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Detroit Development News

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Pop-ups, bike racks, and daffodils: Placemaking on Springwells Street

In "placemaking," a trendy word for creating environments friendly to community activities and human pursuits, sometimes the final product is less important than the acts themselves. Yes, the 6,500 tulips and daffodils planted along Springwells Street and poised for their spring arrival should make the street sing. Murals, painted last year by groups of young people from the neighborhood and with permission and input from property owners, have helped the community express its character. And a new pocket park-- nicknamed  People's Park by area residents -- gives neighbors a place to gather and enjoy the ice cream from Family Treats that they've been buying for decades.

Flowers, public art, reclaimed and reactivated abandoned lots -- all great things and all recent placemaking initiatives organized and executed by Urban Neighborhood Initiatives, a community nonprofit that focuses on the neighborhood of Springwells Village. They, along with community partners like the Southwest Detroit Business Association and the Springdale-Woodmere Block Club, have worked to accomplish some pretty effective placemaking goals.

But as Community Development Manager Tiffany Tononi talks about the different programs, what's clear is that when neighbors see each other on the street, planting tulip bulbs or clearing a trash-strewn lot, the ensuing conversations on the sidewalk are just as important as the end result. That's what makes a place, when neighbors are engaged with each other as much as they are the physical neighborhood.

Tononi says UNI has focused so much of its efforts on Springwells Street because it hasn't received the same sort of attention as the other main drag in the neighborhood, Vernor Highway. While business owners on Vernor recently celebrated new streetlights, Springwells Street businesses weren't so fortunate. The placemaking programming of the last few years has been a way for UNI to brighten up the street without the millions of dollars in fundraising it takes for something like the Vernor streetlight program.

"We want to shore up the edges while Vernor gets all the attention," says Tononi. "This business community is extremely important and the more we can support their everyday investment, the better."

It's not just beautification projects that UNI has organized. They've been gathering people into "cash mobs," where people meet at a different neighborhood bar every month, supporting local businesses and introducing each other to new people and places.

UNI is working with one of those corner bars, Revolution Lounge, to host a weekly pop-up dinner series. This May and June, Revolution will host a rotation of three chefs for a different dining experience every Sunday. Two of the three chefs, Esteban Castro of Esto's Garage at Cafe D'Mongo's and Luiz Garza of El Asador, grew up in the Springwells neighborhood.

Work on the pocket park continues, including the recent installation of four benches. Two bike racks will soon be installed on the street. UNI is also the group behind Southwest Rides, a bike shop and community space that offers education and employment programming to young people in the neighborhood.

Source: Tiffany Tononi, Community Development Manager at Urban Neighborhood Initiatives
Writer: MJ Galbraith

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

New Baltimore Street lofts coming to Milwaukee Junction

If all goes as planned, an old warehouse in the city's Milwaukee Junction area will be converted into 12 lofts and available to rent come fall. Developers Edward Siegel and James Feagin have tapped Detroit-based Kraemer Design Group to help design the transformation of 207 E. Baltimore St.

Built in 1914, the building was most recently a warehouse, though vacant of any businesses by the time Siegel and Feagin's 207 East Baltimore, LLC purchased the building in the 2012 tax foreclosure auction. Significant construction work is to take place over the summer as portions of the badly damaged roof have to be replaced, interior demolition occurs, and a second floor is built over part of the building, all resulting in over 10,000 square feet of residential space.

The 12 lofts are being deemed live/work units, meaning that design of the units will incorporate workspaces into each loft. Siegel says its a nod to the building's manufacturing past.

"This seems to be an over-looked area," says Siegel. "It's in a good location in relation to the M-1 Rail construction and the state of the building allows us to have total control of the space."

Siegel and Feagin also own an empty lot across the street where they plan to build an as-yet-to-be-determined development. Siegel says they're thinking mixed-use, which would require a zoning change from the city. The developers are also involved in an art park nearby.

The 207 E. Baltimore development has received a number of financial incentives from the city and state. According to the Michigan Economic Development Corporation, the nearly $1.8 million development is receiving a $225,000 Michigan Community Revitalization Program performance-based grant. The city of Detroit has granted 207 East Baltimore, LLC a 12-year Obsolete Property Rehabilitation Act tax abatement valued at $277,200.

