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West Village gains a record store, community hub with Paramita Sound

Andrey Douthard curates the hip hop, jazz, and indie pop/rock records at Paramita Sound. He also owns the shop, which just celebrated its grand opening Saturday, Oct. 25. His collaborators -- he doesn't call them employees, but collaborators -- curate other genres. Anna Atanassova selects the punk, metal, and hardcore records and also acts as social media and events coordinator. Peter Croce curates the dance records, including techno, house, disco, boogie, and reggae, while also acting as resident DJ and promoter. There's Vicente Elizondo, who, besides being store clerk, specializes in soul and funk 45s and tapes. And Zach Poley contributes to the hip hop curation, acting as Paramita's art director, too.

Douthard has assembled this team to help make his dream a reality, to open a record store and pursue a career in the music business. In addition to utilizing his network to help make Paramita hum, Douthard has taken advantage of the many resources designed to nurture a new wave of Detroit entrepreneurs. He took classes at D:Hive Build -- now the Build Institute -- and enrolled at TechTown's Retail Boot Camp. He's benefited from TechTown's SWOT City program, too.

Even his storefront, located at 1417 Van Dyke St., was the result of a collaboration between Practice Space, REVOLVE Detroit, and the Villages CDC. Douthard won their Activate: 1417 Van Dyke contest launched last March, which granted him access to the space.

"All these things came together and worked together," says Douthard. "For someone that hasn't started a business before, the guidance is priceless. It really does take a village."

Unlike a lot of the record stores in Detroit, which mostly feature used records, Douthard and his crew focus on new records. It's a finely curated store. Aiming for an inventory of 500 to 600 records, it's a quality over quantity approach.

For now, Paramita is a pop-up. But Douthard has every intention on seeing his record store stay open through his January 10, 2015 lease. Until then, Paramita Sound will operate as much as a community space as it does a record store. Tuesdays are BYO nights, where Douthard invites the public to bring their friends, records, and beer down to the West Village store. Peter Croce will be teaching turntable mixing every Wednesday. On Thursdays, guest DJs will lead listening parties. And Sundays, from noon to 5 p.m., there will be record swaps.

"The records are how we pay the bills," says Douthard. "But really it's about opening up a dialog."

Source: Andrey Douthard, owner of Paramita Sound
Photos: Matt Chung, D:hive Detroit

Writer: MJ Galbraith

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

Atomic Cafe gallery for outsider art to begin Phase 3 in Hamtramck


It started off as a conversation among artists. The members of the Hamtramck Contemporary Arts Alliance (HCAA) have shared a studio above a Joseph Campau Avenue storefront for a few years now. It was from there that the idea for a new Hamtramck art gallery emerged. Luke MacGilvray, a member of HCAA, pushed the idea through, opening the Atomic Cafe over the summer. What was supposed to be a one-off pop-up this July has blossomed into a permanent art gallery -- and a massive one at that. Atomic Cafe, located at 10326 Joseph Campau, offers 4,100 square feet of space to artists.

The Atomic Cafe is open every other month, or phase, as MacGilvray calls it. Phase 3 begins this November when the gallery will open with a new line-up of local artists. And the emphasis is definitely on the local. As curator, MacGilvray looks to find artists from the tri-county area and especially from Hamtramck. It comes, he says, from seeing other local galleries importing art from places like New York and Los Angeles.

"I want to give a shot to people who are outsiders, artists who are extremely talented but maybe their work isn't suited for a juried show," says MacGilvray. He's searching for eclectic art and, as he puts it, "Art that doesn't match your couch."

One of those local artists MacGilvray champions is Joseph Lapham. MacGilvray says that in a previous phase, Lapham sold all of his work on display and then some. To replace the ones that were sold, Lapham had to bring in new pieces, and those sold, too. That's the point for MacGilvray, to give artists he deems underrated the opportunity to share their work and maybe sell a few pieces -- and maybe a few more than that.

Beginning Nov. 7, Atomic Cafe will be open every weekend from 7 p.m. to midnight through the month of November.

Source: Luke MacGilvray, owner and curator of Atomic Cafe
Writer: MJ Galbraith

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

Historic Catholic school building re-opens as charter school

Cornerstone Charter Schools has moved its Health + Technology High School to the old St. Scholastica Grammar School building along the Southfield Service Drive.


