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Detroit Development News

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It's official: The Whisky Parlor transitions from soft opening into permanent downtown whisky bar

Things are coming together for the Whisky Parlor, a new food and drinks venue from the people responsible for Grand Trunk Pub and Checker Bar.

Located on Woodward Avenue in the old Motor City Wine location above Grand Trunk, the Whisky Parlor had a soft opening in July and is now ready to say that it's officially open for business. Though not a grand opening party, the occasion will be marked Friday, August 7, as the "Day 5" event makes its Whisky Parlor debut. The cocktail hour will occur every Friday, a sort of happy hour that includes complimentary hors d'oeuvres and live jazz. There is no cover for the weekly event. "Day 6," a Saturday DJ night, will make its debut later this month.

For all the new bars and restaurants opening downtown, manager Steven Reaume characterizes Whisky Parlor as the oldest new bar downtown, located in a building with a lot of history, yet hoping to provide a new presence in Detroit.

Patrons of the old Motor City Wine location (it has since moved to Corktown) will be hard-pressed to recognize the space, says Reaume. "The room looks amazing. We're very proud of it."

The drop ceiling has been removed to reveal a large cathedral ceiling, reaching up and into the above story. Though not as architecturally refined as the Grand Trunk cathedral ceiling, the exposed space provides context for an older Detroit -- the space itself saw its first business open in 1879. Since then, it has hosted a hardware store, saloon, men's furnishings shop, speakeasy, and more.

In addition to more than 100 whisky selections, the bar also offers wine, champagne, craft cocktails, and a food menu. Entertainment will play a big role. The "Day 5" events are the first of much more programming to come, says Reaume. They're especially hoping to expand live jazz offerings downtown. The Whisky Parlor Trio, the bar's house band, features three Detroiters with connections to Wayne State University. Reaume and company encouraged guitarist Kevin Miller to form the trio after hearing him performing on the street one day.

Whisky Parlor is currently open seven nights a week, beginning at 5 p.m. and stretching at least until midnight. Expanded hours are planned. It is located at 608 Woodward Ave.

Writer: MJ Galbraith

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

Corktown to get a new exhibition space this month, downtown a wine bar and restaurant

The arts group Playground Detroit has settled down in Corktown, calling a 500 square-foot space at 1535 Sixth St. its new home. Dubbed "The Playground," the private exhibition space serves as headquarters for the company. Also new for Playground is a website featuring an e-commerce platform.

The company is marking the opening of its space with an exhibition of work by Detroit artist Cristin Richard featuring mixed media collages and sculptures. Richard manipulates animal casings to become dresses, skirts, and shoes, among other things. The art is for sale and may be purchased online or by appointment at The Playground itself.

The Playground will feature rotating artist showcases, solo exhibitions, and a semi-permanent collection of work by emerging artists.

Meanwhile, a wine-centric restaurant has been announced as future tenant of The Ashley, a recently renovated downtown apartment building. Located at 1538 Centre St., Vertical Detroit should open in September 2015.

Father and daughter team Jim and Remy Lutfy are behind the restaurant, and the co-owners plan a high-end business with over 250 vintages by the bottle and 43 by the glass. The team has hired Detroit native Alex Knezevic as head chef. He'll provide locally-sourced appetizers and small plate options. Roughly 325 to 350 wines will be available for purchase in a retail section.

The Lutfy family has been in the wine industry for more than three decades, owning Fine Wine Source in Detroit suburb Livonia. This is the first restaurant for the father-daughter team.

"From marble bar tops and elegant chandeliers to salvaged pine tables and raw steel accents, we really wanted to accentuate the elements that make Detroit and The Ashley such a great location," says Remy Lutfy.

The Lutfys have hired Detroit firm Rossetti Associates to design the space. A full bar complements a 75-seat dining area while patio seating will make its debut next spring.

Writer: MJ Galbraith

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

Shipping containers, bike paths, Rehab Addict, and more: July development news round-up

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

After months of delays and a change of location, the first shipping container residential development in both the city and the state hosted an open house earlier this month. Developer Three Squared showed off its nearly completed building, a two-unit structure made out of shipping containers located at the corner of Trumbull Avenue and Pine Street. Two bigger shipping container developments are planned for North Corktown and Woodbridge.

