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Link Detroit celebrates groundbreaking of five-phase cycling and greenway infrastructure project

The Community Foundation for Southeast Michigan, in partnership with the US Department of Transportation, State of Michigan, City of Detroit Department of Public Works, DEGC, Eastern Market Corporation, Midtown, Inc., and the Detroit Riverfront Conservancy, will celebrate the groundbreaking of the five-phase Link Detroit greenway infrastructure project next Tuesday, Sept. 24 at 6 p.m. in Eastern Market's Lot 1 (adjacent to Shed 2).
 
"This goes back a few years," says Tom Woiwode, director of the Community Foundation for Southeast Michigan's GreenWays Initiative. He says that when the Dequindre Cut opened in 2009, it was always intended to run further north than where it currently ends at Gratiot. When the first portion of the Midtown Loop opened in 2010, it was intended to go further south and connect to Eastern Market. Link Detroit is the fulfillment of those intentions.
 
The full $25 million scope of this project is fully-funded, thanks in large part to a $10 million TIGER (Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery) grant in addition to support from the Community Foundation and other partners (see above).
 
There are five phases to this project, and most are able to operate on independent construction schedules simultaneously. Though the "ground-breaking" celebration is next Tuesday, the event is mostly ceremonial. Woiwode says they hope to already have bulldozers at work by then.
 
The five phases include extending the Dequindre Cut north from Gratiot to Mack, rebuilding five bridges over the Dequindre Cut's extension (with funding from the Critical Bridge Fund), extending the trail system and providing some infrastructure improvements and amenities in Eastern Market along Wilkins and Russell St., connecting Wilkins to the Midtown Loop which will be extended south along John R, and the construction of bike lanes and greenways along Dequindre Rd. north of Mack connecting the Dequindre Cut to Hamtramck. Ultimately Link Detroit will connect Midtown and Wayne State to Eastern Market to the Dequindre Cut to both Hamtramck and the Detroit River.
 
They hope to have construction of all five phases completed by this time next year.
 
Source: Tom Woiwode, director of the Community Foundation for Southeast Michigan's GreenWays Initiative
Writer: Nicole Rupersburg

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

Ford Field to get two more Slows stands, also adding Russell Street Deli and Corridor Sausage

Detroit Lions fans are in for a real treat this fall at Ford Field; the stadium will be increasing its partnership with local food businesses to include two more Slows' outposts, a Corridor Sausage cart, and a satellite location of Russell Street Deli.
 
"We want to provide a better local experience for our fans," says Joe Nader, Executive Chef of Ford Field. "There are a lot of places around downtown that people go to before and after games. I could do a barbecue stand inside the stadium but I could never replicate Slows or their branding and wouldn't try to."
 
Ford Field's partnership with Slows Bar BQ – arguably Detroit's most famous restaurant – started last year. "It made sense that we started there with the most iconic of the new Detroit brands," Nader says. Fans were happy because they could have that Slows experience right there in the stadium. But Slows was only available on the Club level (accessible only to Club level ticketholders), which made for some disgruntled fans.
 
But, as Nader explains, all good things in good time. Slows is responsible for running its stand in addition to two permanent locations (the Corktown institution and Slows To Go in Midtown). With 65,000 people in the stadium for every game, both Slows management and Levy Restaurants, which handles the food and beverage operations for Ford Field, had to make sure they could handle the crushing volume.
 
This year Slows will be available to everyone with outposts on the Club level, the North Club level, and in general concessions in Section 133. Joining them in the Club level is Russell Street Deli, and in North Club level is Corridor Sausage.
 
Nader has always made it a point to use products from local purveyors in Ford Field, including Better Made potato chips and Germack brand nuts. Nader has used Corridor Sausage products at special events, but now it will have its own cart and will also be available on the suite menu.
 
As far as Nader is concerned, this is a natural progression for Ford Field and a reflection of Detroit's fast-growing food scene. "My biggest thing is creating a Detroit experience," he says. "We get a lot of fans from out of town, and they might have heard about Slows or any of these places but they can't always have that experience while they're here. Now they can get it all inside the stadium."
 
Nader is also the co-founder of The Detroit Three, a new chef's collaborative that hosts culinary events with a charity component. 

