| Follow Us: Facebook Twitter Vimeo RSS Feed

Detroit Development News

2424 Articles | Page: | Show All

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.

Grandmont Rosedale bookstore to celebrate grand opening on Independent Bookstore Day

Finding a permanent location for her bookstore hasn't been the easiest thing Susan Murphy has ever done. Now that Pages Bookshop has found a home on Grand River Avenue, however, Murphy can focus on establishing her business as a community hub for both the neighborhood and the region's literary set.

Pages Bookshop, located at 19560 Grand River Ave. in the Detroit's Grandmont Rosedale neighborhood, is celebrating its new location with a grand opening party on Saturday, May 2. The event is free and open to the public.

After nearly two years of bouncing between different pop-up locations and touring a number of less-than-suitable storefronts, Murphy connected with the Grandmont Rosedale Development Corporation, which set her up with 19560 Grand River. Murphy has been busy painting and focusing on creating a welcoming environment, one with reading nooks and tables and chairs. She says that sometimes bookstores can seem intimidating and it's her goal to make Pages a place where people can walk in and immediately be comfortable.

"Reading made a big difference in my life. Even though reading can be a solitary experience, ideas and books can bring communities together," says Murphy. "I hope this becomes more than a bookshop."

In addition to the new fiction, non-fiction, and local books she carries, Murphy hopes to draw people to Pages through author readings and other events. She's been working with local literary groups 826 Michigan and Wayne State University Press. Murphy has also been reaching out to a number of publishers, hoping to establish Detroit as a destination for touring authors.

On Thursday, April 30, she hosted one such author, Angela Flournoy.

The grand opening celebration occurs Saturday, when, beginning at 10 a.m., Pages will officially open its doors to the public with raffles, food, wine, appearances and readings by three authors, and a performance from local bluesman Luther "Badman" Keith. Saturday is also Independent Bookstore Day, in which Pages will be taking part. That nationwide event celebrates independent bookstores by offering books published exclusively for the occasion.

Pages Bookshop officially opens at 10 a.m. on Saturday, May 2.

Source: Susan Murphy, owner of Pages Bookshop
Writer: MJ Galbraith

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

Detroit native brings high-end leather goods to Midtown

Ever since Tom Boy Market closed last October, it's been no secret that the Midtown business would be replaced with retail more on the level with high-end shops like Shinola and Willy's than its modest grocer past. What was a secret, however, was just what type of retail that would be. That has all changed as it's been announced that Will Leather Goods will open a retail location in the 9,000 sq. ft. space at 4120 Second Ave.

Will Leather Goods offers hand-crafted leather belts, bags, footwear, wallets, and many more accessories and housewares. The company says the opportunity to re-imagine the old Tom Boy Market aligns with their "what-was-old-is-now-new" philosophy.

Scheduled to open September 1, 2015, the Detroit location will be the eighth Will Leather Goods retail store. Other locations include shops in Venice Beach, Calif.; Portland, Oregon; Eugene, Oregon; San Francisco; and New York City. The company, now based out of Eugene, started as a belt vendor on the Venice Beach boardwalk in 1981. William Adler, the founder and creative director for Will Leather, is a Detroit native.

"Detroit is the perfect backdrop to bring together my past, the present, and future of Will Leather Goods," says Adler. "The city is a metropolis of creativity firmly rooted in America's history and we're delighted to be part of the growth of Midtown."

Midtown Detroit, Inc. (MDI) was instrumental in bringing the brand to Detroit, says the company. Sue Mosey, executive director of MDI, characterizes the brand as friendly and approachable, making it sure to "resonate with members of the Detroit community."

Will Leather has tapped Detroit-based McIntosh Poris Associates to be lead architects in the redesign of 4120 Second Ave.

Writer: MJ Galbraith

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

April 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.

The first of the month saw the news that DuCharme Place, a $42 million, 185-apartment unit development across from Lafayette Park, will begin construction June 11. News about the development had been quiet ever since we first reported it in July 2014, but it appears things are back on track after missing an original groundbreaking target date last fall.

McIntosh Poris Associates and long-time developer Walter Cohen have been working on the DuCharme Place development since 2004. That development team is also responsible for the Foundation Hotel, a boutique hotel planned for the old Detroit Fire Department Headquarters downtown. In an article detailing the recent boom in Detroit hotel development, the Free Press reports that the Foundation Hotel could begin construction within 90 days. The possible Wurlitzer Building redevelopment is also mentioned.

In other long-delayed project news, the shipping container housing development has finally begun construction. Leslie Horn of Three Squared, Inc. spoke with the Detroit News earlier this month as she celebrated the three-story building. The apartments at Trumbull and Pine streets in North Corktown will demonstrate the shipping container-style apartment living set for larger developments in Midtown and North Corktown. Financing and land-purchasing woes slowed down the project.

The historic Brewster Wheeler Recreation Center is, unlike its sister residential towers, being spared the wrecking ball. The city recently announced a $50 million development which would convert the famous rec center into a community center with offices and a restaurant. Joe Louis once trained at the Brewster Wheeler gym. A 100- to 150-unit apartment complex will be built across from Brewster Wheeler.

Jefferson Avenue is set to receive a bit of a "road diet" as it will shrink from seven lanes to four, between Lakewood Street and Alter Road, with the addition of landscaped islands and buffered parking lanes.

Writer: MJ Galbraith

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

Photo by Matthew Lewis.

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.
2424 Articles | Page: | Show All
Signup for Email Alerts