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Detroit Development News

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New $30M medical distribution center opens in New Center

After a couple of years of wrangling and another year of construction, Cardinal Health has opened a long-awaited distribution center in Detroit. It is the first part of a larger campus dreamed up by Henry Ford Health System, which hopes to drive over $500 million in development over roughly 300 acres south of Grand Boulevard, west of the Lodge Expressway, and north of Interstate 94. The new campus would be a mix of light industrial, residential, commercial, and green space.

The roughly 140 employees that worked at Cardinal Health's previous facility near Detroit Metro Airport are expected to relocate to the new facility. The company was lured to Detroit by Henry Ford Health System and the Detroit Medical Center as the two agreed to long-term distribution deals with the company in return for its moving to the city. Such a deal represents a long-term strategy for those anchor institutions as they take a broader role in development, looking to improve both their businesses and the neighborhoods in which they operate.

Cardinal Health is a $91 billion health care services company that offers pharmaceuticals and health care products. The distribution center's proximity to HFHS and DMC makes delivering such items to the hospitals that much more efficient, officials say.

"We're excited to have this beautiful building and these jobs in the city of Detroit," says Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan.

The building is a 275,000-square-foot distribution center built by KIRCO, the company that bought the site from HFHS and is the acting project developer. A steel manufacturing facility previously occupied the site, which presented environmental remediation challenges like contaminated soil and petroleum storage tanks buried in the earth.

Writer: MJ Galbraith

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

Full disclosure: Henry Ford Health System and the Detroit Medical Center belong to a group of organizations that provide underwriting support to Model D's parent company Issue Media Group for its coverage of anchor institutions in Detroit.

Long-awaited Brightmoor Maker Space turns to crowdfunding

The Michigan Economic Development Corporation continues to roll on with its successful placemaking initiative, announcing yet another project targeted for funding through the Public Spaces Community Places program. This one, a long-hoped-for maker space in the Brightmoor neighborhood, has until July 10 to raise $25,000 through crowdfunding. If the campaign succeeds, MEDC will provide the space a matching grant of $25,000.

The Brightmoor Maker Space would transform a 3,200 square-foot building on the Detroit Community Schools campus into a space outfitted with equipment and tools for woodworking, metalworking, printmaking, rapid prototyping, and multimedia production. The campaign was organized by the Stamps School of Art & Design at the University of Michigan and its partners in Brightmoor, and the money raised for the project will be used to purchase tools, equipment, community resources, as well as for programming and the setting up of an organizational infrastructure.

"The Brightmoor Maker Space will provide a much-needed physical space to expand the impact of our ongoing arts programming in the Brightmoor community," says Gunalan Nadarajan, dean of the Stamps School.

In 2014, the Brightmoor Maker Space was the recipient of a two-year $100,000 matching grant from the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation through its Knights Arts Challenge.

The Brightmoor Maker Space is the latest entry into the MEDC Public Spaces Community Places program. It is also one of five currently vying for crowdfunding, though two of those projects have already met their goals and ensured matching grants. Announced just a week ago, the It Takes a Village Garden at Votrobeck Playground in northwest Detroit has already met its $27,500 goal. Also successful is Mosaics in the Park, a Little League baseball diamond beautification project in nearby Stoepel Park.

House Opera | Opera House, a plan to convert an abandoned home near Clark Park into a performance and arts venue, is still attempting to reach its $10,000 goal by July 1. Also open is the Greenway Friendly Bus Stop, which has until June 26 to raise $10,000 in hopes of improving an oft-used bus stop on the city's east side.

Brightmoor Maker Space has until July 10 to raise the $25,000.

Writer: MJ Galbraith

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

Massive I-94 modernization efforts to limit residential and commercial displacement, officials say

It's not a widening of Interstate 94 so much as it is a right-sizing, Michigan Department of Transportation officials said of their plans to update the aging freeway at a media round table on Monday, June 8, at the agency's Detroit Operations Service Center on Fort Street.