Source: Edward Siegel and James Feagin, partners of 207 East Baltimore, LLC
Writer: MJ Galbraith

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

Hamtramck's 'Pope Park' subject of crowdfunding campaign

The Michigan Economic Development Corporation has gotten involved in another of its crowdfunding-matching grants, this time in the city of Hamtramck. Karol Wojtyla Pope Park is the target, a pocket park on one of the city's main commercial drags, Joseph Campau Street. The park was built in 1982 to honor the then-pope. Karol Wojtyla served as pope under the name John Paul II from 1978 until his death in 2005.

Over $100,000 in improvements are planned for the park. Nearly half of that would come from this crowdfunding-matching grant hybrid. If the park can raise its goal of $25,000 via crowdfunding by June 1, the MEDC will contribute a $25,000 matching grant.

Organizers say that the park is underutilized and in need of repairs and upgrades to make it more accessible and valuable to the community. Among the upgrades, they hope to enhance lighting, improve the grounds, add seating and landscaping, and repair the mural. In addition to being a more utilized everyday park, organizers say that the upgrades will also encourage formal activities like Polish Mass and adorations.

One way organizers hope to make the park more accessible is by removing the tall fence which separates the park from the sidewalk.

Kathy Angerer, director of Community and Economic Development for the City of Hamtramck, says, "Pope Park is a destination for people not only in the region, but from all over the world and is of historical importance to Hamtramck. The whole city is excited about the project to restore, enhance, maintain, and beautify Pope Park."

This is another in a series of crowdfunding-matching grants for the MEDC, which has previously helped fund a green alley in Midtown and an arts district in the Grand River Creative Corridor. The crowdfunding campaign is an all-or-nothing campaign, meaning that if the Pope Park project does not reach $25,000 by June 1, it won't receive any of the money and whatever money was pledged to the park will be refunded.

Karol Wojtyla Pope Park is located at 10037 Joseph Campau.

View the crowdfunding campaign here.

Source: Michigan Economic Development Corporation
Writer: MJ Galbraith

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

2015 will be 'banner year' for M-1 Rail construction, work on Campus Martius section to begin soon

Construction will begin on the Campus Martius portion of the 3.3 mile-long M-1 Rail project Monday, April 20, and is expected to end in October. These were among a number of details revealed during an hour-long meeting with M-1 Rail Chief Operating Officer Paul Childs Thursday morning.

Though he characterized it as a world-class park, Campus Martius is going to present a number of challenges to M-1 Rail work crews, says Childs. Tight spaces, nearby underground parking garages, and a "park at a funny angle" all contribute to a methodical four-phase construction process. Still, M-1 has no plans to shut down public access to the park at any point.

The traffic loop around Campus Martius will also remain open. The only complete road shutdowns throughout the process will be due to the track terminus south of the park. Because of the installation of a custom-made track required at the end of the line, M-1 Rail crews will shut down Congress Street for a ten- to twelve-day period.

Moving north past Campus Martius, Childs announced M-DOT's plans for two to three mid-block crossings to be installed in the Midtown area. Pedestrians attempting to cross the nine lanes of Woodward between traffic signals will have a couple of "pedestrian refuges" to stop and wait while oncoming traffic clears. Just how these mid-block crossings will look remains vague.

Utility work and track installation will continue up Woodward throughout the year. The reconstruction of the I-75 and I-94 overpasses should be completed by the end of 2015. Childs described the 2015 construction schedule as aggressive, though exact dates are hard to come by. There's always a tension, he says, between a desire for exact dates and more realistic but general completion times. "There are so many dependables that you can't give dates until the next phase is completed."

The M-1 Rail is still on track to open in late 2016. The Penske Tech Center, where train cars will be serviced and M-1 will be headquartered, could be complete as soon as the end of 2015.

Source: Paul Childs, M-1 Rail Chief Operating Officer
Writer: MJ Galbraith

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

Restaurant and bike shop to join tattoo parlor and beer store in old Chinatown building

Ever since moving to Detroit in 2003, Matt Hessler has wanted to open a tattoo parlor in the city. Come mid-June, he will be doing just that. Once construction wraps up on 3401 Cass Ave., Hessler will open Iconic Tattoo, a sister shop to another parlor he owns in Rochester.

