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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.

Restaurant round-up: what just opened and what's coming next

We love to write about food, and you love to read about it. So, since 2013 is closing with a flurry of food-related activity, more than we've even had the chance to cover, here's a quick look at places that have recently opened and places that are coming up next.

The Grille Midtown at 3919 Woodward is now open for lunch and dinner, part of the Woodward Garden Block development project that has been completed in phases over the last decade. The menu is solidly "new American," with red meat and seafood getting prime billing. 

Thomas Magee's Sporting House Whiskey Bar is now open in the Eastern Market district and the locals already love it. Michigan craft beer and artisan spirits elevate this above just another sports bar, and the cozy wood-paneled interior helps. Feel free to give this place a short nickname, though. Tommy Magee's, perhaps? That's got a nice ring.

Delite Cafe is now open in Hamtramck, serving coffee from Great Lakes Coffee Roasting Company and deli sandwiches made with Boar's Head meats in a handsome space with limited but comfortable dine-in seating. They also serve soups, salads, smoothies, ice cream, a full menu of espresso beverages, and halal meats for the area's significant Muslim population. 

Alley Taco will open inside the extensively renovated Marcus Market in Midtown late January. Until them, you can catch them Tuesdays at Great Lakes Coffee Midtown. 

Frontera in Eastern Market is soooooooooo close. Maybe spring 2014? They're hosting pop-up dinners in the meantime, giving eager diners a chance to see inside the space that some are already hailing as the best-looking restaurant in Detroit. 

Chez Chloe makes traditional French chocolate lava cakes perfect for the holidays

Chloe Sabatier of Chez Chloe makes exactly one thing: traditional French chocolate lava cakes.
 
Sabatier, a 23-year-old French transplant, moved to Detroit from Paris just six months ago after having spent some time here during the summer of 2012 visiting her boyfriend. During her first visit, she started testing out her Chez Chloe concept of traditional French chocolate lava cakes. She sold them at farmers markets in Birmingham and Royal Oak, and found that her American customers loved her lava cakes, and was also surprised to find that many people, upon hearing her French accent, felt an immediate affinity for her and wanted to share their own memories of trips to Paris with her. She loved the instant camaraderie she felt with her customers. By the middle of August she would have a huge line in front of her stand, but in September she had to return to Paris to finish her marketing and communications degree.
 
She moved back to Detroit in April and worked an internship for her degree program for several months. Sabatier got involved with the community of local food entrepreneurs at FoodLab and began working out of one of their partner commercial community kitchens. Chez Chloe officially launched Oct. 1, and you can find her Saturdays at Eastern Market as well as at various artisan market events. Local businesses Le Petit Zinc in Corktown and Great Lakes Coffee in Midtown also carry her lava cakes, and she delivers daily in Detroit.
 
Sabatier is astounded by the overwhelming response she has received after just two months of being open. She remarks that even on Saturdays that are freezing cold, she will still sell 130 cakes at Eastern Market. "Everything has been very, very fast," she says. "I came back six months ago and said, 'Okay I'm going to apply at Eastern Market,' and they approved me. Everything went so fast. Just being at Eastern Market you reach so many people. People kept calling me (to place orders) and I had no idea who they were."
 
We hear more and more stories about young entrepreneurs coming in from the coasts to start their startups in Detroit, but hearing about a person crossing an ocean to start a cake company is much less common. "Everyone is asking me 'Why Detroit?' Look, I started a business two months ago and everything's so crazy; between baking, packing cakes, delivering cakes, buying ingredients, and sleeping three hours a night, (I think to myself) wow, I'm going to need a baker and delivery person soon. I don't know how I'm going to do it alone. That's what I tell people (when they ask why) Detroit." Sabatier has found the local support she needs to sustain and grow her business, much faster than she even anticipated. She bakes her cakes fresh daily and delivers them in person, which appeals to the strong local artisan food movement that has gained a serious stronghold in Detroit.
 
