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First annual blacksmith and welding festival to take place in Midtown


The first of what organizers hope to be an annual event will be held Saturday, September 13th in the parking lot across from Midtown bar and restaurant Traffic Jam & Snug. The event, SCRAP, is a celebration of the city's metal working culture. Blacksmithing demonstrations and a live three-team welding competition are among the activities planned.

A silent auction will be held throughout the day, allowing visitors to bid on the works being created right before them. Involved in the welding competition are teams Detroitus, Motown Masters, and City Sculpture. Artists are challenged to make revolving, kinetic sculptures out of reclaimed scrap metal.

Proceeds from the auction will be donated to Green Living Science, a recycling and upcycling advocacy group that is supporting the event. Other supporters include SPARC and Red-D-Arc Welderentals. Traffic Jam & Snug is hosting the event.

SCRAP organizers were first inspired by James Howard, a longtime blacksmith and the father of Traffic Jam & Snug co-owner Carolyn Howard. The event is an opportunity to showcase an inspired group of people and their work.

"It's the start of something amazing," says Ana Cukovic, one of the event's organizers. "People might not know it, but Detroit still has that strong metal working culture."

In addition to demonstrations by the Michigan Blacksmith Guild and the art competition, there will be DJ sets from RJ Stefanski, Eastside Jon, Ernie “Erno the Inferno” Guerra, and Evan Scott Braddish, or “Evol”. Also planned are fire performances, Wayne State University artist showcases, a photobooth, and other vendors.

SCRAP will run from 2 to 9 p.m. on Saturday, September 13th. The event is free to attend and will be family friendly, says organizers.

Source: Ana Cukovic, SCRAP co-producer
Writer: MJ Galbraith

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

Getting Detroit kids to care about historic preservation in their neighborhood


In an effort to foster a stronger sense of place in young people, the Michigan Historic Preservation Network is hosting the second phase of its Preservation Demonstration Project this Saturday, September 13 at 11 a.m. (rain date: Saturday, September 27). The event, 'My Neighborhood, My Heritage,' will teach the importance of the historic Jefferson-Chalmers neighborhood's built and natural environments.

The interactive event is for 12- to 18-year-olds. Young people will be provided disposable cameras and will be encouraged to take photos of the neighborhood while being led on a walking tour. It's an opportunity for the preservation group to teach people the history of their neighborhood and demonstrate how that history affects the community today. It's an opportunity, too, for the group to learn from young people and hear how that built environment affects their lives on a day-to-day basis.

A third event, to be held in late October, will feature the photos taken and will be followed by an awards ceremony. Pop-ups, lectures, and presentations are also planned.

While preservation groups are often associated with opposing the demolition of historic buildings, events like 'My Neighborhood, My Heritage are ways for these groups to reach people before a building, block, or neighborhood is even at risk. It's a long-term plan that can change how people view preservation, demolition, and development in general.

"We hope that this exploration and discussion of shared heritage through the eyes of young people will help inform and influence contemporary community decision-making," MHPN Executive Director Nancy Finegood says in a statement.

The event is free but preregistration is required. Morning refreshments and lunch will be provided.

Register at Hope Community Outreach and Development or email info@mhpn.org.

Update: The 'My Neighborhood, My Heritage' event will begin at 11 a.m. on Saturday, September 13, an hour later than originally scheduled.

Source: Michigan Historic Preservation Network press release
Writer: MJ Galbraith

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

Apartment building in 'Arena District' changes hands, but rent remains the same

Cass Park Apartments, a 37-unit apartment building at 2714 Second Ave., has been sold to 2nd Avenue Property, LLC. Property management company Princeton Management is now running the building. 

Not a lot of changes are planned for the property, says Princeton Management Director of Marketing and Communications Michele Dreer, and current residents can expect a smooth transition of management. The building, made up mostly of studio apartments with a few one-bedroom units, was well taken care of by its previous owners and required few upgrades. Rent will stay the same, says Dreer.

According to the Live Midtown website, studio apartments at 2714 Second Ave. rent for $525, while one bedrooms rent for $625 Both rates include utilities.

Cass Park is located just blocks from the multi-million dollar residential and commercial district planned around a new Detroit Red Wings hockey arena. The building itself is situated across from the actual Cass Park. The Masonic Temple is one block north.