The custom tattoo and body piercing shop will occupy the corner space in a building Hessler purchased last year on the corner of Cass and Peterboro in what was known, at least for a few decades, as Detroit's Chinatown. Three more businesses have already claimed the remaining space in the 9,000-square-foot building.

Dave Kwiatkowski and Mark Djozlija of Sugar House- and Wright & Company-fame will be opening a restaurant with Asian-inspired fare called the Peterboro, says Hessler. Downtown Detroit Bike Shop will also occupy a storefront on the Peterboro side of the building. 8° Plato Beer Company Detroit, a craft beer store, will face Cass Avenue, as previously reported.

Expect the tattoo shop to open first and the bike and beer stores to follow. The restaurant, which will have to build its kitchen after work on the building is completed in June, will take longer to open. Crews are currently replacing the long-compromised roof, which was the source of a considerable amount of water damage to various parts of the building. Despite the damage, Hessler says the bones of the building remained strong and even two-thirds of the terrazzo floors were salvageable.

One of the biggest changes neighbors and passers-by can expect will be Hessler removing the wood paneling and other materials obstructing storefront windows. He plans on restoring the large windows to something closer to their 1920s origins.

"The building will be all bricks and glass again," says Hessler. "Open light and big windows are essential for public buildings. It needs to feel more inviting."

After the Lodge Freeway displaced the original Chinatown in the 1960s, many of the businesses were moved to the area around Peterboro and Cass. 3401 Cass featured a number of these businesses, including the Wah Lee grocery store. In re-storing the building, Hessler has found a number of interesting things leftover from previous tenants, including a Chinese puppet theater, which he plans to re-purpose.

Hessler has enlisted the help of a Shanghai-native now living in metro Detroit to translate much of what he has found. She's also helping him to restore the multi-sided Chinatown sign still on the corner of Peterboro and Cass. They've found an artist skilled in Chinese characters to make pieces similar to what was found on the original signs, including greetings, Chinese blessings, and things about the city.

Source: Matt Hessler, owner of 3401 Cass Ave., Iconic Tattoo
Writer: MJ Galbraith

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

Jolly Pumpkin Pizzeria & Brewery celebrates Midtown opening

This past weekend, the stretch of Canfield Street between Second and Cass celebrated the opening of its third brewery, making the Midtown block an easy destination for fans of craft beer. Newcomer Jolly Pumpkin Pizzeria & Brewery joins the well-established Traffic Jam & Snug and Motor City Brewing Works on Canfield. A strong beer and food neighborhood just got stronger.

Located at 441 W. Canfield, the pizzeria and brewery is the fourth location for the Jolly Pumpkin brand, which is based out of Dexter, Mich. and has locations in Ann Arbor and Traverse City. While most of the company's beer is brewed at the main Dexter facility, representatives say that a small brewing operation will produce beer at the Detroit location.

The Detroit Jolly Pumpkin is styled differently from the other locations, says partner and co-founder Jon Carlson. "The biggest waste in brewing are the wooden pallets. We're using reclaimed pallet boards everywhere." A long bar lines the west end of the 5,000-square-foot restaurant while communal dining-style picnic tables take up most of the floor space. Large windows face the sidewalk to the north. Reclaimed pallet boards cover the walls.

The kitchen offers signature pizzas with fresh, local ingredients, including dough hand-crafted by the nearby Avalon International Breads bakery. Other Michigan businesses tapped by the company include the Brinery, Guernsey Dairy, and McClure's Pickles. Soups and salads round out the menu.

Jolly Pumpkin Artisan Ales was launched in 2004, becoming the first craft beer brand to concentrate solely on sour ales. Of the 32 taps at the Detroit location, roughly half offer the wide range of sour ales developed by the company. The other half feature another Michigan-based brewery, North Peak Brewing Company, which offers a more traditionally-varied selection of different kinds of beers. Jolly Pumpkin co-founder and master brewer Ron Jeffries is also a collaborator of the North Peak line.

