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Detroit Development News

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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La Feria now open for lunch and dinner, celebrating grand opening with Melt this week

It's been over a year since La Feria, a Spanish tapas restaurant located in Midtown in what could be called the Cass Corridor Design District, won the 2012 Hatch Detroit competition, earning an extra $50,000 towards opening their business. Detroiters have anxiously waited as we've watched the progress at 4130 Cass Ave. all the way up through the fancy new façade and signage from D MET Design. And now, they are officially open for business.
"We are so excited right now," says co-owner Elias Khalil, who owns La Feria with his business partner and chef Pilar Baron Hidalgo. "it's unbelievable to see it come to fruition."
La Feria opened its doors to an eager public last Thursday with lunch service only for their first three days, to "work out the kinks for soft opening," as Khalil says. As of Nov. 4, La Feria is open for both lunch and dinner service. Both La Feria and the newly-opened Melt, Midtown's newest coffee shop and only candy store and gelato shop, will celebrate a joint grand opening later this week. "We really want to activate this spot of Cass," he says. "We're already seeing so much foot traffic (with people interesting in peeking inside) and doing a joint opening will create real excitement."
While the menu has stayed true to its initial concept of authentic Spanish tapas, Khalil says that the menu was tweaked several times before opening, adding a lot more seafood than initially planned since it is so common to Spanish tapas and because they are now more confident than they initially were in their ability to source fresh, quality seafood. (And yes, this will include sardines and soon fresh anchovies, as well as traditional dishes like empanadas and charcuterie boards with Machego cheese.)
They were able to secure a liquor license and have a full bar that will complement everything that they're doing on the menu.
Hours are not set in stone yet but Khalil says they will stay open until midnight on Fridays and Saturdays and play it by ear; if that works well they might also extend their hours for the rest of the week later.

"The later we're open the better for the neighborhood," he says. "This is really a crucial piece to this Cass Corridor revitalization. We're pretty interested in maintaining the Cass Corridor neighborhood in Midtown and staying true to what this neighborhood has meant to people over the years. We kept price points low for that reason."
Khalil's personal relationship with the Cass Corridor neighborhood is deeply-rooted, so much so that he even wrote the book on it. Read a more in-depth profile of Khlalil and La Feria here.
Source: Elias Khalil, co-owner of La Feria
Writer: Nicole Rupersburg

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UberX now available in Detroit, offering free rides through November

Uber, the personal luxury car service that you order simply with a quick tap of a smartphone app, launched in Detroit this past March and has served tens of thousands of customers in that time. Now they are introducing uberX, a low-cost ridesharing Uber option that's cheaper than a taxi.
Where Uber is a luxury personal car service, uberX offers all the same reliability and convenience of Uber but at a lower cost. You still order them through a simply app that shows you the closest car's location and tracks it by GPS with an estimated arrival time accurate down to the minute. It gets you from point A to point B in exactly the same way, just cheaper with other people sharing your ride – this is what makes it cheaper.
Ridesharing is both more efficient and cost-effective as well as more environmentally-friendly. It also gives city residents another affordable option to go carless in the city. Sample fares with uberX are as follows:
Downtown to Midtown: $6-7
Royal Oak to Birmingham: $14-16
Royal Oak to Downtown Detroit: $28-31
Downtown Detroit to Detroit Metro Airport: $42-46
Regular Uber users will note the savings average about 40 percent off per route. Prices are all-inclusive (including tip).
UberX is free for all Uber users up to three rides or $30 (whichever comes first) until Dec. 1. The discount is applied automatically when you select "uberX" when you open the Uber app on your smartphone.
Source: Mary Ellen Hickey, Detroit Community Manager
Writer: Nicole Rupersburg

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Pure Detroit featured in AmEx national campaign, launches Detroit Small Business Passport

If you haven't already, you might soon see a familiar brand featured in a national American Express Small Business Saturday/Shop Small campaign. Our very own Pure Detroit is one of five small businesses from across the country featured in a series of Shop Small videos from American Express. The campaign launched Nov. 4 and will run through the rest of the month.
The two-minute video highlights the three Pure Detroit shops and their employees, loyal customers, and the variety of cultural programming they host.
In this video Pure Detroit, which celebrates 15 years in business this year, announces the launch of their Detroit Small Business Passport, which encourages customers to shop at all of the other independent retailers throughout the city by receiving "Shop Small" stamps when they make a purchase at each of the 18-plus participating locations, unlocking various discounts and freebies. Passports are now available for pickup at each of Pure Detroit's locations in the Renaissance Center, Guardian Building, and Fisher Building and will be active and valid through Jan. 31, 2014.
Particpating passport retailers include Pure Detroit, Vera Jane, Stella Good Coffee, HUMAN, RUNdetroit, Cass Corridog, Nest, City Bird, Detroit Hardware, Source Booksellers, Emily’s Fashion Place, Todd’s Facets & Jewelry, Detroit Athletic Co., Workshop, Hugh, Nora, Detroit Gallery of Contemporary Crafts, and the Rowland Cafe. Each business is offering at least 10 percent off your purchase (terms vary per store).
Source: Ryan Hooper, Creative Director for Pure Detroit
Writer: Nicole Rupersburg 

