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Detroit Development News

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Turquoise Boutique opens inside the Max M. Fisher Music Center

Turquoise Boutique originally opened five years ago in Muskegon. Since then owner Monalise Green, who moved out to Muskegon with her husband after retiring from Blue Cross Blue Shield, has moved back to Detroit with her husband to be closer to their children and grandchildren. "Detroit is my home – I grew up here, lived here, and worked here all my life," she says, adding that she missed it too much to stay away.
The store came home with her, though it took time to find the perfect space. "I was looking for space in (Midtown) for over two years," Green says. "I've been watching the growth of Midtown and am thrilled with how it's progressing." She met with Midtown Detroit Inc. and was shown different spaces in the neighborhood, but it wasn't the right opportunity until the retail space inside the Max M. Fisher Music Center, which was previously a classical music store and DSO gift shop, became available.
Turquoise Boutique is now open at 3711 Woodward, at the corner of Woodward and Parsons attached to The Max. Green describes it as an "upscale ladies' boutique," stocking fine jewelry, designer handbags, and fashionable apparel ranging from casual wear to formal wear. Green hand-selects all of the items that are carried inside the store herself.
The store is open 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Saturday, and will celebrate a grand opening on Dec. 16. They are also open late on concert evenings and are available by appointment on Sundays.
Source: Monalise Green, owner of Turquoise Boutique
Writer: Nicole Rupersburg 

Chez Chloe makes traditional French chocolate lava cakes perfect for the holidays

Chloe Sabatier of Chez Chloe makes exactly one thing: traditional French chocolate lava cakes.
Sabatier, a 23-year-old French transplant, moved to Detroit from Paris just six months ago after having spent some time here during the summer of 2012 visiting her boyfriend. During her first visit, she started testing out her Chez Chloe concept of traditional French chocolate lava cakes. She sold them at farmers markets in Birmingham and Royal Oak, and found that her American customers loved her lava cakes, and was also surprised to find that many people, upon hearing her French accent, felt an immediate affinity for her and wanted to share their own memories of trips to Paris with her. She loved the instant camaraderie she felt with her customers. By the middle of August she would have a huge line in front of her stand, but in September she had to return to Paris to finish her marketing and communications degree.
She moved back to Detroit in April and worked an internship for her degree program for several months. Sabatier got involved with the community of local food entrepreneurs at FoodLab and began working out of one of their partner commercial community kitchens. Chez Chloe officially launched Oct. 1, and you can find her Saturdays at Eastern Market as well as at various artisan market events. Local businesses Le Petit Zinc in Corktown and Great Lakes Coffee in Midtown also carry her lava cakes, and she delivers daily in Detroit.
Sabatier is astounded by the overwhelming response she has received after just two months of being open. She remarks that even on Saturdays that are freezing cold, she will still sell 130 cakes at Eastern Market. "Everything has been very, very fast," she says. "I came back six months ago and said, 'Okay I'm going to apply at Eastern Market,' and they approved me. Everything went so fast. Just being at Eastern Market you reach so many people. People kept calling me (to place orders) and I had no idea who they were."
We hear more and more stories about young entrepreneurs coming in from the coasts to start their startups in Detroit, but hearing about a person crossing an ocean to start a cake company is much less common. "Everyone is asking me 'Why Detroit?' Look, I started a business two months ago and everything's so crazy; between baking, packing cakes, delivering cakes, buying ingredients, and sleeping three hours a night, (I think to myself) wow, I'm going to need a baker and delivery person soon. I don't know how I'm going to do it alone. That's what I tell people (when they ask why) Detroit." Sabatier has found the local support she needs to sustain and grow her business, much faster than she even anticipated. She bakes her cakes fresh daily and delivers them in person, which appeals to the strong local artisan food movement that has gained a serious stronghold in Detroit.
Sabatier has always loved baking and was taught by her grandmother, who was a "crazy baker – not professional, she would just bake all the time for any reason." Her grandmother taught her how to make the lava cakes, and for many years this was her specialty and what she would bring to dinners and parties. "It got to the point that I couldn't go to a party without chocolate cake!" She took some courses last year and learned how to make all types of French pastries, but she decided to focus on lava cake because it is very popular in France and sold in every restaurant, but there are few restaurants that sell them here – and fewer still that make them properly. As Sabatier herself notes, chocolate and pastries are serious business in French culture, and as far as lava cakes go, there must be a difference in texture with the outside being solid and the inside being almost liquid.
Chez Chloe's cakes come in two different sizes, bite-sized mini cakes or full-size individual cakes. She makes several different flavors, including salted caramel, peanut butter, coconut, and seasonal flavors such as fresh fruit in the summer and pumpkin in the fall. She also listens to her customers' suggestions for other flavors. She only uses Belgian dark chocolate. "It makes all the difference," she says. "It's the real deal."
Next year, Sabatier hopes to have a Chez Chloe food truck all her own, and is working with the Detroit Bus Company to buy and customize one. For now, you can pre-order cakes for the holidays and visit her at Eastern Market and other holiday market events. Sabatier saw a huge demand for Thanksgiving and expects more of the same for Christmas, but be warned – you only have until Dec. 22 to get your orders, as Sabatier is returning to Paris for the holidays. 
Source: Chloe Sabatier, owner of Chez Chloe
Writer: Nicole Rupersburg