Source: Jolly Pumpkin Pizzeria & Brewery and Jon Carlson, partner and co-founder
Writer: MJ Galbraith

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

Royal Oak's Black the Salon to open second location in Corktown

Six years after opening Black the Salon in Royal Oak, founder Jeph Wright is opening a second location, this time in Corktown. Work is underway on the storefront at 2117 Michigan Ave., where Wright plans to offer the same range of services as his Royal Oak salon. While nothing is set, he estimates a June 12 opening in Corktown, the same date the first Black the Salon opened in 2009.

After looking at a Midtown location roughly two years ago, Wright backed out. While he liked the idea of expanding to Detroit--a natural progression, he says--Wright was in no hurry with an already busy and successful salon in Royal Oak. But with the Corktown building's owner being a client and the nearby Sugar House proprietor Dave Kwiatkowski being an associate through shared motorcycle interests, it was only a matter of time before Wright was convinced that Corktown was the spot.

"My salon better fits Corktown than Midtown. We're more rock and roll," says Wright. "My brand is about being on the forefront and that's what Corktown is."

Now that he's signed the lease to 2117 Michigan Ave., Wright is itching to open. The building itself is receiving quite the makeover, including better exposing the storefront with big factory windows that open up to the street. It's an old after hours party spot that was pretty beat up, says Wright. Once renovated, it will host Black the Salon on one end and Metropolis Cycles on the other.

By offering the same experience as his Royal Oak location, Wright says that Black the Salon will satisfy a huge demand for style in Detroit. "We're bringing it down to the city. You won't have to hop in a car and ride to the 'burbs anymore."

Source: Jeph Wright, owner of Black the Salon
Writer: MJ Galbraith

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

Venture capital competition will offer $120k in prizes to local minority-owned businesses

An event designed to connect minority-owned businesses with venture capital will make its Detroit debut next week. Occurring April 13-15, PowerMoves@Detroit will offer $120,000 in direct prizes in addition to exposure and networking opportunities. Local business owners will compete with entrepreneurs from across the country in a series of venture capital-style pitch events. Attendance to events at the Detroit Athletic Club, Garden Theater, and One Detroit are open to the public through an online registration system.

PowerMoves began in New Orleans, where it was founded by current Detroit Economic Growth Corporation (DEGC) CEO Rodrick Miller. The event is sponsored by Morgan Stanley and is hosted by the DEGC and Invest Detroit.

Events include training sessions, a panel discussion focused on startups and exit strategies, two back-to-back pitch events with cash prizes, and a final pitch event featuring 15 early-stage entrepreneurs, also with cash prizes.

"With all the enthusiasm for entrepreneurs in Detroit and our city’s great legacy for providing opportunities for African Americans, this seemed like the perfect time and place for PowerMoves@Detroit," Miller says in a statement. "This event fills an important niche in the broad spectrum of activities that DEGC undertakes to support small business in Detroit."

The event will feature a number of minority-owned businesses from the Detroit region as well as New York, Boston, and San Francisco. Mayor Mike Duggan believes that not only will it provide Detroiters a pathway to venture capital, it will also expose minority-owned businesses from other parts of the country to opportunities available in the city of Detroit.

Local representatives include Jerry Rucker and Edward Carrington of Warranty Ninja, Terreance Reeves of Networkingout, and Dana White of Paralee Boyd Salon.

Writer: MJ Galbraith

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

Corktown Inn to become 'Trumbull & Porter' as details and renderings emerge for boutique hotel rehab

Detroit firm Patrick Thompson Design (PTD) has been tapped for a full-concept overhaul of the old Corktown Inn. Construction will begin early- to mid-summer on what's being re-branded as Trumbull & Porter, a 144-room boutique hotel that originally opened in 1966 as a Holiday Inn. The new rooms and lobby could debut as soon as this fall and a restaurant will eventually follow. Corktown Hotel, LLC purchased the hotel in the fall of 2014 and Access Hospitality is acting as both developer and management company for the property.

Thompson says that the designs his team developed will offer a boutique hotel experience at a relatively modest price. With five distinct room types and a different experience for each, they will range from $129 to $189 once the re-design is complete. Suites will start at $199.