While the 6.7-mile-long modernization project stretching through the heart of Detroit will cause the displacement and demolition of some structures, MDOT officials say that the majority of the construction will occur within the existing footprint of the Interstate. Because I-94 is bounded by sloping mounds of earth, any lane additions will be accommodated by eliminating the landscaped hills in favor of vertical retaining walls similar to ones found along I-696.

Neighborhood residents and various organizations have been vocal in their concerns that efforts to widen I-94 will result in the displacement of residents and businesses. Officials insist that their goal is to minimize any displacement and keep as much of the construction within the Interstate's existing footprint as possible.

"We don't want to turn this into L.A., and we don't want to turn this into Atlanta," says MDOT communications specialist Rob Morosi, referencing the wide, sprawling freeways that characterize those cities.

Still, displacement will occur. According to officials, 16 residential structures and 18 commercial structures will be in the way of construction along the 6.7-mile stretch. One of those buildings is United Sound Systems Recording Studios, historic for its role in Detroit's musical legacy. Talks are currently underway to perhaps move or work around that building, officials say. Also at risk of removal are the Brooklyn Street pedestrian bridge over I-94 and the Canfield pedestrian bridge over the John C. Lodge Expressway.

The I-94 modernization project will span the 6.7 miles between I-96 and Norcross Street, which is just east of Conner Avenue. Planned improvements include the extension and improvement of on-ramps, the elimination of left-lane exits and entrances, and the re-building of a crumbling infrastructure, including overpasses that haven't received significant upgrades since being built as early as 1954. Estimated costs come in at nearly $1.9 billion in today's dollars. Construction of the modernization project's three phases will not be completed until 2036.

MDOT is hosting two open houses to present to and listen to feedback from the community. The first is from 9 to 11 a.m. and 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. on Tuesday, July 14, at Cathedral Church of St. Paul at 4800 Woodward Ave. The second occurs from 2 to 4 p.m. and 6 to 8 p.m. on Thursday, July 16, at Wayne County Community College Eastern Campus at 5901 Conner Ave.

Writer: MJ Galbraith

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

Detroit groups raise funds for placemaking projects, from opera to sunflower living rooms

The Michigan Economic Development Corporation has added two more Detroit placemaking projects to its Public Spaces Community Places initiative. An events venue in southwest Detroit and a community garden in a northwest playground will receive sizable grants from the MEDC should each of them meet crowdfunding goals.

Several blocks west of Clark Park is 1620 Morrell St., an abandoned house stripped of much of its infrastructure. It's the focus of House Opera, an arts and performance group hoping to transform the derelict structure into a community space and venue called House Opera | Opera House.

House Opera is attempting to raise $10,000 through the Michigan-based crowdfunding site Patronicity. If successful, the arts and performance group will receive an additional $10,000 from the MEDC.

A huge transformation is planned for the building, including structural and roof repairs, a custom Tyvek wrap, and a 25-foot-high open stage. One of the events planned for the space is the inaugural Sigi Fest by Afrotopia.

House Opera has until July 1 to raise the $10,000.

On the city's northwest side, near the intersection of Seven Mile and Evergreen, is Votrobeck Playground. A number of organizations have banded together to form It Takes a Village Garden, which aims to raise $27,500 through crowdfunding in an attempt to receive a matching grant from the MEDC.

Among the many improvements planned for the park include a bioswale and rain garden, butterfly garden, gourd trellis, meadow maze, island hopping playground, and sunflower living room. The MEDC says that the project "supports families and seniors in their move towards improved health and economic independence." It's the final phase of a comprehensive neighborhood rehabilitation project in that neighborhood.

It Takes a Village Garden has until July 16 to raise the $27,500.

These two projects join two other Detroit-based Public Spaces Community Places initiatives currently ongoing in their crowdfunding efforts. The Grandmont Rosedale Development Corporation is hoping to beautify its Little League baseball diamonds while the Detroit Eastside Community Collaborative attempts to raise funds necessary for making upgrades to a busy bus stop at Gratiot and Conner.

Writer: MJ Galbraith

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

Small vineyard takes shape in old school on east side

Local land baron Dennis Kefallinos is getting back to his roots in his adopted home by planting a small vineyard deep in the Motor City’s east side.