Source: Joe Nader, Executive Chef of Ford Field
Writer: Nicole Rupersburg

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

New murals in Eastern Market celebrate changemaking and all things Weird

Eastern Market has a new welcome mat: behold one of the new murals on Gratiot entering the market, courtesy of German and Austrian artist collective "The Weird," recently in town for their group exhibition at Inner State Gallery. After spending some time absorbing the history and the "characters" of the Market, the Weird created this mural, which offers their interpretation of the people and places they saw. (And, yes, it's kind of weird.) 
 
The Weird's murals (they did a few) are the latest in an ongoing public art effort spearheaded by the guys behind Inner State (formerly 323 East in Royal Oak) and 1xRUN. "We've been engaged in public arts projects for many years," says Jesse Cory, who founded 323 and 1xRUN along with partners Dan Armand and Ryan Brogan. "It has always been in our blood and something we thought was important."
 
It started with the mural on their 323 building. They then moved on to Woodward Windows, a public art project that took over vacant storefronts along Woodward Avenue and included works from local artists like Malt, Sintex, Hygienic Dress League, and the Detroit Fashion Collective. Then, last summer, 1xRUN produced the Detroit Beautification Project in collaboration with Matt Eaton. This project yielded dozens of murals throughout Hamtramck and garnered national coverage (and controversy). It was during this project that Cory and his team were approached by Plymouth Educational Center instructor Allie Gross to collaborate with her 5th grade ChangeMakers class.
 
The ChangeMakers are a civically-minded group of students that had already put together a winning proposal at Detroit Soup. A crowd-funding campaign was launched to cover the cost of supplies, and 1xRUN brought San Diego-based artist Persue in to work with the students on creating a mural using his signature Bunny Kitty character. Persue worked with the kids for three days last month to create the mural on Russell between Mack and Warren in Eastern Market on the side of an abandoned juvenile detention center.
 
1xRUN's/Inner State's focus this year is all on Eastern Market, their new home since May. They have produced nine murals in the market so far this year. The murals serve several purposes: first, they are public works of art for all people to enjoy, taken outside of the confines of a traditional gallery and put out in front of the public. Second, the murals are from internationally-renowned street artists; petty taggers are deterred from destroying them (there is a strict street art code at play) so walls previously full of junky tags are remade into actual works of art. Third, since 1xRUN/Inner State self-funds all of these projects (with occasional help from sponsors like Montana Cans) and works with artists they're already collaborating with on limited edition print runs or an exhibition, the murals give them a chance to further showcase their artists and their brand. Cory says, "It gives traveling artists the same opportunity to leave behind something better."
 
Source: Jesse Cory, co-founder of 1xRUN and Inner State Gallery
Writer: Nicole Rupersburg

Photo credit: Sal Rodriguez

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

The Detroit Wood Type Co. set up shop inside Signal-Return

Signal-Return is a letterpress workshop, retail space, and…business incubator? In a manner of speaking, yes. The old-fashioned (and nouveau trendy) letterpress studio in Eastern Market is also home to Detroit Wood Type Co., producers of historic wood types and letterpress goods.
 
Detroit Wood Type Co. formed about eight months ago after partners Don Kilpatrick, Joe Benghauser, and Christian Mulligan had been collaborating on other types projects. Kilpatrick is the illustrator, Benghauser is the type designer, and Mulligan is the project manager.
 
"It's really just us doing this," says Kilpatrick. "We're bringing back historic typefaces that were designed over 100 years ago and creating them in wood." They also design new typefaces inspired by historic type. "The primary focus is making unique typefaces that are affordable."
 
Unique letterpress typefaces are typically very expensive, so if a person who is professionally and financially established can't afford them, it's highly unlikely a recent graduate or young person with an eye for design can. So Kilpatrick and Benghauser got all the equipment, restored it, learned how to print on it, and found processes to make it more affordable. The standard pricepoint is $299 for both historic and original designs, and they can also do custom designs.
 
"If you want to explore the (letterpress) medium and push yourself as a designer, it's great to buy wood type because it gives you all sorts of possibilities," says Kilpatrick. "Letterpress printing is one of those things that allows you to slow down and think, to take the time to learn the history of your craft as a designer. Wood type is part of that."
 
