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Michigan Audio Heritage Society Museum to celebrate grand opening


Record store owners are as much archivists as they are business owners, so it's fitting that one of Detroit's very own, Brad Hales of People's Records, is about to open a museum. The Michigan Audio Heritage Society Museum, or MAHS Museum, will debut this weekend. Located in a formerly unused room of the coffee shop/music venue/art gallery/community space Trinosophes, MAHS occupies its own storefront at 1464 Gratiot Ave.

Hales has been working on collecting material for the museum for the past 11 years. As he accumulated records for his store, Hales began to amass a sizable collection of local music ephemera, like historic posters and promotional materials. With the help of John S. and James L. Knight Foundation's Knight Arts Challenge and Eastern Market Corporation, Hales is ready to open his museum.

Hales hopes MAHS will bring some much deserved attention to Michigan's musical legacy. While plenty of well-known music has come out of Michigan, Hales says that there's still so much that we don't even know about as Michiganders. He often finds himself learning about Michigan music from people who aren't even from here -- sometimes people on the other side of the world.

"There's a great deal of stuff that the rest of the world looks to us for that we might not even appreciate or know about ourselves," says Hales.

Hales is also cultivating a Detroit- and Michigan-centric Internet radio program, available to stream and download. The program will often co-incide with the rotating exhibits at the museum. 

The MAHS museum is free and will be accessible during Trinosophes brunch and performances. A grand opening is being celebrated by weekend performances from legendary Detroit jazz group Vibes From The Tribe, tickets for which are available at Trinosophes. The museum itself will be open 7 p.m. to 11 p.m., Friday, September 26, and Saturday, September 27.
 
Source: Brad Hales, owner of People's Records, Michigan Audio Heritage Society Museum
Writer: MJ Galbraith

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

Oprah presents Detroit Kitchen Connect leader with $25K grant


In the short year since Devita Davison started Detroit Kitchen Connect, she has helped many of Detroit's burgeoning food entrepreneurs expand operations, bringing them out of their homes and into a licensed commercial kitchen. It's an opportunity that, without the help of a group like Detroit Kitchen Connect, not every hopeful business can afford. So it's no surprise that Devita and her group would be given a large grant to help grow.

What was a surprise, certainly to Devita, is the fact that Olympian Amy Purdy and American icon Oprah Winfrey would be the people presenting her that grant. And in front of 10,000 or so people, no less.

But there Devita was, Saturday, September 13, standing onstage on the second night of Oprah's The Life You Want event at the Palace of Auburn Hills. As Oprah leaned into Devita and said that she'd hold her through this, Purdy presented Devita with a $25,000 Toyota Standing O-Vation award for her commitment to supporting local food entrepreneurs.

Oprah's people approached Devita months ago, crafting the story that while they had no plans for the footage, they'd like to come down and create a video piece on the work she and Detroit Kitchen Connect have been doing. Maybe they'd find some use for it somewhere in Oprah's media empire, they said. Months later, they offered Devita tickets to the show at the Palace but, as she tells it, “I found out at 4:59. I got on stage at 5:00.”

The video was played, a check was presented, and the crowd cheered. And while hearing part of your life story narrated by Oprah is no doubt thrilling, Devita is able to keep the focus on the city and the work being done here.

"The story was told in a way that shows Detroit is coming back, but that it's also a city that is doing it from the ground up," says Devita. "It's an initiative accomplished through community capital. It's grassroots."

In that spirit, Detroit Kitchen Connect will be using some of the money to help community partner Saints Peter and Paul Orthodox Cathedral in southwest Detroit. The church is in desparate need of infrastructure repairs after experiencing two to three feet of flooding during one of this summer's heavy rainfalls. They plan on buying a better mixer for their bakers, too, along with a new oven. A local food entrepreneur scholarship program will also receive a boost.



Source: Devita Davison, Community Kitchen Coordinator at Detroit Kitchen Connect
Writer: MJ Galbraith

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

A new artist collective, studio, and printmaking shop for Eastern Market's Service Street area

An artist collective formed by a group of six local artists recently opened in Eastern Market. The artists of the Riopelle Collective, as they're known, represent a wide range of styles and media, including furniture-making, hand lettering, and mixed media. The collective's space is located along a stretch of Gratiot that is commonly referred to as Service Street, the name of the red-bricked alley that runs behind the length of the block.

Jessica Krcmarik is one of the six members of Riopelle. As excited as they are to have opened their own space, Krcmarik stresses that there are already a number of established artists who work, present, perform, and live in the buildings of Service Street. The Riopelle Collective is an addition to an already rich community of artists, residents, and businesses located in the Service Street area.

"There was an arts district before we came here," says Krcmarik. "So we're standing on the shoulders of the other artists."

The Riopelle space will operate as a retail space during market days. The collective also plans to host events like Drink and Draw nights, where people will be invited to bring a sketchpad and drinks and use the Riopelle space to work and socialize. Riopelle is also home to the Prankster Press, a printmaking shop run by Riopelle members Lyz Luidens and James Reich. Dylan Box, Ellen Rutt, and Matthew Jenkins round out the group.

It was Box and Rutt, says Krcmarik, that got everything started. They originally wanted to rent the space as a twosome, but the landlord required more artists before leasing the space.

Thus the Riopelle Collective was born.

Riopelle is located at 1492 Gratiot Ave.

Source: Jessica Krcmarik, member of the Riopelle Collective
Writer: MJ Galbraith

Got a development news story to share? Email MJ Galbraith here.

Eastern Market lofts get the condo treatment

The FD Lofts at Eastern Market have begun the transition from rental units to condominiums. Both one and two bedroom units are available in the 30-unit building.

Brian Giles is handling sales and marketing for the building. He believes that the timing is perfect for the transition and that Detroit is ready for more condos on the market.

"It's well-documented that people want to live and rent in Detroit," says Giles. "What has not been discussed is the for sale market. There's a lot of people who want to pay for cool space. This is one more development that builds upon the momentum of investing in Detroit."

Current residents are being given the opportunity to buy their units. If they decline, new buyers will be able to move into their units as early as this fall. The FD Lofts have been been at 100 percent occupancy for the past eight years, according to Giles.

There are nine different floor plans available with units ranging from 523 to 1,954 square feet. Prices start at $124,800 and go as high as $329,800. Unit 405, a 1,444 square foot one bedroom condo listed at $249,800, comes with its own private outdoor terrace, the only unit advertised as such. The condos are being outfitted with new sinks and quartz counters.

Open House hours for the FD Lofts are every Saturday from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m., every Sunday from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m., and every Tuesday from 1 p.m. to 6 p.m. Tours are available by appointment as well.

The FD Lofts building was built in 1917 by the Detroit Fire Department. It was restored and first opened to renters in 2007.

The FD Lofts are located at 3434 Russell Street.

Source: Brian Giles, sales and marketing for FD Lofts
Writer: MJ Galbraith

Got a development news story to share? Email MJ Galbraith here.

I-375 Alternatives Study hosts first public meeting

Business owners, residents, and commuters affected by a potential transformation of I-375 were joined by the otherwise curious Thursday evening, Feb. 13, as the Downtown Development Authority hosted the first of three public meetings. A crowd gathered at Stroh River Place in an open house setting as the DDA and their partners in the study, the Michigan Department of Transportation and the Detroit Riverfront Conservancy, guided visitors through a series of informative stations.

Each station provided data regarding project study areas, ranging from cost estimations to current vehicular usage. One station had a map of the area and visitors were asked to place stickers at the points where they felt unsafe as pedestrians. Another map asked visitors to place stickers at places they thought to be aesthetically unpleasing. Visitors were asked, too, of their overall opinion of I-375 and whether think it should remain an expressway or be transformed for a different use.

The I-375 Alternatives Study is a result of the impending reconstruction of I-375. Current estimates place reconstruction costs at $80 million. MDOT has enlisted the help of area stakeholders to determine whether the land in question could be utilized in a more effective way, such as demolishing the below-grade expressway and transforming it into a street-level boulevard.

Taking into account the information gathered from Thursday's public forum, the group behind the study will craft a number of alternative developments for the project areas. Five alternatives will be crafted for the primary study area, the nearly one-mile stretch of I-375. Two alternatives will be crafted for each of the secondary study areas, the I-75/I-375/Gratiot interchange and the I-375/Jefferson interchange. These alternatives will be presented to the public at a later date this spring.

I-375 was built in 1964.

Source: I-375 Alternatives Study public meeting, Feb. 13, 2014
Writer: MJ Galbraith

Got a development news story to share? Email MJ Galbraith here.

Restaurant round-up: what just opened and what's coming next

We love to write about food, and you love to read about it. So, since 2013 is closing with a flurry of food-related activity, more than we've even had the chance to cover, here's a quick look at places that have recently opened and places that are coming up next.

The Grille Midtown at 3919 Woodward is now open for lunch and dinner, part of the Woodward Garden Block development project that has been completed in phases over the last decade. The menu is solidly "new American," with red meat and seafood getting prime billing. 

Thomas Magee's Sporting House Whiskey Bar is now open in the Eastern Market district and the locals already love it. Michigan craft beer and artisan spirits elevate this above just another sports bar, and the cozy wood-paneled interior helps. Feel free to give this place a short nickname, though. Tommy Magee's, perhaps? That's got a nice ring.

Delite Cafe is now open in Hamtramck, serving coffee from Great Lakes Coffee Roasting Company and deli sandwiches made with Boar's Head meats in a handsome space with limited but comfortable dine-in seating. They also serve soups, salads, smoothies, ice cream, a full menu of espresso beverages, and halal meats for the area's significant Muslim population. 

Alley Taco will open inside the extensively renovated Marcus Market in Midtown late January. Until them, you can catch them Tuesdays at Great Lakes Coffee Midtown. 

Frontera in Eastern Market is soooooooooo close. Maybe spring 2014? They're hosting pop-up dinners in the meantime, giving eager diners a chance to see inside the space that some are already hailing as the best-looking restaurant in Detroit. 

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


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.

Events

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.

Pop-ups

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. 

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.

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

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

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.

Link Detroit celebrates groundbreaking of five-phase cycling and greenway infrastructure project

The Community Foundation for Southeast Michigan, in partnership with the US Department of Transportation, State of Michigan, City of Detroit Department of Public Works, DEGC, Eastern Market Corporation, Midtown, Inc., and the Detroit Riverfront Conservancy, will celebrate the groundbreaking of the five-phase Link Detroit greenway infrastructure project next Tuesday, Sept. 24 at 6 p.m. in Eastern Market's Lot 1 (adjacent to Shed 2).
 
"This goes back a few years," says Tom Woiwode, director of the Community Foundation for Southeast Michigan's GreenWays Initiative. He says that when the Dequindre Cut opened in 2009, it was always intended to run further north than where it currently ends at Gratiot. When the first portion of the Midtown Loop opened in 2010, it was intended to go further south and connect to Eastern Market. Link Detroit is the fulfillment of those intentions.
 
The full $25 million scope of this project is fully-funded, thanks in large part to a $10 million TIGER (Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery) grant in addition to support from the Community Foundation and other partners (see above).
 
There are five phases to this project, and most are able to operate on independent construction schedules simultaneously. Though the "ground-breaking" celebration is next Tuesday, the event is mostly ceremonial. Woiwode says they hope to already have bulldozers at work by then.
 
The five phases include extending the Dequindre Cut north from Gratiot to Mack, rebuilding five bridges over the Dequindre Cut's extension (with funding from the Critical Bridge Fund), extending the trail system and providing some infrastructure improvements and amenities in Eastern Market along Wilkins and Russell St., connecting Wilkins to the Midtown Loop which will be extended south along John R, and the construction of bike lanes and greenways along Dequindre Rd. north of Mack connecting the Dequindre Cut to Hamtramck. Ultimately Link Detroit will connect Midtown and Wayne State to Eastern Market to the Dequindre Cut to both Hamtramck and the Detroit River.
 
They hope to have construction of all five phases completed by this time next year.
 
Source: Tom Woiwode, director of the Community Foundation for Southeast Michigan's GreenWays Initiative
Writer: Nicole Rupersburg

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

Ford Field to get two more Slows stands, also adding Russell Street Deli and Corridor Sausage

Detroit Lions fans are in for a real treat this fall at Ford Field; the stadium will be increasing its partnership with local food businesses to include two more Slows' outposts, a Corridor Sausage cart, and a satellite location of Russell Street Deli.
 
"We want to provide a better local experience for our fans," says Joe Nader, Executive Chef of Ford Field. "There are a lot of places around downtown that people go to before and after games. I could do a barbecue stand inside the stadium but I could never replicate Slows or their branding and wouldn't try to."
 
Ford Field's partnership with Slows Bar BQ – arguably Detroit's most famous restaurant – started last year. "It made sense that we started there with the most iconic of the new Detroit brands," Nader says. Fans were happy because they could have that Slows experience right there in the stadium. But Slows was only available on the Club level (accessible only to Club level ticketholders), which made for some disgruntled fans.
 
But, as Nader explains, all good things in good time. Slows is responsible for running its stand in addition to two permanent locations (the Corktown institution and Slows To Go in Midtown). With 65,000 people in the stadium for every game, both Slows management and Levy Restaurants, which handles the food and beverage operations for Ford Field, had to make sure they could handle the crushing volume.
 
This year Slows will be available to everyone with outposts on the Club level, the North Club level, and in general concessions in Section 133. Joining them in the Club level is Russell Street Deli, and in North Club level is Corridor Sausage.
 
Nader has always made it a point to use products from local purveyors in Ford Field, including Better Made potato chips and Germack brand nuts. Nader has used Corridor Sausage products at special events, but now it will have its own cart and will also be available on the suite menu.
 
As far as Nader is concerned, this is a natural progression for Ford Field and a reflection of Detroit's fast-growing food scene. "My biggest thing is creating a Detroit experience," he says. "We get a lot of fans from out of town, and they might have heard about Slows or any of these places but they can't always have that experience while they're here. Now they can get it all inside the stadium."
 
Nader is also the co-founder of The Detroit Three, a new chef's collaborative that hosts culinary events with a charity component. 

Source: Joe Nader, Executive Chef of Ford Field
Writer: Nicole Rupersburg

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

New murals in Eastern Market celebrate changemaking and all things Weird

Eastern Market has a new welcome mat: behold one of the new murals on Gratiot entering the market, courtesy of German and Austrian artist collective "The Weird," recently in town for their group exhibition at Inner State Gallery. After spending some time absorbing the history and the "characters" of the Market, the Weird created this mural, which offers their interpretation of the people and places they saw. (And, yes, it's kind of weird.) 
 
The Weird's murals (they did a few) are the latest in an ongoing public art effort spearheaded by the guys behind Inner State (formerly 323 East in Royal Oak) and 1xRUN. "We've been engaged in public arts projects for many years," says Jesse Cory, who founded 323 and 1xRUN along with partners Dan Armand and Ryan Brogan. "It has always been in our blood and something we thought was important."
 
It started with the mural on their 323 building. They then moved on to Woodward Windows, a public art project that took over vacant storefronts along Woodward Avenue and included works from local artists like Malt, Sintex, Hygienic Dress League, and the Detroit Fashion Collective. Then, last summer, 1xRUN produced the Detroit Beautification Project in collaboration with Matt Eaton. This project yielded dozens of murals throughout Hamtramck and garnered national coverage (and controversy). It was during this project that Cory and his team were approached by Plymouth Educational Center instructor Allie Gross to collaborate with her 5th grade ChangeMakers class.
 