St. Scholastica Grammar School, located just north of the Grandmont Rosedale neighborhood at Southfield Road and Outer Drive, closed in 2012 due to declining enrollment and financial woes. According to the Michigan Catholic, the official publication of the Archdiocese of Detroit, the final count for 2012 was 85 students, down from 133 students during the '07-'08 academic year. The school opened in 1939.

Unlike many of the schools -- public or private -- that have been shuttered throughout Detroit, St. Scholastica didn't sit vacant long. Cornerstone Charter Schools, a not-for-profit corporation, purchased the building earlier this year and has reportedly spent over $10 million in renovating the school building. Cornerstone has four schools, three in Detroit and one in Redford.

"The improvements we've made will be truly impactful for our students' educational experience," says Cornerstone Charters School CEO Tom Willis. "Our curriculum and teaching methods have shown to be quite successful for our current students, and we look forward to seeing it implemented with our new students."

Cornerstone moved its Health + Technology High School from the old location at 19900 McIntyre Street and into the St. Scholastica building this fall where it began the school year. A ceremonial ribbon-cutting event is being held on Oct. 28 to celebrate the changes at the school, located at 17351 Southfield Rd.

Source: Cornerstone Charter Schools press release
Writer: MJ Galbraith

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

October development news round-up


It's been another busy month for development news in the city. Let's catch up on five of the biggest stories from the past four weeks.

Picking up on last month's thread of sports-cum-development news, renderings were leaked this month that showed what the development of the former Tiger Stadium site could look like. The renderings belong to the Roxbury Group, one of two development teams vying for the rights to develop the historic site at Michigan and Trumbull. The renderings are somewhat generic, but they do show a plan to keep the playing field at the center of the development while constructing mixed-use buildings along the sidewalks of Michigan and Trumbull.

Another iconic Detroit site, the sprawling and famously decimated Packard Plant, saw the first of what developer Fernando Palazuelo promises to be many construction crews. Palazuelo acquired the 3.5-million-square foot complex in December of 2013 and has promised that he will develop the site, despite the naysaying of skeptics. MLive Detroit reports that the first Packard crews were there to remove loose pieces of concrete.

The development team behind the David Whitney Building rehab recently invited members of the press for a tour of the building. Photos from the Detroit Free Press reveal an impressive lobby renovation and glimpses of what the apartments will look like. The Whitney, featuring shops, dining, apartments, and the Aloft Hotel brand, is announced to open Dec. 15.

Earlier this summer, we broke the news of Lynne Savino's attempts to create a new identity for the neighborhood along Michigan Avenue immediately to the west of I-75/I-96 junction -- an area she's dubbed "West Corktown." Since then, she and her husband Mike have made an impressive rehab of their bank-turned-home. These photos from Curbed Detroit are definitely worth a look.

Rose Hackman argued in the Atlantic recently that plans to foreclose on Detroit homeowners is an unfair practice strongly tied to racist real estate practices of the 20th century. It's a timely piece as we're deep in Wayne County foreclosure auction season.

Writer: MJ Galbraith

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

Offworld Arcade now open once a month in Corktown


It's been about a year since Don Behm bought his first used arcade game machine, the 1982 classic BurgerTime. His CraigsList find initially cost him $200. In fixing that game, Behm got hooked. He's since collected 18 arcade games.

There are the classics like Ms. Pac-Man, Q*bert, and Donkey Kong as well as perhaps not-so-well known games like Elevator Action, Bad Dudes vs. DragonNinja, and Moon Patrol. Behm is more than a hobbyist, though, and is looking to open Offworld Arcade, a bar that will feature his games. He's been searching for his ideal building in neighborhoods like Corktown and Hamtramck where he can serve beer and wine and feature the games he's restored. He's in no rush to find a space and doesn't mind taking the time to find just the right spot.

Until then, Behm and his Offworld Arcade are calling St. Vincent home. It's an old Catholic school in Corktown, one that will eventually become a co-working space. He'll be working out of St. Vincent for the next year, restoring his gaming machines and hosting an "arcade gallery" once a month.

On Saturday, Oct. 25, Behm threw the second of his arcade galleries, where visitors enjoyed an all-you-can-play pass, entry into a BurgerTime high score contest, music from DJs, and a live performance from Cotton Museum -- all for a mere five dollar donation. Offworld's galleries run from 6 p.m. to midnight and are open to the public. From 6 to 9 p.m., Offworld Arcade is kid-friendly. 9 p.m. to midnight is saved for the adults.

