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6 places to shop in Live6 this holiday season

The holidays are right around the corner, and now is the time to find that perfect gift for everyone on your list. A visit along Livernois and McNichols is exactly what you need. Here are a few places in the Live6 neighborhoods that you can go to get fun, unique gifts for your loved ones this season.
 
Eric's I've Been Framed

Tucked in an unassuming building across from the University of Detroit Mercy's campus, Eric's I've Been Framed is the perfect place get beautiful framing for artwork or prints, as well as smaller stocking stuffers like stationery and craft items. The warm atmosphere inside the shop is matched by the friendliness and expertise of Eric Vaughn, the owner and framer-in-chief. 
16527 Livernois Ave, Detroit, MI 48221

Detroit Fiberworks

Need a thoughtful gift for someone in your life who is hard to shop for? Check out Detroit Fiberworks, an art gallery and home goods shop that has a range of items including artwork, jewelry, clothing, and more. Gifts here range in price so there's something for every budget. Also check out one of the many exhibits held at the space and support local artists.
19359 Livernois Avenue, Detroit MI 48221

The University of Detroit Mercy & Marygrove College Bookstores

If you have a Titan or Mustang in the family, you'll want to stop by the University of Detroit Mercy or Marygrove's campus bookstores to get school-branded swag. Pick up your UDM dad hat or Marygrove sweats, and while you're in the area take some time to visit the Charles McGee Commons at the corner of McNichols & Wyoming, on Marygrove's campus.
UDM: 4001 W McNichols Rd, Detroit, MI 48221
Marygrove: 8425 W McNichols Rd, Detroit, MI 48221
 
Art in Motion Ceramic Studio

Pewabic isn't the only place in town to get beautiful ceramic art. Check out Art in Motion, Live6's neighborhood ceramic studio and showroom. Local artists regularly show their work here, and you can learn the craft too: consider a pottery-throwing class as a gift for the artist in your life.    
19452 Livernois Ave, Detroit, Michigan 48221
 
Lucki's Cheesecakes

The holidays are a great time to indulge your sweet toothand Lucki's is just the spot to do that. They have a wide variety of speciality cheesecakes, but sell pies as well. Impress your relatives with their strawberry shortcake, sweet potato, and superman cheesecake flavors.
7111 W McNichols Rd, Detroit, MI 48221
 
DCreated Boutique

For many, their children are their most precious giftsso why not deck the babies out for the holidays? Visit DCreated Boutique this holiday season for clothes and accessories for the littlest person in the family. You can get tiny couture that will melt the hearts of any grandparent.
19480 Livernois, Detroit, MI 48221
 
Kuzzo's Chicken & Waffles

An instant classic, Kuzzo's Chicken & Waffles is known by locals as a place to get delicious comfort food. After your long day of shopping settle into favorites like the chicken and waffles, or get adventurous and try the Hazel's Southern Platter. Wash it down with their legendary Kool-Aid drinks.
19345 Livernois Ave, Detroit, MI 48221

Art and coffee collide in Hamtramck with the opening of Oloman Cafe

A new cafe and gallery has opened in Hamtramck. And for owner Zlatan Sadikovic, it's an opportunity to combine many of his loves.

Oloman Cafe opened to steady crowds on the morning of Monday, December 5th. The cafe, which is part coffee shop, part art gallery, and part photography studio, is located in the former space of the Belmont Bar.

The Belmont spent most of its life as a music venue, though in its latter couple of years new ownership had turned it into a sports bar. Vacant for several years, Sadikovic obtained the venue and began working on it in 2014. Originally planning on using the space for a photography studio, the infrastructure of the building sparked Sadikovic's coffee shop idea. So he combined the two visions, spending the last few years working on an exhaustive overhaul of the building.

Sadikovic and his son Igor, who manages the business, did much of the work themselves, tearing up a floor left rotted by a badly leaking roof and coming up with their own interior designs. The old bar remains, though sharply redesigned, and a small portrait studio occupies the space of the old stage. Out on the back patio, which Sadikovic is outfitting with plants and flowers, is the old Belmont sign, something Sadikovic plans on displaying.

"I kept the sign," says Sadikovic. "People have an emotional attachment to old places."