The ChangeMakers are a civically-minded group of students that had already put together a winning proposal at Detroit Soup. A crowd-funding campaign was launched to cover the cost of supplies, and 1xRUN brought San Diego-based artist Persue in to work with the students on creating a mural using his signature Bunny Kitty character. Persue worked with the kids for three days last month to create the mural on Russell between Mack and Warren in Eastern Market on the side of an abandoned juvenile detention center.
 
1xRUN's/Inner State's focus this year is all on Eastern Market, their new home since May. They have produced nine murals in the market so far this year. The murals serve several purposes: first, they are public works of art for all people to enjoy, taken outside of the confines of a traditional gallery and put out in front of the public. Second, the murals are from internationally-renowned street artists; petty taggers are deterred from destroying them (there is a strict street art code at play) so walls previously full of junky tags are remade into actual works of art. Third, since 1xRUN/Inner State self-funds all of these projects (with occasional help from sponsors like Montana Cans) and works with artists they're already collaborating with on limited edition print runs or an exhibition, the murals give them a chance to further showcase their artists and their brand. Cory says, "It gives traveling artists the same opportunity to leave behind something better."
 
Source: Jesse Cory, co-founder of 1xRUN and Inner State Gallery
Writer: Nicole Rupersburg

Photo credit: Sal Rodriguez

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The Detroit Wood Type Co. set up shop inside Signal-Return

Signal-Return is a letterpress workshop, retail space, and…business incubator? In a manner of speaking, yes. The old-fashioned (and nouveau trendy) letterpress studio in Eastern Market is also home to Detroit Wood Type Co., producers of historic wood types and letterpress goods.
 
Detroit Wood Type Co. formed about eight months ago after partners Don Kilpatrick, Joe Benghauser, and Christian Mulligan had been collaborating on other types projects. Kilpatrick is the illustrator, Benghauser is the type designer, and Mulligan is the project manager.
 
"It's really just us doing this," says Kilpatrick. "We're bringing back historic typefaces that were designed over 100 years ago and creating them in wood." They also design new typefaces inspired by historic type. "The primary focus is making unique typefaces that are affordable."
 
Unique letterpress typefaces are typically very expensive, so if a person who is professionally and financially established can't afford them, it's highly unlikely a recent graduate or young person with an eye for design can. So Kilpatrick and Benghauser got all the equipment, restored it, learned how to print on it, and found processes to make it more affordable. The standard pricepoint is $299 for both historic and original designs, and they can also do custom designs.
 
"If you want to explore the (letterpress) medium and push yourself as a designer, it's great to buy wood type because it gives you all sorts of possibilities," says Kilpatrick. "Letterpress printing is one of those things that allows you to slow down and think, to take the time to learn the history of your craft as a designer. Wood type is part of that."
 
Right now Signal-Return is their studio, retailer, and distributor. All their types and letterpress goods are available there. Their long-term goal is to have their own studio and storefront, and they are also eager to collaborate with other artists.
 
Source: Don Kilpatrick, Co-Founder of Detroit Wood Type Co.
Writer: Nicole Rupersburg

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Downtown Detroit Bike Shop now open in Eastern Market

Detroit has a new bike shop! Sort of.
 
The Downtown Detroit Bike Shop is open now through September at 1420 Fisher Freeway in Eastern Market. It is a pop-up concept that has the potential to become permanent if business is good over the next few months.
 
Owner Jon Hughes also owns the Downtown Ferndale Bike Shop, now in its fourth year, and was busy earlier this year trying to coordinate the first-ever Gran Fondo mass cycling event down the Woodward Corridor. While the ride was ultimately not approved by all of the Corridor communities, Hughes is still organizing an informal ride for Sunday, June 30 at 8 a.m. starting at Rivard Plaza and going up Woodward to the Pontiac Loop and back again.
 
"I figured I haven't been stretched out enough, so why not open a shop in Eastern Market?" Hughes says. He has wanted to open a store in Detroit ever since he first opened his store in Ferndale.
 
When a friend looking to open a restaurant found this space in Eastern Market, the cost of a restaurant build-out would have been too expensive … but it was perfect for what Hughes needed. "For him it wasn't going to work, but I just have to put hooks on the wall." The space was previously an art gallery but had been empty for four years. Though Hughes was planning on opening a Detroit location full-time next year, when this space fell into his lap he decided to test it out. He signed the lease two weeks ago and started moving in inventory.
 
Downtown Detroit Bike Shop has about 200 bikes in stock along with tons of accessories. It is an extension of the Ferndale store, selling both new and used bikes and offering full repair services. At about 2,800 square feet, the Detroit store is nearly three times as large as the Ferndale store. Hughes will have limited hours on Tuesday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday to start, in the hopes that business will grow and he can hire employees to be there seven days a week. He also wants to organize some rides through the store, which is conveniently located right near the Dequindre Cut Greenway north entrance.
 
A previous pop-up last year inside Compuware was unsuccessful due to lack of visibility, but Hughes hopes for a better response this time – ideally, he'd like to keep the space when September rolls around.
 
Source: Jon Hughes, owner of Downtown Detroit Bike Shop
Writer: Nicole Rupersburg

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Detroit Collision Works to debut First Container this weekend at Flower Day

Progress is well underway for Detroit Collision Works, the proposed 36-room boutique hotel made out of shipping crates located on the Dequindre Cut near Eastern Market.
 
After running a crowd-funding campaign in April and raising over $40,000 (surpassing their goal of $37,000), Detroit Collision Works has been able to purchase and renovate the "First Container," which will serve as the hotel lobby, office space for the Collision Works team, and a community space. In one week's time they will have added walls, windows, air conditioning, and electricity.
 
First Container was just delivered last Thursday and is currently transforming into the model display, which will open just in time for Eastern Market's annual Flower Day this Sunday, May 19. It will be located at 2934 Russell, next to the Eastern Market Corporation's office (and just south of the gazebo).
 
First Container will serve as a model lobby as well as a marketing vehicle. Kimen plans to be open for guests to visit every Thursday through Saturday during the day and Tuesdays when the market is open. The model will be on location for the next six months.
 
The model – which she describes as a mini hotel lobby – will have lobby seating, free WiFi, and a recording booth for people to share their stories on various topics (Kimen plans on partnering with other local events, like Movement later this month, to encourage this kind of community engagement).  
 
Progress is also moving forward with the proposed construction site: the phase 1 environmental assessment came back clean, meaning the site is safe to build on. Their next step is a special land use hearing, but, Kimen says, "We're getting very close to actually being able to buy and develop that land."
 
The land is already vacant, located on the Cut between two major east-west greenway connectors that will eventually go north and west to Midtown and southeast to Grosse Pointe Park, allowing future guests easy access to the city's greenways and major attractions by bike. "It's a huge opportunity to be in that location."
 
Kimen also hopes that, with a physical model to show, it will help her as she continues to seek out financial backers for the development.
 
Source: Shel Kimen, Founder and CEO of Detroit Collision Works
Writer: Nicole Rupersburg

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Inner State, formerly 323 East, opening May 17

You already know that the popular Royal Oak art gallery 323 East, which is behind the game-changing 1xRUN limited edition time-released online art "store" with an international audience, is moving to Detroit in a space adjacent to Eastern Market at 1410 Gratiot. What you might not know yet is that with the new space comes a new name.
 
"We're in a new space and have a new identity," says Jesse Cory, founder of 323 East. "We needed a fresh new approach to it."
 
That new approach is called Inner State, a name which can be seen as both a semantic play on the extensive interstate systems that criss-cross the Motor City as well as an acknowledgement of the work of the exhibiting artists reflecting their "inner states."
 
After outgrowing their small space in Royal Oak, the 323 team began looking for spaces in the city. "The art world in Detroit is exploding right now," Cory says. "There's a consolidation (that's happening)," mentioning the Butcher's Daughter in Midtown and the Red Bull House of Art, Inner State's new neighbors located in the market district.
 
The three-story, 10,000-square-foot space has a more refined look designed by architect Tadd Heidgerken for et al. Collaborative, who also designed Astro Coffee and the House of Art. "(We knew he) designs spaces that are very comfortable and dynamic. I don’t know where else in town you'd look to get someone with that kind of aesthetic." Cory describes it as being less of a boutique and more of a traditional gallery – cleaner, much larger, and a fitting utilization of the building without "going overboard."
 
Inner State will be open Thursdays through Saturdays and will be more exhibit-oriented with private receptions as well as the grand opening fetes for each new exhibit that they became known for at 323.

"We definitely want to celebrate the efforts people put into these works and have a party," he says. "It's really a coming-of-age of the art world in Detroit. The stigma of galleries in the past has been removed. (Places like) 323 and the House of Art have really made the experience inclusive."
 
The new gallery opens May 17.
 
Source: Jesse Cory, founder of 323 East/Inner State
Writer: Nicole Rupersburg

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Mosaic Youth Theatre to move into old Miller High School, launching partnership with charter school

In 2001, Mosaic Youth Theatre of Detroit was commissioned to write a play on Detroit history as part of the Detroit 300 celebration. The result was Hastings Street, a play about teenagers at Miller High School in the 1940s, which they identified as one of the most exciting times and places to be a teenager in the city's history. Two years ago Mosaic decided to produce this play during their 2012/2013 performance season. What they didn't know at the time was that they would also be moving into the old Miller High School in the fall of 2013.
 
Mosaic will relocate its offices to 2251 Antietam, formerly Miller High, while joining a new charter public K-5 elementary school called the University Prep Science & Math Elementary School: Sidney D. Miller Campus (UPSM). This will be a "STEAM" school – science, technology, engineering, and math ("STEM") plus arts. This new charter school purchased the building and is providing Mosaic with 12,600 square feet of dedicated space as well as an additional 31,000 square feet of shared space in the school. In turn, Mosaic is providing their students with arts instruction in a unique in-kind partnership that expands the reach and resources of both entities. Mosaic will pay $1/year for rent plus utilities, though they do have to raise over $1 million in funding for their portion of the construction costs.
 
"It's really better for an arts organization of our size to be part of this larger entity rather than owning our own building," says Mosaic Founder & CEO Rick Sperling. Small and medium-sized arts organizations face a real challenge when they own their own buildings, which inevitably takes the focus away from the organization itself.
 
This partnership between Mosaic and UPSM is also aligned with the Detroit Future City framework. Considered part of the Eastern Market area of the plan, this partnership addresses two of the strategic focuses: both finding a use for obsolete historic buildings (the school is national historic landmark that has sat empty since 2007) and also to promote the arts in residential and industrial areas. While Mosaic's main performances will still be at the DIA, they will hold training and smaller performances in their new home. Between the school and Mosaic, Sperling says there will be traffic at this site seven days a week from 8 a.m. to 9 p.m.
 
Most of Mosaic's artistic staff works with young people from all over the city and suburbs on nights and weekends, so the added arts support to the elementary school will not disrupt other programs.
 
The old Channel 56 Building, Mosaic's current home, will be put up for sale and will continue to be used as Mosaic's tech shop and storage facility in the meantime so the building remains occupied. Hastings Street opens on May 10 at the DIA.
 
Source: Rick Sperling, Founder & CEO of Mosaic Youth Theatre of Detroit
Writer: Nicole Rupersburg

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Trinosophes cafe, gallery and performing arts space celebrates grand opening this Saturday

Trinosophes, a new art gallery and performance space in Eastern Market, has been hosting monthly events for the past few months, but they are now ready for their full-time debut with a grand opening set for this Saturday, March 9.
 
Musician and event producer Joel Peterson and MOCAD Deputy Director Rebecca Mazzei have partnered on this project, which includes an integrated café, gallery and performance space. Peterson had previously been booking shows through the Bohemian National Home, and it had been his intent to find a new space since 2008.
 
"It has been a really long process for us," he says. "We put in the purchase agreement two years ago. We’ve been in there just about a year now getting it all together." The space did not require a full gut and the utilities were all solid, but it was basically an empty warehouse. They’ve spent this past year working on its aesthetic transformation.
 
The 8,500-square-foot space at 1464 Gratiot near Eastern Market was an old spice processing facility before it was the Butcher and Packer Supply Co. It has three storefronts; two will serve as the café and gallery exhibition/performance space, and the third will soon be a second location for Midtown's Peoples Records.
 
The café portion will be completed this spring and will offer free WiFI. Peterson says this will be encouraged as a "hangout space" for people to linger. 
 
There are no immediate plans to apply for a liquor license. "We’re looking forward to being the space that isn’t a bar where exciting stuff happens."
 
Peterson will continue to book the kind of high caliber talent he was known for bringing to the Bohemian National Home, and the gallery will host specific exhibits built around particular artists. It is also accruing a semi-permanent collection as part of the environment, some of which will be for sale "until someone builds enough of a relationship with it to take it home."
 
The first exhibit opens in conjunction with their grand opening this Saturday.
 
Source: Joel Peterson, co-owner of Trinosophes
Writer: Nicole Rupersburg

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Collision Works aims to create shipping container hotel

More construction development for Eastern Market is on the drawing boards now that the Collision Works is moving forward.

Collission Works aims to build a boutique hotel made of used shipping containers on the east side of the Dequindre Cut near Division Street. The 16,000-square-foot structure will include 36 hotels rooms, 3,000 square feet of event space and a large outdoor courtyard.

"It's a boutique hotel and community work space built around storytelling," says Shel Kimen, founder & CEO of Collision Works. "It's a place to let people tell their stories and to give these stories a home. The idea is when people of different perspectives and backgrounds come together interesting things happen."

One of the main places where these sorts of conversations and connections will be happening is in the hotel's co-working space. The communal office space will be big enough to accommodate between 15-20 people.

Kimen worked in digital design and strategy for an advertising agency before taking on this project. She has a degree in architecture and design from Michigan State University and sees Collision Works as a great opportunity to put those skills to use while enhancing the community. She is currently working with the city to acquire the land and alternative lenders to secure financing for the project, which she hopes will break ground midway through next year and be done by spring of 2014.

"We're making headway with the seed funding," Kimen says.

Source: Shel Kimen, founder & CEO of Collision Works
Writer: Jon Zemke

Read more about Metro Detroit's growing entrepreneurial ecosystem at SEMichiganStartup.com.

Hatch Detroit's four finalists to be determined Wednesday

The final four of this year's Hatch Detroit competition are set to be named on Wednesday.

Voting to determine the four finalists for the second-annual competition finished yesterday. The contestants are competing for $50,000 in seed capital to open a retail location for their business in Detroit. This year's semi-finalists include some familiar names that have been growing their businesses from their homes and hope to leverage the Hatch cash to build a home for their budding businesses.

"There is a lot more experience in this group than what we had last year," says Ted Balowski, co-founder of Hatch Detroit. "A lot of them have worked through Eastern Market or the Rust Belt Market (in downtown Ferndale). They have worked very hard to build up their following."