The Work Department combines design with positive social impact

The Work Department is a communication, design, and development studio with local, regional, and international clients. A partnership between Nina Bianchi and Benjamin Chodoroff that started about two and a half years ago, the Work Department works with nonprofit and educational organizations – organizations that make a positive social impact while advancing open-source movements. Their client list includes Allied Media Projects, Excellent Schools Detroit, Tour de Troit, the New America Foundation, MIT, Michigan Suburbs Alliance, Detroit Digital Justice Coalition, Detroit Farm & Garden, and more.
Formerly located in Midtown, the Work Department recently relocated to a space in Hamtramck at 2750 Yemans. The company has a small team of employees, but they work with collaborators and contractors as far as Washington D.C. and Toronto. They are moving towards becoming a cooperative worker-owned company and grow their network of partners and collaborators. They also want to grow their educational design portfolio and "use design to break down the complexity of the world around us," according to Work Department Principal Nina Bianchi. "We pride ourselves on making our processes accessible and transparent." The company provides print and digital design, web development, communication strategy consulting, branding, content creation, and other services.
Source: Nina Bianchi, The Work Department
Writer: Nicole Rupersburg

Holiday retail happenings

Shopping local this holiday season? So are we, so we want to share with you some of the temporary pop-ups and one-night-only events that bring together a fantastic group of local artisans in one place, many of which don't have storefronts of their own. Make your list, check it twice, then check out some of these upcoming happenings.


2013 Holiday Marketplace at Campus Martius
The Holiday Marketplace at Campus Martius will be held every weekend up until Christmas, featuring wares from local and regional artists, food producers, crafters, and vintage and antique items.


Wheelhouse Detroit + Detroit Bikes at Eastern Market
Wheelhouse Detroit and Detroit Bikes have launched a retail residency running now through March 17 inside a shipping container in Shed 4 of Eastern Market. Hours are Friday and Monday 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.; Saturday 7 a.m. to 4 p.m., and Sunday 12 p.m. to 5 p.m. Bicycle rental and drop-off repair service is also available. 

1701 Bespoke -- 660 Woodward Avenue
Get suited up at 1701 Bespoke, a custom suit shop located inside the lobby of the First National Building that uses fine wools, linens, and silks from Italian fabric mills. 

The Detroit Shoppe – 1201 Woodward Avenue
Showcasing people, places and products that have shaped Detroit. Open Tuesdays – Saturdays 11 a.m. to 9 p.m.; now through Saturday, Dec. 21.

Rock Paper Scissors – 1213 Woodward Avenue
Personalized Stationery, paper, home goods and gift store. Open Tuesdays – Saturdays 11 a.m. to 9 p.m.; now through Saturday, Dec. 21. 