Sadikovic is one of those people. A native Bosnian, Sadikovic and his wife left for the United States after the war of the 1990s ravaged their country. They've named the Oloman Cafe after one of their favorite cafes in downtown Sarajevo, a place where the city's artists would gather and drink espresso on the sidewalk patio. Zlatan and his wife Indira met at that cafe, which would come to be damaged and demolished over the course of the war.

"That place disappeared. We decided to create something on the other side of the world with the same feel," says Sadikovic. "It's maybe a sentimental type of thing but it is what it is. We come back to things from our past."

The Oloman Cafe has a good chance at becoming a spot where artists congregate. In addition to the coffee and food, which is purchased from local makers Golden Wheat and Guerilla Food, Oloman will have once-a-month art openings in the gallery.

Sadikovic also purchased the building next door, which he has turned into Lint Silver and Sawdust, a rentable co-working space for artists.

Oloman Cafe is located at 10215 Joseph Campau Ave. in Hamtramck.

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

City of Detroit approves $1.6 million for neighborhood planning

The city of Detroit is making good on its promise to expand development into neighborhoods with the recent commitment of $1.6 million in planning-related funding for four sections of the city.

Contracts have been approved for planning work in the neighborhoods of
Southwest Detroit/West Vernor Corridor, Northwest Detroit/Grand River Corridor, Islandview/Greater Villages, and Rosa Parks/Clairmount. This falls in line with Mayor Mike Duggan's push for "20 minute neighborhoods," where residents have amenities and resources within 20 minutes of walking or biking.
 
Sarida Scott-Montgomery, executive director of the Community Development Advocates of Detroit (CDAD), looks forward to what this can mean for the highlighted neighborhoods. "CDAD welcomes the city's plan to invest in neighborhoods. All Detroiters deserve healthy and vibrant neighborhoods that support a good quality of life," Scott-Montgomery says. "We also look forward to working with the City and the selected vendors to ensure that robust community engagement processes occur with the projects. CDAD should be viewed as a resource on this effort."
 
One of the areas targeted for planning is the Northwest Detroit/Grand River Corridor. Located in the northwest side of Detroit, the Grand River Corridor is also geographically close to Livernois and 6 Mile, another area of focus for the city. The Fitzgerald Revitalization Project is a separate city-backed initiative nearby. While developers for the Fitzgerald Revitalization Project still have not been announced, additional attention to neighborhoods in the northwest section of the city bring a connectivity to the area that could be similar to that seen downtown and Midtown.
 
"I appreciate the city's expressed commitment to community engagement through the development processes in these neighborhoods. I'm hoping the engagement strategies result in long standing relationships between the residents of the impacted communities, the partners doing the development work and city government," says Lauren Hood, director of the Live6 Alliance. She says that although trust and relationship building will be a slow at the beginning of the planning process, it will be worth it.

"Creating authentic connections now will ensure productive and robust resident participation as those neighborhoods move into the master planning stage. The city has a tremendous opportunity to redefine what inclusive neighborhood redevelopment can look like."
 
More information about the city's plans can be found here.

Nonresidential property owners learn how green infrastructure can reduce new stormwater fees

In November, the Detroit Water and Sewerage Department released guides to help customers understand its stormwater drainage fees, including ways to implement green infrastructure to gain credits toward reducing those fees. 
 
The drainage fee had never before been charged to owners of approximately 22,000 parcels in the city, who began receiving letters from the agency in August, according to the Detroit News. DWSD is transitioning to a uniform system in which each customer is charged a fee based on the area of the impervious surface, such as concrete, pavement, and rooftop, located on the parcel.
 
At a workshop for Nonresidential Property Owners on Nov. 9 at SEMCOG, customers were given the basics of how the fee will work and how they can use stormwater management practices, including green infrastructure, to reduce their fee. A second session will be held Dec. 14. The presentation can be viewed here.
 
"It's highly critical that our customers understand the drainage charge, what it pays for and the credit system we are developing," DWSD deputy director Palencia Mobley told an audience of nearly 100 people. "Detroit has not done a good job over the years at communicating to customers what they pay for. This administration is serious about changing that."
 
The presentation began with an explanation of the city's combined sewer overflow (CSO system) which combines sewage and stormwater runoff. EPA regulations have forced investments in CSO infrastructure, such as the Conner Creek facility on Detroit's lower east side, to prevent overflows from the system into area waterways such as the Detroit River and the Rouge River. The new drainage fee will go toward funding operations and maintenance of this infrastructure.
 