Balowski and Nick Gorga launched Hatch Detroit last year as a vehicle to champion, support and grow locally owned retail businesses. The nonprofit accomplishes this through funding its $50,000 contest, education, exposure, and mentoring. The bottom line is providing a stimulus that helps revitalize the Motor City and inspires others in the community to create change.

This year's winner will be revealed on Sept. 27. Last year's winner, Joe Posch of HUGH, is close to opening his contemporary mens fashions store in Midtown. "He is going into the Auburn building, which still being built," Balowski says.

Source: Ted Balowski, co-founder of Hatch Detroit
Writer: Jon Zemke

Read more about Metro Detroit's growing entrepreneurial ecosystem at SEMichiganStartup.com.

DeVries & Co. 1887 prepares for Eastern Market Tuesdays

The hustle and bustle of Eastern Market is always apparent on Saturdays. Today though, marks the opening of Eastern Market Tuesdays which will run through Oct. 30. 
 
Visitors to the market will have an opportunity to re-discover the local market and stores in the area, participate in educational activities, culinary demonstrations, and community outreach opportunities. 
 
DeVries & Co. 1887 (formerly R. Hirt) is one store taking advantage of Eastern Market Tuesdays by opening its doors from 10 a.m.- 6 p.m. and offering free food samples.
 
"Eastern Market is a great location, has done good things, and it’s one of the places people like to come," said David DeVries.
 
DeVries & Co. recently invested about six figures worth to do renovations to the beloved store that’s 125 years old.
 
"We worked hard at not destroying the spirit," DeVries said.
 
Instead, they did wall washing, a little painting and put up new lights.
 
"People didn’t want us to modernize it…one day we were about to paint the posts and someone said 'don’t paint the posts because the posts have wear marks on them, they show oldness and use,'" he said.

The well-known cheese shop is looking forward to continuing its tradition of bringing in loyal customers, some going back three and four generations.
 
"It’s a fun store and we are interested in quality and good value," DeVries said.

Click here to view a full list of all shops at Eastern Market. 

Source: David DeVries 
Writer: Leah Johnson 

Link Detroit project receives $10 million grant for non-motorized transit

The U.S. Department of Transportation announced that it will provide Link Detroit with $10 million to improve bike and pedestrian connections between the Eastern Market, the Dequindre Cut, Midtown Loop and Hamtramck greenways.

The funds are coming from the TIGER Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery program.

(Editor's note: check out some photos and renderings in this week's Buzz item
 
Senator Carl Levin made a statement regarding the grant saying "It will help generate construction jobs immediately, and more jobs in the future as it spurs development in and around Detroit."
 
Speaking of Eastern Market, Senator Debbie Stabenow says she is excited for the added improvements, especially since "Eastern Market is already a hub for economic activity."
 
For Eastern Market, planned improvements include streetscape enhancements, improved bicycle and transit facilities, landscaping and pedestrian lights. It’s also the city’s goal is to replace the Adelaide and Division Street bridges just east of the market. 
 
Source: Jonathan Oosting
Writer: Leah Johnson 

Eastern Market begins work on Shed 5 renovation

Eastern Market has begun renovating Shed 5 with an eye for not only improving customer experience but also creating a dynamic space for culinary entrepreneurs.

"It's a pivotal project for us because because it allows us to improve three critical areas of the market," says Dan Carmody, president of Eastern Market Corp, which manages Eastern Market.

Shed 5, the northernmost enclosed shed in the market, will undergo a complete renovation from its concrete floors to its roof. The new shed will have radiant heat in the floors, energy efficient windows and doors, new bathrooms and a new roof. The core systems of the building (electric, plumbing, etc) will also be replaced.

Eastern Market will also create a plaza in the area between Russell Street and Shed 5 and a community kitchen inside the shed. The shared-use Community Kitchen will expand the market’s role in providing food and nutrition information, and encourage greater use of the market as a place for civic and community events. It will also serve as an incubator for specialty food businesses. Today Eastern Market provides space for about 50 niche food businesses, which is up from none a few years ago.

Eastern Market has been extensively renovating its infrastructure over the last few years. It recently spent $9.3 million renovating Shed 2 (the open air shed on the southern end of the market) in 2008 and Shed 3 (the enclosed shed between Sheds 2 and 5) in 2010. Carmody says Eastern Market Corp will next look to renovate other sections of the market away from the main sheds when the Shed 5 project is complete.

"We have a couple of different ways we could go," Carmody says. "The next step is to strengthen the Gratiot end of the market."

Source: Dan Carmody, president of Eastern Market Corp
Writer: Jon Zemke

Read more about Metro Detroit's growing entrepreneurial ecosystem at SEMichiganStartup.com.

Eastern Market building set to become creative, mixed-use space

A new redevelopment project in Eastern Market plans to bring a variety of uses together, including restaurant/retail, office space and fish farm.

Urban Life Development, the Eastern Market-based development firm behind the FD Lofts at Eastern Market, plans to transform the vacant Detroit Waterboard Building into a mixed-use development features space for a restaurant/retail businesses, creative office space and a fish farm focused on raising tilapia.

"Eastern Market is a food district," says Robert Heide, president of Urban Life Development. "This just seems like an interesting mix of uses to bring under one roof. We will continue to be a leader in showing how old buildings can be reused so they are an assett to the neighborhood."

The 104,000-square-foot building at 1565 Erksine is "very unoccupied" in Heide's words. His firm hopes to spend about $7 million to completely renovate the structure. The first order of business will focus on bringing 45,000 square feet of commercial space online for the fish farm, which will feature a closed-loop water system so the tilapia can be raised in a controlled environment.

Heide also plans to turn 30,000 square feet of the building into a creative office space that stresses loft-like features and flexibility. Another 20,000 square feet will be focused on space for restaurant and retail businesses. Heide also hopes to make the structure as green as possible.

"We hope to incorporate some renewable energy aspects, like wind turbines," Heide says.

Construction is set to begin in the second quarter of this year.  It will take 12-24 months to complete the project.

Source: Robert Heide, president of Urban Life Development
Writer: Jon Zemke

Read more about Metro Detroit's growing entrepreneurial ecosystem at SEMichiganStartup.com.

Designer Fotoula Lambros delivers couture to Eastern Market's Candy Lofts

For a born-and-bred Ferndale girl like Fotoula Lambros, moving to Detroit is all excitement. And finding out that her Hatch Detroit  venture, The Workroom, is a finalist in the competition for $50,000 didn't hurt. Suffice to say, it's been a busy month for Lambros, who made waves as co-founder of Femilia Couture before launching her own label, Fotoula Lambros Design, this year. And a new line needs new digs, which inspired Lambros to move her home and design studio to Eastern Market's Sugar Lofts.

"This is my first time living in the city, even though I've been around here forever," Lambros says. Though she knew she'd eventually relocate her studio space to Detroit, she says, "I didn't want to make any quick changes while I started my new line." The label celebrates, as Lambros says, ecologically-conscious and multi-functional ready-to-wear that's all Michigan-made.

The 1,500 sq. ft. two-bedroom loft is mostly dedicated to Lambros' emerging business, which will be available to purchase online at fotoulalambrosdesign.com by the 2011 holidays. "I live and work amongst everything," she says of the arrangement. Her long-term goal? Opening a designated studio/office space for FLD in Capitol Park.

"I don't know why I'm so drawn to that area," Lambros says. "That's definitely somewhere where I want to lay my foundation."

Source: Fotoula Lambros, owner, Fotoula Lambros Design
Writer: Ashley C. Woods

Detroit Bike Project seeks to link Detroit's greater downtown

Bike-sharing companies, which offer 24-hour access to bicycles for short trips around cities, have popped up in Europe, and along the East Coast; DC, Boston and New York City. If three CCS grads have their way, Detroit will be the next city to offer visitors and residents a network of two-wheeled transportation stations throughout the greater downtown district.

The Detroit Bike Project is the brainchild of Victor Quattrin, Stephanie Lucido and Jenna Przybycien. The three college friends have spent the past year working on the first phase of their plan, which they will submit to Hatch Detroit by the Sept. 1 contest deadline. No matter what happens with Hatch, the three say they're committed to launching the company within the next year.

Their plan involves building park-and-ride bike stations in the Renaissance Center, Wayne State's campus, the Detroit Institute of Arts, Woodbridge, New Center, Grand Circus Park, Corktown and Eastern Market, as a public transportation alternative "Sometimes, there's a little distance between the main veins of Detroit," says Quattrin. "Nothing is really that walkable," says Przybycien, comparing Detroit's layout to that of more densely-populated cities like New York. "If someone parks downtown and wants to head up to Wayne State, it takes a lot of time to get there. Bike sharing allows you to see a lot more of the city, and to get places quicker, because it's so spread out."

With a swipe of a credit card, customers will be able to rent a bike from any station and take a spin through the city -- then drop it off at the closest bike rental facility upon completion.

The Detroit Bike Project will operate as a nonprofit, and they hope the promise of increased mobility from residents and visitors throughout the greater downtown will inspire local companies to lend their support, through advertising or sponsoring a bike station on their properties. They're also committed to purchasing bikes made from recycled materials. The team estimates they'll need $137,000 in investment dollars to launch the first phase of the program.

Lucido says the team is encouraged by the immediate feedback, all of it positive, from the first 48 hours of their viral campaign, which launched last week. "In the first 48 hours, we had 500 page views on our website and 150 likes on Facebook," she says. "We know this can work."

"Our goal is to not let them down, and make things happen," Przybycien says.

Become a fan of the Detroit Bike Project on Facebook, and read more about the team's proposal here.

Sources: Jenna Przybycien, Victor Quattrin and Stephanie Lucido, co-founders, Detroit Bike Project
Writer: Ashley C. Woods

Signal-Return letterprint shop to open in Eastern Market

A new venture from Team Detroit creative director and Detroit champion Toby Barlow will bring the fine art of letterpress printing to a storefront in Eastern Market.

Signal-Return will operate as a nonprofit studio dedicated to advancing the art of letterpress printing, invented by Johannes Gutenberg in the 15th century. Though widespread use of the printing method for book-making died out in the 1950's, letterpress books and posters have since become hot commodities, both in the art world and with students.

Team Detroit Project Manager Ryan Schirmang has spent much of the last year helping bring Signal-Return to life -- ever since Barlow returned from a trip to Nashville awed by a letterpress shop he had found in the city. The operation will be housed in a 2500 sq. ft. space next to Division Street Boutique in Eastern Market. Helming the shop is Megan O'Connell, an expert on the craft of book-making and classic printing.

Schirmang says they are waiting on the city to formally approve plans, and they expect to begin building out the space within weeks.

"On the right side, it will be the storefront with a counter and posters lining the walls, and then the left side will be the studio with all the presses and areas for assembling type and composing and laying out," he says, "It'll be a place where you can go in and see the production of it."

In addition to custom-printing posters, invitations and other printed materials, Signal-Return will host several workshops for beginners interested in learning the craft and customs of letterpress printing.

Schirmang says the store will open its doors this fall.

Signal-Return is located at 1345 Division Street. Click here to become a fan on Facebook.

Source: Ryan Schirmang, project manager, Team Detroit
Writer: Ashley C. Woods

Art Effect gallery opens in Eastern Market

Built in the 1920's, the former home of the Germack Pistachio Co. in Eastern Market sat empty for over a decade after the Germack family moved their headquarters down the road. At 20,000 square feet, the four-story building at 1401 Fisher was difficult to rent out, co-owner Elyse Germack says. "Over the years, we had been investing in the building. It was a two-to-three year process" to renovate the building, she says. "We finally decided that we were going to do it ourselves."

Out of Germack's can-do attitude came the Art Effect gallery, devoted to up-and-coming and local artists. The gallery occupies 3,000 square feet of space on the first floor. There's an adjoining bar, which adds an additional 1,500 square feet of space. Germack, who owns a law firm in Birmingham, says they've already utilized the space for special events and fundraisers.

Germack said the idea for Art Effect came to her after meeting many young CCS grads. She said she wanted to showcase the artistic skills of Detroit's lesser-known creatives. "I thought maybe there's an opportunity to help support these new graduates -- and the community benefits, too" she says.

Her long term goal involves building out the rest of the old Germack Pistachio Co. building into a fully functioning art incubator. "We have a business plan that includes using the lofts as studio space for artists," Germack says. "We're hoping we can create a kind of artist colony where artists can create and then show their work in the same space. It makes for a sustainable businesses model."

The Art Effect is open by appointment Thursdays and Friday from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m., and Saturdays to the public from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Contact Elyse Germack at 248-227-2610 and visit the forthcoming website, arteffectgallery.com.

Source: Elyse Germack, owner, Art Effect gallery
Writer: Ashley C. Woods


2:1 Gallery brings fire to Gratiot Ave.

From ice, cometh the fire.

Gregory Holm, the creator behind 2010's Ice House Detroit, will launch a new visual and aural spectacle in an old firehouse from the 1800's located at 1480 Gratiot Ave.

Fire House Detroit is more of a continuation of the Ice House idea than the artistic polar opposite, Holm says.

"The Ice House was an attention getter for a neighborhood," he says. "It made a lot of sense to have this beacon of dialogue where people could talk around this space, come out of their homes in a very neglected neighborhood. It had a lot of roots to very sad situations that were going on."

Fire House, which will open to the public in July, is a project aimed to inspire and activate a new generation of Detroit children, whom Holm will help incorporate into the experience. Young poets, musicians and singers from the city will all take part in crafting a score and compositions for the opening, which will also feature a pyrophone, which uses flames to create sound.

"We're creating the memories where they can look back in five or 10 years and say, "Hey, I was part of this  huge production where I was writing poetry that was sung by another children's group and we collaborated with contemporary thinkers," Holm says. 

While Holm and his crew work to build the Fire House spectacle, he's turned a portion of the Fire House into a new venue, 2:1 Gallery.

"It spun out really organically," says Holm. "It's such a beautiful space, and we decided to create a space in Detroit that isn't really here, dedicated just to sound art."

If the Ice House propelled the idea of the Fire House, this new project has spawned not only a gallery, but a new creative aggregate, 2:1 LLC, "where we can provide ideas and act more as a think tank to create interesting concepts, as liasons between brands or foundations and neighborhoods," Holm says.

Look for more sound experiences from 2:1 Gallery this summer, as well as a Neighborhoods Day event, which will take place in late July. "We'll be transforming the neighborhood into a huge day event for children, all based around sound," Holm says.

Source: Gregory Holm, Fire House Detroit
Writer: Ashley C. Woods

Aptemal Clothing hustles harder in Eastern Market

"Detroit Hustles Harder." It's one of the great local slogans of this city's modern era. It also describes the work ethic of Eastern Market designers Aptemal Clothing, who've taken this motto to new heights in the past four years.

From a tiny, graffiti-covered storefront in Eastern Market, Division Street Boutique, the team of Joseph "J.P."  O'Grady and Brendan Blumentritt are aggressively growing their apparel line while seeking new territory for their business. Expanded summer hours means customers can swing by Division Street Boutique six days a week ( 12 p.m. to 4 p.m., Mon. thru Fri., 12 p.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturdays). O'Grady says business is booming, both in the store and online.

"Pittsburgh, New York, Europe ... they all buy our stuff online, all day long. Everybody loves Detroit, except the people from Detroit," he says.