"We liked the property because of the area that it's in," says Dreer. "The arena district is going to be great and there will be a lot of redevelopment opportunities."

Princeton is also the group behind the Ashley, the conversion of a downtown hotel into apartments. The company hopes to begin moving tenants into the 67-unit apartment building by the end of the year. The Milner Hotel closed in 2012.

The uniquely-shaped 'flat iron' building first opened as the Henry Clay Hotel in 1913. While Princeton is maintaining the historic lobby and its mosaic tiles and stained glass, the floors above are being completely gutted. Old hotel room walls have been knocked down, leaving wide open floors that will be rebuilt as one- and two-bedroom apartments.

Two retail spaces in the building have already been reserved, says Dreer, though she wouldn't say who those tenants would be.

Princeton manages a number of apartment buildings in Detroit, including the Palms, Orchestra Place, and the Claridge House.

Source: Michele Dreer, Director of Marketing & Communications at Princeton Management
Writer: MJ Galbraith

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

Craft beer store featuring taps to open in Cass Corridor

A specialty beer store is opening in Detroit's former Chinatown area. 8° Plato Beer Company Detroit will be the second location for the craft and import beer store. Co-owners Tim Costello and Brigid Beaubien are leasing the storefront at 3409 Cass Ave., the former site of Showcase Collectibles, an antique and curio shop.

Costello began to learn about craft beer during the 25 years he spent touring the country as a full-time stand-up comic, sampling the many small breweries throughout the United States. After spending some time working for Comcast, 8° Plato was set in motion after Costello was 'liberated,' as he puts it, from his job at the cable company. Vowing to never go back to the corporate world, Costello and wife and business partner Beaubien opened their first store in Ferndale in 2011.

Costello says that the focus of the Detroit store will be the same as their Ferndale location. Rather than having the biggest stock in town, the point is to have a well-curated selection that doesn't linger on the shelves. It's a quality over quantity approach that emphasizes freshness. Local cheeses, meats, and chocolates will also be available.

"The coolest part is the building's historical significance," says Costello. "We're not going to make radical changes. We'll take out the drywall to expose the brick but maintain the terrazzo tile floor and tin ceilings."

New for the company will be the addition of beer taps. Growlers, tap takeovers, and beer classes will be available. The taps also allow customers to enjoy a freshly poured beer while shopping for more beer. Costello's not looking to have a bar vibe, though, and he says they'll have similar hours to the Ferndale location, which closes by 8 or 9 p.m., depending on the night.

8° Plato Beer Company Detroit hopes for a late Noevember 2014 opening.

Source: Tim Costello, co-owner of 8° Plato Beer Company Detroit
Writer: MJ Galbraith

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

City still seeks Brush Park development team, allows for higher densities

The city of Detroit has re-issued a slightly modified request for proposals for a Brush Park development first announced at the beginning of 2014. With that RFP long-expired and the city having not selected a plan, a new RFP was recently announced with a November 14 deadline.

The biggest differences between last January's RFP and the new one are a changes in residential density and land use parameters. While the previous RFP capped residential development in Brush Park at 15 to 35 dwelling units per acre, the revised RFP is allowing for larger developments of up to 60 dwelling units per acre.

According to the release, the City of Detroit's Planning and Development Department believes that, "[I]in order to better achieve the neighborhood scale, walkable, mixed-use vision of the future of Brush Park as set forth by P&DD and the Brush Park Citizens District Council, the current Development Plan is undergoing a major modification in order to allow a greater density of residential (up to 60 D.U./Acre) and a greater mix of uses within Brush Park."

The two parcels of land available in this RFP are the same as before. At approximately 7.5 acres, “Parcel A” is made up of four historic structures and 36 vacant lots bounded by Edmund Place (north), Brush Street (east), Adelaide Street (south), and John R (west). At approximately 0.90 acres, “Parcel B” consists of seven vacant properties and is bounded by Alfred (north), Beaubien Street (east), Division Street (south), and Brush (west).

The historic building at 312 Watson, known as “Parcel C” in January's RFP, is not included in this most recent request.

According to the RFP, the P&DD's new goals for the historic Brush Park neighborhood include creating residential density, promoting adaptive re-use, introducing neighborhood scale retail uses, and limiting surface parking lots.