After valiant efforts to stop the demolition of the Park Avenue Hotel were rebuffed by city officials, the Louis Kamper-designed building was imploded the morning of July 11. Drones outfitted with cameras documented the dramatic event. The hotel, built in 1924, was demolished to make way for a loading dock for the new Detroit Red Wings hockey arena.

The complicated task of piecing together a 26-mile bike path that circles around the city has been marked by a number of successes recently, though there are some remaining hurdles. The biggest obstacle in the bike path's completion is an 8.3-mile stretch of abandoned railroad property owned by Conrail. That company has yet to reach an agreement to sell the property necessary for completing what's being called the Inner Circle Greenway. The Midtown Greenway Loop, however, has broken ground on the third of four phases of construction.

Both film crews and work crews have convened upon the Ransom Gillis house, an 1870s-era mansion built in the Venetian Gothic style of the day. HGTV star Nicole Curtis is filming her television show around the renovation of the once-grand building in the Brush Park neighborhood. Viewers will be able to watch the complete transformation of the building from an empty shell into something promised to achieve its "former glory."

Writer: MJ Galbraith

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

Placemaking projects continue popping up outside greater downtown

Seven placemaking projects, one for each city council district, are being given a boost by Community Development Advocates of Detroit. With the financial support of the Kresge Foundation, CDAD is spreading $42,000 across the city, granting the money to projects addressing the needs and challenges of their neighborhoods.
 
District 1: In Brightmoor, a house is being converted to provide meeting space for the community. Outside, a learning area will feature native plants, walking tours, and an outdoor seating area with a fire pit.

District 2: A portable artists tent is being installed in Palmer Park, where it's hoped that the addition will stimulate arts programming beyond the Palmer Park Arts Fair.

District 3: Renovations and improvements are planned for a pocket park on Keating Street near East State Fair in the Lindale Gardens neighborhood.

District 4: A mini-fitness park is to be built in an East English Village vacant lot, featuring stationary fitness equipment and a small track.

District 5: At the Peace Zone in District 5, improved seating and murals will be added to the existing area. It is part of the Peace Zones for Life project, which aims to counter neighborhood violence.

District 6: At Garage Cultural, a community arts hub at Livernois and Otis, enhancements to the pre-existing space include a mini-skate park, community stage, market, and outdoor movie area.

District 7: Littlefield Playfield in D7 will receive markers and sculptures acknowledging the neighborhood groups that work to maintain and improve the park.

Both CDAD and Kresge stress the importance of investing in the neighborhoods outside of the city core. CDAD executive director Sarida Scott says that it's projects like these that keep Detroit strong and vibrant. Bryan Hogle, Kresge Foundation program officer, agrees.

"For the city to succeed, neighborhoods have to succeed."

Writer: MJ Galbraith

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

Midtown viaducts to become art installations, destinations

Viaducts, some of the darkest and dankest spaces found in any city, are about to become some of the most artful and engaging spots in Detroit. Three viaducts in the city's TechTown district are each to receive tens of thousands of dollars in beautification enhancements.

Three teams of artists will each turn a viaduct into their canvas, with each team receiving a $75,000 budget. New Economy Initiative and the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation are funding the Midtown Viaducts Public Art + Light Project, or MIDVIA. Midtown Detroit, Inc. is the administrator of the project.

At the Cass Avenue Viaduct, Becky Nix and Olek Zemplinski of bioLINIA are installing more than 7,500 reflectors and other sources of lighting throughout the passageway, illuminating an otherwise dark place. Dubbed "Reflector," the installation is said to be an interactive experience.

Cezanne Charles and John Marshall of rootoftwo, LLC, and Karl Daubmann of daub, LLC have teamed to form r+d LAB, the winning entry for transforming the Second Avenue viaduct. Titled "Resonance," the artists are also playing with light, this time through the installation of 22 LED light boxes between the archways of the viaduct, each forcing an intense series of shadow and light.