Aptemal has also expanded their retailing operation, selling their gear in six different outlets from Mount Clemens to Royal Oak. One of their main summer targets is music festivals like Electronic Forest, Arts Beats & Eats and Paxahau's Movement music festivals.

But t-shirts aren't the only wares these two entrepreneurs have to sell. New collaborations mean you can soon pick up a "Detroit Hustles Harder" skateboard, or turn up the bass on June's forthcoming "Detroit Hustles Harder Vol. 2" music compilation, featuring local artists in genres as diverse as disco and hip-hop.

"Business is right on the verge of blowing up. We have a lot of collaborations that have been offered to us. it's pretty much endless. We're trying to spread it out to every medium possible -- not just t-shirts," says O'Grady. He's most excited about a new collaboration with local designer Angela McBride's "Love Peace & Spandex," expanding apparel options to the ladies.

"We're all just local kids trying to get our names out there, make some bucks and pay our rent," O'Grady says.

Source: Joseph "J.P." O'Grady, co-founder, Aptemal Clothing
Writer: Ashley C. Woods

Eastern Market to build community kitchen

Thanks to Birmingham's Erb Foundation, Eastern Market will build a $200,000 community kitchen sometime in 2011, furthering one of the foundation's key missions: promoting environmental health and justice.

Plans for the grant, payable over two years, will allow Eastern Market to develop the community kitchen as an hub for food entrepreneurs, in a city where access to commercial kitchen space can be difficult to find. They also hope to increase access to locally grown and processed healthy foods.

"It's going to serve as an incubator for people, especially Detroiters, who want to start their own niche food processing business. It's a good way to not only support the local food system, but to create jobs," says the Erb Foundation's Jodee Fishman Raines.

It's also a way to make better use of produce and other perishables that can go to waste -- fruit that can't be sold can still be pickled or jarred, for example. There will be food demonstrations and workshops encouraging healthy eating, plus the community kitchen can be rented out by groups.

The Erb Foundation, which has distributed money over the past three years, focuses primarily on promoting environmental health and cultural wellness to help revitalize the Great Lakes region, with a focus on Metro Detroit.

"Eastern Market is really, we think, an important institution in the city, an important part of building this local food system ... the better and stronger it is, the better off we think it will help revitalize the city. When you've got these wonderful local institutions, you can make them even more accessible to people. Eastern Market is already very user-friendly, but this takes it to a whole new level," says Fishman Raines.

Source: Jodee Fishman Raines, Vice President of Programs, Erb Foundation
Writer: Ashley C. Woods

Five sisters pour their energy into kickstarting juice biz

The five James sisters had a dream -- opening a raw juice stand in Detroit.

"Recently, all of us girls needed to have something to call our own. We just had the general desire to self-actualize and start something. We took our passion of health and wellness, and in particular, juicing, and turned it into a business," says co-founder Cait James.

They turned to Kickstarter, the crowdsourcing website which has quickly become Ground Zero for several of the city's dreamers and creators -- and raised over $13,000 from 151 different backers.

"Our original plan, just based on being the most economical and practical option, was to open up as a specialty vendor in Eastern Market. That's the project we pitched on Kickstarter," James says.

The overwhelming support they've encountered from Kickstarter followers, local entrepreneurs and members of Detroit's food community have the DROUGHT sisters re-thinking their original plan to begin with a vending stall at Eastern Market. They're now pursuing a commercial food license to take advantage of bigger opportunities on the horizon.

"The food stall is still definitely in the plans, but we've had so much interest and opportunities open up to us, that we have to amp it up a bit," she says.

Cait is currently bouncing between Detroit and Manhattan, but she's excited to set up this business in Detroit proper.

"Our focus is still on the city and the Detroit area. We're from the suburbs," she says, "but we all have a natural inclination to go to Detroit -- everyone for their own particular reasons."

Find out more about DROUGHT Juice here.

Source: Cait James, co-founder, DROUGHT Juice
Writer: Ashley C. Woods

Round-Up: Spring brings yoga, coffee, senior housing

With spring in the air, lots of new businesses and developments are being whispered about around town. Here are more than a few that we've heard recently; look for more detailed coverage in the future.

Vixen Fitness is set to open Feb. 26 in Eastern Market. The studio will offer female-centric pole dancing, Zumba and belly dancing classes.

Movement celebrated its grand opening on Feb. 19 inside the N'Namdi Center for Contemporary Art on E. Forest. Expect yoga, dance, Tai Chi, Capoeira and bodywork classes.

On the same note, word is that another yoga studio is headed to the site of the ill-fated Sunflower Market and, speaking of markets, May is the month that we understand that Ye Olde Butcher Shoppe hopes to be open in Brush Park.

Onto caffeine: Bottom Line Coffee Shop at the Beethoven is in build-out mode, as is Astro Coffee in Corktown. Signs are up for two more in Midtown: one across the street from the Bronx Bar on Second Ave. and another at the Park-Shelton on Woodward just north of the Detroit Institute of Arts. Again, we'll keep you posted when we know more.

Finally, three senior housing projects, all along the E. Jefferson corridor, have been announced (in addition to Dickerson Manor, which Model D reported on last week!):
  • The former Omni Hotel will become Roberts Riverwalk Hotel and Residence. Half of the facility will remain hotel accommodations, but half will become senior housing. Read more about the plans at Crain's Detroit Business.
  • Two vacant industrial buildings just north of the GM-UAW Center for Human Resources will be converted into a senior citizen complex courtesy of Henry Ford Health System, Presbyterian Villages of Michigan and United Methodist Retirement Communities.
  • The former Riverview Hospital on E. Jefferson near W. Village was sold by St. John Providence to a group of investors that plan to develop the facility into a full-service senior center that includes a nursing home, urgent care center and even a barber shop and beauty salon. Read more at the Detroit Free Press.
Writer: Kelli B. Kavanaugh


Translove Energies compassion center lights up Eastern Market

Michigan's changing marijuana laws are firing up a new growth industry in Detroit: pot. Model D has previously covered the Urban Garden Center in Southwest Detroit and plans to continue to write about compassion centers that have cropped up around town (there's at least three that we've noticed).

It seems appropriate to begin with Translove Energies, a compassion collective located in Eastern Market -- since one of the operation's partners is none other than John Sinclair, long an advocate for drug law reform. Since serving jail time in the late 1960's for giving a narc a couple of joints, he has been a very visible presence in the marijuana community.

Sinclair's partner in legalities is Holice P. Wood, a longtime resident of the Gratiot block on which the business is located.

By appointment only. Call 313-262-1886. Translove is located at 1486 Gratiot, on the Service Street Block. Read more about the block here, and follow the Metro Times' coverage of the joint efforts of Wood and Sinclair here and here.

Source: Holice P. Wood, Translove Energies
Writer: Kelli B. Kavanaugh


OmniCorp Detroit hacks into Eastern Market's energy

Detroit sure knows how to do incubators these days. There's arts (Russell Industrial), high-tech (TechOne), alternative energy (NextEnergy), small business (Elevator Building) and...well, a ton more. Now there's one for tinkerers in Omni Corp Detroit (OCD), a hacker space that has set up shop in Eastern Market.

First things first, what's a hacker space? It's a location where people interested in experimenting with electronics, technology, digital and electronic art can collaborate. Imagine a photographer working with a robotics expert on a mechanical arm that can take weird-angle shots. Or an illustrator working with a circuit-builder on slick graphics that clearly describe an esoteric signalling device. "It's a nerdy, muti-disciplinary version of an artists collective," says member Andrew Sliwinski.

The space's 3,000-square-foot ground floor will house welding and carpentry equipment, while the 5,000-square-foot second floor will have audio and photography studios, a kitchen and bathroom as well as an expansive main space with computers, couches and flexible work space that can host a variety of workshops. As it renovates, the team plans to respect the "original character" of the warehouse space, says Nina Bianchi, a graphic designer and educator that is a member of OCD.

The collective members, of which there are currently 20, each pay a monthly membership fee towards rent and improvements. Talents represented at the table include Bianchi, educator Sarah Trahan, photographer and set designer Kristine Diven, mechanical engineer Brandon Richards, computer whiz Ben Chodoroff, musician and robot enthusiast Anderson Walworth and Sliwinski, whose main interests include circuits and electronics. "It's a well-rounded group of skill sets," says Diven. "There seems to be ways we can work together and there's lots of crossover, and that's what's going to make us stick together as a group."

The Eastern Market location suits the team. It's quiet during the week and busy on Saturdays, perfect for noisy work and some public outreach. "(It's) a weird phenomenon," says Sliwinski. "It's the thing, other than sporting events, that draws people into Detroit -- and they're captive in this little neighborhood for an afternoon."

All of this plays into OCD's wishes to be a service of sorts to the community by offering learning sessions. There's one coming up on Saturday, August 28 from 5 to 7 p.m. when CMKT4 will present a workshop on Piezo-electrics, or contact microphones. The group will also do a live demo with their circuit-bent instruments.

Sliwinski's brother, Ted, is a facilitator at another developing hack space, Mt. Elliott Makerspace, that is a project of Earthworks Urban Farm. More on that to come.

Source: various members of Omni Corp Detroit
Writer: Kelli B. Kavanaugh


Flower Day is this weekend; Eastern Market's Shed 3 renovations honored as work turns to Shed 5

Eastern Market's 44th Annual Flower Day is Sunday, May 16. If you've never been, is a treat for the pocketbook and a feast for the senses. Hosted by the Metropolitan Detroit Flower Growers Association and Eastern Market Corp., Flower Day features over a million plants -- annuals, perennials, foliage, shrubbery, trees and more -- from more than a hundred flower growers from Michigan, Ohio and Canada.

While many of the growers are at the market weekly, having a day focused on just plants means a centering of expertise, says Michelle Miering of the growers association. "It gives growers the opportunity to sell their products, and it also helps to enhance the public with more knowledge," she says. "(The growers) talk to customers about how the product grows, how to plant it, what they might be doing wrong and what they're doing right in their garden."

On top of garden shopping, there will be five entertainment stages, a wagon-decorating contest, a Friends of Eastern Market VIP Station with free refreshments and massages (and yes, you can join that day), a children's area, and two free pick-up/drop-off stations to make hauling purchases a little easier. The majority of Eastern Market stores and restaurants are open for business, and there will also be a Taste of Flower Day Food Court.

Flower Day runs from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. and is Michigan's largest flower event, drawing 150,000 people a year. "Every single stall at Eastern Market will be filled, ... and there couldn't be a better place to have this event," says Miering. "Without Eastern Market on board, the event wouldn't be so fabulously popular. ... It's historic, it's got its own aura, and it draws some people just for that."

The newly-renovated Shed 3 will make its Flower Day debut. Its reconstruction, which was completed in November 2009, has netted the Eastern Market Corp. a couple of awards: a quality of life award from the Michigan chapter of the American Society of Civil Engineers and a special recognition award from the Construction Association of Michigan.

This momentum is carrying over to Shed 5's modernization, which is next on the organization's agenda. Construction document production and fundraising for that project is underway. Plans call for the construction of a community kitchen that can be used by caterers and other food entrepreneurs.

Sources: Michelle Miering, MDFGA and Kimberly Hill and Randall Fogelman, Eastern Market Corp.
Writer: Kelli B. Kavanaugh


Speaker series recap: Eating Green, from Garden to Grocery

It was a full house at Cliff Bell's for the Model D Speaker Series last Tuesday. Once again we teamed with Open City, and the event featured a panel that discussed some of the perks, quirks, and other challenges of opening and running a green food business in Detroit.

Panelists for the night included:

* Dan Carmody of the Eastern Market Development Corp.;
* Greg Willerer of Brother Nature Produce;
* Michael Solaka of Ye Olde Butcher Shoppe;
* Jason Kado of Sunflower Market; and
* Matt Naimi of Recycle Here.

Dan Carmody started the night off with a very informative overview of the current state of the country's food system. After noting several deficiencies of the food system, he stated that Detroit was poised to be a 21st century leader due to Michigan's vibrant crop production, the central distribution center of Eastern Market, and the necessity to create a new food infrastructure due to the city's lack of retail outlets. "Detroit is in a crossroads, at an opportunity to reinvent the nation's food system, which is in a state of dysfunction," he said. "We can do in Detroit what the rest of the county is going to need to do very soon."

Greg Willerer spoke of having his own 1.5 acre farm within the city. He said that he sells his produce to a number of local businesses in the area, something he sees as reflective of a systemic change beginning to creep into the food industry. Restaurants are moving toward more bio-diverse menus and away from the corn-based fare that has long been a staple of our culture, all while staying within a local economy. "If you take a look at those restaurants, they're committed to buying locally," he said. "They're not just buying from me but other local Detroit farmers."

Michael Solaka reminisced about the days his family originally owned Ye Olde Butcher Shoppe, saying that at the time the 3,000-square-foot store wasn't considered a gourmet grocer, though it did have its own unique goods and local products. Currently in the process of reviving the brand name at a new location (at the former Zaccaro's on Woodward), he said that he believes location and synergy will help the business succeed. "As soon as we signed our lease, two weeks later we found someone else was opening a store two blocks away," he said. "Which is exciting -- I'm not sure we have a food desert [in Detroit], but maybe we're a little parched." He said the city has 80 grocery stores, but it needs 80 more stores.

Jason Kado discussed his family's market business and the joys of connecting with customers. He said that one of the best aspects of being in the food industry can be the relationships formed over what people are eating and drinking. As his family is also currently involved in the process of opening up another store, he noted that one of the keys to success stems from the innovations made to be more accommodating to customers. An example? His family's new store will be opening up in the bottom floor of a Wayne State parking garage. "The university, with what they're doing with their parking structure, they're really trying to cater to their growing population," he said.

Matt Naimi talked a lot of trash -- literally. In addition to speaking about Recycle Here, he told the story of how his company, Michigan Green Safe Products, went from being a start-up to reaching the million-dollar-a-year mark in sales just three years later by greening large and small businesses alike. He showed that there are plenty of opportunities in the burgeoning green food industry and pointed out that it takes a certain way of looking at things to put them in perspective. "When you buy something, you're buying garbage," he said. "Obviously there's a product inside of it, but it's going to end up in the garbage or a recycling bin."

Writer: Ian Perrotta, Model D intern


Grab a shovel: Greening of Detroit to plant 1,750 trees by June 5

The arrival of spring heralds the digging of dirt, if The Greening of Detroit's ambitious 2010 schedule has anything to say about it. From April 10 to June 5, about 1,750 trees will be planted citywide in 14 separate plantings. Greening, in partnership with the City of Detroit's General Service Department, will plant 680 trees that will reforest neighborhoods affected by the Emerald ash borer infestation; And about a thousand trees will be planted with over 16 community groups and block clubs.

The schedule is as follows: April 10, University District and Annchester street tree plantings; April 17, Warrendale and E. Outer Drive; April 24, Trumbull and Corktown tree nursery; April 20, East English Village; April 22, Grandmont Rosedale tree nursery; April 25, Creekside; May 1, Boston Edison and Virginia Park; May 8, Beresford Block Club and Osborn Neighborhood; May 15, Hartwell and West Grand Boulevard; May 22, Ecclesia and Pallister Park; June 5, Ferdinand.

More than 1,000 volunteers will be needed; contact Greening at 313-237-8733 to sign up for a planting.