To learn about future arcade galleries, follow Offworld Arcade on Facebook.

"It's really cool to see parents and their sons and daughters come in and the kids just stare at these big games," says Behm. "You'll see kids come in and be amazed and say to their parents, 'I've never seen anything like this'."

Offworld Arcade is located in the St. Vincent building at 2020 14th St.

Source: Don Behm, owner of Offworld Arcade
Writer: MJ Galbraith

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

Co-working space to open in Grandmont Rosedale


The rise of Detroit's co-working scene is well-documented. More and more small business incubators and co-working spaces are popping up, though largely limited to the greater downtown area. In Grandmont Rosedale, far outside the 7.2 square miles of greater downtown Detroit, a new co-working space will celebrate its opening with a ribbon-cutting ceremony Friday, Oct. 24th.

Called the Grand River WorkPlace, the 2,800 square foot co-working facility at 19120 Grand River Ave. will officially open for business Nov. 1st. WorkPlace will offer many of the amenities expected of a co-working facility these days, including conference rooms, printing capabilities, WiFi Internet access, personal mailboxes and lockers, parking spaces, a community kitchen, and small business development programming.

There are two membership levels at WorkPlace. At $75 a month, individuals gain 24-hour access to the facility and all of its offerings. For $300 a month, entrepreneurs can rent one of five private offices. Four of the five offices have already been leased. WorkPlace also features a 300-square foot storefront that will rotate pop-up businesses on a regular basis. Love Travels Imports, an artisanal crafts boutique owned by WorkPlace manager Yvette Jenkins, is the first pop-up to occupy the Grand River storefront.

"Something about Grandmont Rosedale that a lot of people don't talk about is how easy it is to get here," says Jenkins. "You can get here or go just about anywhere in twenty minutes. The Southfield Freeway, I-96, and M-10 are all nearby. It's easy for clients and customers to get here."

WorkPlace was started by the Grandmont Rosedale Development Corporation. Originally developed as a traditional office space, the GRDC changed course after conducting focus groups, finding more demand for a co-working facility. The former office building with an old hair salon storefront has been completely re-designed and modernized, including furniture from Reclaim Detroit.

Source: Yvette Jenkins, manager of Grand River WorkPlace
Writer: MJ Galbraith

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

Developers dig 27 geothermal wells to heat, cool Midtown's historic Forest Arms building


Forest Arms, a prominent apartment building near Wayne State University, was nearly lost in 2008 after a fire ravaged the building, displacing its residents and leaving the interior a charred mess. Local developers and husband and wife Scott Lowell and Carolyn Howard purchased the building a year later. They are now deep in a major rehab of the building, one that includes heavily investing in sustainable energy.

The pair have hired Strategic Energy Solutions of Berkley to dig 27 geothermal wells. Dug at a rate of two a day, the 375 foot-deep wells will heat and cool the Forest Arms' 70 one- and two-bedroom units. Built in 1905, the building was previously heated by a single pipe-radiator system.

"With the courtyard, it's a great opportunity to put these wells in," says Lowell. "Wells wouldn't make sense for a single-family residence, but with the overall heating costs for a place this big, we might save twenty percent off heating costs."

A 20,000 gallon cistern that will collect rain water from the roof is also planned. The water will then be utilized for non-potable purposes like flushing toilets and watering the lawn.

Workers are making progress within the building's interior, as well. While digging up the basement to work on the plumbing, Lowell and company have decided to keep digging, lowering the basement floor by a couple of feet to give more space to the eventual renters of the five garden units planned. Two commercial spaces will also go in that level.

Five penthouse units will be built on the roof. Tax credits Lowell is using to help fund the redevelopment demand that the penthouses be mostly hidden from streetview so as not to tarnish the building's historic charm. Lowell says that details like windows, doors, and trim will also have to meet historic accuracy standards. Other details, like cabinetry and fixtures, will be more modern.

Lowell is aiming for a Dec. 2015 opening.

Source: Scott Lowell, owner/operator of Forest Arms
Writer: MJ Galbraith

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

Anahata Yoga opens pop-up studio in Grandmont Rosedale


With business partner Regina Ward, certified yoga instructor Nicole Martin has opened Anahata Yoga in Detroit's Grandmont Rosedale neighborhood. The yoga studio, located at 19560 Grand River Ave., is part of the REVOLVE Detroit 90-day pop-up program. Martin and Ward have the opportunity to take that time to decide whether they'll remain open and make the transition to a permanent business.