New D Media Arts, consisting of principals Gabriel Hall and Daniel Land, are employing smart phones as part of the Third Avenue viaduct experience. The "Light Bender" installation allows pedestrians to use their phones to manipulate waves of colored light throughout the pedestrian pathways while animated lights react to entering vehicles.

The project is an opportunity to demonstrate how public art and other efforts in placemaking can positively affect a neighborhood, organizers say. Katy Locker, Knight Foundation program director for Detroit, says, "These artists will help to improve neighborhood life, encouraging people to interact with their neighborhood and creating new opportunities for residents to connect."

Writer: MJ Galbraith

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

West Village pop-up store to promote time spent outdoors in the city

After making an online debut, a Detroit-based outdoor equipment and lifestyle store is set to debut as a pop-up on Saturday, July 25, at the Red Hook coffee shop in the city's West Village neighborhood.

MOR & Co. is the outdoor store for city folk, says founder Sarah White, a West Village resident. The products she carries aren't meant for ambitious excursions far outside the city center, but rather for stimulating outdoor experiences on a day-to-day basis. Be it gardening or biking, recreation in the backyard or a city park, White proposes that small outdoor experiences are as important as the big ones. It's important, she says, to break away from the screens of devices we use at work and at home by being pro-active about spending time outside. She hopes that MOR & Co. will help Detroiters do just that.

White's goal is to open a brick-and-mortar location some time next year. For now, she plans to build a customer base through a series of pop-ups and an ever-present online store. At Red Hook, she'll be selling summer wares like hammocks, picnic blankets, and marshmallow roasting sticks. She's also been collaborating with other Detroit businesses and will be carrying custom-made citronella candles from Detroit Rose Candle Co. and s'more packages from the Detroit Marshmallow Company. Future collaborations include custom picnic-inspired drink mixers from Wolf Moon and tree swings from Reclaim Detroit.

A Grosse Ile-native, Sarah returned to Michigan with an MBA in Design Strategy after graduating from the California College of the Arts in 2014. In school, she studied a triple bottom line approach to business, an idea that promotes creating positive impact through people and planet in addition to profits. She's currently searching for community partners to promote outdoor activities throughout the city. It's also a program very much focused on the study of design, something that affects nearly every aspect of the way White is approaching her business.

"When I look at the design of something, it's not just what does it look like, but how does it work, where did it come from, who made it, what's their story, how am I going to sell it, what does someone do with it after it's done being used? All of those are important components," says White.

White hopes to open a permanent location by next year--she's thinking either West Village or Eastern Market as potential destinations. It's pop-ups in the mean time, which she considers a valuable opportunity to gather feedback from the community. In addition to the pop-up at Red Hook, she'll be taking part in the West Village better block initiative Aug. 1.

Red Hook Detroit is located at 8025 Agnes St. MOR & Co. will operate out of the shop from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Saturday, July 25.

Source: Sarah White, founder of MOR & Co.
Writer: MJ Galbraith

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

District One businesses to receive investments totalling $100K

Businesses in Detroit's City Council District 1 have cause to celebrate with the announcement that $100,000 is being dedicated to their promotion and improvement. The money is a gift from the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation with the stated intent of being used to help businesses within the city's most northwest district scale and grow.

Tom Goddeeris, executive director of the Grandmont Rosedale Development Corporation; District 1 Council Member James Tate; and Jill Ford, special advisor to Mayor Mike Duggan, are leading the program.

Organizers say that the money will be used to encourage residents to shop locally and within their communities. It will also be used to survey residents on what types of businesses their neighborhoods need and desire. Additionally, the $100,000 will be put toward educating business owners on what attracts customers' support and keeps them coming back to their store. A 'buy local' program is also being researched for implementation.

While some of the program specifics have yet to be decided, the announcement dovetails nicely with D1 Discount Days. Taking place over the weekend of July 24-26, D1 Discount Days is the second annual celebration of local businesses within the district, encouraging residents to patronize their local establishments. Council Member Tate says that both the $100,000 and D1 Discount Days will drum up business, thereby improving the local economy and creating more jobs within the district.