Greening's annual Tree and Shrub Sale will take place on Saturday April 24, from 9 a.m. to noon at Eastern Market's Shed #6. Trees are $30 and shrubs are $20, with special rates offered to Greening members. Pre-orders are being taken now; order forms can be found at www.greeningofdetroit.com.

The Greening's urban agriculture initiative, the Garden Resource Program Collaborative provides training and resources to individuals, community groups and families that grow vegetable gardens. Interested individuals should contact Lindsay Turpin at 313-237-8733.

Source: Monica Tabares, Greening of Detroit
Writer: Kelli B. Kavanaugh


Randy's Granola moves HQ downtown, now on the hunt for Detroit production facility

In another foodie victory for a potato chips kind of town, Randy's Granola has relocated to Detroit from the west side of the state. So far they've brought over administrative operations only -- the hand-crafted, all-natural, gluten free, vegan whole grain product is still made Grand Rapids. Co-founder and CEO Suzanne Vier is currently scoping out space in Corktown, Midtown and New Center for warehousing and eventually production.

Vier and college buddy Randy TenBrink founded the company in May 2009. Visiting home from New York City, where she was then living, Vier tasted some of TenBrink's granola and had what she calls her "A-ha!" moment. Burned out on the corporate life, she viewed starting the company as a reason to move back home and and a way to fully delve into her love of food. She then became determined to move the company to Detroit after being around the town's food entrepreneurs and realizing "that there are a lot of dynamic, exciting things happening in Detroit."

Randy's can be found every Saturday at Eastern Market, as well as at Mudgie's Deli, Kim's Produce and shops inside the Millender Center and the Guardian Building. In the suburbs, it's at Papa Joe's, Randazzo's and Holiday, Hollywood and Westborn Markets -- a total of 60 stores across the state along with several in Ohio and New York City. Varieties include Original, Lotsa Chocolate and So Very Cherry -- a product perfected through weeks of testing on customers at Eastern Market. At the market, says Vier, "You're testing your product on foodies, but also the palates of the local community."

Source: Suzanne Vier, Randy's Granola
Writer: Kelli B. Kavanaugh


Community development organizations release right-sizing strategic framework

Community Development Advocates of Detroit (CDAD) is comprised of community development organizations from across the city. They built houses before lofts were all the rage, paving the way for for-profit market-rate ventures and, now that the housing market is kaput, they've turned their sights on talking about what's next for Detroit. About a year ago, they formed a Futures Task Force, and the first deliverable is a document entitled "Neighborhood Revitalization Strategic Framework." It looks at the concept of right-sizing, down-sizing or reinventing Detroit -- whatever you want to call it -- and makes a set of recommendations that, hopefully, will guide policy-makers, elected officials and the funding community when they start tackling the heated issue.

"(The strategic framework) is about reinventing Detroit so that it is a better place for people to live in," says Tom Goddeeris, executive director of Grandmont Rosedale Development Corporation and a Futures Task Force participant. "It's how to think about how to improve it in a way that recognizes that there is lots of vacant land, (there are lots of) vacant buildings and we don't have the population that we once had...We wanted to put forward an idea about the city that says that it can be a better place, a greener place, a more economically viable place."

The community development community has always operated on the notion that rebuilding a city means building more houses. The strategic framework they've released abandons that principle, instead looking at numerous different ways -- be that open space, greenways, urban farms or even traditional neighborhoods -- that Detroit might evolve. "These are concepts to get people thinking a different way as opposed to going back to some previous time where (success meant) more people and more businesses," says Goddeeris. Along with drawing other stakeholders into the conversation, he says a goal of the collaborative is to show that "there can be a vision for reinventing the city in a way that is looking to make it a better place, not as an exit strategy or a sign of defeat."

While the concept of right-sizing holds allure in some camps and -- shades of Poletown -- horror in others, Goddeeris stresses the point that much work can be done before relocation is even close to a reality. "There are parts of the city that we can immediately start strengthening and some that we can immediately start greening without having to displace a bunch of people," he says.

Source: Tom Goddeeris, Grandmont Rosedale Development Corp. and CDAD
Writer: Kelli B. Kavanaugh


Intensive property survey captures state of Detroit housing, vacancy

The Data Collaborative, a joint effort by the Detroit Office of Foreclosure Prevention and Response, Community Legal Resources and Data Driven Detroit, has completed a landmark survey of residential properties in Detroit, and the results indicate that 86% of the city's single-family homes appear to be in good condition and another 9% generally only need minor repairs -- meaning that more than 218,000, or 95%, of the city's single-family homes appear to be suitable for occupancy.

While this number sounds heartening, Heidi Mucherie, executive director of Community Legal Resources, urges some restraint in interpreting the numbers. "We have some good-condition housing stock, an asset that we don't fully realize as an asset, and I'm glad that the study substantiates that," she says. However, she points out that large areas of the city have nowhere near these statistics. "This is a citywide aggregate number, and while we might be tempted to say things aren't as bad as we thought they are, (conditions have) changed over the last 10 years, even in traditionally stronger neighborhoods, and I worry about the aggregate figures painting too rosy of a picture."

A statistic that bears out Mucherie's temperance is that 26% of the city's residential parcels -- or 91,000 lots -- are now vacant. But she believes that knowing the good and the bad of where the city currently stands is empowering. "The way I've been thinking about it is that it paints a picture of a moment in time. ... It's only the start, not the ultimate answer," she says. "(These communities are) changing daily, especially neighborhoods hit by foreclosures."

Mucherie says the data collected is only as good as its upkeep and the community's buy-in, as in getting the "community engaged to collect updated information and track how it changes over period of time," she says. "One snapshot in time is not going to provide the answer for very long, but I'm excited about it changing the conversation."

Interested in checking out information about your house, block and neighborhood? Information is easily accessed by visiting www.detroitparcelsurvey.org and typing in a residential property address.

Source: Heidi Mucherie, Community Legal Resources
Writer: Kelli B. Kavanaugh


Eastern Market continues transformation; Shed 3 improvements wrap up

Eastern Market continues to improve, shed by shed and block by block. This winter, Shed 3's renovations were completed, save a few minor punch-list items. The 30,000-square-foot shed, which was built in 1923, received new doors, indoor restrooms, additional water and electrical hookups and, most prominently, windows. A grand re-dedication of the facility will take place this spring.

The $5.5 million project was funded by the City of Detroit,  Bank of America, the Kresge, Kellogg, Hudson-Webber and General Motors foundations and DTE Energy. The project architect was Kraemer Design Group, the firm that is now busy with construction drawings for the next big thing in store for Eastern Market: the restoration of Shed 5.

With initial construction expected to begin this summer, Shed 5 will be renovated in two parts. First, a community kitchen will be installed in the Russell Street-facing portion of the building. The balance of the building will be renovated in a second phase. The overall project is expected to cost $4 million and will serve two purposes, says Dan Carmody, president of the Eastern Market Corp. "It will be the home for our flower and plant growers and, with the shared-use community kitchen, we hope to (help incubate) food-related businesses and offer more educational classes around nutrition and food literacy."

Future plans call for the construction of a year-round market hall between Sheds 3 and 5 (yes, there used to be a Shed 4 there). The geothermal system for the new building will also heat a radiant floor system that will be installed in Shed 3. In the meantime, Carmody says an interim heating system is being investigated. "The good news is, since it's now sealed up better, even without the heat it's been remarkably warmer," says Carmody. "It's really made it a much more useful facility through the winter, far improved from what it was."

Eastern Market Corp. is also busy ramping up the mobile farm stand program they began in 2009, which works to distribute fresh food from the market into neighborhoods that lack access to fresh food. Read more about the initiative here.

Source: Dan Carmody, Eastern Market Corp.
Writer: Kelli B. Kavanaugh


End-of-year Wrap-up: Miliken State Park opens, Canine to Five expands, Butcher's reopens and more

In this last issue of Model D for 2009, we're going to squeeze in a few little tidbits that you might find to be of interest.

- Miliken State Park on the East Riverfront is actually open. If you thought it had been for some time, that would be understandable: a dedication was held in October for its renaming from Tricentennial State Park that seemed like a ribbon cutting. Anyways, now you can walk or bike through it or cast in a fishing line, although the Dequindre Cut Trail Extension isn't quite complete. Read more about the park's amenities at m-bike's blog post about the opening.

- Canine to Five has grown yet again. The large trailer on the lot just north of the dog daycare and grooming facility is for traditional boarding, which is now being offered in addition to cage-free boarding. The reason? Some dogs just don't meet daycare requirements, which include being neutered. Now dogs of all temperaments and breed can stay the night in Midtown. Find out more about both kinds of boarding at Canine to Five here.

- Eastern Market stalwart Butcher's Inn is reopen, newly helmed by the crew from nearby Cutter's Bar. Breakfast, lunch and dinner are served; the drink specialty is tequila. The bar opens Monday through Friday at 10 a.m. and on Saturday at 8 a.m. Doors close between midnight and 2 a.m. depending on the crowd. Butcher's is located at 1489 Winder St. Call 313-394-0120.

- Flashing lights and pulsating beats are still to be found at 1500 Woodward downtown: Pure Nightclub has been replaced by Vain Ultra Lounge.

- Greektown's Ham Shoppe has found a new home at 330 Monroe St., the former home of Bahn Thai. Read the Metro Times' blurb about the relocation here.

Development News will be back in 2010 to satisfy at least most of your yearnings for knowledge of the new in Detroit. Until then, happy and safe holidays.

Writer: Kelli B. Kavanaugh


4 new graffiti murals go up along Dequindre Cut

The northern end of the Dequindre Cut has some new (sanctioned) graffiti as the result of a partnership between the Detroit RiverFront Conservancy, Contemporary Art Institute of Detroit, and the College for Creative Studies' community+public arts DETROIT initiative.

The section of wall near the Gratiot entrance was previously either blank or artlessly tagged, says Jim Boyle who helps the DRFC with outreach via his position at LovioGeorge. "It was not painting over something that looked cool already," he says. "The Conservancy has embraced the aesthetic (of graffiti), they want to keep it alive and going on in a meaningful way."

Acting as project curators, CAID director Aaron Timlin and curator of graffiti art Tom Stoye selected four artists to create original murals along the Cut. Three writers -- MALT, PHERS and TEAD -- have completed murals on one wall near the Gratiot portion of the Cut, with an additional piece by GAME to be created in the same area this coming weekend.

Stoye says feedback from the community has been overwhelmingly positive. "They might not understand the art form or be able to decipher the letters, but there is a universal appeal to the public at large," he says. "A lot of people don't feel comfortable looking at art in a gallery or museum, but (seeing it in) a public space, a natural environment, has a really positive effect on people."

The Dequindre Cut graffiti initiative was made possible with support from Community Foundation for Southeast Michigan.


Source: Jim Boyle, Lovio George and Tom Stoye, CAID
Writer: Kelli B. Kavanaugh


Community Development Advocates of Detroit propose comprehensive land use strategy

Community Development Advocates of Detroit (CDAD) is a trade association for the city's more than 60 community development corporations. At the end of 2008, the group decided to create an emergency task force to help its members deal with the financial crisis through advocacy, resource identification and technical assistance.

Growing from that work, the committee, now called the Futures Task Force, has released a set of land use recommendations for Detroit that include some concepts that are being discussed by many -- such as the repurposing of vacant land -- but with an added focus on the importance of community development organizations in the work to be done. "What we're saying is not radically different (than what others are saying)," says Tim Thorland, CDAD's chairperson and executive director of Southwest Housing Corp."(Our vision) is nuts and bolts, what organizations with resources that they have identified think they can accomplish based on practical ideas from people that live in these neighborhoods."

CDAD's recommendations call for a bold new vision for Detroit, one that targets resources into denser neighborhoods and requires unprecedented collaboration. And what community development corporations bring to this table, besides a proven track record of real estate development, is the voice of the community, says Thorland. "(It's) necessary to the success of whatever plan you want to implement and it's the one asset we have that nobody else does," he says. "It's in an honest and meaningful way, not window dressing...We've been doing this for 30 years in the best interest of the community, what the community has told us that they want."

CDAD plans to shop its plan to city officials and foundations. Read the entire set of recommendations here.

Source: Tim Thorland, CDAD and Southwest Housing Corp.
Writer: Kelli B. Kavanaugh


D-Biz: Eastern Market's Detroit Flyhouse takes fitness into the air

From a studio at FD Lofts in Eastern Market, Micha Adams operates Detroit Flyhouse, a yoga studio that doubles as a home for aerial arts. "It's like yoga, dance and flying combined," she says. "We have ages seven to 70, all different body types and strength levels."

Adams offers eight-week aerial yoga classes. She explains that, like most forms of exercise, it builds strength and fitness, but being in the air has other benefits as well. "It is a huge self-confidence strengthener," she says. "It's a controlled, safe environment with people who encourage you to take healthy risks."

Detroit Flyhouse launched in another space one year ago and moved into its current location in February. "The space is perfect," says Adams. "It gets a lot of traffic and we have these giant fire doors that we keep open all the time, which piques interest."

Anyone interested in checking out the aerial arts has plenty of chances in the coming months. The Flyhouse will be at the People's Art Festival at Russell Industrial Center this weekend and at the Dally in the Alley on Sept. 12. A full schedule can be found here.

Source: Micha Adams, Detroit Flyhouse
Writer: Kelli B. Kavanaugh


Detroit Dance Loft brings the hottest moves to Eastern Market

Detroit Dance Loft opened in May of this year in Eastern Market. Owner and instructor Meg Paul has been dancing professionally since the age of 15, logging time with the Joffrey Ballet and on Broadway.

Paul moved to Detroit three years ago when her husband, Vince Paul, was hired as the creative director for the Music Hall. She says that, after "immersing" herself in the local dance scene, she saw a need for instruction.

The Dance Loft offers instruction in ballet, modern, tap, hip hop and Broadway. Paul's target are professionals "on their way to the stage" as well as adults who "want to try something new or rekindle their passion for dance."

There are also workshops such as Burlesque Boot Camp and Yoga Metrics.

Paul selected Eastern Market for her venture to draw upon the artistic energy brewing in the neighborhood. "The area already seems to be thriving with arts-related venues," she says. "It seems like it's brimming with a little more population that supports the arts, a little bit more creative." She also has found the area easy for people to find, even for those traveling into the city from the outer suburbs.

Detroit Dance Loft's exposed brick brings Paul back to her days in New York City: "It reminds me of my days in the city dancing ... It's not just four white walls, it's interesting."

The Dance Loft is at 1353 Fisher Freeway East at Russell. For more info, e-mail Info@DetroitDanceLoft.com or call (917) 679-4866.

Source: Meg Paul, Detroit Dance Loft
Writer: Kelli B. Kavanaugh


LISC accepting nominations for CDC of the year

Is your neighborhood a better place because of the efforts of your local community development corporation? If so, nominate it for Detroit Local Initiatives Support Corporation's (LISC) 9th Annual Detroit Community Development Awards.

The first category, CDC of the Year, will go to a comprehensive organization that builds houses and maybe even takes on commercial development. It delves into community issues of all stripes and probably is involved in a park or greenway project.