The Bellevue Vineyard is rising in one of the playfields of an old Detroit Public Schools elementary school at 3100 Bellevue. The school had been closed and stripped several years ago before Kefallinos purchased it.

"This school has been pretty beaten up over the years," says Eric Novack, senior project manager of Boydell Development, which is owned by Kefallinos. "He said, 'We need to do something over there soon to activate it.'"

Kefallinos is one of the larger property owners in Detroit. He owns several downtown properties, such as the Michigan Theatre, and many others scattered throughout the city's neighborhoods like the Russell Industrial Center. He is known for owning several vacant commercial buildings across the city and redeveloping several others most people had given up on, turning them into lofts and affordable spaces for small businesses.

Kefallinos immigrated to America from Greece in the 1960s. He started off a dishwasher and worked his way into becoming one of the entrepreneurs behind the development in Greektown in the 1980s. The Bellevue Vineyard is a way for him to return to his ancestral roots.

"This is not foreign to him at all," Novack says. "He did this for a few years at farms before he came to the U.S."

Kefallinos and his team at Boydell Development planted 300 vines imported from Washington for Canadice, Reliance and Interlacken grapes. The vines are expected to take root over the next two years and be ready for harvesting by year three.

The Boydell Development team has tested the soil for toxins and found none. They tilled the soil and balanced its PH levels by adding compost.

"This is our test," Novack says. "We plan to do 300 vines. Dennis originally wanted to do more."

Source & Photos: Eric Novack, senior project manager of Boydell Development
Writer: Jon Zemke


Northwest Detroit Farmers Market returns to Grandmont Rosedale

It's farmers market season in the city of Detroit. The northwest side is celebrating the return of its own seasonal market Thursday, June 4.

Occurring from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m. every Thursday through October 1, the Northwest Detroit Farmers Market takes place at the North Rosedale Park Community House in North Rosedale Park.

For the past 10 years, the Grandmont Rosedale Development Corporation has hosted the market.

"The Northwest Detroit Farmers Market is not just a place to buy fresh produce. It's also a place to meet your neighbors, learn a new recipe or do a craft with your kids," says GRDC executive director Tom Goddeeris. "It's a place where people come to feel connected to their community."

More than 15 produce and food vendors will be selling their goods at the market. The vendors come from all around southeast Michigan. Fresh fruits, vegetables, meats, eggs, dairy products, and baked goods will be among items sold. James Tate, District 1 city councilman, says the market addresses some of the challenges local residents face in accessing nutritious, fresh, and affordable food.

On opening day, June 4, the market will also play host to a number of events as it celebrates the start of market season. DMC Sinai-Grace will be on hand to offer free health screenings. A yoga class by Detroit Community Yoga will be offered from 6 to 7 p.m. Home Depot will be hosting a youth wood working workshop, free to attend. A perennial swap and a local artists market are also planned. The market is a part of Eastern Market's Detroit Community Markets program.

Organizers say that Northwest Detroit Farmers Market is the second most frequented farmers market in Detroit.

The North Rosedale Park Community House is located at 18445 Scarsdale St.

Writer: MJ Galbraith

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

6 Detroit groups win money and mentorship in contest to improve city's vibrancy, livability

Six Detroiters have been named 'City Champions' for their ideas on improving the city's vibrancy and livability. The six are among 25 young community leaders chosen for the prize by the nonprofit 8 80 Cities and the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation. Each Detroiter will receive $5,000 for their project as well as training and support from professional mentors.

Chad Rochkind is one of the winners. Rochkind plans on using the $5,000 to build parklets and artful crosswalks throughout Corktown. The project is designed to beautify and increase walkability along Michigan Avenue. Kyle Bartell and his Sit On It Detroit project is also a winner of the contest. Bartell has been using reclaimed lumber to build and install public benches at various bus stops throughout the city.