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Anytime Fitness to open downtown Jan. 1, now selling memberships

Downtown Detroit will soon have its own premiere 24/7 fitness facility at 735 Griswold, and memberships are available now.
Mike Ferlito of Ferlito Construction, also a partner in Bamboo Detroit, recognized the need for Detroit to have a 24/7 fitness facility with all of the influx of business professionals and people moving downtown. Though there are private membership-based gyms like the YMCA and DAC, there are currently no traditional membership-based, 24/7, in-and-out type gyms. So Ferlito reached out to Anytime Fitness and has licensed the concept for both downtown and Midtown.
The downtown location will feature 5,000 square feet of equipment space. They will also have personal trainers on hand, and are currently looking to hire four to six trainers as well as a full-time manager. Interested parties can email here.
They just started selling memberships last Friday and are currently running a special for the first 100 people who sign up, who will receive half-off their down payment and be charged only $32 per month. You must sign up for your membership in person 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. and 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Friday. Sign-ups are in the same building, 735 Griswold, one door north of the soon-to-be Anytime Fitness entrance. Also, if you successfully refer a friend, you will receive one month of membership for free. Membership to the downtown gym also includes 24/7 access to the 2,200 Anytime Fitness locations worldwide.
The space is currently under construction, but they plan on a Jan. 1 opening date – just in time for those New Year's resolutions.
Source: Mike Ferlito, The Ferlito Group
Writer: Nicole Rupersburg

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Detroit Achievement Academy is a new kind of charter school in Grandmont Rosedale

Kyle Smitley, founder and executive director of the new Detroit Achievement Academy at 15000 Southfield in Grandmont-Rosedale, describes herself as "aggressively ADHD." At the age of 24 she was a full-time law school student in California while also running a multi-million-dollar organic children's clothing line. She was named among Inc. Magazine's "30 Under 30" in 2009. She has had dinner with President Obama. And now she's running a charter school in Detroit.
She recalls that dinner in D.C. surrounded by other rich young entrepreneurs where they all sat around talking about how they were going to make their next million. This triggered something inside her.
"(I remember thinking) if this is the best we (successful young entrepreneurs) have to give the country is f-ed," she says. (She speaks rather colorfully. And isn't afraid of being honest.) Her company gave some money to a charter school in Chicago and she had the opportunity to meet "all these wonderful, bright, charming kids." Looking at Detroit Public Schools, she says, "This is insane. You can do better for your kids." And this was the beginning of Detroit Achievement Academy.
Detroit Achievement Academy is a free public charter school that uses the rich cultural history of Detroit for project-based learning. Located inside an old church that had lost about half of its congregation in recent years, Smitley plans on staying in this location for about three years until they are able to secure government funding to build new.

"There are no buildings being occupied with room to lease that don’t need to be gutted and brought to code," she says, a sentiment increasingly being echoed by eager entrepreneurs and community leaders looking for space in Detroit. "Any school in a big, beautiful, abandoned building would need three-quarters of a million dollars sunk into gutting the building, putting in sprinklers, and bringing it up to code. That's just not in the budget for 40 kids. I've been watching other charters not open because they couldn't find a building."
She was fortunate to find the space in Grandmont-Rosedale. Detroit Achievement Academy has launched with four kindergarten and first grade-level classes and one arts class. Next year the Academy will have second grade for the students already enrolled and the Academy will continue to grow with its student population up to fifth grade.