Each parcel owner is receiving an initial assessment based on the area of imperviousness according to the following formula: 
 
Drainage charge = Total impervious surface area X Impervious acre per month (dollars per acre per month)
 
The fee is currently set at $750 per impervious acre. For example, a four-acre parcel with two acres of a parking lot would be charged $1500 per month. The new fees will be phased in over the next two years, starting with industrial and commercial properties in early 2017, followed by tax-exempt and residential properties later next year and finally faith-based properties starting in 2018.
 
Impervious area is evaluated using remote sensing technology integrated with the city's Geographic Information System (GIS). Customers can view their assessment using the city's Parcel Viewer tool. Because remote sensing data may contain errors, customers have the opportunity to contest and adjust their assessments.
 
Customers also have the opportunity to reduce their fee by taking actions on their property to reduce the peak flow and volume of stormwater runoff. 
 
Volume credits help reduce the overall burden to the system by Infiltrating, evaporating, and reusing water. Green infrastructure treatments that achieve volume reduction include redirecting downspouts to pervious areas onsite, green roofs and water harvesting. Peak flow credits help slow the transport of water into the system, reducing the chances of overwhelming the system and reducing the risk of flooding. Green infrastructure treatments that achieve volume reduction include detention basins and subsurface storage. Several types of green infrastructure, including bioretention, permeable pavers and water harvesting, can achieve both volume and peak flow credits.
 
Depending on the mix of treatments applied and existing site conditions, customers may be able to gain enough credits to reduce their assessments by as much as 80 percent.
 
More information can be found at DWSD's drainage website.

This story is part of a series on measuring on the role of green infrastructure projects in Detroit's redevelopment. Support for this series is provided by the Erb Family Foundation to Greening of Detroit, Model  D, and The Nature Conservancy. Read more articles from the series here.

New bike shop celebrates opening in downtown Hamtramck

It may have taken longer than initially expected, but the Wheelhouse Detroit bicycle shop has officially opened for business in downtown Hamtramck. The Hamtramck location complements owner Kelli Kavanaugh's original Wheelhouse Detroit, which opened on the Detroit RiverWalk in 2008.

Since we first reported on the Hamtramck location this past March, Kavanaugh has been working on getting the storefront ready for business. Permits have been approved, inspections have been passed, and numerous construction projects have been completed, including a new roof, lighting, and HVAC and electrical systems.

While it may not be prime bike-buying season, Kavanaugh wanted to open the store on Black Friday and in time for the holiday shopping rush.

"I feel relieved," Kavanaugh says of the store's opening. "It's a mixture of excitement and anxiety. It's a fruition of a dream several years in the making but there's that anxiety of spending the money on the new shop. But the exciting things in life are always a combination of those two feelings."

In stocking the store with bicycles, accessories, and active wear, Kavanaugh has placed an emphasis on selecting products that were made in the United States. Those products include bicycles from the Detroit-based Detroit Bikes, locks from Kabletek, and bags from Green Guru, Alchemy, Chrome Industries, Ironweed and Timbuk2.

Kavanaugh has also teamed up with Hamtramck-based apparel maker William + Bonnie, creating a new line of cycling clothing for professionals cycling to work. The line of apparel is available exclusively at the Wheelhouse shop.

[Check out this Model D article on the unique aesthetic of the garment shop William + Bonnie]

Other Wheelhouse features include a service department, rentals, and guided tours.

The shop's winter hours are Sunday, noon to 5 p.m., Monday, noon to 6 p.m., Thursday, noon to 6 p.m., Friday, 11 a.m. to 7 p.m., and Saturday, 11 a.m. to 7 p.m.

The new Wheelhouse Detroit is located at 9401 Joseph Campau St. in Hamtramck.

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

November development news round-up: New homes in North Corktown, a new home for basketball, and more

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

While it's Corktown that receives the lion's share of development attention, its neighbor across the freeway, North Corktown, has been in the news lately, too. Construction of traditionally-financed single-family homes will begin in Spring 2017 on Ash and Sycamore streets, featuring contemporary designs by Christian Hurttienne Architects. Meanwhile, an affordable housing development that stretches across 54 acres was reported by the Detroit News and includes "elite" New York architect Alexander Gorlin and possibly Grammy-winning musician Pharrell Williams. There is, however, no official word on any timeline.

