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Detroit Development News

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Traveling retail event with focus on socially-conscious businesses comes to Eastern Market

The Mercantile is coming to Detroit.

The touring retail event, which began September 25 in Nashville and ends December 4 in Los Angeles, makes the second of three stops at The Eastern events space in Detroit's Eastern Market.

More than just a traditional flea market or arts and crafts fair, The Mercantile celebrates only those businesses that are cause-based makers and retailers, hosting socially-conscious businesses located in Detroit, Nashville, and Los Angeles. Dine Drink Detroit will provide food and drinks and the Nashville-based pop-soul band the Shadowboxers will perform.

More than 25 vendors will be on hand, including 16 brands from Detroit. They include jewelry maker Rebel Nell, which uses repurposed materials to make its products while hiring and educating disadvantaged women; Love Travels Imports, which finds and sells Fair Trade handcrafted art from around the world, emphasizing self-empowerment and sustainability; and LeadHead Glass, which recycles and reuses glass and wood from deconstructed homes in Detroit to construct terrariums and other glassworks.

The Mercantile was thought up by Matthew Ford, a former metro Detroiter who now owns Oaken Anchor, an event production company based in Los Angeles and Nashville. He approached his friend Steve Fortunato, who owns the L.A.-based Hospitality Collaborative catering company, and suggested they do something with more than the bottom line in mind. Fortunato tapped his friend Emily Henderson, a former HGTV lifestyle personality, to help design the event and soon The Mercantile was to debut.

For a lot of socially-conscious businesses, selling themselves may not be their number one priority. Ford thinks an event like The Mercantile can help businesses more concerned with helping others than themselves do both at the same time.

"So often, the term 'commerce' can be the giant elephant in the room with these businesses," says Ford. "But we're unabashed about it. We want people to spend their money on these businesses."

The Mercantile takes place Sunday, October 16 from 2:00 p.m. to 8L00 p.m. at The Eastern, which is located at 3434 Russell St. Tickets are $15 in advance and $22 at the door.

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

'Impromptu performance space' to open along Dequindre Cut

The Dequindre Cut, that two mile-long stretch of paved greenway connecting Eastern Market with the Detroit riverfront, was designed with bicyclists and pedestrians in mind. And while movement motivates much of its usage, it's a stationary feature that will soon be celebrated.

The Campbell Memorial Terrace, an outdoor performance space, will officially be unveiled this Thursday, October 13. A children's concert, its first scheduled programming, will occur during the Harvestfest Detroit celebration on Saturday, October 22.

Located at the base of the Lafayette Street ramp between Orleans and St. Aubin streets, the Terrace includes a covered stage for performances and tiered seating walls for spectators.

The Terrace was designed with the community in mind. While there will be the occasional scheduled performance, its real function will be determined by those who use it. The space has a come-what-may policyno permits or reservations required. Whether it's working musicians wanting to put on an impromptu performance, local poets wanting to give readings, or neighborhood children coming up with their own fun and games, if the stage is open, the community is encouraged to use it.

Spontaneity is the name of the game here.

"We wanted to leave it flexible and see what the community comes up with," says Mark Wallace, president and CEO of the Detroit Riverfront Conservancy. "We set the table and let the community bring the programming instead of us bringing the programming from the top down."

The Campbell Memorial Terrace is named after C. David Campbell, former president of the McGregor Fund and a founding member of the Detroit Riverfront Conservancy. A long-standing member of the Detroit non-profit community, Campbell passed away in 2014. The McGregor Fund presented the Detroit Riverfront Conservancy with a $1 million gift to honor Campbell. According to those responsible, the terrace, which incorporates all the things Campbell lovedthe outdoors, music, art, and, most of all, the communitydoes just that.

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

Detroit green infrastructure mapping project kicks off

A coalition of City of Detroit leaders is working to build a database and mapping system to track the growing number of green infrastructure projects in the city.