Katy Locker, Knight Foundation program director for Detroit, agrees.

"The expansion of the District 1 buy-local program will help bring more local jobs and economic growth to our city; residents will be part of the process, helping to create the type of neighborhood where people want to live. We’re very interested in how neighborhood retail invites more people and more life into the street," says Locker. "We also hope to learn from this effort so it can be duplicated in other neighborhoods."

Writer: MJ Galbraith

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

Coffee shop to open in Capitol Park in September

Dessert Oasis, a Rochester, Michigan-based coffee shop, is expanding into Detroit. The company's second storefront is slated to open in the Albert in Capitol Park this September.

This marks the second retail tenant for the newly-renovated luxury apartment building, the Albert. Detroit Bikes celebrated the grand opening of its flagship store there in May 2015.

Siblings Nathan and Stephanie Hamood opened their first location in Rochester in 2008. The pair stresses quality and fairness in their offerings. Fresh desserts are baked every morning, and coffee beans are obtained from farmers on an individual basis and then roasted on-site. The company was recently recognized for its quality of coffee during the America's Best Espresso Competition at Coffee Fest in Chicago.

"We’re dedicated to providing a community experience and a focus on our craft that you don’t get at large coffee chains," says Dessert Oasis co-founder Nathan Hamood. "We hope to be the first stop in the morning work commute and the evening entertainment destination for many of the people living in or visiting Capitol Park."

Characterizing Capitol Park as an "up and coming community of artists and young professionals," Richard Broder, CEO of Broder & Sachse, the firm responsible for developing the Albert, sees the addition of a coffee shop to the building to be a good fit. The company expects five more tenants will be required to fill the remaining retail space.

Another key component of the Dessert Oasis experience will be live music every night. Stephanie Hamood curates the entertainment, both in Rochester and, eventually, Detroit. She's a musician herself, touring with national acts Nikki Lane and Social Distortion.

In addition to freshly baked desserts, the brother and sister team will offer light lunch items and chocolate and cheese fondues.

Dessert Oasis Coffee Roasters will be located in the Albert, 1214 Griswold St.

Writer: MJ Galbraith

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

Over $500K in improvements planned for three Hamtramck parks


The city of Hamtramck is preparing a series of groundbreaking ceremonies for the renovation of three city-owned parks: Karol Wojtyla Pope Park, Zussman Park, and Veteran's Park. More than $500,000 is planned for renovating the public spaces.

The city is welcoming residents to join officials from the city of Hamtramck, Wayne County, and the state of Michigan in celebrating the summer construction projects.

A ceremony will kickoff the renovations at Pope Park (10037 Joseph Campau) on Wednesday, July 8, at 10 a.m. Following that event, the train of officials and onlookers will travel to Zussman Park (3401 Evaline St.) for a second groundbreaking party. A third ceremony will be held at Veteran's Park at 10 a.m. on Tuesday, July 14, at the Veteran's Memorial located on Joseph Campau between Goodson and Berres streets.

The renovation of Pope Park has been especially touted, as the park was the recent target of a crowdfunding campaign which successfully raised $31,307 in contributions as well as a $25,000 grant from the Michigan Economic Development Corporation. In total, more than $100,000 in renovations are planned for Pope Park. Plans call for the removal of a large fence that separates the park from the sidewalk, making the public space more welcoming and accessible to passersby. A restoration of the park's large mural, new seating, and enhanced lighting are also in the works.

A number of changes are planned for the other parks, too, including a multi-age playground, a sustainable wildflower garden, and exercise equipment. Benches and bike racks are also in plans released by city officials.

In addition to the crowdfunding and MEDC money that is earmarked for Pope Park, additional money raised for the parks comes from a number of sources, including Community Development Block Grant funds, Wayne County Parks millage funds, and the Karol Wojtyla Parks Committee.