Sabatier has always loved baking and was taught by her grandmother, who was a "crazy baker – not professional, she would just bake all the time for any reason." Her grandmother taught her how to make the lava cakes, and for many years this was her specialty and what she would bring to dinners and parties. "It got to the point that I couldn't go to a party without chocolate cake!" She took some courses last year and learned how to make all types of French pastries, but she decided to focus on lava cake because it is very popular in France and sold in every restaurant, but there are few restaurants that sell them here – and fewer still that make them properly. As Sabatier herself notes, chocolate and pastries are serious business in French culture, and as far as lava cakes go, there must be a difference in texture with the outside being solid and the inside being almost liquid.
 
Chez Chloe's cakes come in two different sizes, bite-sized mini cakes or full-size individual cakes. She makes several different flavors, including salted caramel, peanut butter, coconut, and seasonal flavors such as fresh fruit in the summer and pumpkin in the fall. She also listens to her customers' suggestions for other flavors. She only uses Belgian dark chocolate. "It makes all the difference," she says. "It's the real deal."
 
Next year, Sabatier hopes to have a Chez Chloe food truck all her own, and is working with the Detroit Bus Company to buy and customize one. For now, you can pre-order cakes for the holidays and visit her at Eastern Market and other holiday market events. Sabatier saw a huge demand for Thanksgiving and expects more of the same for Christmas, but be warned – you only have until Dec. 22 to get your orders, as Sabatier is returning to Paris for the holidays. 
 
Source: Chloe Sabatier, owner of Chez Chloe
Writer: Nicole Rupersburg


Holiday retail happenings

Shopping local this holiday season? So are we, so we want to share with you some of the temporary pop-ups and one-night-only events that bring together a fantastic group of local artisans in one place, many of which don't have storefronts of their own. Make your list, check it twice, then check out some of these upcoming happenings.

Events

2013 Holiday Marketplace at Campus Martius
The Holiday Marketplace at Campus Martius will be held every weekend up until Christmas, featuring wares from local and regional artists, food producers, crafters, and vintage and antique items.

Pop-ups

Wheelhouse Detroit + Detroit Bikes at Eastern Market
Wheelhouse Detroit and Detroit Bikes have launched a retail residency running now through March 17 inside a shipping container in Shed 4 of Eastern Market. Hours are Friday and Monday 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.; Saturday 7 a.m. to 4 p.m., and Sunday 12 p.m. to 5 p.m. Bicycle rental and drop-off repair service is also available. 

1701 Bespoke -- 660 Woodward Avenue
Get suited up at 1701 Bespoke, a custom suit shop located inside the lobby of the First National Building that uses fine wools, linens, and silks from Italian fabric mills. 

The Detroit Shoppe – 1201 Woodward Avenue
Showcasing people, places and products that have shaped Detroit. Open Tuesdays – Saturdays 11 a.m. to 9 p.m.; now through Saturday, Dec. 21.

Rock Paper Scissors – 1213 Woodward Avenue
Personalized Stationery, paper, home goods and gift store. Open Tuesdays – Saturdays 11 a.m. to 9 p.m.; now through Saturday, Dec. 21. 

The Hand Made Company – 1219 Woodward Avenue
Showcases a wide-variety of Michigan-made products from Detroit retailers. Open Tuesdays – Saturdays 11 a.m. to 9 p.m.; now through Saturday, Dec. 21. 

Spielhaus Toys – 1249 Woodward Avenue
Hand-made specialty toy shop - read more about them here. Open Tuesdays – Saturdays 11 a.m. to 9 p.m.; now through Saturday, Dec. 21. 

Somerset Collection CityLoft – 1261 Woodward Avenue
Your favorite Somerset Collection retailers in the heart of Detroit. Open Thursdays – Saturdays 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Dec. 19-21.

Moosejaw - 1275 Woodward Avenue
Popular national outdoor retailer (retailer in downtown Detroit for more than a year). Open Wednesday – Saturday 11 a.m. to 7 p.m.; also open Tuesdays. 

Prepare for the holidays with Eastern Market's Thanksgiving Market next Tuesday

The Tuesday markets season in Eastern Market may be over, but next Tuesday will see one last round for the year, just in time for Thanksgiving.
 
From 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. next Tuesday, Nov. 26, shoppers can visit Eastern Market farms and artisan food vendors to pick up everything they need for their Thanksgiving dinners. "The idea of a Thanksgiving market came to us last year when the Tuesday before Thanksgiving people were calling us and asking if we were open," says Fiona Ruddy, Alternative Food Program Coordinator for Eastern Market.
 