Members of the Blue-Green Infrastructure Workgroup are starting by developing consistent definitions for green infrastructure (GI) types in the city. That will allow the group to develop a tool for users to enter data about their projects into a standard mapping system. 
 
The project is led by The Nature Conservancy, Greening of Detroit and Issue Media Group, publisher of Model D, and is funded by the Erb Family Foundation.

The Chicago-based Center for Neighborhood Technology defines GI as "a network of decentralized stormwater management practices, such as green roofs, trees, rain gardens, and permeable pavement, that can capture and infiltrate rain where it falls, thus reducing stormwater runoff and improving the health of surrounding waterways."

The project aims to create a baseline understanding of the universe of GI projects in the city. It will also serve to coordinate actions among partners and property owners, according to project coordinator Valerie Strassberg. Strassberg directs The Nature Conservancy's Detroit City Program.

The idea for the project emerged from meetings of the Blue-Green Infrastructure Workgroup. The Erb Family Foundation facilitates the group for funding recipients implementing green infrastructure projects across the city.

"Those meetings were a catalyst for keeping everyone abreast of what was going on," says Strassberg. "We realized that if Erb weren't convening the group, how would we ever know who's doing what? There was a clear need for mapping."

The group is taking a phased approach to the project. In the first phase, the definitions and structure of the database will be developed with the input of multiple stakeholders. Ultimately, the group aims to develop a common web portal to allow users to view projects in their neighborhood and input their project data.

The data may become important as the City of Detroit moves towards implementing stormwater drainage fees. The Detroit Free Press reports that the Detroit Water and Sewerage Department will allow ratepayers to use green infrastructure to earn credit towards their stormwater drainage bills.

Strassberg says it's not yet clear who will be the ultimate steward of the database and website once the project is completed.

"Ideally it would be the city which maintains the database in the long run," she says. "But to get it off the ground, we are developing this project in partnership with the city."

Strassberg is hopeful that additional funding beyond this first phase will help garner commitment from the city for long-term ownership of the project.

The Blue-Green Infrastructure Workgroup includes representatives from the following organizations:

City of Detroit
Tetra Tech
Detroit Future City
Detroit Greenways Coalition
Detroit Water and Sewerage Department
Erb Family Foundation
Greening of Detroit
Issue Media Group
Michigan Community Resources
Michigan State University
SEMCOG
Sierra Club
The Nature Conservancy
The University of Michigan
Wayne State University

Stretch of Brightmoor sidewalk to become interactive running track

A group from the University of Michigan has won a $40,000 grant to build an interactive play space along a broken stretch of sidewalk in the Brightmoor neighborhood. Titled FitLIGHT, the project was a winner of the Play Everywhere Challenge, a national competition from KaBOOM!, a non-profit dedicated to encouraging physical activity in young people.

FitLIGHT will transform a busted up sidewalk along Burt Road into an illuminated rubber-surface running track. A solar-powered speed display will tell people how fast they are running. The track will start at a length of 50 yards and has the potential to grow, depending on the construction.

The project was designed to combat childhood obesity with the help of a little healthy competition, says University of Michigan associate professor Nick Tobier, who along with colleague and assistant professor Roland Graf headed the project. It was designed by staff from the University of Michigan Stamps School of Art and Design, with collaboration from Michael Flynn. Tobier has been working in Brightmoor for nearly ten years through a class he teaches in collaboration with Detroit Community Schools.

The FitLIGHT track is adjacent to the to-be-completed Brightmoor Maker Space, itself located on a vacant plot on the Detroit Community Schools campus. 

"There's a big opportunity to get more creative with physical education," says Tobier. "There's a lot of potential there."

Tobier's Change by Design classes at University of Michigan combine design and technology to stimulate physical activity in young people. His students work with Brightmoor students to come up with the projects, like an LED shoelace network, lighting up as students moved their bodies.

Tobier is aiming for a March 2017 construction date. In the meantime, he's soliciting bids for the construction process, organizing small workshops to get people interested, and performing informative on-the-street introductions to FitLIGHT.