The second category, Community Champions, is for ordinary citizens that go to extraordinary lengths to improve their neighborhood. There will be five winners of this award, one in the following geographic areas: Central Woodward, East, Northeast, Northwest and Southwest. Additionally, three organizations will be designated as Community Champions.

Nomination forms and additional information are available at www.detroit-lisc.org. They are due on Friday, July 17 and will be handed out at the awards ceremony in September.

Source: Detroit LISC
Writer: Kelli B. Kavanaugh


WDET, Model D partner on series looking at how Detroiters are facing the foreclosure crisis

This week, public radio station WDET 101.9 FM launched a special series, "Facing the Mortgage Crisis: Home Is More Than Our House," that will air over the next seven weeks. Starting next week, Model D will also present a series of stories on the topic. The media partners will join together on June 24 for a Speaker Series that will delve into the subject matter from yet another angle.

Model D publisher Brian Boyle sees an opportunity for the local coverage to reveal individual neighborhood responses to the crisis. "In this market, with everything being so cheap, you don't have to wait for a program," he says. "Individuals are doing some of the more innovative things."

Listeners and readers will learn about volunteer opportunities and other ways to take action. WDET also will host a blog at on its web site that will compile all information reported on-air.

Sign up for the Model D speaker series here, and follow WDET during its news programs like Detroit Today for more from the series.

Source: WDET and Brian Boyle, Model D
Writer: Kelli B. Kavanaugh


Map outlines greenways progress around Detroit

The Detroit Greenways Coalition has released a nifty map and guide to greenways that exist and are planned in Detroit, Highland Park and Hamtramck. Entitled "Building Pathways that Unite a City," the brochure unfolds to a full-color map that reveals off-road and on-road routes all over town, some denoted as existing, some as planned and a few that are merely conceptual at this time.

There are ten main greenways described:
  • Conner Creek Greenway: Nine miles of pathways that will roughly follow the route of the former Conner Creek on the eastside, from the Detroit River to Eight Mile. Two miles are complete.
  • Corktown-Mexicantown Greenlink: 16.25 miles that will connect Corktown and Mexicantown to each other and to the West Riverfront. The plan is complete and community groups are hoping to see construction begin this fall.
  • Dequindre Cut: This two-mile rail-to-trail project will run two miles between the East Riverfront, Lafayette Park and Eastern Market up to Mack. 1.2 miles of it are complete and open to the public.
  • Detroit RiverWalk: A stretch of public river access targeted to pedestrians and cyclists that will eventually stretch 5.5 miles between the Ambassador Bridge and Belle Isle; 2.7 miles are complete.
  • Downriver Delta Greenways: Located in the 48217 zipcode on the lower Southwest side of Detroit, this 2.5 mile greenway will run along Fort Street into Downriver when built.
  • Hamtramck Trail: This 1.5 mile route will connect Hamtramck's downtown to its parks. Eventually, hopes are to tie it into the Dequindre Cut on its south end.
  • Inner Circle Greenway: Mostly conceptual at this time, the vision for the Inner Circle Greenway is a 20-mile route that would make use of the abandoned Detroit Terminal Railroad right-of-way. Picture a Dequindre Cut that take a roughly half-circle route through Detroit, Hamtramck and Highland Park.
  • Midtown Loop: Work is expected to begin this summer on this two-mile loop through the Cultural Center. Future plans include connections to New Center and Downtown.
  • Southwest Detroit Greenway: This 3-mile greenway connects Woodmere Cemetery, the West Vernor business district, Patton Park and Dearborn's Lapeer Park. Hopes are to run it further east to Clark Park in Mexicantown.
The purpose of the map is to inform, but also to "sell the vision," says Todd Scott of the Michigan Trails and Greenways Alliance, the organization that coordinates the Detroit Greenways Coalition. The target audience is residents, elected officials and funders.

Copies of the map will be available on the RiverWalk during the upcoming RiverDays event, June 19-21.

Source: Todd Scott, Michigan Trails and Greenways Alliance
Writer: Kelli B. Kavanaugh


State land bank going green, offering vacant lots up as community gardens

The State of Michigan Land Bank Fast Track Authority is making its inventory of nearly 7,000 vacant lots statewide -- 6,000 in Detroit alone -- available as community gardens via its Garden for Growth program.

"Our goals, in addition to finding productive uses for these vacant plots, is to support the Governor's Urban Food Initiative," says Carrie Lewand-Monroe, the Michigan Land Bank's executive director. "We're hoping to help allow folks in urban areas to access fresh, healthy food."

The way it works is that any community member can apply to garden a lot in the Michigan Land Bank for $50 for one year. At that point, participants are able to put in an application to purchase the land.

This lease-first approach is considered a "best practice" for programs of this type for two reasons: It allows time for the garden to be established and it keeps it tax-free for the first year. The Land Bank is willing to flexible with lease terms; it is working with The Greening of Detroit on five parcels that will be leased for five years.

Any kind of garden is eligible: native plants, flowers and vegetables -- even a park, says Lewand-Monroe. All gardeners will be connected with the Greening of Detroit's Garden Resource Program for classes and planting material.

Lewand-Monroe explains why 7,000 of the Michigan Land Bank's 8,000 properties are vacant lots: because they are all foreclosed properties that date back to 1999, which was when tax laws changed. "There aren't as many structures as the county would have," she says.

They also administer a Side Lot program for vacant lots that are adjacent to occupied residences. To search for a property, use the Land Bank's web site Search for Property feature. The application for the Garden for Growth program is also available on the site.

Source: Carrie Lewand-Monroe, Michigan Land Bank
Writer: Kelli B. Kavanaugh


DDOT will use $37.5M to upgrade fleet, signage, shelters

The Detroit Department of Transportation will receive $37.5 million in economic stimulus funds, which will be used to update its fleet and facilities. In a statement, Mayor Ken Cockrel, Jr. pledged to "put the money to good use, making travel in Detroit a more enjoyable experience.”

The funds will replace 50 older DDOT buses with 50 new buses, including gas-electric hybrid vehicles. The money also will pay for new bus shelters; new bus stop signs, such as those at Woodward and Warren and Woodward and Mack; and the improvement of the Shoemaker Terminal and Garage at St. Jean and East Warren. (Model D writer and bus riding convert Terry Parris Jr. wrote about the need for better signage and shelters here.)

In other transportation funding for the city, the Department of Public Works will receive $37.5 million for road resurfacing. This $59.3 million package is the second for Detroit from the
American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009; the first was more than $30 million in weatherization funds.

The Southeast Michigan Council of Governments will administer the distribution of any economic stimulus funds involving transportation in Southeast Michigan. The agency has indicated the transportation money for Detroit will be available by the end of the month.


Source: City of Detroit
Writer: Kelli B. Kavanaugh


Detroit's Dequindre Cut pathway really, truly opening in May

If you thought the Dequindre Cut was officially open, no one could blame you. After all, people started walking, biking and jogging the trailway last summer. But finishing touches, including construction on the Antietam bridge that goes over the depressed former rail line, held up an actual formal opening.

Well, the time is nearing, and the Detroit Riverfront Conservancy will be hosting a blowout grand opening for the Cut on May 14.

Mark your calendars -- planning is ongoing for the day's festivities, but expect refreshments, music, bikes, and more.

In the meantime, whet your appetite with these photos and articles:
SEMI MODERN, February 2009
Metropolis, February 2009
Model D Dev News, November 2008
Model D TV, August 2008
Model D Dev News, July 2008
Model D feature, November 2005

Source: Detroit Riverfront Conservancy
Writer: Kelli B. Kavanaugh


Come April 1, Detroit Evolution Lab to be open 6 days a week with expanded purview

Detroit Evolution Laboratory will reopen on April 1 with an expanded six-day-a-week class schedule and a new feature: open hours throughout the day for people to gather and drink coffee or tea, browse the community library, do homework and hold meetings.

This week, construction on the Lab will expand its classroom space and add a partition that will allow more than one activity to be held at a time. The expansion will accommodate 20 students per yoga class, up from about 10.

The Lab was founded in 2007 by husband and wife team Angela Kasmala and Gregg Newsom. To help grow their offerings and extend their reach, they have brought in a partner, Alan Scheurman, who will be programming a variety of evening workshops, classes and events.

The yoga schedule will be 8 a.m. on weekdays, 10 a.m. and noon on Saturdays, noon on Wednesdays, 5:30 p.m. on Tuesdays and Thursdays and 7 p.m. on Wednesdays and Fridays. Other classes that will be offered -- check the Detroit Evolution Laboratory web site for times and details -- include vegan, raw food, meditation, shamanism and body awareness.

Each month on the night of the Full Moon, the lab will be open for live music, poetry, art, and workshops. On April 9, the art of Jeffery Thomas of the Woodbridge-based band Gardens will be showcased beginning at 7 p.m.

Source: Gregg Newsom, Detroit Evolution Laboratory
Writer: Kelli B. Kavanaugh


Eastern Market plan calls for $50M in investment over 10 years

As work proceeds on Eastern Market's Shed 3, planning and fundraising for more capital improvements to the rest of the neighborhood continue. At two town hall meetings last week, Eastern Market Corp. president Dan Carmody presented an overview of his organization's comprehensive plan for the entire district called Eastern Market 360.

Shed 4 will be a new two-story market hall built on the lot just north of Shed 3. It will host approximately 14 food processing vendors on the ground floor -- think artisanal cheeses, organic tortillas and pastas -- and a teaching kitchen and classrooms on the second level. Plans call for Shed 4 and Shed 3 to share a geothermal heating and cooling system.

Shed 5 will be rehabbed with a focus on horticulture. The narrow Shed 6 will be widened for weather protection and a wind collector will be installed on top. The existing parking garage will be improved, and solar panels will be installed on its roof. Carmody says EMC's goal is for 15 percent of the market's energy needs to come from renewable sources.

Shed 7 will be substantially improved as a Growers Terminal, with an eye to improving the viability of the market's wholesale business. It will include a new terminal and docking facility and will be refrigerated.

Greening of Detroit is expected to break ground this year on a 2.5-acre market garden that will have a greenhouse and hoop sheds to extend the growing season. Carmody says the garden is about both food production and economic development -- the intent is to quantify job production as a function of garden acreage. Current estimates suggest that if just 20 percent of Detroit's food was produced locally (currently, that number stands at 2-3 percent), 4,700 jobs would be created, which would generate $20 million in taxes and $125 million in income.

As for the Eastern Market District -- bounded by I-75, Mack, St. Aubin and Gratiot -- the goal is to simplify its zoning which will, in turn, lead to an increase in the area's mix of uses as well as improving connectivity to other neighborhoods such as Downtown and Midtown.
 
The plan is based on brick and mortar construction, but there is more to it than that. Part of what Eastern Market Corp. aims to do with expanded and improved facilities is help to rebuild the local food system, with Eastern Market as a hub. The market already is part of the system's processing, wholesale and retail functions, but this more comprehensive market would also provide nutrition education, grower training, convert waste to fertilizer and produce food.

Source: Dan Carmody, Eastern Market Corp.
Writer: Kelli B. Kavanaugh


Detroit's Dequindre Cut gets national attention from Metropolis Magazine

Model D writer Kelli Kavanaugh brings national attention to the Dequindre Cut with her piece in Metropolis Magazine.

Excerpt:

The trail’s first phase is a mile-long segment that includes restrained landscaping, two strips of asphalt (one for pedestrians and the other for bikes), light­ing, security phones, and benches. A full half of its width is left untouched to accommodate a prospective light-rail line. But what the trail connects is as important as how it looks. Its three access points are the recently redeveloped Detroit Riverfront; Lafayette Park, a well-established residential community that boasts the world’s largest collection of Mies van der Rohe buildings; and the southern end of Eastern Market, a popular outdoor market with specialty shops and restaurants.

For many locals, the best part of the Dequindre Cut is its colorful graffiti. During the 25 years that the rail line went unused, it became a kind of open-air gallery overgrown with brush and home to wildlife such as pheasants, foxes, and rabbits. The trail’s promoters have used the project to preserve the graphic remnants of its days as a dystopian nature trail visited only by graffiti artists, urban explorers, and the homeless. “It was like a wilderness in the middle of the city,” says Jim Griffioen, a Lafayette Park resident. “It was splashed with an ever-changing archaeology of color that even the most stodgy decrier of vandalism couldn’t deny was art.”

Read the entire article here.


Model D TV: Supino Pizza finds perfect location in Eastern Market

Owner Dave Mancini can grab the freshest ingredients imaginable from Eastern Market vendors just steps away from his pizzeria's doors. Supino Pizzeria at 2457 Russell St. in Eastern Market has gotten rave reviews from diners and yelp reviewers -- some who say it's the best pie in town.

Hear more about it in this clip from producer Tom Hendrickson and director Jim Toscano. Read more about it here.



Model D & Open City unite for energy-filled discussion on location

Nearly 100 people packed Cliff Bells last Tuesday for the first speaker series hosted jointly by Open City and Model D. It was a natural fit for the two groups, considering the former helps facilitate opening small businesses in Detroit and the latter likes to celebrate such businesses.

The topic of the forum was "Location, Location, Location." As in, you want to start a small business in Detroit and want to know in which neighborhood would be best to set up shop.

The panel, which was moderated by this writer, was comprised of five experts in five specific neighborhoods. Each of them, who works for the non-profit community development corporation dedicated to that area, demonstrated passion for their own specific community tempered with a clear spirit of cooperation.

Michael Solaka of New Center Council discussed some of the projects coming down the pipeline in his neighborhood, including the renovation of the park at the corner of Second and West Grand Boulevard and the rehabilitation of the Argonaut into an expanded College for Creative Studies. NCC's annual CityFest was cited as an example of a major event put on by a non-profit that can generate excitement -- and dollars -- for a small business.

Down in Midtown, Sue Mosey was representing the University Cultural Center Association. Mosey discussed some of the financial incentives available to small businesses interested in locating in the district as well as some less tangible manners of assistance, including navigating red tape at city hall.

Kathy Wendler from the Southwest Detroit Business Association talked about the growing immigrant population that is investing in the community and the number of strong grocery stores, making Southwest an ideal place to locate a food business.

Food is also an obvious strong fit for Eastern Market, and Dan Carmody of the Eastern Market Corp. encouraged those with a small idea to set up shop at the market on Saturdays to generate some buzz and test-drive a new product with a very low overhead -- as low as $60 per week.

Also on the small tip, Khalilah Burt of the Downtown Detroit Partnership discussed how a smaller size space can work for a start-up -- like Good Girls Go to Paris Crepes, rocking out in just 48 square feet. The DDP's Clean Downtown program means that businesses located in the Central Business District can expect clean, inviting sidewalks for their customers.

The next Open City will take place on March 17. Marketing is on the agenda.

Writer: Kelli B. Kavanaugh


Eastern Market Corp. breaks ground on more than $5.5 M in improvements to Shed 3

The complete renovation of Shed 3 at Eastern Market began last week.

"It's the most historic market structure, so we want to restore its architectural and historic integrity," says Eastern Market Corp. president Dan Carmody.

The 30,000-square-foot shed, which was built in 1923, will net new doors, indoor restrooms, a heated concrete floor and additional water and electrical hookups.

Windows will be installed -- in their original locations -- to increase the amount of natural light.