At the time they had just wrapped up their second season of Tuesday markets and decided to plan a Thanksgiving market for this year. In planning this special holiday market, longtime vendors remembered when there was previously an annual Thanksgiving market when the city used to run Eastern Market and are very excited to see it come back.
 
The market will be held in Shed 5, which is heated. There will be food trucks serving food as well as Michigan wineries serving samples of their wines – an Eastern Market daytime market debut since a law was passed in Michigan earlier this year allowing wineries that produce fewer than five thousand gallons annually to sample and sell wines at farmers markets. (We may see more of this at the market next year.)
 
Randall Fogelman, Eastern Market's vice president of business development, co-authored the newly-released Detroit's Historic Eastern Market with writer Lisa Rush, and both will be on hand for a meet and greet, selling and signing copies. Part of the Images of America series from Arcadia Publishing, this will make a fantastic holiday gift item. Wheelhouse Detroit and Detroit Bikes are also launching a retail residency inside a shipping container in Shed 4 in conjunction with the Thanksgiving Market. Hours will be Friday and Monday 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.; Saturday 7 a.m. to 4 p.m. and Sunday 12 p.m. to 5 p.m. Bicycle rental and drop-off repair service will also be available.
 
There will also be Christmas tree farmers out in the parking lot behind Shed 5, so people can even shop for their holiday decorations as well as the food for their tables. Area businesses like DeVries, Rocky's Peanut Company, Gratiot Central Market, and more will also round out everything you need for a spectacular all-local dinner.
 
Eastern Market, and Shed 5 in particular, has been in the news quite a bit this year with announcements of grants supporting the construction of an outdoor plaza and a community kitchen. While a concrete timetable for the completion of construction has not been announced, interested groups can rent out Shed 5 for private parties ranging anything from kid-friendly family events to white tablecloth CEO dinners.
 
Source: Fiona Ruddy, Alternative Food Program Coordinator for Eastern Market
Writer: Nicole Rupersburg

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

Eastern Market is a prime example of urban placemaking according to MIT

A study conducted by the Department of Urban Studies and Planning (DUSP) at MIT that was just released last week that explores the evolution of the urban planning and design of public places toward placemaking, evaluating high-profile placemaking projects throughout the country including Detroit's Eastern Market.
 
Researchers looked at the market before and after the public-private partnership of the Eastern Market Corporation was established in 2006 to handle the district's operations. Since then, monumental change has occurred in the historic market district, as noted in the report:
 
"Since EMC took over the market’s management, two major facilities have been revitalized for more than $8 million, and another $8 million worth of renovations are underway on a new plant and flower center, Community Commercial Kitchen (available for rent to food-related entrepreneurs), and a new public plaza. By 2016, more than $80 million will have been invested. Plans include a mixed-use shed, streetscape projects, a greenway, a parking facility, and alternative energy projects. Additionally the EMC has created far-reaching food-access programs, a series of food-business incubator programs, a new Tuesday market and 'after hours' markets, and is planning a Sunday market featuring artisanal merchants. Part of the stakeholders’ vision is to use the success of the market to revitalize the entire area while retaining its authenticity, grit, and productive industrial uses."
 
Researchers further delved into the types of products sold at the market and spoke with EMC President Dan Carmody about the future of the market as it continues to grow and expand, reaching wider and wider audiences and growing to international prominence for the very same efforts outlined in this report. As the market brings in more specialty food producers that appeal to a wealthier and/or trendier clientele, EMC leadership is constantly mindful of keeping the market a place that appeals to a broad audience; a place where, yes, people have access to those local artisan food producers that get featured in national lifestyle publications, but also a place where everyone in the community has access to fresh, healthy, affordable food. They want to ensure the market continues to have this hip appeal while still retaining its authenticity.

As stated in the report:
 
"Perhaps the greatest ongoing challenge is how to get the right balance between gentrification and revitalization. Dan Carmody says, 'EMC is actively avoiding becoming too "cool,"' and decisions have been made to clean up the market but not make it 'too pretty;' limit the number of specialty foods vendors; and make sure residential zoning is kept to the outskirts of the district.' With every weekly market and event, EMC works to rebuild Detroiters' faith in community, revitalize a struggling district, increase food access, bring suburbanites back to the city, and help bridge socioeconomic and racial divides."