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

New digs for city dogs: Detroit Animal Care and Control moves to new and improved building

Detroit Animal Care and Control (DACC) has begun moving in to its new facility, the old Michigan Humane Society building at 7401 Chrysler Dr. The building was a gift from MHS, which itself moved to a new facility at 7887 Chrysler Dr., just two blocks north of the building it called home since 1931.

The new headquarters is being heralded as a dramatic improvement for DACC in a year that has already seen its fare share. Since 2016, DACC began working with MHS, Detroit Dog Rescue, other local municipal shelters, and a number of additional partners to improve the city service, which is a division of the Detroit Health Department.

In 2015, the DACC live release rate was 26 percent. Since its new partnerships at the start of the year, the DACC live release rate has increased to 61 percent.

DAAC was previously located at 3511 W. Jefferson Ave.

"This move will enable us to better serve the City's residents and their pets," Melissa Miller, Director of DACC, said in a statement. "We're really thankful to our partners who have made this possible, including MHS for donating the facility, and we look forward to the day when we are fully operational in our new space."

DACC will offer reduced services during the transition but will keep field units on city streets. Its dispatch line, reached by phone at (313) 224-6356, is open Monday through Friday from 8:00 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.

Michigan Humane Society left its longtime Detroit headquarters for its new campus in Spring of 2016. The new building is a 35,000 sq. ft. animal care center and is located on a five-acre campus off of the I-75 service drive. Its features include an expanded veterinary center, animal cruelty investigation and rescue center, and dog play yards.

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

Grooming company to return to Detroit, open barbershop in Corktown

Detroit Grooming Company is returning to its namesake city. The company, which outgrew a small production space on Fort Street in Detroit, had since established itself in Ferndale, with both a larger production facility and, most recently, a Woodward Avenue barbershop.

At a private event for friends and family, the team behind Detroit Grooming Company announced that they would be opening a second barbershop, this one on Michigan Avenue in Detroit's Corktown neighborhood. The owners hope for a late 2016 or early 2017 opening in 2000 Michigan Ave., a building currently undergoing extensive renovations.

Detroit Grooming Company co-owner and CEO Michael Haddad says that a return to Detroit is important for the company. While it's a great business opportunity to open a new barbershop in development-crazed Corktown, Haddad says that it's also important to re-establish a presence in the city for which it takes its name.

Haddad started the company in 2013, developing his own blend of beard oil. When Detroit Grooming Company launched, it had four products; today, Detroit Grooming Company has over 200 personal care and beauty products. Though the company started in the beard oil business, it has since expanded to products for both men and women, from mustache wax to hand soap, hair pomade to combs and brushes.

At a recent party at the Detroit Grooming Company Barber Shop, the owners threw quite the event to celebrate the big announcement. A red carpet and photographer greeted the guests. Chef Brennan Calnin, formerly of Detroit's Townhouse restaurant, offered a menu that included smoked turkey neck tamales and laughing bird shrimp ceviche. Corktown's Batch Brewery was on hand, supplying an exclusive firkin of Goodrich, a wet-hopped version of their Marzen. And perhaps most befitting for a company that got its start in the beard oil business, old-timey band Shine on Kentucky Moon provided the music.

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

Creative writing center 826michigan to open Eastern Market storefront

While the educational non-profit 826michigan has been working in Detroit for three years now, the writing and tutoring lab is planting its flag in the ground with a storefront location in the city's Eastern Market. Dubbed the Detroit Robot Factory, 826michigan will open their second permanent Michigan location with a ribbon-cutting ceremony October 5.

From then until November 10, the non-profit, which offers writing and tutoring programming for school-age children, will celebrate its Detroit location with 826 hours of events. In addition to the grand opening party, featuring an appearance from best-selling author and 826 National co-founder Dave Eggers, 826michigan celebrations include open houses for students, parents, and neighbors, a youth workshop at ComiqueCon, a release party for the organization's best of anthology, the Eat Your Words gala, and the opening of Dave Eggers' sculpture show at Museum of Contemporary Art Detroit.