The Hand Made Company – 1219 Woodward Avenue
Showcases a wide-variety of Michigan-made products from Detroit retailers. Open Tuesdays – Saturdays 11 a.m. to 9 p.m.; now through Saturday, Dec. 21. 

Spielhaus Toys – 1249 Woodward Avenue
Hand-made specialty toy shop - read more about them here. Open Tuesdays – Saturdays 11 a.m. to 9 p.m.; now through Saturday, Dec. 21. 

Somerset Collection CityLoft – 1261 Woodward Avenue
Your favorite Somerset Collection retailers in the heart of Detroit. Open Thursdays – Saturdays 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Dec. 19-21.

Moosejaw - 1275 Woodward Avenue
Popular national outdoor retailer (retailer in downtown Detroit for more than a year). Open Wednesday – Saturday 11 a.m. to 7 p.m.; also open Tuesdays. 

Detroit Institute of Bagels now open in Corktown

After a long (yet worthwhile) wait, Detroit Institute of Bagels is finally open in Corktown, putting an end to Detroit's days as a bagel desert and bringing with it some much-needed breakfast bagel sandwiches, bagels and lox, and free Wi-Fi in a beautifully designed historic building on Michigan Avenue.
DIB started nearly three years ago in owner Ben Newman's flat in Corktown. Since then the company has gained a loyal following, which helped them raise $10,000 in a Kickstarter campaign and saw them through as semifinalists in the first-ever Hatch Detroit competition in 2011. While DIB didn't win the $50,000 then, the company was just officially awarded a $50,000 grant last week from the Old Tiger Stadium Conservancy Fund, a $3.8 million fund allocated to businesses that are contributing to the redevelopment and revitalization of Corktown. Two James Spirits also received a grant with several more are in the works. Senator Carl Levin was on site last week to award the grant.
All together it cost about $500,000 to renovate the century-old building at 1236 Michigan Avenue, extend it out for the kitchen, and create a pocket park out front in the "L" shape formed by the new addition. DIB was designed almost entirely from reclaimed materials, including the commercial kitchen equipment. The bagel shop employs a staff of 25 and is open seven days a week from 7 a.m. to 4 p.m. serving seven standard bagel flavors with house-made cream cheeses and spreads daily, additional "small batch" flavors daily, homemade soups, coffee from Corktown roasters Anthology Coffee, and a variety of bagel sandwiches for breakfast and lunch.
Source: Ben Newman, owner of Detroit Institute of Bagels
Writer: Nicole Rupersburg 

Rock Ventures selects SHoP Architects to lead design process for former Hudson's site

The renewal of downtown Detroit is taking a monumental step forward with the official press release coming from Rock Ventures announcing its selection of the architects to lead the design process of the redevelopment of the two-acre former site of the historic Hudson's Department Store on Woodward.

Rock has selected world-renowned SHoP Architects, headquartered in New York, for this project. SHoP will partner with Detroit-based Hamilton Anderson Associates (HAA) for this significant downtown development.
"These two firms, known as premier urban catalysts, were chosen for their innovation and creativity, as well as their track record of committing to community engagement," said Jeff Cohen, Founder of Rock Companies LLC, a member of the Rock Ventures Family of Companies, in a press release. "We believe SHoP and Hamilton Anderson will join a long list of distinguished architects including Yamasaki, Burnham, and Kahn who have created landmark buildings in Detroit that stand the test of time."
The selection of SHoP came after Rock Ventures hosted a global architectural ideas competition for architects, designers, planners, artists, and the public this past March. The competition attracted more than 200 entries from across the globe and got people thinking about the possibilities of redeveloping this key site, in many ways both symbolically and geographically the heart of Detroit. You can view the entries here.
Hudson's started out as an eight-story building in 1891 and eventually swelled into a 25-story building covering 2.2 million square feet. It closed in 1983. The building was imploded in 1998, leaving a quite literal gaping hole in Detroit. Plans to redevelop the site of such an iconic piece of the city's history feels like a real coming full circle, as symbolically relevant as it is concretely so.
While we're probably still years off from breaking ground and development beginning in earnest, SHoP, HAA, and Rock Ventures have exhibited a real commitment to getting this massive project off the ground. They will meet with local stakeholders in the next month and will host an informative community lecture series starting in 2014.
Source: Rock Ventures press release
Writer: Nicole Rupersburg