Source: City of Detroit Planning & Development Department
Writer: MJ Galbraith

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

Midtown Detroit, Inc. secures funding for new green alley, construction starts in September

Over $200,000 has been secured for a new green alley in Midtown. The money results from a successful crowdfunding campaign by Midtown Detroit, Inc., which beat its $50,000 goal by $2,290. By reaching its goal, Midtown Detroit, Inc. also secures $50,000 in pledged matching funds from the Michigan Economic Development Corporation (MEDC).

The alley in question runs between Second and Third streets and Selden and Alexandrine streets, running behind what could prove to be a very popular restaurant, Selden Standard, which is currently under construction.

"The Green Alley project is a perfect example of how crowdfunding enables residents, businesses, and others to pool resources and work together to create vibrant public spaces," says MEDC's director of community development Katharine Czarnecki in a statement. The Michigan Department of Transportation and Shinola have each contributed an additional $10,000 and $100,000, respectively.

As it stands today, the alley is not unlike plenty of alleys in plenty of big cities, strewn with litter and debris and largely unkempt. Those curious about what a green alley is can travel just a few blocks north to the city's first green alley, which starts at Second and runs east between Canfield and Forest streets, or they can visit the city's second green alley, which is under construction between Cass and Second and Willis and Canfield streets.

Green alleys promote sustainability, pedestrian safety, and placemaking, completely transforming parts of the city that are often under-utilized and generally avoided. By breaking up solid stretches of pavement and replacing them with permeable pavers, green alleys allow urban runoff and rain to go directly into the ground rather than flow into the city's sewer system.

Construction on the alley is scheduled to begin this September and be completed by the end of October. Midtown Detroit, Inc. is planning a grand opening for the alley which will coincide with the highly anticipated opening of the Selden Standard.

Source: Midtown Detroit, Inc. press release
Writer: MJ Galbraith

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

Sister Pie wins $50K grand prize from Hatch Detroit

Sister Pie has won the fourth annual Hatch Detroit contest, taking home the $50,000 grand prize. The bakery and pie shop beat out a music store, a New Orleans-themed bar and restaurant, and a breakfast and lunch spot for the top prize.

While pie is deeply rooted in tradition, Sister Pie often puts inventive twists on its products. Recent pies include a pinto bean, corn, and jalapeno hand pie and a blueberry, plum, and balsamic pie.

Lisa Ludwinski, who owns and operates Sister Pie, has said that the Hatch prize money will go a long way toward completing the renovations of a West Village storefront. $50,000 will help Ludwinski reduce the amount of any loans she may need to take out as she builds out the Sister Pie location at Parker and Kercheval streets. Ludwinski hopes for an April 2015 opening.

A physical location for Sister Pie is important to Ludwinski, having stressed the desire for a community space in the neighborhood. Once the cafe opens, Sister Pie will offer breakfast and lunch items in addition to the pies and cookies for which the business is already well known.

Ludwinski hopes to open a temporary counter at the storefront while construction is completed. In the meantime, Sister Pie products are available throughout the city, including at Parker Street Market, Sister Pie's future neighbor.

After menswear and lifestyle boutique Hugh won the first Hatch contest in 2011, the next three winners have all been food- and drink-based businesses. La Feria, a Spanish tapas restaurant that opened in 2013, won in 2012. Meanwhile, Batch Brewing Company, a small batch brewery that took the top prize in 2013, continues to work on their eventual Corktown location.

Source: Lisa Ludwinski, owner and operator of Sister Pie
Writer: MJ Galbraith

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

Hatch Final Four: A full service music instrument store in Midtown

Given Detroit's rich musical legacy, a lack of music stores throughout the city comes as a surprise -- and an annoyance -- to many a musician. Despite the fact that there are thousands of musicians who live and perform in the city, amateur and professional alike, there's nary a place where a drummer can pick up drumsticks before a gig or where a mother can buy a saxophone reed for a daughter who just joined band class.

Jen David is working to change that. If she has her way, guitarists won't have to drive to the suburbs for guitar strings anymore, and parents won't have to fight traffic as they bring their children to music lessons outside the city. She's starting Third Wave Music, a full service music instrument store that will be located in the Forest Arms apartment building in Midtown. Forest Arms is currently being renovated after a fire shuttered the building in 2008.