The name Trumbull & Porter, says Thompson, is a nod to the area's industrial influence, where truckers and dispatchers are always giving each other directions by listing intersections.

"The goal is to create a beautiful, functioning space where locals and travelers want to be," says Thompson. "There are so many improvements coming, it's going to become a destination."

Everything will be torn out and stripped to the original concrete floors and ceilings where PTD will start from scratch. Thompson says the rooms will be "eclectic but collected," clean and modern with custom-designed beds, furniture, and lighting. Things won't be in-your-face Detroit, but still inspired and rooted in local history. PTD is working with local artisans like Detroit Wood Type Co. to help outfit the rooms. End-of-hall lounges are planned as well as a brand new fitness center. A completely re-designed lobby will feature a morning coffee shop that transitions to a lobby bar at night.

A restaurant and retail space are also planned. The restaurant opens up to an outdoor courtyard, one that PTD hopes will be as much for the neighborhood as it is for hotel guests. It will be equal parts picnic area and outdoor lounge, says Thompson, including fire pits and tables among other planned amenities. The exterior, too, will receive significant upgrades, including a charcoal paint job, a large exterior mural, and a landscaping overhaul.

"Our plan is to create spaces to engage the community and add to value to the businesses in the area like St. Cece's and Batch Brewing," says Thompson. "We are planning on collaborating when possible with local retailers, artisans, and craftsmen to be sure the hotel and its spaces reflect an honest version of Detroit and what it has to offer to the world."

Patrick Thompson Design, currently a five-person firm, is in the middle of the schematic design phase, and drawings are being completed to go to bid. The renderings have already been approved by the ownership group.

After the Holiday Inn closed, the hotel operated for more than two decades as the Corktown Inn. That run developed a certain reputation over the years with its three-hour room rentals and underwear vending machine. Access Hospitality began making changes last year and has since cleaned up the hotel, getting rid of the old Inn's rather infamous amenities while also enacting a no-smoking policy. The hotel is currently open for business.

Source: Patrick Thompson, creative director at Patrick Thompson Design
Writer: MJ Galbraith

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

NOTE: An earlier version of this story listed Access Hospitality as the owner of the hotel. Corktown Hotel, LLC, purchased the hotel and Access Hospitality is developer and management company of the property.

New commercial real estate tours to connect small businesses with storefronts throughout Detroit

Deciding where to locate a new business is a monumental decision, one that will often determine a business's fate.

That's why the Build Institute has partnered with the Detroit Experience Factory to offer a series of monthly tours that will take prospective shop owners through a number of neighborhoods, introducing them to landlords of available properties, neighborhood officials and representatives, and current business owners nearby. Providing historical and cultural context will also be a focus.

It's called Open Shop, and the series of commercial real estate tours is a way for Build and DXF to play matchmakers between new businesses and area landlords and property owners. The first Open Shop is April 18th from 1 to 4 p.m. and takes place in Hamtramck. Additional tours are scheduled for the following months, including commercial districts in Southwest Detroit, Jefferson East, Northwest Detroit, and along the Woodward Corridor.

Jessica Meyer is director of programs with Build Institute and helped develop the tour. It initially grew out of the requests of a number of Build grads who wanted to open their business in a storefront but didn't know where to start. Even knowing the neighborhood or commercial corridor in which they want to open isn't enough.

"It's difficult to get a rundown of what's available where and who owns what," says Meyer. "This is a great opportunity to introduce people to each other."

The Hamtramck Downtown Development Authority jumped at the chance to be the first Open Shop destination. The DDA will introduce tour-takers to people like the Economic Development Director and others who can offer help in opening a business in Hamtramck. The DDA is also offering to cover the Hamtramck business registration fee for the first two businesses from the tour to move to the city, a value of $100 each. 

In addition to meeting landlords and pre-existing business owners, the tour will also stop at Hamtramck Historical Museum and Tekla Vintage, both graduates of Build programming. Tickets are available online.