Pete's Chocolate Company working towards wholesale expansion in 2014

Pete Steffy got into chocolate-making as a hobby while living in the small city of San Cristobal de la Casas in Mexico, where he was teaching English. He enjoyed it so much that he began making chocolate for fun and playing with different recipes that he would give away to friends and family. Eventually a real demand grew, and Pete's Chocolate Company, Detroit's first small-batch artisan chocolate company, started selling at area markets and special events.
Since 2011, Pete's Chocolate Company has grown from a hobby into a legitimate business with its own employees. He is currently hiring the position of Production Manager to help him meet his production goals and help with expansion plans. He also recently filled the position of Production Assistant to help him with the chocolate making, especially during this busy holiday season.
He has also outgrown his Hamtramck kitchen, which was the original home base of his chocolate operations, and now works out of the commercial kitchen at the Max M. Fisher Music Center (also used by Detroit food startup Beau Bien Fine Foods). Up until he started making chocolate out of the kitchen at The Max, Steffy was still producing under Michigan's cottage food laws. Now he is able to wholesale to stores. Currently he is focused entirely on the holiday season, but afterwards he plans on growing his wholesale operation (with the help of his Production Manager) in order to make Pete's Chocolate Company a steady year-round business. "It's been great that I've been doing this the last two years," he says. "The chocolate business is slow in the summer and insane in the winter. It would be nice to get it a little more steady."
While Whole Foods and Holiday Market might be in his future, for now you can find Pete and his chocolates weekends at the Rust Belt Market through December as well as at Noel Night this Saturday, the Detroit Holiday Food Bazaar next Friday, and the Merry Market at Detroit Mercantile Co. next Saturday and Sunday.
Source: Pete Steffy, owner of Pete's Chocolate Company
Writer: Nicole Rupersburg

Coffee and (___) goes from pop-up to permanent in Jefferson Chalmers

We sure do love our pop-ups in Detroit. And beyond just the novelty of having an experience in a space that you wouldn't otherwise be able to have (a Guns + Butter dinner at Shinola perhaps, or an independent toy store on Woodward just in time for the holidays), pop-ups serve an important purpose: they vet new businesses for long-term sustainability, allow aspiring entrepreneurs to test out different neighborhoods, and activate spaces that would otherwise remain vacant. And sometimes – more and more often now – they lead to permanent businesses opening.
Coffee and (______) is the latest Detroit pop-up that is going permanent. After a successful run in West Village last year (which Detroit Vegan Soul was also a part of) and another in Jefferson Chalmers earlier this year, Angela Foster, owner of Coffee and (_____), has decided to make her pop-up space on East Jefferson her permanent home.
Coffee and (______) opened in Jefferson Chalmers this past June after Shelborne Development restored several commercial buildings in the area and the American Institute of Architects Urban Priorities Committee added all the finishing touches.
After the scheduled pop-up period ended on Jefferson, Foster took some time to travel around and decide what she wanted to do next. She considered working harvest season in northern Michigan wine country, among other things, but the more she thought about being away, the more she missed being here in Detroit and the more she missed her shop. So she called Ritchie Harrison, economic development director of Jefferson East Inc., and asked if she could come back. "No one had shown any interest in the spaces yet so he was thrilled," she says.
As a neighborhood still working to define itself, Jefferson Chalmers has a strong community but not necessarily a lot of visibility outside of it. "It's going to take some time to get people excited about (these spaces)," Foster says. But for her it was worth taking the leap. She said she is finally getting commuter traffic and is now trying to go seamlessly from pop-up to permanent. She is still doing all the work herself – that includes all the baking (the selection changes daily) and customer service – but is now getting some help from a Shifting Gears program participant.
Coffee and (_____) will continue to operate while Foster finalizes all of the paperwork and licensing to become a full-fledged permanent café. You can visit her 7 a.m. to 4 p.m. Mondays, Wednesdays, Thursdays, and Fridays, and 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays. The business is closed Tuesdays.
Source: Angela Foster, owner of Coffee and (______)
Writer: Nicole Rupersburg