Read the full paper here.

Source: MIT Urban Planning: Project Placemaking
Writer: Nicole Rupersburg

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

Detroit City Distillery receives approval from the city, aims at spring 2014 opening

After a five-month-long process requiring two public hearings, Detroit City Distillery has been approved as a distillery by the City of Detroit.
 
Detroit City Distillery is a partnership between seven young professionals who are also long-time homebrewers and distillers. At the center of it is distiller J.P. Jerome, a Ph.D. in microbiology, and Michael Forsyth, manager of retail development for the DEGC and director of the REVOLVE Detroit program. The distillery will be in a 2,700 square foot space at 2462 Riopelle St. in Eastern Market, a former slaughterhouse.
 
"It has been a long time in the making," says Forsyth. "As the microbrewing industry took off our thinking evolved to getting into the craft distilling market, (and making) spirits in Detroit again."
 
The spirits industry was once second only to the auto industry in Detroit, but the industry dried up during Prohibition. Like the recently-opened Two James in Corktown, Detroit City Distillery will pay homage to the city's distilling history, as well as being inspired by their own personal history with Detroit.
 
"Everything aligns in the market for a distillery," Forsyth says "It is the center of distribution. Jerome's grandfather used to be a butcher in Eastern Market. The Market is all about local food in one place, and all the market's customers want better, fresher, locally-produced food. Those are our customers."
 
The partners behind Detroit City Distillery value working with local farmers and using all organic, locally-grown grains, and are even growing their own rye on Forsyth's family farm. They have already received federal approval and are still in the process of receiving approval from the state. Buildout of the space will begin in November and they are currently working on their packaging and labels. They plan on opening next spring. Keep an eye on their Facebook page for updates. 

Source: Michael Forsyth, co-owner of Detroit City Distillery
Writer: Nicole Rupersburg

Got a Development News story to share? Email Nicole 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.

Ford Field to get two more Slows stands, also adding Russell Street Deli and Corridor Sausage

Detroit Lions fans are in for a real treat this fall at Ford Field; the stadium will be increasing its partnership with local food businesses to include two more Slows' outposts, a Corridor Sausage cart, and a satellite location of Russell Street Deli.
 
"We want to provide a better local experience for our fans," says Joe Nader, Executive Chef of Ford Field. "There are a lot of places around downtown that people go to before and after games. I could do a barbecue stand inside the stadium but I could never replicate Slows or their branding and wouldn't try to."
 
Ford Field's partnership with Slows Bar BQ – arguably Detroit's most famous restaurant – started last year. "It made sense that we started there with the most iconic of the new Detroit brands," Nader says. Fans were happy because they could have that Slows experience right there in the stadium. But Slows was only available on the Club level (accessible only to Club level ticketholders), which made for some disgruntled fans.
 
But, as Nader explains, all good things in good time. Slows is responsible for running its stand in addition to two permanent locations (the Corktown institution and Slows To Go in Midtown). With 65,000 people in the stadium for every game, both Slows management and Levy Restaurants, which handles the food and beverage operations for Ford Field, had to make sure they could handle the crushing volume.
 
This year Slows will be available to everyone with outposts on the Club level, the North Club level, and in general concessions in Section 133. Joining them in the Club level is Russell Street Deli, and in North Club level is Corridor Sausage.
 
Nader has always made it a point to use products from local purveyors in Ford Field, including Better Made potato chips and Germack brand nuts. Nader has used Corridor Sausage products at special events, but now it will have its own cart and will also be available on the suite menu.
 
As far as Nader is concerned, this is a natural progression for Ford Field and a reflection of Detroit's fast-growing food scene. "My biggest thing is creating a Detroit experience," he says. "We get a lot of fans from out of town, and they might have heard about Slows or any of these places but they can't always have that experience while they're here. Now they can get it all inside the stadium."
 
Nader is also the co-founder of The Detroit Three, a new chef's collaborative that hosts culinary events with a charity component. 

