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Detroit Development News

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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.

Stella Cafe remodeled and rebranded as Stella Good Coffee in the Fisher Building

Stella International Café inside the Fisher Building in New Center has gone through a major renovation and rebranding.
 
Now called "Stella Good Coffee," the café – owned by Shawn Santo and Kevin Borsay, owners of Pure Detroit, Rowland Café, a second Stella location inside the Guardian Building, and Vera Jane (a women's clothing store) – will focus on all things Detroit, starting with the design.
 
After closing last fall, the space was stripped down to bare walls and floor, grinding away layers of concrete to reveal the original Albert Kahn-produced floor from 1928 (which has a slightly different design than the floor of the main lobby, also original). Santo and Borsay oversaw all of the renovation work themselves, working closely with James Willer of Reclaim Detroit on material sourcing and design. They also worked with local companies and artists on the fixtures, including lamp shades from the Detroit Wallpaper Company (which will feature the designs of local artists and will be rotated regularly) and a white neon sign that reads "Drink Good Coffee" from Spectrum Neon Sign Company.
 
The redesign also allows for more seating inside the café, which will have free WiFi, and additional seating will be available in the Fisher lobby.
 
In addition to a new look, a new name, and a new logo (a complicated geometric figure with a long technical name that includes the word "stella," also known as the "Moravian star"), Stella Good Coffee will have a whole new approach to their products. Instead of the quick grab-and-go coffee shop they were previously known as, they will offer only pour-over coffees, which take longer but, as Borsay says, "is worth it." They will also have loose-leaf teas, soups from Russell Street Deli, and baked goods from Avalon Breads and Traffic Jam & Snug.
 
Stella Good Coffee is celebrating a "soft" opening this week, with a grand opening coming later this spring.
 
Source: Kevin Borsay and Shawn Santo, owners of Stella Good Coffee
Writer: Nicole Rupersburg

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


Oakaloosa, a philanthropic music festival, to benefit Historic Fort Wayne

The City of Detroit is gaining another new music festival this summer. Oakaloosa will be held at the Historic Fort Wayne on July 27, and, much like Orion Music + More, will reinvest into the maintenance and preservation of the concert site itself -- Historic Fort Wayne.
 
The 96-acre Historic Fort Wayne site in Delray includes some original buildings from the mid-1800s as well as faithful replicas, though many are in disrepair. The Fort is operated by the Detroit Recreation Department with other nonprofit assistance. They rely heavily on volunteer efforts and individual generosity.
 
Oakaloosa is a brand-new outdoor concert, billing itself as the region's first fully philanthropic music festival, with a percentage of every dollar raised going back towards the restoration of Historic Fort Wayne. "We were looking to participate in restoring its renown by adding an event there where people can appreciate it and relate this event to its name," says Adrian Pittman, founder of Module, which is handling Oakaloosa's marketing. "What happened to (the Fort) is sort of what happened to Detroit in the rest of the country … it was forgotten. It requires a local to give it a little attention and polish it off a bit. It needs to be maintained for generations of people to come."
 
With connections in the parks & rec department, Detroit Sports Zone, Inc. – the nonprofit group organizing this event – was able to secure the site, which needs little in the way of infrastructure work in order to host the event. "They were looking at the fort from day one. It's such a unique opportunity." A first event of its kind for the site, they hope this event will also encourage other organizations to host festivals here.
 
DJ Mikey Eckstein of Embarco is responsible for programming, which includes both local and national acts. Main headliners include Girl Talk and Bone Thugs-N-Harmony (as part of their big reunion tour).
 
They expect about 15,000 people to attend. Tickets are $45.

The odd name actually came from a typo on a website about the fort's history. The organizers liked it despite it being a misspelling, and decided to use the name for the festival.
 
Source: Adrian Pittman, Director of Development at Module
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.

Top of the Pontch, Jefferson House, Urban Cellars opening in the Crowne Plaza Hotel Pontchartrain

As the Crowne Plaza Hotel Pontchartrain undergoes a serious exterior overhaul to prepare to welcome its first guests this June, the overhaul happening inside is just as ambitious, both in design and concept.
 
The Jefferson House will be the Pontch's primary restaurant, located across from the lobby. The look is modern meets old world: copper leaf ceilings, plush cream-colored chairs, dark-stained wainscoting covering the walls. It's warm and rich and comfortable, refined without being too stuffy. They'll serve breakfast, lunch and dinner, and will also have a 40-seat outdoor patio on Jefferson. Attached to the Jefferson House is Urban Cellars, the hotel's sizable bar, which will specialize in craft cocktails.
 