Right now Signal-Return is their studio, retailer, and distributor. All their types and letterpress goods are available there. Their long-term goal is to have their own studio and storefront, and they are also eager to collaborate with other artists.
 
Source: Don Kilpatrick, Co-Founder of Detroit Wood Type Co.
Writer: Nicole Rupersburg

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

Downtown Detroit Bike Shop now open in Eastern Market

Detroit has a new bike shop! Sort of.
 
The Downtown Detroit Bike Shop is open now through September at 1420 Fisher Freeway in Eastern Market. It is a pop-up concept that has the potential to become permanent if business is good over the next few months.
 
Owner Jon Hughes also owns the Downtown Ferndale Bike Shop, now in its fourth year, and was busy earlier this year trying to coordinate the first-ever Gran Fondo mass cycling event down the Woodward Corridor. While the ride was ultimately not approved by all of the Corridor communities, Hughes is still organizing an informal ride for Sunday, June 30 at 8 a.m. starting at Rivard Plaza and going up Woodward to the Pontiac Loop and back again.
 
"I figured I haven't been stretched out enough, so why not open a shop in Eastern Market?" Hughes says. He has wanted to open a store in Detroit ever since he first opened his store in Ferndale.
 
When a friend looking to open a restaurant found this space in Eastern Market, the cost of a restaurant build-out would have been too expensive … but it was perfect for what Hughes needed. "For him it wasn't going to work, but I just have to put hooks on the wall." The space was previously an art gallery but had been empty for four years. Though Hughes was planning on opening a Detroit location full-time next year, when this space fell into his lap he decided to test it out. He signed the lease two weeks ago and started moving in inventory.
 
Downtown Detroit Bike Shop has about 200 bikes in stock along with tons of accessories. It is an extension of the Ferndale store, selling both new and used bikes and offering full repair services. At about 2,800 square feet, the Detroit store is nearly three times as large as the Ferndale store. Hughes will have limited hours on Tuesday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday to start, in the hopes that business will grow and he can hire employees to be there seven days a week. He also wants to organize some rides through the store, which is conveniently located right near the Dequindre Cut Greenway north entrance.
 
A previous pop-up last year inside Compuware was unsuccessful due to lack of visibility, but Hughes hopes for a better response this time – ideally, he'd like to keep the space when September rolls around.
 
Source: Jon Hughes, owner of Downtown Detroit Bike Shop
Writer: Nicole Rupersburg

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

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.

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.

Trinosophes cafe, gallery and performing arts space celebrates grand opening this Saturday

Trinosophes, a new art gallery and performance space in Eastern Market, has been hosting monthly events for the past few months, but they are now ready for their full-time debut with a grand opening set for this Saturday, March 9.
 
Musician and event producer Joel Peterson and MOCAD Deputy Director Rebecca Mazzei have partnered on this project, which includes an integrated café, gallery and performance space. Peterson had previously been booking shows through the Bohemian National Home, and it had been his intent to find a new space since 2008.
 
"It has been a really long process for us," he says. "We put in the purchase agreement two years ago. We’ve been in there just about a year now getting it all together." The space did not require a full gut and the utilities were all solid, but it was basically an empty warehouse. They’ve spent this past year working on its aesthetic transformation.
 
The 8,500-square-foot space at 1464 Gratiot near Eastern Market was an old spice processing facility before it was the Butcher and Packer Supply Co. It has three storefronts; two will serve as the café and gallery exhibition/performance space, and the third will soon be a second location for Midtown's Peoples Records.
 
The café portion will be completed this spring and will offer free WiFI. Peterson says this will be encouraged as a "hangout space" for people to linger. 
 
There are no immediate plans to apply for a liquor license. "We’re looking forward to being the space that isn’t a bar where exciting stuff happens."
 
Peterson will continue to book the kind of high caliber talent he was known for bringing to the Bohemian National Home, and the gallery will host specific exhibits built around particular artists. It is also accruing a semi-permanent collection as part of the environment, some of which will be for sale "until someone builds enough of a relationship with it to take it home."
 
The first exhibit opens in conjunction with their grand opening this Saturday.
 