According to Martin, the Grandmont Rosedale community has responded enthusiastically since the studio's grand opening on Sept. 20. It's a tight knit and supportive community, she says, one that has been waiting for a yoga studio for some time now. The people that have been coming to Anahata Yoga are people that live in the neighborhood but were forced to drive to suburban cities like Ferndale, Royal Oak, and Bloomfield Hills to get their yoga fix. Now, with the presence of Anahata, those people can practice yoga without leaving their neighborhood.

"This is a studio for the community," says Martin. "We want it to be accessible for people in the neighborhood. We keep prices low and offer some donation-based classes, too."

Martin is already envisioning opening up additional Anahata yoga studios in other parts of the city. The idea is to open in neighborhoods outside of the typical Midtown and downtown areas and make yoga accessible for under-served sections of Detroit. Martin hopes, too, that she'll be able to educate people, not just on yoga, but on wellness as a whole.

The studio focuses on hatha yoga, which is considered a basic yoga practice that teaches fundamentals. Classes are offered seven days a week and schedules are available on the Anahata website.

Anahata Yoga is one of two Grandmont Rosedale pop-ups in the REVOLVE Detroit program. Love Travels Imports, an artisanal crafts boutique, also opened a pop-up on Grand River Ave.

Source: Nicole Martin, owner of Anahata Yoga
Writer: MJ Galbraith

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

Artisanal crafts boutique opens second Detroit location in Grandmont Rosedale


It's been so nice she's tried it twice. Yvette Jenkins owns Love Travels Imports, an artisanal crafts boutique with a focus on fair trade products imported from all over the world. Her store, now firmly established along the Avenue of Fashion, got its start as a pop-up thanks to the REVOLVE Detroit program. Once the pop-up program was complete, Jenkins kept her shop open, becoming a fixture at 19452 Livernois Ave. Thanks to that same REVOLVE Detroit pop-up program, Jenkins has opened a second Love Travels Imports, this time in the Grandmont Rosedale neighborhood.

The newest Love Travels Imports is located at 19120 Grand River Ave. It's the storefront of the Grand River WorkPlace, a new business incubator and co-working facility. That organization's Katie Bramlage collaborated with Jenkins on the design of the shop, crafting, among other things, a counter made of recycled wood bits. Jenkins says that the design of the store is inspired by her dedication to fair trade products.

While the two locations share some inventory, Jenkins says that there are some products available only at the pop-up. In addition to featuring new artisans, Jenkins is selling more clothing items, like embroidered tunics and dresses, at the Grand River storefront.

She's rotating products from a different country every two weeks, with the first from Burkina Faso. Another new product is a line of necklaces fashioned from bullet casings. Farmers in Ethiopia are collecting bullet casings which are then transformed into beads. Ethiopian women with HIV and AIDS then fashion the bullet casings into beaded necklaces.

While there is no guarantee that the pop-up will lead to a second permanent location, Jenkins acknowledges that it's a possibility. The pop-up model has worked before. "It's a great opportunity to test the concept in another historic neighborhood," she says.

Source: Yvette Jenkins, owner of Love Travels Imports
Writer: MJ Galbraith

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

Learn how to submit a successful Knight Cities Challenge application at Wednesday Q&A


Interested in getting money for your idea to make Detroit a more vibrant city? The Knight Cities Challenge will be making grants totaling $5 million for just those kinds of ideas. And on Wednesday, Oct. 15, local and national representatives of the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation will lead a dialog that will provide information to those interested in applying for Cities Challenge funds.

The Q&A session will take place this Wednesday from 4 to 6 p.m. at the NextEnergy building in New Center, which is located at 461 Burroughs St. Carol Coletta, the Knight Foundation's vice president of community and national initiatives, and Katy Locker, the Knight Foundation's Detroit program director, will lead the forum, offering tips on how to best prepare an application to meet the Knight Foundation's goals, as well as how applicants can improve their odds of winning funds for their projects.

Knight Cities Challenge is open to everyone, from city government to local activists, and will grant money to innovators in 26 cities throughout the United States, including Detroit. Applications opened Oct. 1 and will be accepted until Nov. 14.