Other winning bids include Cornetta Lane's Detroit Dialogues series, a monthly discussion group that aims to strengthen community and provide civic engagement activities. Ciarra Ross and her Heal Detroit program spread holistic wellness practices throughout the city. Orlando Bailey's C.O.D.E. on Mack is a community space on Mack Avenue that promotes "unity, creativity, and education for all." Block x Block, a website designed by Margarita Barry, has also won the prize. Barry's site, BlockxBlock.com, raises funds for neighborhood improvement projects by offering users a place to shop for products by local builders.

Emily Munroe is executive director of 8 80 Cities. She says that each of the winners have a "high level of creativity, passion, and a proven track record of community leadership."

Community leaders in the eight cities where Knight Foundation invests were solicited to submit applications back in April, which attracted over 150 presentations. After Detroit, the Knight cities include Akron, Ohio; Charlotte, NC; Macon, Ga.; Miami; Philadelphia; San Jose, Calif.; and St. Paul, Minn.

Writer: MJ Galbraith

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

May development news round-up: Brush Park, power washing the DIA, and more

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.

It took more than a year since an RFP was first issued at the beginning of 2014 but the city of Detroit has finally announced the winning development team tasked with revitalizing 8.4 acres in the historic Brush Park neighborhood. Brush Park Development Partners, LLC (including one Dan Gilbert) revealed their plans earlier this month, including 337 housing units. At least 20 percent of housing will be reserved as affordable housing. The development, mostly to be built from the ground up, includes the preservation and rehab of four historic mansions.

Speaking of historic rehabs, another Dan Gilbert property, downtown's Vinton Building, will soon see full press construction efforts as the Historic District Commission recently approved requests for a number of changes. The Albert Kahn-designed building is set to receive apartment conversions, repairs, a rooftop deck, and a pedestrian-friendly alley running behind it.

In city sports news, ideas for a new arena for professional soccer continue to be bandied about, including a possible Detroit riverfront location. Both Detroit City FC and the Michigan Bucks are looking to further establish their city presence. Further down the river, Canadian and American officials shook hands and agreed to name the new international border crossing planned for 2020 the Gordie Howe International Bridge.

Tom Gores, owner of the Auburn Hills-based Detroit Pistons basketball club, and his company Platinum Equity made a $50,000 donation to outfit the Belle Isle Bridge with LED light bulbs. In other beautification news, the exterior of the Detroit Institute of Arts is receiving a $100,000 power-wash, removing decades of dirt and grime accumulated since its 1927 opening. The white marble walls should be completed by fall.

Writer: MJ Galbraith

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

Inside La Palma Mediterranean Cuisine's expensive Midtown expansion

La Palma Mediterranean Cuisine opened on the corner of John R and Canfield in Midtown near the end of 2012. Just a couple of years later and the restaurant has made significant upgrades to its physical space and services offered, resulting in nearly $500,000 in investment. Acquiring two recently-vacant adjacent storefronts, the restaurant has knocked down the walls in between the spaces, growing from 1,600 to 3,000 square feet.

The expanded kitchen and dining room debuted this past January. With it came a new menu, one that saw the addition of hamburgers, wraps, and quesadillas to the more traditional Mediterranean fare already offered. A breakfast menu debuts this week, one accompanied by longer hours of operation. Before, La Palma opened for lunch at 10:30 a.m. The restaurant will now be open for breakfast at 7:30 a.m. and close at 8 p.m.

La Palma co-owner Adam Mahdawiyan has overseen the upgrades, each a response to his customer base. Mahdawiyan estimates that 70 to 80 percent of his customers are repeat customers, and the majority of those are coming from one of the several hospitals nearby. Around half of his business comes from catering, he says, and the expanded kitchen helps greatly with that. The larger dining area is a boon, too, offering a more comfortable dining experience throughout the day. Much care has been put into the molded wood ceilings and herringbone-arranged floor boards.

"A lot of people, when they come, they have that 'wow' effect," says Mahdawiyan. "We've spent a lot of money on the interior and décor. A lot of them are shocked."

Including more American menu items, like hamburgers, was a direct response to a demand Mahdawiyan saw. The recent addition of breakfast fills a large gap in nearby dining options. Other additions include Caribou Coffee, Mighty Leaf organic tea, freshly squeezed juice, and fruit smoothies.