The improvements will cost $5.5 million and were funded by the City of Detroit, the Kresge Foundation, the Kellogg Foundation, Bank of America, the Hudson-Webber Foundation, General Motors Foundation and DTE Energy.

An additional $1.5 million will be raised to install a geothermal heating system that will service Shed 3 and, when it is built, Shed 4. A $1.3 million restoration of Shed 2 was completed last fall.

Shed 3 will be closed until mid-April and the Winter Market will be located in Sheds 4 and 5. While renovations will not be fully completed until September, use of Shed 3 for the Saturday Market will resume in mid-April.

Source: Dan Carmody, Eastern Market Corp.
Writer: Kelli B. Kavanaugh


Restaurant Round-up: Mudgie's adds supper, Russell Street adds breakfast

Two of Model D's fave dining spots have recently expanded their purview: Corktown's Mudgie's has added dinner and Russell Street Deli in Eastern Market has made their famous Saturday breakfasts a weekday option as well.

Mudgie's is now serving dinner Monday through Saturday until 9 p.m. Think comfort food, such as beef stew and meatloaf. Mudgie's is at 1300 Porter St. Call 313-961-2000. It opens at 11 a.m. for lunch.

Russell's breakfast includes French toast, pancakes, breakfast sandwiches and an array of omelet and scramble options. Monday through Friday, it's available 7 a.m. to 10:30 a.m. and on Saturdays, from 8 a.m. onwards. Lunch is served until 3 p.m. daily.

Russell Street Deli is located at 2465 Russell St. Call 313-567-2900.

Sources: Mudgie's and Russell Street Deli
Writer: Kelli B. Kavanaugh


Kresge grants $3.5M to three Detroit greenways: Conner Creek Greenway, Dequindre Cut, Midtown Loop

The Kresge Foundation has granted three of Detroit's greenways projects a combined total of $3.5 million. The money will be used to extend the Dequindre Cut north to Mack, build another segment of the Conner Creek Greenway and fund construction of the Mitdown Loop's Phase 2, the part that traverses John R and Canfield.

Todd Scott of the Michigan Trails and Greenways Alliance says that this "challenge grant" will help the fledgling Detroit Greenways Coalition get some legs. "One of the important things we need to do is to formalize our group structure so that we can use this money to get the most bang for our buck,"  he says. "This money has pushed us to the next level in terms of being organized."

The Dequindre Cut is a trail that currently extends from the East Riverfront to Gratiot Avenue; this extension will take it into the heart of Eastern Market.

The Conner Creek Greenway will eventually connect the East Side from the Detroit River to Eight Mile. The Kresge grant will fund two phases: from Jefferson to the riverfront Maheras Gentry Park and from Harper to Eight Mile. Libby Pachota of the Detroit Eastside Community Collaborative hopes to see construction begin in the summer of 2010 for both segments.

The Midtown Loop will provide a culturally stimulating route around Midtown. Phase One, which will begin construction this summer, runs along Cass and Kirby. Read more about the design of the Loop here.

Sources: Todd Scott, MTGA and Libby Pachota, DECC
Writer: Kelli B. Kavanaugh


Shop Detroit for last minute gifts on Dec. 13 and 20

Detroit Synergy is back with Shop Detroit -- but this year it has grown from a one-day event to four days over four weekends with four distinct destinations. Two of the weekends have passed, but you still have a chance to participate on December 13 at the Russell Industrial Center and on December 20 in Eastern Market.

At the Russell, check in at the Russell Bazaar Food Court -- that's the easternmost building in the complex -- between 11 a.m. and 4 p.m. Shoppers can hit the Bazaar for a mix of eclectic goods, and Synergy volunteers will also provide a list of the many artists in the complex that will be on-site selling their work that day.

The following weekend, meet at Eastern Market's Shed 5, just south of Wilkins, between 11 and 4 p.m. Event organizer Alok Sharma anticipates up to 20 retailers will participate, giving lots of options for the rapidly approaching holidays. At noon and 2 p.m., Inside Detroit will give free guided tours of the Market's specialty shops, restaurants and lofts.

The first Shop Detroit day was held downtown on the Saturday of Thanksgiving weekend. More than 100 shoppers turned out. This past weekend, the event moved up to Midtown in conjuntion with Noel Night and drew another 60. Sharma says feedback from retailers has been positive. "Stores said that people were definitely in buying mode when they showed up," he says.

The event is free and registrants receive a Shop Detroit tote bag.

Source: Alok Sharma, Detroit Synergy
Writer: Kelli B. Kavanaugh
Photo: Marvin Shaouni

Kellogg grant to promote Detroit's tourist nodes

The Kellogg Foundation has granted the Tourism and Economic Development Council $75,000 to support "Developing the D," a plan to build a "Destination Districts" initiative that will attract and retain residents, draw new visitors and spur investment in Wayne, Oakland, Macomb and Monroe counties.

In the city proper, TEDC director Jim Townsend says the aim is to leverage and support existing developments -- like the RiverWalk -- and to ultimately link them.

The program's targets are tourists as well as current and potential residents. He says the same amenities that make a visit to a city enjoyable also make it livable. "It's really interdependent and kind of symbiotic," he says. "People travel to urban destinations for many of the same reasons that people move to or stay in an urban area."

Initiatives that TEDC will be looking at connecting and promoting include transit, housing, greenspace and greenway developments. He says great cities and cool neighborhoods offer "walkability" and "unexpected great moments."

"Detroit has bones, pockets, of the same experience, there are some isolated successes, but to really achieve our goal for talent and tourists, we've got to build out and link and effectively market," he says.

Ultimately, Townsend hopes that each distinct district -- those being Greater Downtown, Dearborn/Wayne, Macomb County and North and South Oakland County -- work in collaboration and support with one another, rather than in competition. "They're all quite different," he says.

Source: Jim Townsend, TEDC
Writer: Kelli B. Kavanaugh
Photo: Marvin Shaouni

SDAT wrap-up: A look at what's next for AIA's sustainability audit

Austainability experts from around the country joined with local architects, planners and other interested parties in Midtown Detroit for an SDAT, or Sustainable Design Assessment Team, charette, recently.

Given estimates that Detroit will continue to shrink -- down to about 500,000 or 600,000 residents by 2025, they looked at what to do with 88 square miles of land that is essentially excess.

The group looked at developing the core 50 square miles of livable space  developed as a series of densely populated urban villages -- looking specifically at Southwest Detroit, Corktown, Downtown, Eastern Market, Woodbridge, Midtown and New Center -- each with housing, recreation, entertainment and work opportunities, and each linked to each other and the main urban core.

From this base, SDAT worked at making policy and design recommendations in five areas, all of which intersect and feed into the urban villages concept: community development, transportation and transit, open space, economic development and local food systems and community gardens.

Some points of note: Many ideas centered on one of the city's greatest assets, the Detroit River -- for example, "blueways" were discussed as a mode of transportation; the importance of incorporating wind turbines into Detroit's energy system was stressed; Eastern Market was lauded as "the best farmers market in the country" by Edwin Marty, the executive director of Jones Valley Urban Farm in Alabama; reduction of energy costs for individuals was stressed as a method of creating wealth; and local food production within each urban village node was recommended.

A strategy was developed for the creation of 75,000 jobs over 10 years by leveraging new green industries as well as existing employment leaders like health care.

Next step: implementation. Local SDAT leaders will begin working with organizations and institutions to move its strategies forward. Funding from Kresge Foundation has been secured to undergo this process, and State of Michigan Energy Department funds will be used to conduct energy audits and technical assistance.

For more information, check out Zachary and Associate's web site or contact Zachary at 313-831-6100 or WARM Training Center at 313-894-1030.

Source: Diane VanBuren Jones, WARM
Writer: Kelli B. Kavanaugh


$47.1M neighborhood stabilization plan presented to Council

One month ago, Housing and Urban Development awarded the city of Detroit $47.1 million to stabilize housing in light of the current foreclosure crisis.

Before spending it, the city must develop a plan that is approved by Detroit City Council and then HUD. Last week, Planning and Development took the first step and presented the plan to Council's Economic Development Committee.

The plan focuses on three things: reversal of the decline of neighborhood housing values; significant elimination of blighted and abandoned structures; and stimulation of investment in and around targeted neighborhoods.

The plan can be downloaded at PDD's site; public comment is welcomed until November 20 at 313-224-6380 or NSP@detroitmi.gov. On Nov. 21, it will go to the full Council followed by submittal to HUD on Dec. 1.

Read more about the grant, the process and guidelines here.

Source: Sylvia Crawford, PDD
Writer: Kelli B. Kavanaugh


The latest haps at the Dequindre Cut: Soft opening soon; grand opening planned for spring

So what is going on at the Dequindre Cut? The Detroit Riverfront Conservancy hosted a community forum on October 28 to discuss the details of the project that has had several pushed back opening dates due to construction complications.

The primary focus in the past year has been the stretch of the Cut between Woodbridge Street and Gratiot that is mostly complete, although nominally blocked off with bollards and construction fencing. Amenities like benches and trash cans need to be installed and lighting and security phones and cameras need to be linked into DRFC operations, located at Rivard Plaza.

The latest target is mid-November with a grand opening celebration in May.

After construction is complete, the Cut's reins will be officially handed over to the Riverfront Conservancy, which is tasked with security and maintenance as well as programming. Planning will occur over the winter to determine how to attract regular groups of walkers and cyclists as well as how to implement community gardens.

Another key component of the project is improving the pedestrian and bicycle connection between the Cut's Gratiot entrance and Eastern Market proper. Design is underway for improvements to Gratiot between Vernor and Jay that will include sidewalk, curb and lighting enhancement. Expect construction in summer of 2009.

Planning also is underway for the northern section of the Cut between Gratiot and Mack in cooperation with the property's private owner, the Eastern Market Corpo, the city and Detroit Edison Public School Academy. There will be access opportunities at Division and Wilkins.

The Dequindre Trail Extension is planned to draw the Cut south from Woodbridge to Atwater where it will tie in with Tricentennial State Park. The meandering pathway will be constructed through the summer of 2009.

Finally, starting next spring, the overall reconstruction of streets in the East Riverfront district, including Atwater between Rivard and Orleans, will be undertaken in order to complement the East Riverfront and the Dequindre Cut.

Source: Detroit Riverfront Conservancy community forum
Writer: Kelli B. Kavanaugh


Urban Grounds serving up gourmet coffee in Eastern Market on Saturdays

Just in time for cold weather, Urban Grounds has opened at Eastern Market, bringing gourmet coffee to the neighborhood from a charming kiosk.

Co-owner Richard Ban works for the Eastern Market Corporation and had considered starting a coffee operation for more than a year. He wanted it to be mobile, and thus flexible, and finally came across a historic kiosk trailer in the Mt. Pleasant area. After much refurbishment, he and business partner and fiancee Danielle Charrette opened Urban Grounds for business on Sept. 28.

Urban Grounds serves Great Lakes Roasting Co. products, including Motor City Blend coffee, Mackinac Island Blend decaffeinated and Zen espresso blend. Calder Dairy milk is used as are Michigan Green Safe products.

So far, response has been universally positive. "If we were being paid in compliments, we'd be very wealthy," says Ban.

Urban Grounds will be open in Shed 2 from 7 a.m. to 4 p.m. until Christmas, at which time Ban hopes to move into heated Shed 5.

Source: Richard Ban, Urban Grounds
Writer: Kelli B. Kavanaugh


City Council adopts non-motorized plan that calls for 400 miles of bike lanes in the Motor City

Detroit City Council has adopted a non-motorized transportation plan as well as a resolution urging Mayor Ken Cockrel Jr. to implement it. Among other things, the plan calls for more than 400 miles of bike lanes, as well as other improvements to pedestrian and bike facilities. The Michigan Department of Transportation funded the plan's development; the city brought on Giffels-Webster Engineers as consultants to design it.

Scott Clein of Giffels-Webster says that the adoption of the plan means many things to proponents of non-motorized transportation. For starters, MDOT will now attempt to incorporate its recommendations into any future roadway projects it undertakes in the city, such as the reconstruction of Michigan Avenue.

It also does the same for city departments like the Department of Public Works. "DPW is now in charge of supporting and, hopefully, implementing portions of the master plan," says Clein.

The adoption of the plan means that community groups working to establish bike lanes know that the government, at least on paper, is on board. Clein cites Greater Corktown Development Corporation's Corktown-Mexicantown Greenlink as an example. "Now they know that the city will be supportive instead of obstructionists," he says.

DPW is in the process of writing a letter of conceptual support to MDOT, a step necessary for the project to capture funds the state committed to it a few years ago.

Besides bike lanes, the plan looks at pedestrian safety via the separation of bikes and pedestrians and the continued improvements of sidewalks.

Read more about the plan here.

Source: Scott Clein, Giffels-Webster
Writer: Kelli B. Kavanaugh
Photo by Marvin Shaouni

AIA sustainable design program kicks off with Oct. 6 meeting

Detroit was selected as one of nine cities to participate in the Sustainable Design Assessment Team program by the American Institute of Architects, and it is an opportunity being seized with relish by those involved. "We have a chance to make Detroit into a model for sustainability," says Eleanore Eveleth, who is working to coordinate the SDAT process, which is focusing on the Southwest Detroit, Mexicantown, Corktown, Downtown, Eastern Market, Midtown and New Center districts.

The SDAT program will look at four realms of sustainability: transportation, energy, land use and the new economy. Local experts in each area will get teamed with national ones in a three-day charette from Oct. 30 to Nov. 1 -- but first, the locals are gathering on Oct. 6 to orientate and plan.

"We want to have a more productive meeting on the 30th," says Eveleth. "We will give an overview of the SDAT process, which is what the folks from out of town are coming to do."

Eveleth expects community organizations, residents, people that work within the project boundaries and those already working on green products and issues to participate. "There are a lot of people already working on small bits and pieces of this," she says. "This is a way to bring all these people together and learn from folks that have done this in other cities."

SDAT has made a survey available on-line to help frame the process' roadmap. Click here to get started.

The SDAT kick-off is on October 6 from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. and will be held at the Ecumenical Theological Seminary, located at 2930 Woodward in Detroit. The three-day charette will be held at the University of Michigan Community Design Center, also in Midtown. For more information, call Zachary & Associates at 313-831-6100.

Source: Eleanore Eveleth, SDAT
Writer: Kelli B. Kavanaugh

Photo by Marvin Shaouni

DDOT launches trial run of Bikes on Buses, new stop signage to be introduced

Complaints about the Detroit Department of Transportation are common, no doubt, so how about a little props when the agency gets something right?

The buses servicing the Russell Route, No. 40, are now sporting bike racks, just like big brother SMART's vehicles. The trial program, called Bikes on Buses (BOB), will be used to familiarize drivers and riders while DDOT pursues funding, through the state of Michigan, to outfit its entire fleet.

The Russell services downtown, Eastern Market, the Russell Industrial Center and Hamtramck. DDOT planner Wesley King says one reason that the route was selected because at its peak frequency, the agency could ensure that all buses had racks -- and they have six to start. "Woodward gets the most use, but we didn't want riders to maybe see a rack every 30 minutes at peak," he says. "Or maybe see one every hour -- or see four in a row!"