"No project is too small -- so long as your idea is big," says Coletta. "Our hope is to inspire people -- even those who have not previously thought of themselves as civic innovators -- to get involved in shaping the future of their cities."

The challenge is specifically crafted to be accessible to the general public and not just professional grant writers. Everyone is encouraged to apply as long as their project occurs in the city of Detroit and addresses one or all of the issues of talent, opportunity, and engagement. The Knight Foundation is looking for ideas that address how Detroit can attract and keep the best and brightest population, how the city can boost economic activity for everyone, and how to better connect and involve citizens in their collective future.

Source: Knight Cities Challenge press release
Writer: MJ Galbraith

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

Detroit City Football Club explores options for a new stadium


Three seasons in and Detroit City Football Club is already outgrowing its home. The team, a member of the National Premier Soccer League, has enjoyed home field advantage at Cass Tech Football Stadium since 2012, but a surge in the team's popularity has driven up attendance and compelled team owners to consider moving to a bigger stadium.

Sean Mann, co-owner of the team, says that the second half of the 2014 season saw an average attendance of nearly 2,900. The high school stadium has a capacity of 3,000.

"We started out in a really grassroots, word-of-mouth kind of way," says Mann. "Now we're getting to a place where we can make some investments."

The team is considering a number of options for its new home, including a potential move to Hamtramck's Keyworth Stadium, a sports venue constructed in 1936 as a part of the Federal Works Progress Administration. Much of that stadium, however, is condemned and would require significant investment from the team. Hamtramck Public Schools, which owns Keyworth, would retain ownership of the stadium were the team to relocate there.

Mann and his team are also considering building a brand new stadium of their own. They are currently surveying a number of empty parcels of land throughout the city of Detroit. Whatever ownership decides, it will most likely be a few years before they relocate. He says that the team will play at Cass Tech for the 2015 season and probably a season or two after that.

While Detroit City FC came up short of making the playoffs this season, interest in the team has only grown. Mann says that it was an A+ season off the field, with the team experiencing tremendous growth, having to turn people away at a number of games.

"Our goal was always to create an organization that was sustainable and last season was a big step in that direction," says Mann.

Source: Sean Mann, co-owner of Detroit City Football Club
Writer: MJ Galbraith

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

Tom's of Maine and city of Detroit raise $75k for improvements to Knudsen Park (Video)


Knudsen Park, a small, humble playlot on the city's northern edge, is set to receive $75,000 in improvements over the next few months.

The park is receiving $25,000 in improvements thanks to a gift to the Eight Mile Boulevard Association from Tom's of Maine. The natural personal care product manufacturer has promised a new activity court and signage for the park at the Chrysler Service Drive and 8 Mile Road.

In addition to the activity court and signage, Tom's has created an interactive contest through social media, allowing people to vote on what other improvements the park will receive. By sharing choices via social media, voters will determine whether Knudsen Park receives new artwork, benches, a picnic table, swing set, basketball court, or play car. Voting ends on Friday, Oct. 31.

Also involved is Detroit-native Mike Posner, a national recording artist, singer, songwriter, and producer. Posner is acting as judge for Tom's nationwide contest, 50 States for Good. Through that program, Tom's donates $10,000 to one non-profit in each state plus Washington, D.C. Detroit's Knudsen Park is the apparent lone recipient of a $25,000 donation.



"There's really an opportunity to not only get this park up to snuff, but to have it say something, to have it speak for the community," says Jordan Twardy, executive director of the Eight Mile Boulevard Association. "Without Tom's, we'd still be kind of incrementally going along. So I think this is a really great opportunity. Sometimes seeing is believing and I think this project is going to demonstrate that."

According to the 8MBA, the city of Detroit is investing an additional $50,000 into Knudsen Park following the Tom's contest. These improvements are said to include a new fence and ADA-compliant pathway.

Source: Tom's of Maine press release, Eight Mile Boulevard Association
Writer: MJ Galbraith

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

Community block party announced for West RiverWalk grand opening

Morning joggers, lunchtime power walkers, and anyone out for an evening stroll have the Detroit Riverfront Conservancy to thank for an additional 20 acres of the popular RiverWalk park system. The group is celebrating its latest success with a grand opening party Saturday, Oct. 4.