Source: Joel Peterson, co-owner of Trinosophes
Writer: Nicole Rupersburg

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

Collision Works aims to create shipping container hotel

More construction development for Eastern Market is on the drawing boards now that the Collision Works is moving forward.

Collission Works aims to build a boutique hotel made of used shipping containers on the east side of the Dequindre Cut near Division Street. The 16,000-square-foot structure will include 36 hotels rooms, 3,000 square feet of event space and a large outdoor courtyard.

"It's a boutique hotel and community work space built around storytelling," says Shel Kimen, founder & CEO of Collision Works. "It's a place to let people tell their stories and to give these stories a home. The idea is when people of different perspectives and backgrounds come together interesting things happen."

One of the main places where these sorts of conversations and connections will be happening is in the hotel's co-working space. The communal office space will be big enough to accommodate between 15-20 people.

Kimen worked in digital design and strategy for an advertising agency before taking on this project. She has a degree in architecture and design from Michigan State University and sees Collision Works as a great opportunity to put those skills to use while enhancing the community. She is currently working with the city to acquire the land and alternative lenders to secure financing for the project, which she hopes will break ground midway through next year and be done by spring of 2014.

"We're making headway with the seed funding," Kimen says.

Source: Shel Kimen, founder & CEO of Collision Works
Writer: Jon Zemke

Read more about Metro Detroit's growing entrepreneurial ecosystem at SEMichiganStartup.com.

Hatch Detroit's four finalists to be determined Wednesday

The final four of this year's Hatch Detroit competition are set to be named on Wednesday.

Voting to determine the four finalists for the second-annual competition finished yesterday. The contestants are competing for $50,000 in seed capital to open a retail location for their business in Detroit. This year's semi-finalists include some familiar names that have been growing their businesses from their homes and hope to leverage the Hatch cash to build a home for their budding businesses.

"There is a lot more experience in this group than what we had last year," says Ted Balowski, co-founder of Hatch Detroit. "A lot of them have worked through Eastern Market or the Rust Belt Market (in downtown Ferndale). They have worked very hard to build up their following."

Balowski and Nick Gorga launched Hatch Detroit last year as a vehicle to champion, support and grow locally owned retail businesses. The nonprofit accomplishes this through funding its $50,000 contest, education, exposure, and mentoring. The bottom line is providing a stimulus that helps revitalize the Motor City and inspires others in the community to create change.

This year's winner will be revealed on Sept. 27. Last year's winner, Joe Posch of HUGH, is close to opening his contemporary mens fashions store in Midtown. "He is going into the Auburn building, which still being built," Balowski says.

Source: Ted Balowski, co-founder of Hatch Detroit
Writer: Jon Zemke

Read more about Metro Detroit's growing entrepreneurial ecosystem at SEMichiganStartup.com.

DeVries & Co. 1887 prepares for Eastern Market Tuesdays

The hustle and bustle of Eastern Market is always apparent on Saturdays. Today though, marks the opening of Eastern Market Tuesdays which will run through Oct. 30. 
 
Visitors to the market will have an opportunity to re-discover the local market and stores in the area, participate in educational activities, culinary demonstrations, and community outreach opportunities. 
 
DeVries & Co. 1887 (formerly R. Hirt) is one store taking advantage of Eastern Market Tuesdays by opening its doors from 10 a.m.- 6 p.m. and offering free food samples.
 
"Eastern Market is a great location, has done good things, and it’s one of the places people like to come," said David DeVries.
 
DeVries & Co. recently invested about six figures worth to do renovations to the beloved store that’s 125 years old.
 
"We worked hard at not destroying the spirit," DeVries said.
 
Instead, they did wall washing, a little painting and put up new lights.
 
"People didn’t want us to modernize it…one day we were about to paint the posts and someone said 'don’t paint the posts because the posts have wear marks on them, they show oldness and use,'" he said.

The well-known cheese shop is looking forward to continuing its tradition of bringing in loyal customers, some going back three and four generations.
 
"It’s a fun store and we are interested in quality and good value," DeVries said.

Click here to view a full list of all shops at Eastern Market. 