Source: Jessica Meyer, director of programs at Build Institute
Writer: MJ Galbraith

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

Metropolis bicycle shop to open in Corktown

When doors close, windows open. It's the type of thing someone says to a friend when something bad happens. Sometimes windows get smashed open, like when a car gets stolen. Shayne O'Keefe's car was stolen once. Though he couldn't have known it at the time, O'Keefe's immediate misfortune nearly ten years ago set in motion a chain of events that now has him opening up his own bicycle shop on one of the busiest blocks in Corktown.

O'Keefe and business partner Ted Sliwinski are readying Metropolis Cycles for an April 8 opening. Located at 2117 Michigan Ave., Metropolis will be open 11 a.m. to 7 p.m., seven days a week.

Not being able to afford a new car, O'Keefe quickly joined the Back Alley Bikes program in the Cass Corridor. He worked as a volunteer, earning a bike through the program while simultaneously becoming obsessed with cycle work. He started finding bikes on Craigslist and in the trash and fixed them up for friends. He worked at the Hub of Detroit as a mechanic. Eventually, he was promoted to general manager. The shop was so busy, he says, that he saw them lose customers as a result of wait times. Detroit was becoming more and more of a bike city. The demand was there. O'Keefe decided to split off on his own.

"If it wasn't me, it would be ten other people trying to open a bike shop there," says O'Keefe. "I just wanted to get there first."

The bike stock at Metropolis will be roughly 95 percent new with an emphasis on commuter cycles from manufacturers like Bianchi and Raleigh. It won't be a high-end bike store, says O'Keefe, and customers can expect bikes that fall anywhere within a $200 to $2,000 price range. He hopes to carry something for every skill set, including bikes for children and comfort bikes for parents.

In addition to retail, the 3,000 sq. ft. space will include a full-service cycle repair shop. Parts and accessories will also be for sale.

Source: Shayne O'Keefe, co-founder of Metropolis Cycles
Writer: MJ Galbraith

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

March 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.

March hit the ground running as an unexpected leak of the Hudson's site rendering forced Dan Gilbert and company's hand. Rather than issue a statement declaring the leak was nothing more than an outdated conceptual design and moving on from the chatter, Gilbert's Rock Ventures released an actual high-quality conceptual rendering for the site. Though it's nothing close to final, it does acknowledge their desire for an architectural 'statement,' one that would attract attention world-wide--something the rendering re-enforces.

At the end of the month, John Gallagher of the Free Press reported that not only will Gilbert's Hudson development include 250 residential units, a separate development would bring an additional 71 residential units downtown. The historic Metropolitan Building, assumed by many to remain forever-derelict and destined for demolition, will apparently be saved and receive a $23.3 million renovation as it's converted to apartments.

The Detroit City Council approved yet another 235 apartments for downtown by giving the nod to Village Green as it seeks to build its $35 million Statler City development on the old Statler Hotel site on Grand Circus Park. That development includes a Zen garden among its many amenities.

Downtown isn't the only neighborhood to receive the mega-residential development treatment as the east riverfront witnesses the construction of Water's Edge. Triton Properties is building a 143-unit luxury apartment building in the Harbortown neighborhood.

And now for something completely different . . . the city of Detroit is playing hardball with Sequoia Property Partners, the New York-based owners of the CPA Building in Corktown. Open to the elements and long-easily accessible to anyone on the street, the city announced plans to demolish the building as Sequoia showed no progress in developing the historic but neglected building. Sequoia is now trying to delay the city as it promises to follow through on securing and developing the building across from Michigan Central Station--for real this time.

New documentary film follows struggle for community benefits agreement in Delray

Photo and audio exhibitionsmurals, and now a documentary film are ways in which people are keeping record of one Detroit neighborhood's fight to secure a community benefits agreement in the construction of an international bridge. "Living with Industry: Detroit, Michigan" tells the story of the people of Delray, a neighborhood on the city's southwest shore that is known as much for pollution and abandonment as it is anything else. It's also the place where the United States and Canada look to place their New International Trade Crossing.

According to Community Development Advocates of Detroit, Delray is a neighborhood that experiences over 10,000 trucks in daily traffic and is host to the largest single-site waste water treatment plant in the United States, an oil refinery, and a steel-making facility. In spite of this, there are still 2,500 or so people that live in the neighborhood. Even with the construction of a bridge that is estimated to displace 700 people, the majority of Delray's residents will remain.

