe that myself," Atisha says. "But a new store is definitely needed down there, especially with the towers around, and having the security -- it's a whole different story."

He and his partners currently own two markets in Detroit and a third market in Farmington.

Source: Lance Atisha, store manager,  Lafayette Foods
Writer: Ashley C. Woods

Three markets, and their customers, to benefit from Green Grocer Project's first award of $90,000

The Detroit Economic Growth Corp. has made grants to three city markets under its Green Grocer Project. The grants are the program's first awards since its launch in May 2010, and will benefit the following independent grocery stores:

  • Family Fair Food Center, located on Chene Street at Lafayette, will receive up to $30,000 in matching funds for a planned $350,000 exterior renovation. Improvements will be made to the store's facade, entryway, parking lot, signage and lighting.

  • Ye Olde Butcher Shoppe, scheduled to open soon at 3100 Woodward Ave. in Brush Park, will receive $30,000 that will go towards up to 75% of its eligible costs for the development of a store marketing plan and construction documents as well as other start-up-related expenses.

  • Metro Foodland at 18551 Grand River in Rosedale Park will receive $7,500 towards marketing materials including launching and managing a loyalty card and a healthy eating campaign. Another $22,500 is set aside to match other eligible costs for additional store improvements.
The goal of the Green Grocer Project is to improve the overall quality of Detroiters' grocery shopping experiences and access to fresh food. It is funded by the Kresge Foundation and the City of Detroit, but additional funding is being solicited by DEGC to grow the program. It currently includes a technical assistance grant program, a grocer clearinghouse for existing store operators and others interested in making new investments in Detroit and a revolving loan fund.

For more information, or to apply for the program, contact GreenGrocer@DEGC.org.

Source: DEGC
Writer: Kelli B. Kavanaugh

54 Lafayette Park Articles | Page: | Show All
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