Source: Joe Nader, Executive Chef of Ford Field
Writer: Nicole Rupersburg

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

New murals in Eastern Market celebrate changemaking and all things Weird

Eastern Market has a new welcome mat: behold one of the new murals on Gratiot entering the market, courtesy of German and Austrian artist collective "The Weird," recently in town for their group exhibition at Inner State Gallery. After spending some time absorbing the history and the "characters" of the Market, the Weird created this mural, which offers their interpretation of the people and places they saw. (And, yes, it's kind of weird.) 
 
The Weird's murals (they did a few) are the latest in an ongoing public art effort spearheaded by the guys behind Inner State (formerly 323 East in Royal Oak) and 1xRUN. "We've been engaged in public arts projects for many years," says Jesse Cory, who founded 323 and 1xRUN along with partners Dan Armand and Ryan Brogan. "It has always been in our blood and something we thought was important."
 
It started with the mural on their 323 building. They then moved on to Woodward Windows, a public art project that took over vacant storefronts along Woodward Avenue and included works from local artists like Malt, Sintex, Hygienic Dress League, and the Detroit Fashion Collective. Then, last summer, 1xRUN produced the Detroit Beautification Project in collaboration with Matt Eaton. This project yielded dozens of murals throughout Hamtramck and garnered national coverage (and controversy). It was during this project that Cory and his team were approached by Plymouth Educational Center instructor Allie Gross to collaborate with her 5th grade ChangeMakers class.
 
The ChangeMakers are a civically-minded group of students that had already put together a winning proposal at Detroit Soup. A crowd-funding campaign was launched to cover the cost of supplies, and 1xRUN brought San Diego-based artist Persue in to work with the students on creating a mural using his signature Bunny Kitty character. Persue worked with the kids for three days last month to create the mural on Russell between Mack and Warren in Eastern Market on the side of an abandoned juvenile detention center.
 
1xRUN's/Inner State's focus this year is all on Eastern Market, their new home since May. They have produced nine murals in the market so far this year. The murals serve several purposes: first, they are public works of art for all people to enjoy, taken outside of the confines of a traditional gallery and put out in front of the public. Second, the murals are from internationally-renowned street artists; petty taggers are deterred from destroying them (there is a strict street art code at play) so walls previously full of junky tags are remade into actual works of art. Third, since 1xRUN/Inner State self-funds all of these projects (with occasional help from sponsors like Montana Cans) and works with artists they're already collaborating with on limited edition print runs or an exhibition, the murals give them a chance to further showcase their artists and their brand. Cory says, "It gives traveling artists the same opportunity to leave behind something better."
 
Source: Jesse Cory, co-founder of 1xRUN and Inner State Gallery
Writer: Nicole Rupersburg

Photo credit: Sal Rodriguez

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

The Detroit Wood Type Co. set up shop inside Signal-Return

Signal-Return is a letterpress workshop, retail space, and…business incubator? In a manner of speaking, yes. The old-fashioned (and nouveau trendy) letterpress studio in Eastern Market is also home to Detroit Wood Type Co., producers of historic wood types and letterpress goods.
 
Detroit Wood Type Co. formed about eight months ago after partners Don Kilpatrick, Joe Benghauser, and Christian Mulligan had been collaborating on other types projects. Kilpatrick is the illustrator, Benghauser is the type designer, and Mulligan is the project manager.
 
"It's really just us doing this," says Kilpatrick. "We're bringing back historic typefaces that were designed over 100 years ago and creating them in wood." They also design new typefaces inspired by historic type. "The primary focus is making unique typefaces that are affordable."
 
Unique letterpress typefaces are typically very expensive, so if a person who is professionally and financially established can't afford them, it's highly unlikely a recent graduate or young person with an eye for design can. So Kilpatrick and Benghauser got all the equipment, restored it, learned how to print on it, and found processes to make it more affordable. The standard pricepoint is $299 for both historic and original designs, and they can also do custom designs.
 
"If you want to explore the (letterpress) medium and push yourself as a designer, it's great to buy wood type because it gives you all sorts of possibilities," says Kilpatrick. "Letterpress printing is one of those things that allows you to slow down and think, to take the time to learn the history of your craft as a designer. Wood type is part of that."
 
Right now Signal-Return is their studio, retailer, and distributor. All their types and letterpress goods are available there. Their long-term goal is to have their own studio and storefront, and they are also eager to collaborate with other artists.
 