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

Prepare for the holidays with Eastern Market's Thanksgiving Market next Tuesday

The Tuesday markets season in Eastern Market may be over, but next Tuesday will see one last round for the year, just in time for Thanksgiving.
From 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. next Tuesday, Nov. 26, shoppers can visit Eastern Market farms and artisan food vendors to pick up everything they need for their Thanksgiving dinners. "The idea of a Thanksgiving market came to us last year when the Tuesday before Thanksgiving people were calling us and asking if we were open," says Fiona Ruddy, Alternative Food Program Coordinator for Eastern Market.
At the time they had just wrapped up their second season of Tuesday markets and decided to plan a Thanksgiving market for this year. In planning this special holiday market, longtime vendors remembered when there was previously an annual Thanksgiving market when the city used to run Eastern Market and are very excited to see it come back.
The market will be held in Shed 5, which is heated. There will be food trucks serving food as well as Michigan wineries serving samples of their wines – an Eastern Market daytime market debut since a law was passed in Michigan earlier this year allowing wineries that produce fewer than five thousand gallons annually to sample and sell wines at farmers markets. (We may see more of this at the market next year.)
Randall Fogelman, Eastern Market's vice president of business development, co-authored the newly-released Detroit's Historic Eastern Market with writer Lisa Rush, and both will be on hand for a meet and greet, selling and signing copies. Part of the Images of America series from Arcadia Publishing, this will make a fantastic holiday gift item. Wheelhouse Detroit and Detroit Bikes are also launching a retail residency inside a shipping container in Shed 4 in conjunction with the Thanksgiving Market. Hours will be Friday and Monday 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.; Saturday 7 a.m. to 4 p.m. and Sunday 12 p.m. to 5 p.m. Bicycle rental and drop-off repair service will also be available.
There will also be Christmas tree farmers out in the parking lot behind Shed 5, so people can even shop for their holiday decorations as well as the food for their tables. Area businesses like DeVries, Rocky's Peanut Company, Gratiot Central Market, and more will also round out everything you need for a spectacular all-local dinner.
Eastern Market, and Shed 5 in particular, has been in the news quite a bit this year with announcements of grants supporting the construction of an outdoor plaza and a community kitchen. While a concrete timetable for the completion of construction has not been announced, interested groups can rent out Shed 5 for private parties ranging anything from kid-friendly family events to white tablecloth CEO dinners.
Source: Fiona Ruddy, Alternative Food Program Coordinator for Eastern Market
Writer: Nicole Rupersburg

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

November development news round-up

The Roxbury Group has revived a plan to add 80 residential units atop a 10-story parking deck located behind the Westin Book Cadillac Detroit, called the Griswold. The initial plan in 2007 was to build condo units in this location, but the development company was unable to proceed with these construction plans during the housing market collapse and economic recession. In 2008, plans were shelved. Now with a skyrocketing demand for rental units downtown with more than 15,000 workers added to the central business district since 2010, Roxbury has decided the time is right to re-introduce the proposal, but as rental units instead. The proposal has been submitted and Roxbury principal David DiRita says the project will take 12-18 months to complete. It will be designed by Kraemer Design Group, a firm that is heavily involved in many various downtown development projects

The Detroit Bus Company has announced that they will launch a new express and commuter bus service between downtown, Midtown, Ferndale, Royal Oak, and Troy, with rides to the airport just $12 one way and $22 roundtrip called the Hotline. The pilot launches Nov. 27.

According to Crain's Detroit Business, Triton Properties has purchased four more apartment buildings along the Detroit Riverfront. This is the same development group behind the Alden Towers renovation

30-year lease of Belle Isle to the state was approved by the Michigan loan board, rejecting an alternative Detroit City Council proposal for a 10-year lease and beginning a 90-day transition period to state control. 