(Check out Model D's interview with Eggers from 2014)

Detroit Robot Factory officially opens November 1.

"We cannot wait to unveil the Detroit Robot Factory this October," says 826michigan Executive Director Amanda Uhle. "826michigan programs make space for young people to explore new ideas, to be their authentic selves, to receive one-on-one attention from incredible adult volunteers, and to have their voices and their ideas amplified in the community. With the Detroit Robot Factory fully up and running, we can offer the same field trip and tutoring programming to Detroit students that has been available to Ann Arbor and Ypsilanti students for years. We are thrilled to be open the doors on this space, which will provide even more opportunities for Detroiters to volunteer with local youth and for school-aged students to take part in our free programs."

The 826michigan ribbon-cutting ceremony for Detroit Robot Factory occurs Wednesday, Oct. 5 at 5 p.m. It is free and open to the public.

Detroit Robot Factory is located at 1351 Winder St.

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

Media technology school to open in former police precinct building in Southwest Detroit

Located near the foot of the Ambassador Bridge, the old Detroit Police Department Third Precinct building has seen some creative adaptive reuses since the DPD left in the 2000s. Detroit Farm and Garden, a landscaping, farming, and gardening supply store, currently occupies the back of the building and surrounding lot.

555 Gallery rented the front of the building for a few years, converting the station and its jail cells into an art gallery. That gallery has since left and, after a period of vacancy, a new tenant has signed a ten-year lease for the front section of the old precinct at the corner or 21st Street and Vernor Highway, a building owned by Southwest Solutions.

The next tenant will be the Detroit School of Digital Technology (DSDT), a post-secondary school focused on 21st century media technologies, including video, graphic design, 3D printing, and coding. Already state-licensed and awaiting a pending national accreditation approval, DSDT students will soon be able to apply for Pell Grants and other financial aid programs.

DSDT, which is hoping for an early-October opening, will offer associate degree and other certificate programs. The school is a subsidiary of Astute Artistry, a fashion, film, and makeup trade school located in suburban Berkley.

Jamie Kothe, DSDT school director and CEO, says that the school is geared toward professionals currently unhappy with their work situations, as well as young adults not wanting to spend the money on traditional four-year university programs. Kothe also hopes to offer the space to local community groups as a sort of computer library. Freelance professionals will be able to rent equipment from DSDT.

Kothe found the space as a result of the Motor City Match contest, which connected her with landlord Southwest Solutions. In a subsequent round of Motor City Match, Kothe won a $50,000 grant. "I've met so many people that have helped me get this far," says Kothe.

She started transforming the space in December of 2015, often locking herself in at night to clean and paint the more than 7,000 sq. ft. first floor. Now it's outfitted with state-of-the-art media technologies, including dozens of Apple desktop computers, several 3D printers, and a DaVinci Resolve control board for video and image editing.

The building retains much of its original character. The old cell block is still there, each of the 21 cells now individual computer stations. But Kothe is still debating what to do with the rest of the space. A second floor is empty and unfinished, including an old locker room and basketball court, the latter of which may be converted into a conference room, events space, or art gallery. The basement contains numerous mysterious cubby holes, a utility room well-suited for students' horror film sets, and the old shooting range, which Kothe hopes to one day turn into an old fashioned movie theater.

Detroit School of Digital Technology is hosting a grand opening and open house this Thursday, Sept. 15 from 5 to 10 p.m. Tours, entertainment, refreshments, and giveaways are planned. It is open to the public.

Detroit School of Digital Technology is located at 1759 W. 21st St.

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

Two alley festivals to take place this Saturday in Midtown

Often an afterthought in most neighborhoods, the alley is kind of a special thing in Midtown. There's Dally in the Alley, one of Detroit's longest-running street fairs, which celebrates the Cass Corridor with local music, art, and food vendors lining a neighborhood alley. There are the green alleys, which convert typically dank and uninviting alleys into charming walkways, complete with green methods of storm water management and the reintroduction of native plants. There's even the Garden Bowl, which, at over 100 years old, is the oldest continuously operating bowling alley in the country.