The Detroit Pistons are moving back to their namesake city, 38 years after leaving the cozy confines of Cobo Arena for the Pontiac Silverdome in 1978. The basketball organization announced this month that they will be joining the Detroit Red Wings hockey team in occupying Little Caesars Arena, which is currently under construction just north of downtown. Both teams will open their 2017-18 seasons in the new arena. Rumored sites for a Pistons practice facility include a West Grand Boulevard location in New Center. The Pistons are leaving The Palace of Auburn Hills, built by former owner William Davidson in 1988.

In historic preservation news, the CPA Building across from Michigan Central Station has been saved from demolitionat least for now. It was reported earlier this month that the building's owners, the New York City-based BFD Corktown LLC, were granted a demolition permit for the building. But as news broke, preservation and neighborhood advocates quickly mobilized, gathering over 1,000 signatures to petition its destruction. Detroit City Council took note and granted the building, which opened in 1923, an interim historic building designation, delaying demolition for up to one year and opening it up to further studies.

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

Local audio equipment maker to ship products around the world

Detroit Audio Lab is going global. Well, locally manufactured and globally available, to be exact.

The decision, made official November 14, when they company felt it could pass the import/export demands of various countries, including the rigorous sustainability requirements of the European Union, says Detroit Audio Lab founder Mike Bauer.

While each country has its own rules for importing foreign products, Bauer says the fact that Detroit Audio Lab passes the strict WEEE and RoHS regulations of the European Union means that they can ship products just about anywhere. WEEE sets end-of-life waste disposal demands while RoHS bans certain hazardous substances from being used in electrical and electronic products.

"Shipping globally is more than going to the post office," says Bauer. "Products have to be packaged properly, they have to meet certain electrical requirements. Each country is a little different."

Detroit Audio Lab has taken orders from customers in the United Kingdom, Australia, and China, says Bauer.

It's a good start for the premium audio equipment company, which launched a Kickstarter crowdfunding campaign in late October. Detroit Audio Lab products include speakers, amps, and speaker stands, sourced from wood and pipe reclaimed from deconstructed houses throughout Detroit. Its electronics are exclusively sourced from Michigan-based companies, including control boards designed in-house.

Bauer cites two reasons for Detroit Audio Lab's global appeal. It manufactures and sells premium audio equipment, handmade yet technologically advanced. And then there's what Bauer calls the "D Factor." Assembly takes place at a facility on Bellevue Street in Detroit. Reclaimed wood and pipe is purchased from the Architectural Salvage Warehouse of Detroit. The address of the house from where the material was reclaimed is laser engraved on each finished product.

"I thought the buzz would be local, in the state and in the Midwest," says Bauer. "But people all around the world are interested in the story of Detroit's renaissance."

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

Detroit dog daycare business to launch major expansion along the Cass Corridor

For all the residential and hockey arena-related developments happening along Cass Avenue, there's at least one being built for our four-legged friends. Canine to Five Detroit, the dog daycare business founded by owner Liz Blondy in 2005, has announced a major expansion, building a 10,000 sq. ft. addition adjacent to its current 6,000 sq. ft. facility.

Construction is set to begin in spring 2017 with a target completion date of fall 2017. 3,000 sq. ft. will be made available for rent to a retail business. Following the construction of the new building, the original facilities will see their own upgrades.

The $1.6 million development will result in the creation of 10 jobs and increase daycare capacity of dogs from 100 to 175. Additional features include private play areas, small breed-specific features, and a senior lounge for older dogs.

Canine to Five Detroit is the original location for the business, which expanded with a second location in Ferndale in 2013. Success was so immediate in Ferndale that Blondy was quickly forced to move to a 22,000 sq. ft. facility on Nine Mile Road. Blondy has learned from the Ferndale transition and is applying those lessons to the upcoming expansion in Detroit.

"I'm more prepared for it now. Any time you do something for the second time, it's a little bit easier," Blondy said in an October interview.

She's repeatedly gone over the plans and blueprints with not only Detroit-based architects DMET, but also with the Canine to Five staff. Mistakes are expensive, she said, and Blondy is making sure that the Detroit expansion goes as smoothly as possible, for her and the dogs.

Canine to Five Detroit is located at 3443 Cass Ave.

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

Detroit Future City, Michigan Community Resources mini grants spur green infrastructure projects

Two organizations are supporting implementation of green infrastructure in Detroit neighborhoods through competitive mini-grant programs.
 