David says that the store will focus on accessories like strings, sticks, and reeds as well as music lessons. Locally made products, like instrument effects pedals and cigar box guitars, will be offered, too. David's partner Jeffrey Thomas will offer made-to-order instrument cables (musicians will be able to request specific lengths and specific jacks). Third Wave will sell used gear and offer instrument repair services as well.

For David, it's fulfilling a need for a community of professional musicians, independent artists, and local students that will be the most rewarding aspect of the business.

"The biggest thing is the absolute need for something like this in Detroit," says David. "We've already received so much support and positivity. With the musical legacy of Detroit, it's a resource that this community deserves."

A musician who also gives lessons, David knows first hand the challenges of commuting back-and-forth to the suburbs, currently a necessity for any musician living in Detroit.  

Third Wave Music is one of four contestants vying to win the $50,000 grand prize from Hatch Detroit. Voting ends August 20 at 12 p.m. EST. Voting is open to the public and available online.

Source: Jen David, owner/operator of Third Wave Music
Writer: MJ Galbraith

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

Hatch Final Four: Pies, cookies, and more in West Village

While chefs and other head kitchen types often carry a moody intensity about them, that is decidedly not Lisa Ludwinski, owner and head baker for Sister Pie. She's big on fun, not serious -- at least when it comes to baking. These are pies and cookies, after all. They're supposed to be fun.

Browsing through Sister Pie social media accounts like Facebook and Instagram reveals that sense of fun. Ludwinski and her cohorts have been posting increasingly creative dance videos while they work. It's something that developed naturally out of the rigors of an average workday -- dancing away the stress. It's a positive release for Ludwinski and one that her customers have responded to.

Of course, dance videos wouldn't get Ludwinski too far if her pies weren't up to snuff. The pies are locally-sourced and reflect Michigan farmers and their traditions, says Ludwinski. While pies are old-fashioned and traditional, they also allow her to experiment with new flavors and techniques.

They're flying off the shelves at Parker Street Market, she says. And soon they'll be neighbors with the market, having secured a storefront across the street. For Ludwinski, West Village is the perfect location for the Sister Pie cafe. They're working on the space now.

"While I know wholesale production is a great source of income -- and it's something we'll continue to do -- I always wanted a storefront," says Ludwinski. "I want a community space in a neighborhood. A place where kids can come, where everyone can come, and watch the bakers make the pies."

Ludwinski hopes that the cafe will open April 2015. In the meantime, Sister Pie products can still be found at places like Parker Street. While construction is underway, she'll look to open a sort of pop-up, temporary counter at the storefront to get people used to coming to the West Village location.

Sister Pie is one of four contestants vying to win the $50,000 grand prize from Hatch Detroit. Voting ends August 20 at 12 p.m. EST. Voting is open to the public and available online.

Source: Lisa Ludwinski, owner and head baker at Sister Pie
Writer: MJ Galbraith

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

Hatch Final Four: Breakfast and lunch on the Avenue of Fashion

Fresh off a degree from the culinary school at Schoolcraft College, Lisa Cardwell is already well on her way toward opening her first restaurant. It's called Cockadoodle, a breakfast and lunch spot destined for Detroit's Avenue of Fashion.

The restaurant will be centered around a recipe Cardwell perfected one Thanksgiving with her family. Tasked with stuffing the turkey, Cardwell's unique spice mix impressed her family so much that they began to press her to open a restaurant. The Cockadoodle concept was soon developed. Switching poultry, Cardwell's recipe features that distinctive spice mix stuffed into an applewood-smoked chicken. She uses fresh, steroid- and antibiotic-free Amish chickens bought from Eastern Market.

In addition to her smoked chicken plates, Cardwell plans on offering soups, salads, and breakfast items.

Having grown up in the area, Cardwell is familiar enough with the Avenue of Fashion and its surrounding neighborhoods to know that a breakfast and lunch spot is something the area needs. She says that residents in the community are all too often traveling to the suburbs to spend their money on something not available in their neighborhood. Cardwell hopes to change that.

"Everything seems pretty serendipitous that I'm now realizing my passion," says Cardwell. "It seems pretty spiritual to me."