A new micro-festival will debut on Saturday, September 10, the same day as Dally in the Alley. The new event is called The Green Alley Gathering and it takes place in the Green Alley adjacent to Jolly Pumpkin and Third Man Records. Organized by Porterhouse Presents, the Gathering will celebrate the community and promote Midtown Detroit, Inc.'s Green Alley construction projects throughout the neighborhood.

Two music stages will bookend the alley, plus Man & Pan Paella will be serving their traditional meat, seafood, and vegan Spanish paella. A cash bar featuring Jolly Pumpkin, North Peak, and Civilized Spirits adult beverages will be located in Third Man Records.

Booked to play the first Green Alley Gathering is MarchFourth, a genre-mixing party marching band that also features acrobats and stilters, the Craig Brown Band, a local country-rock group recently signed to Third Man Records, and the Silent Disco, a multimedia experience that has listeners wear headphones at the concert. Silent Disco will include sets from DJ Psycho, DJ Prim, and more.

The Green Alley Gathering is Saturday, September 10 and runs from 6:00 p.m. to 1:30 a.m. Tickets are $10 in advance and $15 at the door. It is located in the Green Alley between 2nd and Cass Avenues and West Canfield and West Willis Streets.

Dally in the Alley is Saturday, September 10 and runs from 11:00 a.m to 11:00 p.m. between Forest Avenue and Hancock Street and 2nd and 3rd Avenues. The event is free.

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

Motor City Match winner Mama Coo's opens in Corktown as Round 6 application window opens

A full year into its small business programming and Motor City Match is starting to see some brick-and-mortar results. Vintage clothing boutique Mama Coo's has opened up shop in Corktown and coffee shop Detroit Sip and Comb-N-Weave manufacturer Black Pride Beauty are reportedly nearing the opening of their own stores in the University District and Jefferson East areas, respectively.

Those three businesses were winners of Motor City Match grants ranging from $18,000 to $60,000 each. Entrepreneurs and small business owners looking for their own shot at small business assistance from Motor City Match, which can include anything from grant money to free architectural services, business planning to tenant-landlord introductions, are in luck.

Round six of applications opens Thursday, September 1 and closes Saturday, October 1. Applications are available online.

"Now that we're a full year into the program, Motor City Match is really starting to show some positive results. Businesses are moving through the steps of the program and beginning to open their doors to serve our neighborhoods," says Rodrick Miller, CEO of the Detroit Economic Growth Corporation.

Lana Rodriguez, winner of an $18,000 Motor City Match grant, recently opened Mama Coo's in Corktown. In an earlier interview with Model D, Rodriguez spoke about the importance of the grant and how it allowed her to open Mama Coo's with less debt and more resources.

"I know that now I have a better chance of longevity and success and to keep this puppy going," she said. 

For those seeking guidance through the application process, Motor City Match has partnered with Wayne County Community College to host the Small Business Summit and Resource Fair, to be held Friday, September 16 from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m. at the WCCCD downtown Detroit campus.

The Resource Fair is not Motor City Match-exclusive and will feature a number of Detroit small business support services including the Build Institute, CEED Lending, the Detroit Development Fund, the Detroit Public Library, Detroit SCORE, Grand Circus, Ioby, and Lifeline Business Consulting.

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

August development news round-up: Residential, residential, and more residential

Let's catch up on some of the biggest stories from the past five weeks.

The Detroit Tigers matchup with the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim last Saturday, August 27 was as notable for an umpire's ejection of two Tigers players and two Tigers coaches as it was for another event at the game: Olympia Development of Michigan in partnership with the Detroit Tigersboth organizations being owned by the Ilitch familyto promote its District Detroit development. 10,000 fans received District Detroit-branded Tigers caps as they entered the game. They were were also treated to numerous video displays and a red carpet promotion as Olympia touted its more than $1.2 billion hockey arena, residential, and commercial development being built north of Comerica Park.