Writer: Nicole Rupersburg

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

Beal Building downtown now fully occupied

More great news for downtown: the Beal Building at 277 Gratiot is now 100 percent occupied.
Beal Properties acquired the building in 2008, then had a rough few years during the housing market collapse and recession, during which time they had to evict 17 tenants from the building. In 2011, as the market started to improve and major players like Dan Gilbert started investing in downtown, the building started attracting solid tenants and as of this month it is fully occupied.
Tenants include MyDetroitAddress.com, In The Black Suites, MeritHall Staffing, JC Beal Construction, Scooner Consulting, Sowell Law Partners, Emerging Industries Training Institute, Detroit Training Center, and Detroit Development Fund, among others.
JC Beal Construction is also an investor in the Broderick Tower, which company president Stewart Beal says is also fully occupied. "We are really excited that the properties we own and invest in are 100 percent occupied," he says.
Source: Stewart Beal, President of Beal Properties and Beal Construction Services
Writer: Nicole Rupersburg

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

The new Jefferson East Inc. focuses on development from downtown to Grosse Pointe Park

While the transition has been ongoing for about a year now, a recent luncheon for Jefferson East, Inc. (JEI) was the official debut of the recently-formed economic development organization that combines the efforts of the Jefferson East Business Association and the East Jefferson Corridor Collaborative. The biggest thing to note here is that JEI will reach from downtown all the way to Grosse Pointe Park, encompassing the whole of the East Jefferson Corridor.
The luncheon, held Nov. 7 at the Rattlesnake Club, introduced Richard Baron, chairman and CEO of St. Louis-based developer McCormack Baron Salazar, as the keynote speaker. Baron's company has developed 146 projects in 35 cities with development costs in excess of $2.4 billion.
McCormack Baron Salazar is behind a $60 million plan to build five blocks' worth of apartments, townhouses and small-scale retail on mostly vacant land east of the Renaissance Center, to be developed in two phases with potential for expansion beyond the initial proposal. While funding is still being finalized (as with most major developments that happen in the city, the funding is coming piecemeal from a variety of sources), Baron said that he hoped to start land remediation next month and break ground on the project by June 2014. 
The East Jefferson Corridor has been getting a lot of buzz lately with the Globe Building renovation, support from TechTown's SWOT City program, the extensive Alden Towers renovation – in fact, Crain's just reported over the weekend that Alden Towers developer Triton Properties just bought four more apartment buildings along and near the East Jefferson Corridor – and local developer Shelborne Development's investments in the Jefferson Chalmers neighborhood, a community eager to engage outsiders and grow with pop-up businesses and community gatherings.
JEI's new campaign "Go East," officially launching later this month, will highlight all of the various developments and investments happening along Jefferson and market the neighborhoods, businesses, and recreation options that exist in the East Jefferson Corridor.
Read more about Jefferson East, Inc. Economic Development Director Ritchie Harrison on UIX.
Source: JEI; Richard Baron of McCormack Baron Salazar
Writer: Nicole Rupersburg

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

Midtown to get another "Living Room," this one part of TechTown District Plan

Last week the Knight Foundation reported that Midtown Detroit Inc. was awarded the prestigious ULI Global Award for Excellence for superior development efforts that go beyond good design to include strong leadership, community contribution, public-private partnerships, and financial success. While many, many people helped turn Midtown into the success it has become, none have been more directly involved than Susan Mosey, President of Midtown Detroit Inc. Read more about Mosey and her efforts in this week's Urban Innovation Exchange.
But that wasn't the only Midtown news to come from Knight. Midtown is about to get itself another "Living Room," in addition to the Cultural Living Room that opened inside the DIA earlier this year. A new grant from the Knight Foundation – in partnership with U3 Ventures, Boston-based planning firm Sasaki, and San Francisco-based designers Rebar – will support the design work of the new TechTown Living Room, a public space that will serve as the heart of Midtown’s TechTown innovation district.