Overseeing the operation of both concepts is executive chef and director of food & beverage Justin Vaiciunas. The menu Vaiciunas has created for Jefferson House and Urban Cellars is an exploration of cutting-edge American fusion cuisine. Expect to see the highest-quality ingredients in exquisitely artful presentations, though not impossibly high-end (or high ticket). The Jefferson House and Urban Cellars will open in June with the hotel.
 
The lobby will have a quick grab-and-go café called Tabatchi, which will serve Starbucks coffee and pre-prepared sandwiches and sushi for busy travelers. The hotel will also feature up to 15,000 square feet of completely renovated banquet space.
 
In addition to these new concepts, long-term plans include re-opening the second-floor terrace, as well as re-opening the iconic Top of the Pontch.
 
The 25th floor restaurant, bar and lounge will be totally reimagined – in contrast to the Jefferson House's neutral palette and old-world appeal, the new Top of the Pontch will be flashy, all glass and waterfalls, bringing Vegas style to Detroit. The menu will be ambitious fine dining.
 
Looking ahead, developer Gabriel Ruiz plans on building the hotel's second tower, which was part of the original Pontchartrain's design though never built, and connecting both towers via skywalk to Cobo Center. These plans are at least three years out.
 
Source: Justin Vaiciunas, Executive Chef and Director of Food & Beverage of the Crowne Plaza Hotel Pontchartrain
Writer: Nicole Rupersburg

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

Patrick Thompson Design studio to open inside the Auburn in May

Next up in the emerging Detroit Design District at Cass and Canfield in Midtown, Patrick Thompson Design will relocate its design studio from the Detroit Creative Corridor Center to the Auburn Building.
 
The five-person commercial and residential interior design firm had been working out of the DC3, but as the firm continues to grow they need more space of their own. Their new home in the Auburn is 900 square feet, and the build out is almost complete.
 
"We really want to have a presence in the neighborhood in Detroit," says owner Patrick Thompson. "A lot of our work is Detroit-based. It seemed a really good fit with the other businesses in that area." While the storefront isn't actually a store but a working studio, Thompson says, "People are welcome to stop by, meet the team and see our work. There won't be items for sale but people can see our creative process."
 
Patrick Thompson Design started in a spare bedroom in 2009 before moving into the basement, then into the DC3 a year and a half ago. Currently the firm is overseeing the renovation of the Kresge Court inside the DIA, which will be called the Cultural Living Room, and a renovation of TechTown's whole first floor, in addition to several residential projects in the city and suburbs.
 
The Patrick Thompson Design studio is targeted to open May 7.
 
Source: Patrick Thompson, owner of Patrick Thompson Design
Writer: Nicole Rupersburg

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


Restaurateur Tony Vulaj to open Midtown Zeff's and Tony V's Tavern in Midtown

Anton Vulaj, who goes by the nickname "Tony V," has two new restaurants opening in the coming months in Midtown.
 
Vulaj is no stranger to the Midtown restaurant market: he's been in the game for 14 years now as the owner of the Olympic Grill on Warren and Campus Diner on Cass, both just steps away from the Wayne State University campus. "I like the neighborhood," he says. "Clientele-wise I know I won't have a better clientele than I do with Wayne State University."

So when the old Alvin's building on Cass came up for sale, he didn't waste any time. Tony V's Tavern will open later this year (once they receive a liquor license) and will offer what Vulaj says is a "simple menu using good product … we're not going for high prices like some of the restaurants in the neighborhood." He promises high-quality food with low prices; items will range in price from $6-10 and, he says, "We're not going to have a $10 burger."
 
Tony V's Tavern will have a full bar and features a wood-fired brick oven. One of the highlights of the menu will be build-your-own pizzas and a pizza and salad lunch buffet. And, since Alvin's was known for live music and entertainment, Tony V's will continue to have live music every weekend. Tony V's will be open 11 a.m. to 2 a.m. daily. The kitchen will be open lunch, dinner, and late-night.
 
Vulaj is also a partner in the new Midtown Zeff's, along with Violet, Victoria, Lisa, and Anita Balurshaj, daughters of the original owner of Zeff's Coney Island in Eastern Market (who sold the restaurant several years ago). Midtown Zeff's will open in May serving breakfast and lunch, and will offer healthier options than a typical diner.
 