While a location hasn't been selected, Cardwell says she's narrowed the choices down to two. She's looking to open Cockadoodle in late 2016. In the meantime, she'll begin selling her special chickens at Eastern Market.

Once her first restaurant opens, Cardwell hopes to expand to other locations. It's designed to be replicated, she says, and she'll look to open Cockadoodles in downtown Detroit, Chicago, and Washington D.C.

Cockadoodle is one of four contestants vying to win the $50,000 grand prize from Hatch Detroit. Voting ends August 20 at 12 p.m. EST. Voting is open to the public and available online.

Source: Lisa Cardwell, conceptualist and owner at Cockadoodle
Writer: MJ Galbraith

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

Hatch Final Four: New Orleans food and music for Woodbridge

Dameon Gabriel comes from New Orleans music royalty. His family can trace its music roots all the way back to 1850s New Orleans and the eventual beginnings of jazz. The Gabriels moved to Detroit in the 1940s and they brought that New Orleans-style jazz music with them. Since the move north, generations of Gabriels have worked to preserve their New Orleans roots here in Detroit, maintaining a line of New Orleans-style jazz players that continue to play throughout the city.

Dameon Gabriel is working to cement that musical heritage and its place in Detroit by establishing Gabriel Hall, a bar, restaurant, museum, and music venue. He's partnered with Ederique Goudia, a Louisiana-born and raised chef who now caters throughout metro Detroit, to ensure an authentically Creole menu.

The bar will offer cocktails famous to New Orleans, like the Hurricane, a rum-based drink popular in that city's French Quarter. Gabriel is curating a wealth of family history into a mini-museum, where visual and audio displays will explore the musical connection between New Orleans and Detroit.

And then there's the music. Gabriel says that while the live entertainment won't always be New Orleans-style music, there will be certain nights of the month that will feature that famous sound. Gabriel himself plays trumpet in the Gabriel Brass Band. And when the band is offstage, expect Gabriel Hall to play New Orleans-style music throughout the venue, both old and new, from Louis Armstrong to the Rebirth Brass Band.

Gabriel is currently working to confirm a certain building in Woodbridge, one whose owner is already excited by the idea. He hopes to open in the summer of 2015.

"I'm surprised by how many people have already attached themselves to this idea and want to see it happen," says Gabriel. "I'm humbled by all the support."

Gabriel Hall is one of four contestants vying to win the $50,000 grand prize from Hatch Detroit. Voting ends August 20 at 12 p.m. EST. Voting is open to the public and available online.

Source: Dameon Gabriel, co-founder of Gabriel Hall
Writer: MJ Galbraith

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

Bike and skateboard shop celebrates grand opening in Springwells neighborhood

What started in 2008 as an earn-a-bike program at Urban Neighborhood Initiatives has blossomed into Southwest Rides, a full service bike and skateboard retail shop with an experienced bicycle mechanic.

Through fundraising efforts, private donations, and a $25,000 grant from the Skillman Foundation, Southwest Rides was able to open a brick-and-mortar location in Southwest Detroit's Springwells neighborhood. Though the shop opened earlier this summer, Southwest Rides is hosting a grand opening celebration Saturday, August 16. The event is open to the public and will feature food, deals, and prizes.

Through the earn-a-bike program, members of the community complete maintenance courses, eventually taking a bike home after putting in a set amount of hours. Southwest Rides continues to offer the earn-a-bike program.

With the shop opening, the people behind Southwest Rides have expanded their educational programming to include an apprenticeship program. In addition to honing skills as bicycle mechanics, young people also learn business basics, from customer service to shop maintenance.

"There are a lot of components in running a small business," says Isaac Gilman, a board member with Southwest Rides. "This way the youth get practice and then later on they can apply what they've learned. They'll have something under their belts."

Of course, Southwest Rides is a business, too, with normal hours of operation for retail and maintenance. Gilman says that business has been good so far -- the skateboards are particularly popular with the young people in the neighborhood -- and they're hoping the grand opening event will help spread the word to other parts of the city.

The grand opening celebration is 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturday, August 16 at Southwest Rides, located at 1824 Springwells St.