Capitol Park, a public park in the city's downtown, is experiencing its own impressive wave of development as nearly every building surrounding that park is being renovated and redeveloped into apartments and retail space. One of those buildings, the Farwell, has announced a projected fall 2017 opening. DBusiness is also reporting the construction of two brand new buildings. The eleven- and eight-story buildings will contain residential, office, and retail space, replacing a vacant low-rise building and a surface parking lot, respectively.

Another new build, the Russell Flats, will bring 82 new residential units to Eastern Market. The five-story building will also have ground floor retail space. This is part of a major 10-year plan being put into place for the market. 

A crowdfunding campaign is being held to raise funds for the historic log cabin in Palmer Park. If successful, the building and its neglected stained glass windows would be restored and the cabin would be utilized as a community space. Organizers hope to raise $25,000 by October 28 and, in doing so, would receive a $25,000 matching grant from the Michigan Economic Development Corporation and Michigan State Housing Development Authority and their Public Spaces Community Places initiative.

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

Planet Ant turns to crowdfunding to complete redevelopment of old Hamtramck banquet hall

Planet Ant Theatre is growing. Not just in the size of its audience, but physically. 

The theater that showcases Metro Detroit's longest running improv show has acquired a banquet hall kitty corner from its black box theater on Caniff Street, and is in the process of transforming it into Planet Ant Hall. While Planet Ant will continue to utilize its theatre for shows, the hall will allow Planet Ant to increase seating capacity for shows and also offer more improv comedy classes.

(Check out this Model D article on the local improv comedy scene)

Construction is already underway. The drop ceiling has been torn out but the air conditioning will remainan upgrade those familiar with Planet Ant might appreciate today. But a maxed out budget now has Planet Ant turning to the community to help finish the job. Planet Ant has launched a crowdfunding campaign to raise $55,000. An August 31 deadline has been extended by ten days to help Planet Ant reach its goal.

Michael Hovitch, managing director of Planet Ant, says the money raised will go toward things like sound and lighting equipment, seating, and a renovated floor. The goal is to complete construction by the end of October, the theater's 20th anniversary, and launch the new space with a popular show from Planet Ant's past.

"Planet Ant has been around for a long time and it's become a big part of the community," says Hovitch. "It's a small black box theater but we've been wanting to expand for a while. We've been having more and more success with our classes and want to grow, offer more opportunities for our performers."

It's an impressive list of actors, comedians, and musicians that have come through Planet Ant's doors. Two of the most famous include Jack White, who performed at the Planet Ant Coffee House open mic night, and Keegan-Michael Key, who was a founding member of Planet Ant Theatre and its comedy group.

Planet Ant Coffee House opened in 1993. It transitioned to being a theater three years later.

The Planet Ant Hall crowdfunding campaign is being hosted on Indiegogo.

Planet Ant Hall is located at 2320 Caniff St. in Hamtramck.

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

Final Four local businesses compete for $50,000 grand prize

Votes have been cast and the totals have been tallied as the top ten contestants in the 2016 Comerica Hatch Detroit Contest have been whittled down to the final four. A clothing boutique, ceramic studio, urban farm-sourced cafe, and wellness center are now the last competitors standing in pursuit of the $50,000 grand prize.

The winner of the contest, which is presented by Opportunity Detroit this year, will be determined by a public vote and a presentation in front of a panel of judges Friday, August 26. The public voting also ends at noon on August 26.

While the panel of judges will help determine the $50,000 winner, Vittoria Katanski, executive director of Hatch Detroit, stresses the importance of the public's role in the process.

"A significant component of this contest is the support of the public," she says. "From the moment the Top 10 are announced to the continued support of our Hatch alumni, the public is our partner. We've had more than 21,000 public votes so far in this year's contest, and we hope the community's support for these businesses continues to grow."