Source: Tony Vulaj, owner of Tony V's Tavern
Writer: Nicole Rupersburg

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

NSO to receive Governor's Award for NSO Bell Building renovation, will move headquarters inside

Neighborhood Service Organization (NSO) is a non-profit organization that does a lot of work in the city and suburbs around mental health, homelessness, and developmental disabilities. They offer community programs, a suicide hotline and also the Tumaini Center at Second Avenue and Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd., which is a walk-in center serving the chronically homeless in Detroit that has been open since 1975. They see about 3,000 people annually at the center, in a city with a homeless population of around 20,000.
 
Joe Heaphy, NSO's Vice President of Real Estate Development, says, "About seven years ago NSO decided it wanted to move away from simply managing and helping homeless folks, but get them housed." They were looking to provide permanent housing for the chronically homeless, not just temporary housing or a traditional shelter. This led to the purchase of the former Michigan Bell building in Highland Park, which had been sitting vacant for 20 years. A $52 million renovation converted the building into 155 housing units, which began leasing last August. Units were filled by November. Residents pay 30 percent of their income, whatever that may be, in rent, while the rest of the $650/month rent is covered by Section 8. NSO also provides on-site resources and support services.
 
But at 255,000 square feet, the 1929 building itself is so massive it is not fully occupied by apartment units. Starting this August, the NSO Bell Building will also be home to NSO's new headquarters, moving 200 administrative staff into the commercial portion of the building. 
 
This renovation and adaptive reuse project is being honored with a Governor's Award this Wednesday, May 1, for outstanding achievement in historic preservation. The building also serves as a model for public-private funding collaboration and investment, utilizing funds as far-ranging as brownfield redevelopment tax credits, foundation funding from the McGregor Fund and Kresge Foundation, and tax credit investment from Morgan Stanley.
 
Source: Joe Heaphy, NSO's Vice President of Real Estate Development
Writer: Nicole Rupersburg

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

Highland Park's new fire station is a dramatic juxtaposition of new and old Detroit

You can't really begin to appreciate just how much Highland Park is in need of a new fire station until you see the space out of which they're currently operating. When I contacted Highland Park Fire Chief Derek Hillman about doing a short story on the new headquarters, he insisted that I see it in person. We met at the Highland Park City Hall and Chief Hillman took me on a ride in his cruiser to see the current, previous, and future fire stations.
 
The fire department is currently located in a "temporary" location in the back corner of a massive industrial park on the outskirts of Highland Park. "How temporary is 'temporary'?" Hillman answered without missing a beat: "Eight years." The space is basically an open warehouse: cold (literally – it doesn't get above 45 degrees in the winter) and barren. Mobile trailers house its offices and bathrooms, while the firefighters constructed a sort of plywood barracks for themselves. It looks like a shantytown inside a bunker. "And this is better than the building we moved out of," Hillman said. And what's wrong with the old building? That's where we're headed next.
 
For a city of only 12,000 people, Highland Park has 150 fires per year. For a single fire, the department brings only six or seven men – the City of Detroit brings three times that. Some of the men make only $10 an hour. Chief Hillman knew the working conditions were abysmal, so when a FEMA grant became available for fire departments in the U.S., as part of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, he applied. CHMP Architects in Grand Blanc donated time and expertise to draft an architectural design for the grant application. Out of 1,200 applicants nationwide, Highland Park received $2.6 million in federal grant money for a new station – one of only five departments in Michigan to receive anything.
 
The new building, more than halfway complete, is 14,000 square feet and is located directly across from the old fire station. As we pulled up, Chief Hillman pointed at a two-story structure in which the upper floor has totally collapsed and the back wall fallen off. "That's the old fire station."
 
While the old Highland Park police station, built in 1917, was torn down to make way for this new fire station, the old fire station – a building so structurally damaged from neglect and exposure preservation likely isn't feasible – will continue to stand, a hulking shell, until the city can reach an agreement with the State of Michigan Historic Preservation Office to tear it down.
 
The new facility is like a dream for the men who've been working out of a shoddily slapped-together "temporary" location for nearly the last decade. They'll have proper offices and sleeping facilities, even a full gym for the men to work out. It stands in stark contrast to the sagging building it faces, a dramatic juxtaposition that mirrors the current state of the city itself – the new colliding with the old; better things rising from the ashes.
 
Source: Derek Hillman, Highland Park Fire Chief
Writer: Nicole Rupersburg

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

Global Detroit Human to open in the Auburn in May

Global Detroit Human will open inside the Auburn in the coming weeks, joining retailers Hugh, Nora, and Source Booksellers in what is fast becoming Midtown's de facto shopping district at the intersection of Cass and Canfield (on the other side of Cass, Run Detroit and Shinola will both open soon, while Nest and City Bird already anchor West Canfield).
 