Source: Don Kilpatrick, Co-Founder of Detroit Wood Type Co.
Writer: Nicole Rupersburg

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

Downtown Detroit Bike Shop now open in Eastern Market

Detroit has a new bike shop! Sort of.
 
The Downtown Detroit Bike Shop is open now through September at 1420 Fisher Freeway in Eastern Market. It is a pop-up concept that has the potential to become permanent if business is good over the next few months.
 
Owner Jon Hughes also owns the Downtown Ferndale Bike Shop, now in its fourth year, and was busy earlier this year trying to coordinate the first-ever Gran Fondo mass cycling event down the Woodward Corridor. While the ride was ultimately not approved by all of the Corridor communities, Hughes is still organizing an informal ride for Sunday, June 30 at 8 a.m. starting at Rivard Plaza and going up Woodward to the Pontiac Loop and back again.
 
"I figured I haven't been stretched out enough, so why not open a shop in Eastern Market?" Hughes says. He has wanted to open a store in Detroit ever since he first opened his store in Ferndale.
 
When a friend looking to open a restaurant found this space in Eastern Market, the cost of a restaurant build-out would have been too expensive … but it was perfect for what Hughes needed. "For him it wasn't going to work, but I just have to put hooks on the wall." The space was previously an art gallery but had been empty for four years. Though Hughes was planning on opening a Detroit location full-time next year, when this space fell into his lap he decided to test it out. He signed the lease two weeks ago and started moving in inventory.
 
Downtown Detroit Bike Shop has about 200 bikes in stock along with tons of accessories. It is an extension of the Ferndale store, selling both new and used bikes and offering full repair services. At about 2,800 square feet, the Detroit store is nearly three times as large as the Ferndale store. Hughes will have limited hours on Tuesday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday to start, in the hopes that business will grow and he can hire employees to be there seven days a week. He also wants to organize some rides through the store, which is conveniently located right near the Dequindre Cut Greenway north entrance.
 
A previous pop-up last year inside Compuware was unsuccessful due to lack of visibility, but Hughes hopes for a better response this time – ideally, he'd like to keep the space when September rolls around.
 
Source: Jon Hughes, owner of Downtown Detroit Bike Shop
Writer: Nicole Rupersburg

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

Detroit Collision Works to debut First Container this weekend at Flower Day

Progress is well underway for Detroit Collision Works, the proposed 36-room boutique hotel made out of shipping crates located on the Dequindre Cut near Eastern Market.
 
After running a crowd-funding campaign in April and raising over $40,000 (surpassing their goal of $37,000), Detroit Collision Works has been able to purchase and renovate the "First Container," which will serve as the hotel lobby, office space for the Collision Works team, and a community space. In one week's time they will have added walls, windows, air conditioning, and electricity.
 
First Container was just delivered last Thursday and is currently transforming into the model display, which will open just in time for Eastern Market's annual Flower Day this Sunday, May 19. It will be located at 2934 Russell, next to the Eastern Market Corporation's office (and just south of the gazebo).
 
First Container will serve as a model lobby as well as a marketing vehicle. Kimen plans to be open for guests to visit every Thursday through Saturday during the day and Tuesdays when the market is open. The model will be on location for the next six months.
 
The model – which she describes as a mini hotel lobby – will have lobby seating, free WiFi, and a recording booth for people to share their stories on various topics (Kimen plans on partnering with other local events, like Movement later this month, to encourage this kind of community engagement).  
 
Progress is also moving forward with the proposed construction site: the phase 1 environmental assessment came back clean, meaning the site is safe to build on. Their next step is a special land use hearing, but, Kimen says, "We're getting very close to actually being able to buy and develop that land."
 
The land is already vacant, located on the Cut between two major east-west greenway connectors that will eventually go north and west to Midtown and southeast to Grosse Pointe Park, allowing future guests easy access to the city's greenways and major attractions by bike. "It's a huge opportunity to be in that location."
 
Kimen also hopes that, with a physical model to show, it will help her as she continues to seek out financial backers for the development.
 
Source: Shel Kimen, Founder and CEO of Detroit Collision Works
Writer: Nicole Rupersburg

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

Inner State, formerly 323 East, opening May 17

You already know that the popular Royal Oak art gallery 323 East, which is behind the game-changing 1xRUN limited edition time-released online art "store" with an international audience, is moving to Detroit in a space adjacent to Eastern Market at 1410 Gratiot. What you might not know yet is that with the new space comes a new name.
 