Writer: MJ Galbraith

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

Ambitious art installation debuts in downtown's Paradise Valley Harmonie Park

"Nice Outfit," the summer art installation in downtown's Paradise Valley Harmonie Park, made its debut late last week. An 18-foot sculpture in nine sections, "Nice Outfit" complements the Summer in the Park concert series, providing a dynamic setting for the music and dance events that take place throughout the summer. The art was commissioned by the Carr Center, a neighboring arts and cultural center which handles programming in the park.

Nice Outfit is a collaboration between Detroit-based artist Olayami Dabls and the Anya Sirota + Akoaki design studio. Dabls is perhaps most notable for his work at the African Bead Museum, of which he is the founder. The museum, which is located on Detroit's west side, is covered in colorful art and shards of mirrors, among other things. The museum is an unmistakable landmark when traveling along Interstate 96 or Grand River Avenue. Anya Sirota + Akoaki recently completed the Mothership, a portable, P-Funk-inspired DJ booth in the city's North End neighborhood as part of the O.N.E. Mile project.

The artists' collaboration resulted in the "Nice Outift" sculptures, nine distinct figures that are viewed as one collective group. The artists utilized wood, painted layered surfaces, and reflective mirrors as they incorporated themes of the African diaspora. The Carr Center considers Nice Outfit to be its most ambitious installation yet.

"The sculptures form a collective and are dressed for the occasion. We invite visitors to join the park’s festivities and to see themselves as part of an emergent group," says Oliver Ragsdale, Jr., president of the Carr Center.

The project received support from the University of Michigan's Taubman College of Architecture + Urban Planning and a Quicken Loans grant.

Events at the park are free, open to everyone, and include a concert series occurring every Tuesday, Thursday, and Friday at 6 p.m. and a "Dancing Under the Stars" dance party every third Saturday of the month.

Writer: MJ Galbraith

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

Gabriel Hall to bring New Orleans vibe to West Village

A music venue, bar, restaurant, museum, and music education advocacy group are all coming to West Village -- and they'll all be under the same roof. If all goes to plan, Dameon Gabriel and his business partner will have opened Gabriel Hall by the end of the summer of 2016 in an old three-story house with a ground floor storefront located at the intersection of Kercheval and Van Dyke. Like Gabriel himself, Gabriel Hall is a unique blend of New Orleans and Detroit, or, as he puts it, New Orleans blood with a Detroit heart.

Dameon comes from New Orleans and Detroit music royalty. A family that was at the very beginnings of New Orleans jazz, the Gabriels moved to Detroit in the 1940s and have been carrying on that legacy ever since. Today, Dameon leads the Gabriel Brass Band. His business partner, a Louisiana-born chef, is crafting a menu that draws inspiration from both New Orleans and Detroit.

Finalists in last year's Hatch Detroit contest, Gabriel and his team have a big vision for the place, which they purchased at the end of April. The first floor will house the bar, restaurant, and music venue.

"I love to create an experience. If you have a good time with friends, food, and music, you always remember that," says Gabriel. "I always had that growing up where I would be with my uncles and my dad and everything would turn into a concert and everybody's partying and dancing and everybody's playing an instrument in the house."

Upstairs will serve as a museum, chronicling the deep history of the Gabriel family and New Orleans and Detroit jazz. It will also serve as the headquarters of an already-existing nonprofit dedicated to improving music education conditions in city schools. The group was recently involved in donating 21 instruments to Detroit Public Schools students.

It's a change of intended destinations for the Gabriel Hall team, having originally planned on renting a storefront in Woodbridge. And while Gabriel stresses a deep affection for Woodbridge, the opportunity to own a building proved too valuable to pass up. Gabriel says that the West Village neighborhood and association is thrilled to have the business moving in, already offering to organize volunteer clean-up days for the site. It's a building that has been vacant for quite a while and will require significant effort and investment to become white box-ready.

Gabriel and his business partner have hired the Detroit firm Virtuoso Design+Build to come up with Gabriel Hall's look. The firm is responsible for designing UFO Factory in Corktown and a Big Sean-donated recording studio at Cass Tech. He says they're working on something that evokes that vintage New Orleans flair without looking old and stuck in time.