Source: Isaac Gilman, board member of Southwest Rides
Writer: MJ Galbraith

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

First round of Hatch voting ends Thursday as 10 startups vie for $50K prize

The popular Hatch Detroit contest has entered its fourth year and the ten start-ups announced as semi-finalists are doing all that they can to garner votes. The eventual winner of the small business competition will receive a $50,000 grant and a suite of business support services.

Voting for the semi-finalist round is open to the public and ends at 11:59 p.m. EST on August 14. Voters may select four businesses during the first round and may vote once a day. Voting for the second round will begin August 15, when the field of competitors is narrowed to four businesses. The eventual winner of the $50,000 prize will be announced August 20.

While there is only one winner, just making it into the top ten is a great source of exposure and motivation for businesses.

"Hatch has given us a faster pace to run to," says Jen David, co-founder of Third Wave Music. "I've been meeting new people and talking to many musicians and students excited for a new spot to get what they need and have support. It's been really encouraging to hear positive feedback. It's really motivating."

The semi-finalists are:Source: Jen David, co-founder of Third Wave Music
Writer: MJ Galbraith

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

Detroit development news round-up: July and August

It's been another busy month for development news in the city. Let's catch up on five of the biggest stories since our last round-up.

In what Detroit Free Press writer John Gallagher calls, "the city’s boldest and most significant development since the Renaissance Center of the 1970s," the Ilitch family released plans for their enormous sports, entertainment, and housing development. A taxpayer-subsidized arena for billionaire Mike Ilitch's Red Wings hockey team anchors a massive plan of new development and districts, including a potential 2,000 new residential units.

The new arena district will be built with the M1 Rail streetcar line in mind, which officially broke ground Monday, July 28. The lightrail line will run along Woodward Avenue from downtown to New Center and is expected to begin operating in late 2016. The first phase of construction has closed Woodward from Adams Street to Campus Martius park for 120 days.

Officials hope that the M1 Rail will make it easier for people to navigate a city blooming with new bars and restaurants. Eater Detroit has mapped out ten of their most anticipated Detroit restaurant openings. They include eateries from West Fort Street to Hamtramck, from the top of a downtown hotel to everyone's favorite castle building.

Boydell Development Company, the development group behind Corktown's Roosevelt Hotel restoration, announced plans to redevelop an old Wayne State University pharmacy school into a 180 apartment-unit building. The 'micro-apartments' will range from 400 to 500 square feet at the new Shapero Hall.

Winners for the Parallel Projections design contest Reanimate the Ruins were recently announced. Though conceptual in nature, the submitted proposals for redeveloping the iconic blight campus that is the Packard Motor Plant demonstrate the breadth of possibilities for the historic site.

Writer: MJ Galbraith

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

Northern Lights Lounge adds a patio and brunch, continues to transform its street

As Northern Lights Lounge nears closer to its tenth anniversary this October, the New Center bar, restaurant, and venue has recently debuted a large patio. Detroit-based Steven C. Flum is the architect of record on the project.

Matching a facade grant from co-grantors Midtown Detroit, Inc. and Local Initiatives Support Corporation, co-owners Michael Solaka, William Steele, and Greg "Kegger" Visee have opened a patio that they have been working on conceptually for about as long as the lounge has been open. Construction began in October 2013 and the patio is now open to the public.

The patio area, once an old asphalt parking lot, now features brick pavers, outdoor furniture, and three young trees -- an oak, a maple, and a poplar. At night, soft lighting and an outdoor speaker system complement the vibe found inside the lounge itself.

More outdoor furniture is coming, says Solaka, and he hopes to get a fire pit going sometime soon. An outdoor bar is a possibility, too. A few years on and a bordering wall will be covered in the young Boston ivy recently planted at its base.

"We haven't really designed the final product yet," says Solaka. "But we figured we'd get it done, live with it, and kind of see how people used it. And I've already learned a lot working out here while people are using it."

The lounge is debuting a Sunday brunch menu Sunday, August 3 -- another patio-related feature. Solaka reveals, too, that he is planning on constructing ten studio-loft apartments on the floor above the lounge, complete with balconies overhanging the new patio. He's also looking to fill the storefront adjacent to Northern Lights. Another ten years from now and 660 W. Baltimore and its block could look as different as it did ten years ago.

Source: Michael Solaka and Greg Visee, co-owners of Northern Lights Lounge
Writer: MJ Galbraith

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