Global Detroit Human (GDH) is clothing design collective, a boutique that exclusively carries lines from metro Detroit designers. Some of the local labels that can be found inside include Homeslice Clothing, Emily Thornhill's line of classic fashion pieces for day or evening made from eco-sustainable materials; Lavinia Curves, which produces fashionable dresses for curvy women sizes 12-22; SIX LUXE, a line of reversible resort wear for multiple looks in one for those who like to travel light; and Corrosive Clothing, a line of men's T-shirts designed with custom print injection technology that injects the ink directly into the threads for longer-lasting designs.
 
GDH was envisioned by owner Jill Drnek about a year ago. She wanted to have a collection of metro Detroit designers to show off to the world, and traveled the fashion capitals of Europe to speak with store owners, do some research, and start building excitement for Detroit designers. After hosting a pop-up in Livonia and participating as a vendor at events like Dally in the Alley, Drnek decided it was time to open a store in the city. A space inside the Auburn unexpectedly became available in November, and she jumped at the opportunity to open in a viable retail district near other design-focused stores.
 
"The goal is really to take the Detroit design community into a storefront," says Drnek. "This will help designers better understand their market and continue to build their brand and contribute to the growth of the Detroit design community," ultimately with the goal of shopping these designers to the European market.
 
Buildout of the space is near completion. Drnek hopes to open in early May.
 
Source: Jill Drnek, owner and curator/buyer of Global Detroit Human
Writer: Nicole Rupersburg

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

Anew Life Prosthetics & Orthotics brings new life to amputee patients in Albert Kahn building

Anew Life Prosthetics & Orthotics is putting the finishing touches on the renovation of the Albert Kahn-designed Detroit Savings Bank Branch #3 at Woodward and Milwaukee. The company launched in 2011 as a mobile operation with partners Chris Casteel and Paul Cauley working out of their cars with their equipment and supplies stored in far-flung locations throughout metro Detroit. They knew they wanted to locate their offices (with lab and equipment) in the city, and after a previous deal fell through they found the building at 6438 Woodward in December 2011. Within two weeks they owned it.
 
Anew Life provides artificial limbs and braces to those who need them. While this does include a small percentage of trauma cases, the majority of their clients suffer from vascular disease and diabetes. They see their clients through the whole process, starting with visiting them in the hospital post-surgery, casting them, making molds and testing the prosthesis, then making the final prosthesis that will last for three to five years. "I love seeing people return to life and thrive," says Casteel, who also runs a support group for amputees.
 
The renovated Detroit Savings Bank building will be home to Anew's offices, a lab where the devices will be built, and a physical therapy gym for recovering patients. They are also completing renovations that will make the building ADA accessible and are awaiting certifications that will enable them to bill Medicare and Medicaid for their patients. 
 
Built as a bank branch, the building has previously been used as a church and a nightclub, among other things. Renovation work included gutting much of the interior, though Casteel says they are "trying to save as much Albert Kahn as we can." Casteel and Cauley were working out of the building during the renovation, and are now at a point where they are able to start accepting patients.
 
Anew's offices, storage, and lab don't quite fill up the whole space, so they have made their basement available to Burners Without Borders, where Danielle "Doxie" Kaltz is able to store all her supplies to assemble backpacks of hygiene and emergency items for the homeless. "We want to help support everything local," Casteel says.
 
Source: Chris Casteel, co-owner of Anew Life Prosthetics & Orthotics
Writer: Nicole Rupersburg

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

La Palma Mediterranean Cuisine now open in Midtown

Midtown workers and residents have yet another option for weekday lunch and dinner: La Palma Mediterranean Cuisine, located at the corner of Canfield and John R.
 
Opened just two weeks ago, La Palma is an open, airy space with prepared foods and select pre-made hot items displayed in cases by the cash register, and options for carry-out or sit-down service.
 
The space is immaculate, and far exceeds any expectations for a quick grab-and-go kind of restaurant, which is ultimately what this is. Owner Adam Maheawiyan says that he saw a need for this kind of fast, casual, healthy Mediterranean cuisine after being involved with Biomet on Canfield for the last five years. Specifically he noticed that this was a busy corner with plenty of built-in clientele (thanks to the nearby DMC, Karmanos Institute, and Wayne State University School of Medicine), but a previous business in this location (a deli) did not meet his standards of service. When the space became available, he took it.
 
Everything they serve is made from scratch in-house, right down to the dressings and bread. The bread is baked in a custom-built brick oven, one of the showpieces of the restaurant. But once you're inside, don't forget to look up: hand-carved curved wooden panels on the ceiling took two months themselves to complete. There is also detailed stone and brickwork and ceramic tile floors. All construction was overseen by the Livonia-based firm the Nam Group, a company in which Maheawiyan is also a partner.
 