Dameon hopes to open Gabriel Hall by the end of the summer of 2016. It's to be located at 8002 Kercheval Ave.

Source: Dameon Gabriel, founder and CEO of Gabriel Hall
Writer: MJ Galbraith

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

Laika Dog coming to UFO Factory in Corktown

Roughly eight months after the official opening of UFO Factory in Detroit's Corktown neighborhood, the popular bar and music and events venue is now ready to open its kitchen. On July 4th, UFO will celebrate Independence Day by revealing Laika Dog, a 'fancy, fun' take on hot dogs and more. The debut of Laika Dog will signal another change for UFO as the bar expands its hours to open for daily lunch service.

According to its website, Laika Dog hot dogs will be inspired by a long list of other dishes and ingredients, including, "bahn mi, nacho, pbj, kim chi, fried ramen, pickles, build your own, fried egg, grilled cheese, fries, tater tots, simple salads, vegan, grass fed, more..." A mysterious hot dish is also referenced.

Dion Fischer, one of UFO's co-owners, says the group has been running around frantically as they work to ready the kitchen for its July 4th debut. That opening will be celebrated with a party featuring live entertainment from the Mahonies, the Impaler, DJ John Krautner, and more acts to be announced. The party is free to attend.

In keeping with the UFO Factory name, the name Laika is associated with Laika the dog. In 1957, the Soviets launched Laika into space, one of the first animals to reach space and the very first to orbit Earth.

UFO Factory opened in September 2014 in the old Hoot's Robinson's bar on Trumbull Avenue, directly across from the old Tiger Stadium site. Laika Dog operates out of a small but newly-renovated kitchen. There is no table service; rather, customers will order directly from one of the bartenders and the dogs will be delivered "food runner-style."

Source: Dion Fischer, co-owner of UFO Factory and Laika Dog
Writer: MJ Galbraith

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

New hotels, a new downtown park, and more: June development news round-up

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

June started off with Louis Aguilar of the Detroit News wondering if the Illitches can deliver their 'District Detroit', a 45-block mixed use development surrounding the new Red Wings hockey arena, by the time the sports and entertainment venue opens in the summer of 2017--or if they even plan to. An agreement with the city affords Olympia Development a 5-year window to spend $200 million in development money after the arena is complete. Either way, the historic Hotel Park Avenue is definitely coming down.

The folded glass of the recently renovated Crowne Plaza Pontchartrain Detroit could reflect the construction of a second tower for the 367-room hotel, some 50 years after the original hotel first opened. Crain's is reporting that the hotel's owners are considering a second tower, one that would bring the hotel's total room count up to 800 or 850 rooms. The $30 to $35 million investment could help all of downtown's hotels by attracting more conventions to the city. Richard Branson, billionaire founder of Virgin Group, says that a Virgin hotel in Detroit is a real possibility and he had a representative searching for potential sites in the city.

DTE Energy released some attractive renderings of their planned "mini-Campus Martius" in June. The park, currently a gravel lot, should be complete by spring of 2016.

The abandoned, sprawling Herman Kiefer Health Complex could be saved through an enormous redevelopment project by New York-based developer Ron Castellano. The historic complex sits on an 18-acre site just south of the Boston-Edison neighborhood.

John Gallagher of the Detroit Free Press takes readers on a tour of the environmentally-minded rehab of the old El Moore apartment building in Midtown. In addition to the renovations, developers built two 'urban cabins' on the roof, an elevator shaft along the building's exterior, reserved garden space for each resident, and a newly-built and free-standing green house and community meeting space built from recycled materials.

Writer: MJ Galbraith

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

Michigan Good Food Fund launches to promote access to healthy food throughout the state

Last week, dozens gathered at Shed 5 of Detroit's Eastern Market for the official launch of the Michigan Good Food Fund, a new public-private partnership loan and grant fund created to address lack of food access in rural and urban communities by supporting good food entrepreneurs across the state.
 
According to the Michigan Good Food Charter, good food is healthy, green (sustainable), fair (no one was exploiting during its creation), and affordable.
 