Happening between 1 and 8 p.m. at 1801 W. Jefferson Ave., the community block party is free and open to the public. Live music, food trucks, and a beer tent will fuel the revelry with family-friendly activities planned for those with children.

This is the first portion of the RiverWalk to extend west of Joe Louis Arena. The path is interrupted by the Riverfront Towers Apartments and its marina and picks up after, running between the Detroit River and W. Jefferson Avenue to Rosa Parks Boulevard. It's marked by the familiar features found along the existing RiverWalk, including new lighting, rails, and promenade.

The promenade of the western stretch has been widened to 30 feet, allowing fishers to cast their lines while worrying less about the speeding bikers weaving in and out of their path. Marc Pasco, director of communications for the Detroit Riverfront Conservancy, said in an interview conducted earlier this summer, "Fishermen have always loved that location. This will give them some extra room."

Much of the western stretch of the RiverWalk is defined by a large lawn ideal for lounging, sports, or concerts. This year's edition of the annual KEM Live at Mack and Third benefit concert was held at the western RiverWalk on Aug. 24. The concert series, formed by Detroit performer KEM, has raised food, goods, services, and awareness for the city's homeless population since 2009.

The opening of this latest extension brings the conservancy one parcel of land closer to completing its goal of the RiverWalk running from Gabriel Richard Park to the Ambassador Bridge.

Source: Detroit Riverfront Conservancy
Writer: MJ Galbraith

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

$5 million available to urban innovators across 26 cities, including Detroit

Big thinkers, dreamers, and just about anyone else with an idea on how to make cities better are invited to apply for part of $5 million offered by the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation. Dubbed the Knight Cities Challenge, the foundation is granting money to innovators in 26 cities throughout the United States, including Detroit. Applications open Oct. 1 and will be accepted until Nov. 14.

The money is available to an array of urban innovators and doers -- from entrepreneurs to artists, students to educators -- as long as the idea deals with one or all of the key drivers of city success as defined by the foundation.

Ideas must address the issues of talent, opportunity, and/or engagement. According to the foundation, successful ideas will address how Detroit can attract and keep the best and brightest population, how the city can boost economic activity for everyone, and how to better connect and involve citizens in their collective future.

"We are looking for ideas from innovators who will take hold of the future of our cities," says Carol Coletta, Knight Foundation vice president for community and national initiatives, in a statement. "To succeed cities need talented people who can contribute to their growth, new opportunities that are open to all, and ways to engage people to spur connections and civic action."

A community Q&A will be held in each of the foundation's 26 Knight cities, including Detroit, that will help applicants prepare a successful submission. That date is yet to be announced. A virtual information session will be held online from 3 to 4 p.m. EST on Oct. 1.  

Source: Knight Cities Challenge press release
Writer: MJ Galbraith

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

September development news round-up


It's been another busy month for development news in the city. Let's catch up on five of the biggest stories from the past four weeks.

A groundbreaking was held for the Arena District last week, beginning the very expensive task of building an 18,000-seat hockey and entertainment arena and 45 blocks of mixed-use development mostly from scratch. A mix of public and private money is funding the development just north of downtown. The arena is scheduled to open in 2017.

In other sports-cum-development news, the city of Detroit is weighing proposals for the redevelopment of the historic former site of Tiger Stadium in the city's Corktown neighborhood. The city issued its latest RFP for the site earlier this year and has reportedly narrowed it down to two proposals. Each proposal calls for mixed-use development for the site, which would run along Michigan Avenue and Trumbull Street. The rest of the site will be reserved for the Police Athletic League and its own development plans, which would include maintaining the historic playing field.

The M-1 Rail construction keeps chugging along, with the first tracks being installed along Woodward this week. Crews began working on the 3.3 mile-long light rail development in July 2014.

Last week, a judge ordered Ralph Sachs to secure and maintain a downtown building of his which has become so dilapidated that the city of Detroit is suing for it to be torn down. Preservationists started a petition in response, asking that Sachs be held responsible for maintaining his building, rather than forcing the historic Albert Kahn-designed high rise be torn down.

In beer news, Dexter-based Jolly Pumpkin announced that it will open its third Michigan location in Detroit's Midtown. The brewery and restaurant will open at 441 W. Canfield St. in 2015. Meanwhile, the Michigan-based HopCat, a craft beer bar and restaurant, has delayed its opening, also in Midtown, to mid-December of this year.  

Writer: MJ Galbraith

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