Maheawiyan says the space, which was totally gutted from previous tenants, was designed with specific attention to hygiene and cleanliness: in addition to having an open kitchen (so customers can see what all the cooks are doing), bathrooms are totally touch-less, including the toilet paper.
 
The menu is a selection of appetizers (like falafel, hummus, and grape leaves), salads, pitas, and larger plates (like kabobs and ghallaba). They are open Monday through Friday 10 a.m. to 8 p.m., Saturday 11 a.m. to 3 p.m., and closed on Sundays.
 
Source: Adam Maheawiyan, owner of La Palma
Writer: Nicole Rupersburg

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

Shinola to open flagship retail store in Midtown this June

The excitement surrounding the Detroit-based manufacturer of watches, bicycles and leather goods Shinola is palpable, and already the brand is getting buzz from national news and entertainment media outlets – not bad for a retailer whose products only just went online last month and hasn't yet opened a storefront.
 
Well, that will soon change. The Detroit store, located in Midtown on the ground level of Willy's Overland Lofts, will open this June. This will be the flagship store, and one of only two in the country (with the other in TriBeCa). The Midtown space is 5,000 square feet, with half dedicated to the company's bicycle assembly. Guests will be able to watch the bikes being assembled without walls or glass barriers. The rest of the space is designed as a retail store and community "hang out" – "A place not just to shop but more of a community hub," says Daniel Caudill, Creative Director of Shinola.
 
They'll work with Avalon Breads to provide pre-packed foods to complement juices from a local juice company in an environment with comfortable seating and an outdoor landscaped area. The retail portion will offer a combination of their products, "thoughtfully selected to serve (the Detroit) market," as well as other American-made products that pair well with the Shinola collection. It will also include "curated products and one-of-a-kind items we are calling 'Issue of One.'"
 
The space will retain its industrial features with blonde wood fixtures and warm leather furniture. One of the highlights of the space is the original skylight. "The space will feel light, modern and warm," says Caudill. "It will be a place you'll want to shop in, hang out and ultimately spend time in." It will also be used for events, from screenings and art exhibitions to talks and roundtable discussions around design and American manufacturing.
 
Shinola's plans also include partnering on and producing events, from last year's inaugural Dlectricity to being the official timepiece and timekeepers of the Detroit Grand Prix this June and the title sponsors of Detroit Restaurant Week, which starts this Friday, April 19.
 
Source: Daniel Caudill, Creative Director of Shinola
Writer: Nicole Rupersburg

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

Hellenic Museum celebrates grand opening in Detroit's cultural center

Though they've been hosting special events for over a year now, the Hellenic Museum in Midtown officially celebrated its grand opening this past weekend.
 
The building, located at 67 E. Kirby in Detroit's Cultural Center, was purchased from Wayne State University in 2009 for $355,000.
 
The Hellenic Heritage Society, the nonprofit organization that is dedicated to the promotion and celebration of Detroit's Greek heritage and growth of Greek culture, has spent the last four years restoring the building, formerly the Detroit Children's Museum, which included a new roof, a whole new geothermal heating system, air conditioning and more repairs, all while building up the inventory that is now the museum's collection.
 
Detroit's Hellenic Museum is one of only two such museums in the country (the other one opened about 15 years ago in Chicago). Joan De Ronne, vice president of operations for the Hellenic Museum, says, "The reason for the establishment of the Hellenic Museum in Michigan is because there is really nothing that was a reflection of Greek history and culture other than a small exhibit at the DIA and (in the libraries)," despite the tremendous impact Greek culture has had on the whole of Western civilization. Additionally, the roots of Greek culture in metro Detroit run deep, beginning with the immigration of the Greeks to the area in the early 1900s into Greektown. "So many (cultural) contributions have been made and those things are being lost. We want to preserve the story of their contributions, not just to Hellenic culture but also to greater metro Detroit as a whole."
 
The museum's collection consists of heritage items collected from families and churches – books, artwork and pottery, an eighteenth century bridal gown. The museum is also collecting the oral histories of local Greek families, which will eventually be available on the Hellenic Museum website.
 
The museum will continue hosting and partnering on events that celebrate and promote Greek culture – music, art, food, and history – such as the annual Greek Independence Day Parade that was held in tandem with their grand opening last Saturday.
 
Source: Joan De Ronne, Vice President of Operations for the Hellenic Museum
Writer: Nicole Rupersburg

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