One thing that hasn't changed is the quality of food. La Palma still uses fresh ingredients bought from nearby Eastern Market vendors. The food is prepared by hand every day. The kitchen operates under halal guidelines and is one of the cleanest commercial kitchens this writer has ever seen.

La Palma Mediterranean Cuisine is located at 113 E. Canfield St.

Source: Adam Mahdawiyan, co-owner of La Palma Mediterranean Cuisine
Writer: MJ Galbraith

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

New management company seeks to improve historic Virginia Park shopping center

With its grocery store, dollar store, and Chinese food restaurant, the Virginia Park Shopping Plaza seems pretty typical for a strip mall. Set far back from Rosa Parks Boulevard behind a sea of parking, the shopping center looks like it could be found just about anywhere. Most of the storefronts are occupied and just three remain vacant.

Virginia Park Shopping Plaza isn't your typical strip mall, however. Built in the 1960s, the 72,000-square-foot shopping center was dreamed up by a group of Virginia Park residents who wanted to create positive change in their neighborhood after the civil unrest of 1967. Residents formed a nonprofit, Virginia Park Community Investment Associates, Inc. (VPCIA), which built the shopping center and owns Virginia Park Shopping Plaza to this day.

A new push to re-energize the shopping center is being made as VPCIA has hired Beal Properties to manage the site. Beal manages commercial and residential properties in Detroit, Ypsilanti, and Ann Arbor.

"This is our first shopping center, first grocery store-based situation," says Stewart Beal, president of Beal Properties. "But the key to property management is to be responsive to needs, no matter the property."

Beal took over management duties May 1 and will complete the first round of capital improvements within the first 90 days. Re-striping the parking lot, making signage improvements, and getting the vacant spaces presentable are among the first priorities. Putting pressure on DTE Energy to fix a large hole behind the building is also among Beal's chief concerns.

For the three vacant suites, Beal hopes to find a small Subway-like restaurant franchise, a larger restaurant to fill what used to be a Ponderosa Steakhouse location, and a local or regional pet food shop.

Virginia Park Shopping Plaza is located at 8665 - 8671 Rosa Parks Blvd.

Source: Stewart Beal, president of Beal Properties
Writer: MJ Galbraith

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

Corktown Farmers Market to celebrate grand opening May 21

Following a successful soft opening, the Corktown Farmers Market is celebrating its official grand opening from 4 to 7 p.m. on Thursday, May 21. The market is adjacent to the Detroit Institute of Bagels, on the corner of the Lodge service drive and Michigan Avenue.

The bagel shop, a finalist during the 2011 Hatch Detroit Contest, was recently the recipient of a grant from the Hatch Detroit Alumni Program, funded in partnership with the Detroit Lions. That grant was used to fund the construction of the newly completed patio that the Corktown Farmers Market will utilize.

"It’s a neighborhood market for people who want local produce and a great place to bump into friends while eating outside at Detroit Institute of Bagels, PJ’s Lager House, or Brooklyn Street Local. It’s also really convenient for folks commuting home from downtown," says Greg Willerer of Brother Nature Produce, one of the market partners.

So far there are 16 vendors signed up for the market, ranging from local food-producing gardens to well-established restaurants. Vendors include ACRE, Brother Nature Produce, Detroit Institute of Bagels, the Blu Kitchen, Brooklyn Street Local, Detroit Food Academy, Detroit Marshmallow Co., Food Field, Fresh Cut Flower Farm, Gold Cash Gold, Jane's Soups and Chili, Labrosse Farm, Motor City Soap, Rising Pheasant Farms, St. Gall, and What Up Dough.

Many of the vendors are based in either Corktown or North Corktown. Organizers are hailing the market as a return of farm fresh produce to Corktown. It's near the old Western Market location, bulldozed 50 years ago to make way for the Fisher Freeway.

Detroit Institute of Bagels is located at 1236 Michigan Ave. The Corktown Farmers Market occurs every Thursday from 4 to 7 p.m. and runs through October.