The fund meets two distinct needs for urban areas like Detroit: the need for healthy food access and the need to drive economic development within the local food supply chain, from cucumber farmers to jam makers, farm stands to grocery stores, processors to distributors, and any entity in between.
 
The fund is not only available for financing, but will provide technical assistance and counseling for businesses serving disadvantaged communities.
 
Clearly, the time is right for the Michigan Good Food Fund here in the Motor City. Detroit’s food scene has kept pace with the city’s burgeoning farm and garden movement. Detroit Food Lab has 140 members that participate in training and activities to help cultivate their individual food business start-ups. Between the city’s pop-up-shops-turned-restaurants, internationally envied urban gardens, and many small producers making big waves, the momentum is growing.
 
Yet, despite the growth and promise in farming and food production in Detroit, many of these high-quality fresh and processed goods don’t make it into low-income households.
 
What’s happening in Detroit is happening statewide. While Michigan is the second most agriculturally diverse state in the nation with food and agriculture contributing $101.2 billion annually to the state's economy, more than 1.8 million Michigan residents—including 300,000 children—live in lower-income communities with limited healthy food access. Wayne County has the highest food insecurity rate among U.S. counties, at 20.9 percent.
 
The lack of access to affordable and nutritious food has serious implications for the health of our children and families—more than 30 percent of Michiganders are obese, the second highest rate of obesity in the Midwest region. Communities of color are disproportionately impacted.
 
“The Michigan Good Food Fund will be an essential component of our work to provide accessible healthy food to everyone in Michigan, especially vulnerable communities,” said Oran Hesterman, Fair Food Network president and CEO. “The fund will also be an incredible opportunity for food entrepreneurs, harnessing capital, and growing strong, local economies.”
 
Fair Food Network and Michigan State University Center for Regional Food Systems will co-lead business assistance and pipeline development. Other core partners include the W.K. Kellogg Foundation and fund manager Capital Impact Partners.
 
Source: Meredith Freeman, program director at the Fair Food Network
Writer: Melinda Clynes, Michigan Kids project editor
 
This story is part of a series of solutions-focused stories and profiles about the programs and people that are positively impacting the lives of Michigan kids. The series is produced by Michigan Nightlight and is made possible with funding from the W.K. Kellogg Foundation. Read other stories in this series here.

Pop-ups and peplums: Trish's Garage makes its Detroit retail return

Ebony Rutherford's clothing store has popped back up in Detroit. Trish's Garage is celebrating its opening in the Grand River Workplace, a co-working space in Grandmont Rosedale. The clothing and accessory shop first popped up downtown in April and May 2014.

Trish's Garage sells clothing, jewelry, and accessories, much of which is Detroit-themed. Rutherford's specialty are her self-designed and -made peplums, tops with flares at the bottom meant to flatter women of all shapes and sizes.

The Grandmont Rosedale Development Corporation opened Grand River Workplace in Oct. 2014. The co-working space also hosts pop-ups, the first having been Love. Travels. Imports., an artisanal crafts boutique. Trish's Garage will be open until the end of the year.

"Trish’s Garage is exactly the kind of home-grown, locally-owned business we would like to see more of in our community. It embodies the creativity and entrepreneurial spirit that are needed to bring new life to neighborhood business districts like Grand River," Tom Goddeeris, executive director of GRDC, says in a statement.

The store's first run as a pop-up occurred in the spring of 2014, after it was accepted into the D:Hive pop-up program. Rutherford went through that organization's Build Institute--which has since spun off as its own entity--learning business planning, pricing, and money management. She's also a graduate of the TechTown Retail Boot Camp, where she learned to identify customers' needs rather than stocking only what she wanted to sell. Now it's a pop-up in Grandmont Rosedale. She won a contest for the spot, one run by GRDC and REVOLVE Detroit.

Trish's Garage opened Saturday, June 20, and will operate out of the Grandmont Rosedale storefront every Tuesday through Saturday from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m until the end of the year.

The clothing and accessories shop is located at 19120 Grand River Ave.

Writer: MJ Galbraith

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