The people in the film who are fighting for a community benefits agreement are fighting for the Detroiters who won't receive buyouts from the government to uproot and leave their homes and community. As Simone Sagovac, project director for the Southwest Detroit Community Benefits Coalition, says in the film, "One of the most important things about this bridge project and what is happening to Delray is that residents are recognized -- that their needs are there just like any other community."

The film itself comes from the Community Development Advocates of Detroit and their community storytelling project. It's a project that is focusing on the neighborhoods outside of downtown Detroit. "Living with Industry: Detroit, Michigan" was produced by filmmaker Logan Stark and CDAD public policy and communications intern Troy Anderson and is available online.

Writer: MJ Galbraith

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

Better living through transit: Detroit firm seeks to improve public transportation throughout region

How do you convince a region to embrace public transit when it's been neglecting it for decades? That's what Freshwater Transit is hoping to do. The Detroit-based transit firm is looking to produce a series of seven videos that demonstrate just how easy, beneficial, and indispensable public transit is in other metropolitan regions across the country.

The educational series is called "15 Minutes or Better." The theory goes that since metro Detroit has no idea what a high-functioning public transit system actually looks like, how are we ever going to make the decisions necessary to putting one in place? Freshwater will be traveling to seven cities to show how key concepts of public transit actually work. They'll then examine how those concepts are being expressed in metro Detroit.

"There is an urgent need for improved transit in Southeast Michigan," says Tom Choske, Freshwater Transit president. "But there is also tremendous confusion. Because metro Detroit does not have a cultural tradition of transit usage, discussions about transit have overlooked many core issues. So far, the local transit conversation has focused mostly on policy. Our goal is to address transit at the ground level, the neighborhood level. Regardless of policy, what must a transit system provide so that all people can use it for everyday travel needs?"

The firm expresses a belief that through the Internet, the videos' shareability should make their message easy to spread, leading to the development of a better-informed populace throughout metro Detroit, one that would eventually vote in favor of installing an effective public transit system.

Freshwater Transit recently developed a multi-modal transit plan for the Detroit Riverfront, utilizing a system of trolley buses and water taxis. A crowdfunding campaign for the "15 Mintues or Better" video series is currently under way.

Writer: MJ Galbraith

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

This week in Detroit pop-up restaurants

Detroit pop-ups, and especially restaurant pop-ups, have become so popular that there are spaces now solely dedicated to the transient businesses. It's an excellent way for talented chefs who are rich with ideas but not with start-up capital to establish themselves without having to shell out money upfront for their own commercial kitchen. In other instances, it's well-established chefs who are simply offering special menus as guests of a particular host kitchen. Here are some of the more high profile pop-ups happening across Detroit this week.

St. Cece's, a Corktown bar and restaurant with its own well-respected menu and chef, opens its kitchen up to guests every Tuesday. Today's pop-up menu is courtesy of Steve Kempner, a.k.a. the Fargin Chef. Kempner, who is associated with Birmingham Community House and Bella Piati, is preparing a Puerto Rican menu that includes asopao de camarones, or shrimp gumbo with rice, and empanadillas, or beef-stuffed meet pies with sofrito sauce and plantain and bacon mofungo. Kempner is also offering a special Parisian fusion menu at Colors on Thursday, March 26, though the window for buying tickets for that event has already passed.

POP, the pop-up restaurant space that recently opened above Checker Bar and Grill downtown, is hosting Chef Rodney Lubinski of Grand Trunk Pub. He'll be offering what's being called an inventive array of pies. At $5 a slice, choose from a non-traditional shepherd's pie, meat (beef, rabbit, lamb), bacon (ranch cut, Canadian, jowl), roasted root (beet, turnip, purple sweet potato), cherry (sweet, sour, white), and mudd pies. Doors open at 7 p.m. Thursday, March 26.

Steven Reaume, who manages POP along with running his own pop-up restaurant business NOODL, is throwing his fourth pasta pop-up dinner March 28. Fra Diavolo will host two dinners, 6:30 and 8:30 p.m., at the Bankle Building in Midtown. Six courses include four pasta dishes, salad, and desert. A menu and tickets are available online.

Writer: MJ Galbraith

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