Writer: MJ Galbraith

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

Nortown community fights to save historic farmhouse, receives demolition deferment

Efforts to stop the demolition of one of the Nortown neighborhood's most architecturally and historically significant buildings have been successful, at least for now. The Norris House, built by one of Detroit's most notable 19th century residents, has been spared the wrecking ball as the city's Public Health and Safety Committee deferred its demolition at its meeting Monday, May 11. While there is more work to be done, including better securing the property, meeting with the Historic District Commission, and launching a fundraising campaign, organizers are so far emboldened by the results of their efforts.

Reportedly abandoned since the early 1990s and once the target of arson, the Norris House has remained largely intact. The Victorian farmhouse was built in the early 1870s by Col. Philetus Norris, a Civil War veteran who cleared the land around what is now 17815 Mt. Elliot St. In addition to being credited for bringing business and infrastructure to the area, including streets and the railroad, Norris built the Two Way Inn, the oldest bar still operating in the city of Detroit.

After Norris established then-Prairie Town, neighbors began calling the area Norris Town, which evolved into Nortown before being annexed by the city of Detroit. Norris himself would move on to become the second superintendent of Yellowstone National Park, where he played a role in exploring, documenting, mapping, and establishing the park.

While the Nortown Community Development Corporation has owned the Norris House for a couple of years now, preservation efforts have kicked into high gear since recently finding out that the house was on the demolition list. Michelle Lyons, a member of the restoration committee, credits Nortown CDC executive director Pat Bosch for working tirelessly to save the building.

Still, many issues stand in between preservationists and the preservation of the Norris House. While the house is no longer in immediate danger of demolition, that doesn't mean it couldn't reappear on the demolition list in the future. Fundraising will be necessary to shore up structural issues before it can be turned into the neighborhood asset the CDC hopes it can become. Given the legacy of Norris, organizers desire to one day re-open the house as a National Parks interpretive center. Now it's up to them to convince the city that such a transformation is possible.

"It could take years to get this building back and going," says Lyons. "We just want to make sure it's still around to do so."

Source: Michelle Lyons, member of the Norris House restoration committee
Photo: Jen Lyons via ProhibitionDetroit.com
Writer: MJ Galbraith

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

Interactive art labyrinth opens in New Center

A collaboration of local artists, businesses, and volunteers has culminated in the opening of MONOMYTH in the Lincoln Street Art Park and Sculpture Garden in Detroit's New Center area.

Though the celebration reception won't occur until Wednesday, May 20, MONOMYTH opened to the public May 3. The elaborate art installation runs through June 13.

Drawing inspiration from Joseph Campbell's monomyth theory, which maps the typical path of the hero's journey found in mythology both classic and modern, MONOMYTH is an interactive labyrinth, inviting visitors to answer a call to adventure which will result in a prize at the end of the journey. Along the way, visitors will interact with a series of sculptures and structures.

Among the contributing artists include Joe Lapham, DVS, Stephanie May, Sicilily Amaris Raven, Monique Pettway, Linden (formerly exhibiting as Lindsey Harnish), Mike Ross, John Finazzo, Terri Light, JoJo Smedo, and Alana Carlson.

"We experience so many things in our daily lives that feel epic, but we so rarely feel like heroes," says artist and project director Linden. "MONOMYTH is an effort to give anyone the opportunity to experience a heroic journey and encounter challenges in an abstract way that might give new light and meaning to their personal challenges."

According to the artists, visitors will follow a path that leads them through instances of love, temptation, and death.

Detroit businesses Recycle Here Detroit, Anew Life Prosthetics, and New Aeon Painting provided materials for MONOMYTH. Money was raised through a fundraiser at New Center establishment Zenith Restaurant, as well as through a GoFundMe campaign.

Lincoln Street Art Park and Sculpture Garden itself is located adjacent to Recycle Here Detroit. The park has hosted numerous art installations since its 2011 inception.

Writer: MJ Galbraith

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

Eastern Market: Newly renovated Shed 5 sets standard for regional food hubs

On Saturday, May 2, local dignitaries and Eastern Market Corporation officials gathered to celebrate the unveiling of Eastern Market Shed 5 in all its renovated glory. After Detroit mayor Mike Duggan and Sen. Debbie Stabenow took part in the pageantry of the ribbon-cutting ceremony, market-goers explored the renovated shed while Shed 5 vendors saw their patience rewarded.