Michigan Community Resources (MCR) in partnership with ULI Michigan recently announced the following five awards to community groups to implement green infrastructure:
 
  • The Jefferson Chalmers Community Food System to build a water catchment system to irrigate their cut flower farm.
  • Urban Neighborhood Initiatives to create a water catchment system on a commercial building
  • Earthworks Urban Farm for research and development of an affordable, modular solar pump that will allow for the captured water to be used for irrigation in urban agricultural systems.
  • North Corktown Neighborhood Association to build a four-season rain garden on a vacant lot.
  • Marygrove Community Association to create a community rain garden with park-like amenities on a residential lot.
Each recipient will receive $5,000 in cash from MCR for materials and construction and an additional $2,000 in cash from ULI for signage, education, and maintenance. ULI will also provide pro bono technical assistance from their network of civil engineers and landscape architects.
 
According to CEO Jill Ferrari, this program represents a shift in its service strategy and focus.
 
"MCR envisions a more comprehensive approach to neighborhood revitalization in the City of Detroit," says Ferrari. "To meet this challenge, we are focusing on more targeted technical assistance that includes support for sustainable community initiatives. We want to empower groups to design and implement projects that have environmental, social and financial sustainability so that their work in the community is more impactful."
 
Funding for the MCR mini-grants is provided through a grant from the Fred A. and Barbara M. Erb Family Foundation.
 
Detroit Future City is also working to stimulate green infrastructure implementation in neighborhoods through a second-year round of competitive mini-grants to support neighborhood transformation of vacant lots into green infrastructure assets.
 
The program is offering $65,000 in funds to up to ten neighborhood groups to utilize its DFC Field Guide to Working with Lots (available online at dfc-lots.com). Each group will receive a maximum of $5,000 to be used toward lot design and implementation. An additional maximum of $1,500 must be dedicated toward the maintenance of the lot, programming and education. The program is funded by the Kresge Foundation.
 
Applicants must be community groups which own the land or have written permission to use the land, and must demonstrate use of the field guide. To find out more on how to apply, contact the Detroit Future City Implementation Office.
 
Victoria Olivier is deputy director for neighborhoods for the DFC Implementation Office. She says the program is designed to work at small scales to address specific neighborhood goals. For example, the HOPE Village neighborhood installed a design on a lot that was adjacent to Davison Street to avoid it being seen as a cut-through for cars.
 
"If it was to serve as a shortcut to those businesses,  we wanted it to be for the community's pedestrians and be an inspiring space," says Olivier.
 
DFC has also partnered with ioby to implement a crowdfunding program so that neighborhoods can leverage grant funds to build additional community amenities beyond landscaping, as well as to support education and maintenance. She says the ultimate goal is to build capacity in neighborhoods.
 
"This is about building a cohort of land leaders through technical assistance and the connections they make with each other, so that these groups can then be a resource to their respective neighborhoods," says Olivier.

The Craft Cafe Detroit thrives on city's lower east side

The Craft Cafe Detroit is off to a fast start. The "sip and paint" party venue opened last June on Mack Avenue, just blocks from city's eastern border with Grosse Pointe Park, and it's already turning away customers as some parties reach capacity. But that's a good problem to have.

While owner Candice Meeks is considering a move to a bigger location, she says she wants to keep the Craft Cafe in the neighborhood. Its location is part of the reason for its success.

"The location at Mack and Phillip, there's nothing like this in our community," says Meeks. "You have to drive downtown and pay for parking or drive out to the suburbs for this kind of fun. We need to keep something like this in the neighborhood."

Craft Cafe Detroit hosts a wide variety of celebrations, from birthdays to bachelorette parties. Guests can bring their own food and drinks while Meeks leads the party through a painting session. Subjects are pre-sketched onto each person's canvas, allowing them to paint along while Meeks teaches different techniques like blending colors. She also offers vision mirrors, where guests create collages on mirrors and then seal them with a clear coat finish.

Other parties include Eat | Paint | Drink, where refreshments are provided, and monthly date nights, where couples paint together.

Meeks credits a number of small business programs that helped her get off the ground. She graduated from ProsperUs Detroit, where she met her current landlord. Meeks was also the recipient of a $4,000 technical assistance grant from Motor City Match. She says she plans on using the grant money to help with marketing and website construction costs.

"Going through those programs really gave me a platform to open my own business."