The final four contestants consist of Bird Bee, a clothing, shoes, jewelry, and accessories boutique; Corbe, a ceramic design and manufacturing studio wanting to open a storefront in the North End; Coriander Kitchen & Farm, an urban farm and catering business seeking a brick and mortar location; and Meta Physica Massage & Sauna, which hopes to open a Wellness Center that includes therapeutic bodywork, infrared saunas, a raw juice bar, herbal apothecary, meditation classes, community workshops, and health-inspired retail.

The winner of the $50,000 grand prize will also receive over $200,000 in pro bono business services from local firms that include GTB, MCCI, Honigman Miller Schwartz and Cohn, Hamilton Anderson Associates, and the Hatch organization itself. Hatch has also provided a number of services to previous contestants who failed to reach the top prize.

Vote online here.

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

Christian organization seeks funds to complete renovations of community center

The Central Detroit Christian Community Development Corporation is $50,000 away from receiving $100,000. That's because the 21-year-old neighborhood organization is involved in the latest round of Public Spaces Community Places, the state's grant-matching program for placemaking projects across Michigan. The CDC's goal is to redevelop an old, vacant church into an active community center.

If Central Detroit Christian is able to raise $50,000 through a fundraising campaign via Michigan-based crowdfunding platform Patronicity, Michigan Economic Development Corporation and Michigan State Housing Development Authority will contribute an additional $50,000 grant toward their mission. Central Detroit Christian has until September 23 to raise the funds.

The old Tried Stone Baptist Church, located at 1550 Taylor St., is between the Lodge Freeway and Rosa Parks Boulevard, south of Clairmount Avenue. Central Detroit Christian purchased the building, which had been vacant for five years, and has performed a number of renovations, including new windows, doors, and a roof. Organizers say that the potential $100,000 raised as a result of the Public Space Community Places program would close a funding gap and allow them to complete renovations of the building.

Once construction is complete, the building will provide space for youth and family programming, a community meeting space, gymnasium, medical clinic, day care services, and office space for the CDC. According to Central Detroit Christian, 70 percent of the families the organization services live below the poverty line.

"The surrounding neighborhood would benefit greatly from the proposed redevelopment of 1550 Taylor," says MSHDA executive director Kevin Elsenheimer. "This space has the potential to inspire meaningful community-led collaboration by bringing together the diversity of the area to boost local access to important programs and services."

To view the status of Central Detroit's Christian's crowdfunding campaign, visit Patronicity.

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

2,000 affordable housing and community development professionals to convene in Detroit

Approximately 2,000 affordable housing and community development professionals are convening in Detroit this week for the NeighborWorks Training Institute. According to the national non-profit NeighborWorks America, an affordable housing advocacy and training group, the symposium is expected to generate an estimated $3.3 million in local investment.

The symposium is the third of four this year, running from August 8 through 12. A number of local and national officials will be present, including Mayor Mike Duggan, chief administration officer for the Detroit Medical Center Conrad L. Mallett Jr., national correspondent for The Atlantic James Fallows, and president and CEO of the Skillman Foundation Tonya Allen, among others.

"This is our second Training Institute in the Detroit area and it couldn't come at a more pivotal time," says Paul Weech, chief executive officer of NeighborWorks America. "Government, business and the nonprofit sector all are working on solutions to improve neighborhoods and jump-start economic activity in the city and in similar places across the United States. NeighborWorks America is excited to be in Detroit to help share what works."

Among the highlights is "Creating Places of Opportunity: Investing in Neighborhoods," a symposium on the benefits of strategic investment in communities throughout the country that result in inclusive development and growth. Examples will focus on job growth, placemaking, and affordable housing.

Mobile tours will also usher attendees around the city, displaying local examples of strategic investment and growth.

While Detroit is a NeighborWorks target, the nonpartisan, congressionally chartered nonprofit operates throughout the state. According to the organization, NeighborWorks generated nearly $45 million in investment in the state of Michigan in 2015. In that same year, 3,117 families were assisted with affordable housing, 1,616 residents received counseling and education services, and 330 jobs were created and maintained.

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