The Living Room, part of the TechTown district plan for a mixed-use neighborhood building on the area's existing anchor universities, hospitals, and major businesses, "will transform a parking lot at Cass and Burroughs streets into an active and dynamic public space," connecting to TechTown's new co-working space which will be home to more than 400 entrepreneurs. It will also have a café and programming to attract the more than 10,000 professionals, students, and residents in the surrounding neighborhoods.
According to Alex Feldman of U3 Ventures, the Living Room will be completed in the summer 2014.
Source: Alex Feldman, Knight Foundation blog
Writer: Nicole Rupersburg

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

Newly-renovated Antisdel Apartments first step in two-block development for Cass Community org

After a one-year renovation, the Arthur Antisdel Apartments at 1584 Elmhurst celebrated its grand opening last week.
The $10 million renovation of the 34,500-square-foot building was overseen by Cass Community Social Services. Now part of the Cass Community campus, the Antisdel will be used to house homeless and disabled men and women. Cass Community Social Services Executive Director Faith Fowler says that the first residents have started moving in and it will soon be filled with 41 residents.
Fowler says the building was stripped down to its studs and everything inside is brand new: the roof, elevators, electric, plumbing, heating, windows, floors, appliances, bathroom fixtures. "It's like a brand-new building with old brick," she says. There is also a new parking lot, bike rack, and green space on the surrounding land. "If fits right in as if it has always been occupied."
As part of the organization's campus, which encompassed 4.5 blocks with 7 buildings, residents of the Antisdel will be part of the community and have access to work, worship, and counselors. "It's all walkable," says Fowler. "The proximity is nice because you (we) can share resources."
This $10 million project – made possible by a creative mix of tax credits, grants, public and private funding – was the start of the development of two whole additional blocks overseen by the nonprofit. A second building that was previously drug-inhabited is now fully occupied with families, and an additional block has been purchased and cleared and the organization is moving on to the development planning stages.
"We're trying to create a community but also put people back into the community," Fowler says.
Source: Faith Fowler, Executive Director of Cass Community Social Services
Writer: Nicole Rupersburg

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

Forest Arms apartment building to celebrate "groundbreaking" this Thursday

The fire that destroyed the roof and caused interior damage to the Forest Arms apartment building on Second and Canfield in Midtown happened in February 2008. After that, local developer Scott Lowell and his wife Carolyn Howard purchased the building with plans to renovate and reopen it. Nearly six years later, the renovation is finally about to get underway.
Lowell and Howard own several buildings in the area, including the Beethoven and Blackstone apartment buildings and the restaurant Traffic Jam & Snug. Despite their strong track record of redevelopment, it still took more than five years to get the Forest Arms project off the ground. First they had to convince the city that the building was worth saving instead of demolishing and that they were the people to do it – which, Lowell says, was the easy part. They then had to weather the housing market collapse, banks reluctant to lend money in its aftermath, and the elimination of the state historic tax credits (a boon to recent local developments).
"Losing the state tax credits was horrible," Lowell says. Luckily for them, with the help of Midtown Detroit Inc.'s Sue Mosey and the Michigan Historic Preservation Network, theirs was one of the last projects to be awarded under the state historic tax credit program. "It has been an arduous process just to get to this point, but it's finally here."
Forest Arms will celebrate a "groundbreaking" this Thursday. Previous work they have done since acquiring the building has included adding a new roof to make it weather-tight and ensuring the structure remains sound. The renovation will include all-new plumbing, drainage, electrical, and HVAC systems. The design will also utilize environmentally sustainable technologies like solar energy for hot water and reclaimed water from the roof to flush the toilets. They will also add a new fire suppression system, Lowell says, in deference to what happened there. "I want to sleep comfortably at night and I want our residents to sleep comfortably at night," he says.
Once completed, the new Forest Arms will consist of 70 architecturally diverse units with five top-floor penthouses, two ground floor commercial spaces, and a totally soundproof room in the basement for bands to hold band practice – a nice nod to the building's history as a hub for local musicians, from People's Records formerly located on its ground floor to the allegorical Arms Forest album recorded by local rockers the Hard Lessons after the fire.
The construction schedule is planned at 18 months. Lowell hopes to have it completed by fall 2015.
Source: Scott Lowell, owner and developer of Forest Arms
Writer: Nicole Rupersburg

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