Source: David DeVries 
Writer: Leah Johnson 

Link Detroit project receives $10 million grant for non-motorized transit

The U.S. Department of Transportation announced that it will provide Link Detroit with $10 million to improve bike and pedestrian connections between the Eastern Market, the Dequindre Cut, Midtown Loop and Hamtramck greenways.

The funds are coming from the TIGER Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery program.

(Editor's note: check out some photos and renderings in this week's Buzz item
 
Senator Carl Levin made a statement regarding the grant saying "It will help generate construction jobs immediately, and more jobs in the future as it spurs development in and around Detroit."
 
Speaking of Eastern Market, Senator Debbie Stabenow says she is excited for the added improvements, especially since "Eastern Market is already a hub for economic activity."
 
For Eastern Market, planned improvements include streetscape enhancements, improved bicycle and transit facilities, landscaping and pedestrian lights. It’s also the city’s goal is to replace the Adelaide and Division Street bridges just east of the market. 
 
Source: Jonathan Oosting
Writer: Leah Johnson 

Eastern Market begins work on Shed 5 renovation

Eastern Market has begun renovating Shed 5 with an eye for not only improving customer experience but also creating a dynamic space for culinary entrepreneurs.

"It's a pivotal project for us because because it allows us to improve three critical areas of the market," says Dan Carmody, president of Eastern Market Corp, which manages Eastern Market.

Shed 5, the northernmost enclosed shed in the market, will undergo a complete renovation from its concrete floors to its roof. The new shed will have radiant heat in the floors, energy efficient windows and doors, new bathrooms and a new roof. The core systems of the building (electric, plumbing, etc) will also be replaced.

Eastern Market will also create a plaza in the area between Russell Street and Shed 5 and a community kitchen inside the shed. The shared-use Community Kitchen will expand the market’s role in providing food and nutrition information, and encourage greater use of the market as a place for civic and community events. It will also serve as an incubator for specialty food businesses. Today Eastern Market provides space for about 50 niche food businesses, which is up from none a few years ago.

Eastern Market has been extensively renovating its infrastructure over the last few years. It recently spent $9.3 million renovating Shed 2 (the open air shed on the southern end of the market) in 2008 and Shed 3 (the enclosed shed between Sheds 2 and 5) in 2010. Carmody says Eastern Market Corp will next look to renovate other sections of the market away from the main sheds when the Shed 5 project is complete.

"We have a couple of different ways we could go," Carmody says. "The next step is to strengthen the Gratiot end of the market."

Source: Dan Carmody, president of Eastern Market Corp
Writer: Jon Zemke

Read more about Metro Detroit's growing entrepreneurial ecosystem at SEMichiganStartup.com.

Eastern Market building set to become creative, mixed-use space

A new redevelopment project in Eastern Market plans to bring a variety of uses together, including restaurant/retail, office space and fish farm.

Urban Life Development, the Eastern Market-based development firm behind the FD Lofts at Eastern Market, plans to transform the vacant Detroit Waterboard Building into a mixed-use development features space for a restaurant/retail businesses, creative office space and a fish farm focused on raising tilapia.

"Eastern Market is a food district," says Robert Heide, president of Urban Life Development. "This just seems like an interesting mix of uses to bring under one roof. We will continue to be a leader in showing how old buildings can be reused so they are an assett to the neighborhood."

The 104,000-square-foot building at 1565 Erksine is "very unoccupied" in Heide's words. His firm hopes to spend about $7 million to completely renovate the structure. The first order of business will focus on bringing 45,000 square feet of commercial space online for the fish farm, which will feature a closed-loop water system so the tilapia can be raised in a controlled environment.

Heide also plans to turn 30,000 square feet of the building into a creative office space that stresses loft-like features and flexibility. Another 20,000 square feet will be focused on space for restaurant and retail businesses. Heide also hopes to make the structure as green as possible.

"We hope to incorporate some renewable energy aspects, like wind turbines," Heide says.

Construction is set to begin in the second quarter of this year.  It will take 12-24 months to complete the project.

Source: Robert Heide, president of Urban Life Development
Writer: Jon Zemke

Read more about Metro Detroit's growing entrepreneurial ecosystem at SEMichiganStartup.com.
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