"We're starting small and growing upwards," Smitley says. Referring to older students going through the DPS system, Smitley says, "These kids don't know how to be in school any other way. We can't snap our fingers into K through 5 and unbrainwash them."
Nearby schools in the surrounding neighborhoods are among the poorest performing in the state, with 50 kids in every classroom and violence in the parking lots. For Smitley, it was important to open by putting the kids first, regardless of how many were enrolled. She aimed to open with 100 kids but instead got 40. "…and it's been wonderful. I'm not an evil capitalist. (We're) not part of a management company with a bottom line where we have to have (a certain number of) kids."
She admits that it is a challenge to open a charter school in the city and convince parents to send their kids there, especially since some charter schools have reputations as poor as DPS. But for the parents who took a chance on Detroit Achievement Academy, Smitley says they are "thrilled." The Academy receives state funding and the school is free. To find out more about the school and enrollment, visit their website here.
Source: Kyle Smitley, founder and Executive Director of Detroit Achievement Academy
Writer: Nicole Rupersburg

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Eastern Market is a prime example of urban placemaking according to MIT

A study conducted by the Department of Urban Studies and Planning (DUSP) at MIT that was just released last week that explores the evolution of the urban planning and design of public places toward placemaking, evaluating high-profile placemaking projects throughout the country including Detroit's Eastern Market.
Researchers looked at the market before and after the public-private partnership of the Eastern Market Corporation was established in 2006 to handle the district's operations. Since then, monumental change has occurred in the historic market district, as noted in the report:
"Since EMC took over the market’s management, two major facilities have been revitalized for more than $8 million, and another $8 million worth of renovations are underway on a new plant and flower center, Community Commercial Kitchen (available for rent to food-related entrepreneurs), and a new public plaza. By 2016, more than $80 million will have been invested. Plans include a mixed-use shed, streetscape projects, a greenway, a parking facility, and alternative energy projects. Additionally the EMC has created far-reaching food-access programs, a series of food-business incubator programs, a new Tuesday market and 'after hours' markets, and is planning a Sunday market featuring artisanal merchants. Part of the stakeholders’ vision is to use the success of the market to revitalize the entire area while retaining its authenticity, grit, and productive industrial uses."
Researchers further delved into the types of products sold at the market and spoke with EMC President Dan Carmody about the future of the market as it continues to grow and expand, reaching wider and wider audiences and growing to international prominence for the very same efforts outlined in this report. As the market brings in more specialty food producers that appeal to a wealthier and/or trendier clientele, EMC leadership is constantly mindful of keeping the market a place that appeals to a broad audience; a place where, yes, people have access to those local artisan food producers that get featured in national lifestyle publications, but also a place where everyone in the community has access to fresh, healthy, affordable food. They want to ensure the market continues to have this hip appeal while still retaining its authenticity.

As stated in the report:
"Perhaps the greatest ongoing challenge is how to get the right balance between gentrification and revitalization. Dan Carmody says, 'EMC is actively avoiding becoming too "cool,"' and decisions have been made to clean up the market but not make it 'too pretty;' limit the number of specialty foods vendors; and make sure residential zoning is kept to the outskirts of the district.' With every weekly market and event, EMC works to rebuild Detroiters' faith in community, revitalize a struggling district, increase food access, bring suburbanites back to the city, and help bridge socioeconomic and racial divides."

Read the full paper here.

Source: MIT Urban Planning: Project Placemaking
Writer: Nicole Rupersburg

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Kraemer Design Group wraps up work on M@dison Block, moves on to Woodward

Detroit-based Kraemer Design Group has completed historic designation consulting, architectural and interior design projects at two properties on the recently re-christened "M@dison Block" at 1520 and 1528 Woodward Avenue. Both buildings are owned by Bedrock Real Estate.
The two early-20th-century buildings were not previously part of a historic district. Previously owned by the Detroit Economic Growth Corporation, when Bedrock took them over the state historic tax credit was still available so there was a "mad dash" to get these buildings designated as historic properties, which Kraemer assisted with.
According to Bob Kraemer, founder and Principal of KDG, both buildings were heavily renovated in the 1950s and 1960s and little of the original buildings' original exterior or interior design elements still remained. In their renovations, KDG restored the mid-century renovations.
1520 Woodward Avenue, the former Lane Bryant Building built in 1909, is now comprised mostly of office space with as-yet-unoccupied retail space on the first floor and basement. KDG worked with the fifth and sixth floor tenant Detroit Labs on interior design to create an open workspace that juxtaposes the old structural wood framing and exposed brick with new, finished interior design elements. There are no other tenants currently in the building.
1528 Woodward Avenue, a 45,146-square-foot, six-story building, was built in 1916. It now exudes a midcentury appeal from its renovation in 1960 when it became the headquarters for the United Foundation. The second floor contains conference room spaces and a lounge/event space, and KDG restored and updated its décor in a style that complements the remaining 60s-era components.