"We're in a new space and have a new identity," says Jesse Cory, founder of 323 East. "We needed a fresh new approach to it."
 
That new approach is called Inner State, a name which can be seen as both a semantic play on the extensive interstate systems that criss-cross the Motor City as well as an acknowledgement of the work of the exhibiting artists reflecting their "inner states."
 
After outgrowing their small space in Royal Oak, the 323 team began looking for spaces in the city. "The art world in Detroit is exploding right now," Cory says. "There's a consolidation (that's happening)," mentioning the Butcher's Daughter in Midtown and the Red Bull House of Art, Inner State's new neighbors located in the market district.
 
The three-story, 10,000-square-foot space has a more refined look designed by architect Tadd Heidgerken for et al. Collaborative, who also designed Astro Coffee and the House of Art. "(We knew he) designs spaces that are very comfortable and dynamic. I don’t know where else in town you'd look to get someone with that kind of aesthetic." Cory describes it as being less of a boutique and more of a traditional gallery – cleaner, much larger, and a fitting utilization of the building without "going overboard."
 
Inner State will be open Thursdays through Saturdays and will be more exhibit-oriented with private receptions as well as the grand opening fetes for each new exhibit that they became known for at 323.

"We definitely want to celebrate the efforts people put into these works and have a party," he says. "It's really a coming-of-age of the art world in Detroit. The stigma of galleries in the past has been removed. (Places like) 323 and the House of Art have really made the experience inclusive."
 
The new gallery opens May 17.
 
Source: Jesse Cory, founder of 323 East/Inner State
Writer: Nicole Rupersburg

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

Mosaic Youth Theatre to move into old Miller High School, launching partnership with charter school

In 2001, Mosaic Youth Theatre of Detroit was commissioned to write a play on Detroit history as part of the Detroit 300 celebration. The result was Hastings Street, a play about teenagers at Miller High School in the 1940s, which they identified as one of the most exciting times and places to be a teenager in the city's history. Two years ago Mosaic decided to produce this play during their 2012/2013 performance season. What they didn't know at the time was that they would also be moving into the old Miller High School in the fall of 2013.
 
Mosaic will relocate its offices to 2251 Antietam, formerly Miller High, while joining a new charter public K-5 elementary school called the University Prep Science & Math Elementary School: Sidney D. Miller Campus (UPSM). This will be a "STEAM" school – science, technology, engineering, and math ("STEM") plus arts. This new charter school purchased the building and is providing Mosaic with 12,600 square feet of dedicated space as well as an additional 31,000 square feet of shared space in the school. In turn, Mosaic is providing their students with arts instruction in a unique in-kind partnership that expands the reach and resources of both entities. Mosaic will pay $1/year for rent plus utilities, though they do have to raise over $1 million in funding for their portion of the construction costs.
 
"It's really better for an arts organization of our size to be part of this larger entity rather than owning our own building," says Mosaic Founder & CEO Rick Sperling. Small and medium-sized arts organizations face a real challenge when they own their own buildings, which inevitably takes the focus away from the organization itself.
 
This partnership between Mosaic and UPSM is also aligned with the Detroit Future City framework. Considered part of the Eastern Market area of the plan, this partnership addresses two of the strategic focuses: both finding a use for obsolete historic buildings (the school is national historic landmark that has sat empty since 2007) and also to promote the arts in residential and industrial areas. While Mosaic's main performances will still be at the DIA, they will hold training and smaller performances in their new home. Between the school and Mosaic, Sperling says there will be traffic at this site seven days a week from 8 a.m. to 9 p.m.
 
Most of Mosaic's artistic staff works with young people from all over the city and suburbs on nights and weekends, so the added arts support to the elementary school will not disrupt other programs.
 
The old Channel 56 Building, Mosaic's current home, will be put up for sale and will continue to be used as Mosaic's tech shop and storage facility in the meantime so the building remains occupied. Hastings Street opens on May 10 at the DIA.
 
Source: Rick Sperling, Founder & CEO of Mosaic Youth Theatre of Detroit
Writer: Nicole Rupersburg

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