Shed 5 stayed open and was host to its usual vendors during its three-year renovation. For all the dust and inconveniences vendors weathered during the various rounds of construction, the improvements made to Shed 5 should prove worth it.

The shed was built in 1981 and had seen few improvements since. Because of the recent renovations, Eastern Market Corporation believes that Shed 5 sets a new standard for regional food hubs.

"Shed 5 was functional before the renovations, but now we can really brag about the shed," says Caroline Glidewell-Hoos, marketing and communications manager for Eastern Market Corporation. "For one thing, it will increase attendance in the winter. A lot of people don't realize we're open year-round and now we have a heated indoor shed."

Shed 5 floors are now heated and its doors are reinforced and better suited for keeping the heat in during cold-weather months.

Adding to the Shed 5 experience is the DTE Energy Foundation Plaza. The newly-landscaped public outdoor space on the Russell Street side of the shed will feature special events and entertainment and likely food trucks and other vendors. Also new to Shed 5 is the Kid Rock Kitchen Commons, a large room dedicated for meeting space that can be rented for parties, exercise classes, and other uses. Green Collar Foods has installed a vertical indoor growing system.

One of the biggest additions to Shed 5 is the community kitchen. It's a fully licensed commercial-grade kitchen available to small food businesses and entrepreneurs. The facilities will allow Detroit Kitchen Connect, a group that connects local entrepreneurs with its network of kitchens, to increase capacity and accept more small businesses into its program. A number of Eastern Market vendors, including Chez Chloe and Five Star Cake Company, have come through the Detroit Kitchen Connect program.

Eastern Market Corporation funded the $8.5 million renovations by way of a number of contributors that include the city of Detroit, the Michigan Economic Development Corporation, the New Economy Initiative, DTE Energy Foundation, WK Kellogg Foundation, Kresge Foundation, JPMorgan Chase Foundation, and Whole Foods Market.

Source: Caroline Glidewell-Hoos, marketing and communications manager for Eastern Market Corporation
Writer: MJ Galbraith

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

Baseball, buses, and the latest Detroit neighborhood improvement efforts

Two Detroit community groups have turned to crowdfunding to improve the neighborhoods that they represent. A Grandmont Rosedale park and an eastside bus stop are the targeted projects. In both cases, the Michigan Economic Development Corporation has pledged to provide each successful crowdfunding campaign with a matching grant.

Launched May 5, the Grandmont Rosedale Development Corporation hopes to raise $13,000 as it seeks to beautify Stoepel Park No. 1. It plans on doing so through the creation of seven murals of mosaic tilework in Stoepel Park No. 1. The park is home to a vibrant baseball Little League and each mosaic will cover one of the dugouts there.

Detroit artist Hubert Massey made one such mosaic in 2014, and now the GRDC plans on working with Massey to create seven more over the course of one weekend in July. More than 180 youth volunteers have committed to assisting Massey in installing the 1,400 sq. ft. worth of mosaic art.

The GRDC has until June 19 to raise the $13,000.

Also launched is a campaign to raise $10,000 to makeover an oft-used bus stop on the city's eastside. MEDC has agreed to provide a $10,000 matching grant to the Detroit Eastside Community Collaborative (DECC) if they're able to reach their goal.

Organizers say the bus stop at Gratiot and Connor is used by thousands each year, despite it being nothing more than a plot of unkempt grass. DECC hopes to use the money to install a new walkway, bench, and trash receptacle. They also plan to plant low-maintenance landscaping elements including trees, flowering shrubs, buffalo juniper, and switchgrass.

The DECC has until June 5 to raise the $10,000.

Each project must raise all of their funding goals to receive the MEDC grants. The grants are part of the Public Spaces Community Places initiative, which has awarded similar grants to successful crowdfunding campaigns in the past that include a green alley and an arts district. A campaign to improve Hamtramck's Pope Park is also currently under way.

Writer: MJ Galbraith

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