"It had a real modern look to it so we restored that," Kraemer says. "It has a real (mid-century) ad man feel to it." KDG created clean, bright, modern elements within each of the tenant spaces that allow future tenants flexibility in customizing their space. The office floors of the building are now fully occupied, with Sachse Construction in the top two floors, and Bizdom and a Bedrock co-working space on the third and fourth floors. Retail space is still available on the ground floor.
Kraemer says he is seeing increasingly more activity in Capitol Park as development along the Woodward Corridor slows in anticipation of M-1 Rail construction. The next big renovation project for KDG is the 1201-1217 Woodward block, once again for Bedrock.
Source: Bob Kraemer, founder and Principal of KDG
Writer: Nicole Rupersburg

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Storey Commons pops up in Jefferson Chalmers as a result of cross community collaboration

The Jefferson-Chalmers neighborhood saw some success with activating vacant storefronts earlier this year during their June on Jefferson pop-ups. Local developers Shelborne Development renovated several vacant buildings, then the Jefferson East Business Association (JEBA) in partnership with the American Institute of Architects Urban Priorities Committee activated them with several lifestyle pop-up concepts to attract people from outside the neighborhood to the area and also to serve the people in the neighborhood.
Now JEBA is introducing the Storey Commons, a new pop-up storefront in one of the previous pop-up locations that will serve as a community library of books.

"In my time here at JEBA, in speaking with folks from the community, I found people are really looking for the types of amenities that make their community more liveable," says Ritchie Harrison, Economic Development and Policy Director at JEBA. They want places like sit-down cafés and bookstores where they can connect with other members of the community.
Storey Commons is a place where people can bring a book or borrow a book. Made to look like a bookstore, the space was designed by architect Mike Styczynski and his team at Midwest Design, who had worked on the original pop-up spaces over the summer. Books were donated by a cohort of community residents in Jefferson-Chalmers and Grosse Pointe Park during the inaugural meeting of AlterGather, a new community organization gathering residents of the East Riverfront neighborhoods to have conversations about how the community divide can be bridged. The first-ever meeting was held at Coffee and (______), a coffeeshop and bakery located next to Storey Commons. Peter Ruffner, owner Detroit-based publishing company OmniGraphics, also provided substantial book donations.

"We got more books than I expected," Harrison says. "So many folks came out to give books that love the idea, the concept and what it could mean for community development."
On the other side of Storey Commons is another new pop-up, the Jeff Chalmers Pop-Up Gallery, curated by local artist Halima Cassells featuring artwork from area residents. Harrison says that the whole project is made possible by the generosity of Shelborne Development, which owns the properties and has allow JEBA to use the spaces for the pop-ups.  
These pop-up projects are a cross-community collaboration made successful only by the number of separate groups involved with and supporting them, from the developer to area economic development organizations to nearby residents.

"It's all about helping to rebuild the community," Harrison says. "My hope is that this encourages the possibilities in the neighborhood for the vacant commercial storefronts we have and encourages revitalization and the opportunity for someone to see this and want to bring this type of business to the community (permanently)."
There is no official end date for the Storey Commons pop-up, but the space is available for a permanent tenant.
Source: Ritchie Harrison, Economic Development and Policy Director at Jefferson East Business Association
Writer: Nicole Rupersburg

Detroit City Distillery receives approval from the city, aims at spring 2014 opening

After a five-month-long process requiring two public hearings, Detroit City Distillery has been approved as a distillery by the City of Detroit.
Detroit City Distillery is a partnership between seven young professionals who are also long-time homebrewers and distillers. At the center of it is distiller J.P. Jerome, a Ph.D. in microbiology, and Michael Forsyth, manager of retail development for the DEGC and director of the REVOLVE Detroit program. The distillery will be in a 2,700 square foot space at 2462 Riopelle St. in Eastern Market, a former slaughterhouse.
"It has been a long time in the making," says Forsyth. "As the microbrewing industry took off our thinking evolved to getting into the craft distilling market, (and making) spirits in Detroit again."
The spirits industry was once second only to the auto industry in Detroit, but the industry dried up during Prohibition. Like the recently-opened Two James in Corktown, Detroit City Distillery will pay homage to the city's distilling history, as well as being inspired by their own personal history with Detroit.
"Everything aligns in the market for a distillery," Forsyth says "It is the center of distribution. Jerome's grandfather used to be a butcher in Eastern Market. The Market is all about local food in one place, and all the market's customers want better, fresher, locally-produced food. Those are our customers."
The partners behind Detroit City Distillery value working with local farmers and using all organic, locally-grown grains, and are even growing their own rye on Forsyth's family farm. They have already received federal approval and are still in the process of receiving approval from the state. Buildout of the space will begin in November and they are currently working on their packaging and labels. They plan on opening next spring. Keep an eye on their Facebook page for updates. 

Source: Michael Forsyth, co-owner of Detroit City Distillery
Writer: Nicole Rupersburg

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