The Craft Cafe Detroit is located at 14600 Mack Ave. It's open Tuesday through Friday, from 5 p.m. to 10 p.m., and Saturday and Sunday, from 1 p.m. to 10 p.m.

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

Downtown co-working space to double in size, eyes big future

The Bamboo Detroit co-working space downtown is focused on the growth of its tenants, providing facilities, resources, and programming to freelancers and startups alike.

That commitment has resulted in the company's own expansion. Bamboo recently announced a new location twice the size of their current one at 1442 Brush St., growing from 3,000 to 6,000 sq. ft. of co-working facilities and more.

Come January 2017, Bamboo will open its doors on the third floor of the historic Julian C. Madison building at 1420 Washington Blvd. Construction is currently underway.

The new Bamboo location will count 20 dedicated desks, seven private offices, and three conference rooms among its new features. The private offices are in direct response to customers' needs, says co-owner Amanda Lewan. The current location doesn't offer private offices, a fact that Lewan says led to a loss of potential tenants.

The top floor of the new location boasts a loft-style events space, something Bamboo will use for job fairs and other pro-business programs. Also planned is a large cafe area, complete with coffee and snacks. In April 2016, Bamboo won a $30,000 Motor City Match grant to help build the cafe.

"Be really clear about what you need, have a really clear budget," Lewan says to future Motor City Match applicants. "It might not be perfect, you might still be playing around with it as you get close to the end, but if you have a really clear plan, people can get on board with it."

The company believes that the expansion will result in significantly more tenants, with Bamboo expecting the amount to grow from the current count of 120 to 300 tenants. 

Bamboo currently has a pop-up co-working space at MASH Detroit on the city's east side. Lewan says Bamboo may one day have multiple co-working sites throughout the city and its neighborhoods.

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

Clothing, gifts, and more: New retail storefront coming to Eastern Market

For the first time in 40 years, a retail storefront will occupy 1440 Gratiot Ave.

The new tenants will be Well Done Goods, a men's and women's accessories shop that will be opening in the Eastern Market space. 

Well Done Goods is the result of local tie and scarf maker Bethany Shorb's move to break out of the neckwear market and expand her reach to other products. Shorb's line of ties and scarves has sold under the Cyberoptix name for ten years and will continue to do so. Well Done Goods will carry those products, plus more of Shorb's creations, along with a curated selection from makers throughout the country.

"Our customers have asked and asked for us to put our designs on other things. What better place to launch that venture than right here in our hometown?" says Shorb.

New Cyberoptix products include aprons, pillows, and poster-sized art prints, all of which are screen-printed by hand in their 4,000 sq. ft. manufacturing facility, located directly above the storefront. Other Michigan products include JKM Soy Candles and sustainable tables from Union Town Woodshop. Also carried are vegan felt bags from the Los Angeles-based Mad Rabbit Kicking Tiger and 3-D printed jewelry from Boston's Nervous System.

Following its Friday opening, Well Done Goods will be open 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday through Friday, 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. on Saturdays, and 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Sundays.

Well Done Goods is celebrating with a grand opening on Friday, November 4, from 6 to 10 p.m., which will include food and music, and is free and open to the public.

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

Using the literary arts to fight blight on Tuxedo Street

A sentimental drive by a childhood home is a common occurrence in the city, country, and everywhere betweeneven for Pulitzer Prize winners. Stephen Henderson, the Pulitzer Prize-winning Detroit Free Press columnist and host of both radio and television talk shows, has been checking in on his own childhood home since moving back to Detroit in 2007.

He says his family's former home on Tuxedo Street on the city's west side was well-kept back in 2007 but, as the years wore on, Henderson watched the house deteriorate. In 2012, a window was boarded up. Soon, all the windows would be boarded up. Eventually, the house was stripped.

Henderson is now leading a charge to transform the vacant house on Tuxedo Street from an eyesore into an asset. A purchase agreement to buy the house from the Detroit Land Bank is nearly complete.

Dubbed the Tuxedo Project, the house at 7124 Tuxedo St. will become a literary and community center, complete with an English professor-in-residence. The house will be rehabilitated and turned into a space for students and community members to share their stories and create new ones, using the literary arts to effect positive change. Plans for other abandoned homes on the 7100 block of Tuxedo Street will follow.

"It's the idea of the power of one," says Henderson. "What happens if one person returns to where they're from and tries to make changes, what will that inspire, and will there be a ripple effect of change."

Henderson has a big team behind him. The Knight Foundation and Marygrove College are working together to bring an English professor to Tuxedo Street. Members of Henderson's 1988 graduating class of University of Detroit Jesuit High School have rallied together to form a non-profit. And the Michigan Economic Development Corporation and Michigan State Housing Development Authority have included the Tuxedo Project in its Public Spaces Community Places initiative.

Should the Tuxedo Project successfully raise $50,000 by November 28, MEDC and MSHDA will contribute a $50,000 matching grant. The crowdfunding campaign is being held on the Michigan-based Patronicity platform.

"None of this is any more than an idea in my head without these partnerships," says Henderson.

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

It's a match! MCM winners use grant money to help cushion construction costs

Construction is starting this week on the Meta Physica Wellness Center in Corktown. The business will be located in the Bagley and Trumbull building, which counts the Bearded Lady salon and barber shop, Mama Coo's Boutique, and the Farmer's Hand market as its tenants. The latter two businesses are Motor City Match winners. All four businesses in the Bagley and Trumbull building will be women-owned.

Meta Physica Wellness Center owner Jenevieve Biernat started her massage business in Midtown, which she has since outgrown. The Corktown studio will feature expanded services, including two massage rooms, three saunas, a raw juice bar, and an apothecary. Biernat won both a $50,000 Hatch award and a $20,000 Motor City Match grant for her business earlier this year.

"Every bit of money helps," says Biernat. "You don't always know how much you need going in but it turns out you need a lot of money to do this."

Biernat says that once she's established, she'd like to put herself in a position to help others through the Motor City Match application process.

A resident of Corktown, Biernat has been visiting the other shops at Bagley and Trumbull nearly every day, learning from her future neighbors, and soaking up as much advice and information that she can.

Another $20,000 Motor City Match grant winner, Noelle Lothamer, is currently in the midst of construction of an Eastern Market storefront for her Beau Bien Fine Foods. The Michigan-sourced fruit jam-, chutney-, and mustard-makers recently celebrated the one year anniversary of their Eastern Market location, which has served primarily as a kitchen.

Lothamer says the money won from Motor City Match has quickly gone toward construction costs, including the storefront, roof, and some other much needed repairs. "As soon as we knew we could spend it, we did."

The hope is for the storefront to open by Thanksgiving, though Lothamer cautions that there is no set date. In addition to acting as a retail area for their jams, chutneys, and mustards, the Beau Bien Fine Foods storefront will also offer grab-and-go sandwiches, salads, and drinks.

Meta Physica Wellness Center is located at 1707 Trumbull Ave.

Beau Bien Fine Foods is located at 2478 Riopelle St.

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

New veterinary house call company opens in downtown Detroit

Pet owners across the city of Detroit and some of its suburbs can access a new service that improves access to veterinary care. It's called PetCalls, a company that sends veterinarians and veterinary technicians on house calls.

PetCalls offers a number of on-site services like vaccinations and digital x-rays. For surgeries and other services, the vets will "pet taxi" the animal to a clinic. House calls start at $59.

CEO and owner Kimberly Jackson says the company is perfect for senior citizens who have mobility issues and millenials that don't have their own vehicles. It's also good for the pets; Jackson cites recent cases that include a cat that would vomit every time it was put in a car and a rescue pit bull that refused to get in a vehicle.

"We started seeing patients the day after Labor Day and we've already been able to see animals that haven't been able to get to a veterinarian in years," says Jackson. "It's very exciting."

The house calls also allow the veterinarians to see pets in a more relaxed and natural setting. They can watch a dog run in its own backyard and assess potential injuries or watch a cat and observe its regular eating habits.

Though PetCalls began seeing patients in September, the company will be celebrating its grand opening Thursday, Oct. 20 from 5 to 9 p.m. at its downtown Detroit office on Washington Boulevard. The celebration is open to the public and their pets.

Rather than a ribbon-cutting ceremony, PetCalls is having an edible ribbon for the dogs to chew apart. A Halloween parade down Washington Boulevard is also planned and the dog with the best costume will receive a year's worth of heartworm protection. Other giveaways include pet bandanas, toys, and identification tags.

There will also be refreshments for the humans.

PetCalls is located at 1514 Washington Blvd., Suite 203, and can be reached by phone at (313) 788-7387.

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