Racks being utilized carry two or three bikes at a time. BOB guides are available on-line at RideDetroitTransit.com or by calling 313-933-1300.

In other news, look for improved bus stop signs later this year that will include route numbers and names and designated colors; green is used to indicate routes that travel downtown, purple for north/south and blue for east/west. Supplemental signs will be posted at major routes and transfer points with more information, including a map and each route's days and hours of operation.

"With the changes in the region and the economy we’re seeing more riders," says district superintendent Michael McNutt. "What we wanted is to make our service more user friendly to the new riders that we anticipate carrying in the near future."

McNutt says that a few signs will soon debut to generate rider feedback but the bulk will go up later this fall in waves, with Express Routes getting the new signage first.

Source: Wesley King and Michael McNutt, DDOT
Writer: Kelli B. Kavanaugh


Hit the town by bike during upcoming Tour de Troit event and Wheelhouse tours

There are some great opportunities coming up to see Detroit from the luxury of your own, or a rented, bike. The best part of these tours is that they take you into the city's neighborhoods at a pace that affords participants the chance to admire the architecture and get a real feel for the places.

The annual Tour de Troit is Saturday, Sept. 20. Take in 40 miles of the city at a leisure pace with several hundred of your closest friends. It's a police escorted ride through Downtown, Eastern Market, Brush Park, Boston Edison, University District, Palmer Park, Old Redford and Grandmont-Rosedale.

Last year 600 people participated. Advance registration is strongly encouraged to guarantee a T-Shirt. Register by Sept. 13 to ensure you'll get one. Advance Registration is $25, $15 for students. Day-of-ride registration is $35 from 8:30-9:30 a.m.

But wait, there's more. Wheelhouse Detroit, the city's newest bike rental and repair shop, is also offering weekly tours of Detroit's neighborhoods. Each week, they feature a different portion of the city, and most rides are around 15-25 miles. Upcoming tours include Southwest Detroit (9/13), The Villages (9/27), Boston Edison (9/28), Creekside (10/04) and the Conner Creek Greenway (10/5). Wheelhouse also offers weekly tours of Downtown and the Woodward corridor, offered in conjunction with Inside Detroit. For more information and pricing, check their web site.

Sources: Wheelhouse Detroit, Tour de Troit
Writer: Clare Pfeiffer Ramsey


Round-up: Doors open at Taste of Ethiopia, Peaches & Greens, People's Records new location

Another week, another slew of openings around town...

Taste of Ethiopia restaurant is open in Eastern Market, taking the Russell St. space that housed the Cookie Factory for many moons and the Flying Apron for just a few. Hours are Monday through Friday 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. and Saturdays 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. Call 313-567-6000. Read all about the restaurant here.

Peaches & Greens will be open the second week of September, bringing locally-grown produce to the Central Woodward area. Hours will be noon to 7 p.m., Monday through Saturday. Read more about the enterprise here.

Brad Hales is selling vinyl again from his new Woodward storefront. Yup, Peoples Records is back in business. The shop, located at 3161 Woodward, will be open 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Saturday. Call 313-831-0864 and read all about it here.

Last but not least, Inside Detroit's Welcome Center is open at the Lofts at Merchant Row. Hours are 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Saturday. The organization has put a call out to Detroit-based businesses for promotional materials that will be distributed at the space. Read more about the Welcome Center here. Its address is 1253 Woodward; call 313-268-6562.

Writer: Kelli B. Kavanaugh


Round-up: Supino serving slices, Wasabi's opening imminent and more...

Some news of note from around town:
  • Supino Pizza on Russell Street in Eastern Market is open and serving pizza by the slice and by the pie. A small cheese pizza starts at $7 for small and $11 for large and specialty pies -- like the Smoky, with prosciutto, mozzarella, gouda and ricotta -- go for $11 and $17 respectively.  Read more about owner David Mancini and his inspiration for the restaurant here. Call 313-567-7879.
  • Wasabi -- the Asian fusion restaurant located on the ground floor of the Park Shelton -- has also opened. Read about the spot here.
  • The new Radio Shack has opened at Studio One, joining Utrecht. Fifth Third Bank should be next -- it is expected to open in September.
  • Royal Kabob, a Middle Eastern restaurant, has opened in Hamtramck. It's located in the new retail plaza at the corner of Caniff and Gallagher. The address is 3236 Caniff; read more about the plaza development here.
Got a tip? Email development news editor Kelli B. Kavanaugh with it at kellibkav@issuemediagroup.com. She'll be eternally grateful.

Writer: Kelli B. Kavanaugh


Tour Detroit's urban farms and community gardens tomorrow evening

Here's your chance to tour Detroit's urban agriculture network -- the very one getting attention from the New York Times, Harper's and Oprah Magazine. The 11th Annual Detroit Agriculture Network (DAN) Tour of Urban Gardens and Farms is set for Wednesday, August 6.

There are three simultaneous tours that evening: bus tours will take participants either west or east, while a bike tour will focus on the Greater Downtown area. DAN's garden resource program has grown to include 320 backyard, 160 community and 40 school gardens -- that's an increase of 50% from last year -- and the tour aims to showcase ones that are unique, particularly productive or have an otherwise unique story to tell.

Interested? Last year's tour sold out, with 500 participants, so registration is required. Call 313-237-8736 to do so.

Registration begins at 5 p.m. at Katharine Ferguson Academy, 2750 Selden, and the tours will take off at 6 p.m. sharp. After the tour, enjoy a locally-grown feast. The tour cost, which is tax-deductible and will be used to grow DAN, is a sliding scale of $1 to $20.

Source: Lindsay Turpin, Garden Resource Program coordinator
Writer: Kelli B. Kavanaugh


Wayne County land bank to release 7,000 properties

Today, the Wayne County Land Bank will release a list of their inventory of 7,000 tax-reverted parcels. Qualifying non-profit organizations and adjacent residential landowners will be able to purchase property for a nominal fee as long as they adhere to certain criteria that includes maintaining and/or rehabilitating the property.

Properties will be disposed of on a first-come, first-served basis to qualifying entities. 


The Land Bank is a collaborative effort between County Executive Robert Ficano and Treasurer Raymond Wojtowicz. The process begins today at 3 p.m.
with an informational session for qualified non-profits. Further information is available at the Land Bank website.

Source: Jill Ferrarri,
Executive Project Manager, Wayne County
Writer: Kelli B. Kavanaugh


The Dequindre Cut trail is nearly complete -- just a few finishing touches left

Model D can't blame you for being anxious to walk or ride the Dequindre Cut if you've seen how great it looks from one of its three access points -- Woodbridge, Lafayette or Gratiot. But Will Tamminga of the Detroit Economic Growth Corp. says in six more weeks, the project will be complete, and that's when the agency will remove the fencing that currently blocks access.

"It looks like it's finished, but we still have landscaping, amenity packages, lights and a camera system," he says. "That's why we haven’t officially opened it." The amenities will include benches, trash receptacles and the like.

Tamminga says that a grand opening will be held once the trail is complete. Read more about the total vision for the Dequindre Cut here.

Source: Will Tamminga, DEGC
Writer: Kelli B. Kavanaugh


Recycle Here! expands reach throughout city, adds drop-off locations

Recycle Here! is expanding its reach, making it easier for residents from various neighborhoods to drop-off their goods. New drop-off sites are located in Southwest Detroit, East English Village and Palmer Park.

In its first 18 months of operation, the program has reached more than 20,000 participants and has collected more that 1.3 million pounds of recyclables.

Its main facility, at 1331 Holden, is open every Wednesday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. and Saturdays from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.

The  full schedule of rotating drops sites is as follows:

1st Saturday of every month:
Eastern Market, Wilkins and Russell, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
 
2nd Saturday of every month:
Corktown, Roosevelt Park, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
East English Village, E. Warren Ave. and Farmbrook, 8 a.m. to noon
 
3rd Saturday of every month:
Palmer Park, swimming pool lot, from 8 a.m. to noon
Rosedale Park, Christ The King Church, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. 

4th Saturday of every month:
Southwest Detroit, Clark Park, 8 a.m. to noon
Creekside, Jefferson and Chalmers, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Source: Matt Naimi, Recycle Here!
Writer: Kelli B. Kavanaugh


Eastern Market pizza restaurant to bring more rustic Italian dining to neighborhood

Rustic Italian will be on the menu when Piazza Detroit opens its doors in Eastern Market later this year. The restaurant is slated for the old Del Bene building on Russell St. at Winder.

Piazza will serve pizza, pasta, salads, soups and steaks; everything will be cooked in oak-fired ovens. The restaurant will span the basement and the first floor, approximately 6-7,000 square feet. It will seat 140 people.

Scot Turnbull and his partners in the venture bought the building because of its location and determined that a restaurant was perfect for the space. "There is a great crowd that visits the market every day," he says.

Initially, lunch and dinner will be served, but Sunday brunch is being considered.

Turnbull is also contemplating opening a boutique hotel with seven to 10 rooms and banquet space on the upper floors of the building.

Source: Scot Turnbull, Piazza Detroit
Writer: Kelli B. Kavanaugh


Detroit preservation group releases list of 10 endangered buildings, announces name change

In an effort to instigate a citywide dialogue about historic buildings that are in danger of demolition, Preservation Wayne — now called Preservation Detroit — has released a list entitled Endangered Buildings List 2008. It includes iconic structures like the Michigan Central Station, Lee Plaza Apartments, Forest Arms and the Vanity Ballroom.

The list also draws attention to several broader categories such as religious buildings no longer in use, retired schools and foreclosed single family houses.

"These are widespread issues that will require widespread solutions," says the organization's executive director Francis Grunow. "A wholesale approach is a better approach."

Conversation about endangered buildings was a focal point of the group's annual membership meeting that was held on Thursday, May 22 at the Detroit Boat Club on Belle Isle -- another structure on the list.

At the event, which was attended by 150, Grunow also made the announcement that the organization was changing its name to Preservation Detroit. "It's exciting and very long overdue," he says.

Preservation Detroit host an awards ceremony on September 25 at the Colony Club on Park Avenue and are inviting nominations, which are due on June 13 and can be downloaded here: http://www.preservationwayne.org/docs/Awards_Nomination_2008.pdf.

Source: Francis Grunow, Preservation Detroit
Writer: Kelli B. Kavanaugh


D-Biz: Butcher and Packer stays true to Eastern Market roots

Butcher and Packer has been around since 1937, and president Fritz Blohm's family has run the business since 1951. Its Gratiot location and its name speak to its core business: wholesale distribution of supplies for meat processors and packers. "The name is very descriptive -- it's really not anything more than that," he says. "We sell the ingredients, the natural casings...anything and everything to process meat -- except the meat."

The company does sell retail, but its its main business is the meat packing industry -- which has evolved over the years from local corner butcher shops to large national chains. When B&P opened there were seven or eight butcher suppliers in the city of Detroit, five within Eastern Market alone.

Blohm says the concentration was due to the city's European immigrants, especially those of German and Polish descent.

Although many of the slaughterhouses have left the market area, he notes that two Halal houses have opened, owing to the growing Middle Eastern population in the area.

Times have changed, but B&P has managed to adapt. "We've survived here," says Blohm. "There was such a concentration, but now we are unique."

The operation has 15 employees and spans five storefronts. B&P is located at 1468 Gratiot. Call 313-567-1250.

Source: Fritz Blohm, Butcher and Packer
Writer: Kelli B. Kavanaugh


Supino Pizzeria is coming to Eastern Market

A visit to his father's hometown in Italy, Supino, inspired Dave Mancini to open his own pizzeria. Six years later, after much recipe tweaking and location-hunting, Supino Pizzeria will open on Russell St. in Eastern Market by mid-June.

Taking over the space formerly occupied by Flat Planet Pizza makes sense from an equipment standpoint, obviously, but it also gives Mancini access to fresh, locally-grown ingredients from the market. "To be able to walk across the street and go to the 'Grown in Detroit' stall -- say I find this great crop of asparagus today, so I'll bust out some asparagus pizza," he says. "It's a big part of the concept."

Mancini specializes in a thin crust pizza that he characterizes as a bit thinner than his family's but not quite as thin as New York-style. His signature pizza has black olives, garlic, chili oil, riccota cheese and red sauce and his menu will feature pancetta, guanciale, and "fantastic" prosciutto.

Mancini credits Jackie Victor from Avalon Bakery, whom he met at an Open City meeting, for connecting him with the owners of the space he is set to occupy. "I've lived in Detroit for 12 years and I really wanted to do something positive here," he says. "I didn't really want to do something in Farmington or Berkley, and they needed someone to occupy that space.

"It all kind of gelled in the past year."

Supino will be open 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Tuesday through Thursday and 11 a.m. to midnight Friday and Saturday. The address is 2457 Russell St.

Source: Dave Mancini, Supino Pizzeria
Writer: Kelli B. Kavanaugh


Also coming to Eastern Market: Taste of Ethiopia restaurant, truly by popular demand

The sign in the window of the former Cookie Factory-slash-Flying Apron claims that Taste of Ethiopia is opening in that location "By Popular Demand!" That sounds like a bold claim to make but, after talking to owner Meskerem (Meskie) Gebreyohannes, it turns out to be one that is true.

It seems that customers at her Southfield restaurant have been begging her to open one in Detroit. "People requested and requested. I kept hearing 'downtown, downtown, Detroit, Detroit,' " she says. "Demand is what brought us here."

After scouting locations for almost a year, Gebreyohannes is preparing to open in June in her corner spot.

Taste of Ethiopia will serve food prepared at the Southfield location buffet-style Monday through Friday 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday brunch, served from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m., will serve waffles and crepes alongside more Ethiopian fare such as bulghar.

Gebreyohannes is looking forward to joining the Eastern Market community. "I am very excited -- and nervous too, since expectations are high," she says. "Hopefully, we do good and we integrate well."

Source: Meskerem (Meskie) Gebreyohannes
Writer: Kelli B. Kavanaugh


New Detroit greenways coordinator will boost efforts to create city trails

Michigan Trails and Greenways Alliance has created a new position dedicated to furthering a network of trails in Detroit.

The new Detroit greenways coordinator, Todd Scott, will coordinate maintenance, fundraising, security, programming, promotions and development for the eight greenways under various stages of planning and development within the city.

Scott comes to the position with a great deal of experience in cycling advocacy. He is the former director of the Michigan Mountain Biking Association and has been involved with numerous other initiatives, including the citizen’s committee for Michigan State Parks, MDOT Metro Region Nonmotorized Advisory Committee, City of Ferndale Bicycle Committee and the League of Michigan Bicyclists.

"Todd’s skilled advocacy, wealth of knowledge about nonmotorized transportation and recreation, and understanding of and enthusiasm for the revitalization of Detroit are key ingredients that he brings to this project," stated Nancy Krupiarz, Executive Director of MTGA.

Scott is currently acclimating himself to the various greenways projects on the table, including the Midtown Loop, Corktown-Mexicantown Greenlink and Connor Creek Greenway. "The greenways in Detroit have so much variety in terms of where groups are at," says Scott. "I'm finding that there are similar challenges and different challenges."

Finding affordable liability insurance for the nonprofits sponsoring the various greenways was Scott's first task. He also hopes to work on integrating Detroit's burgeoning trails network with the larger regional one and has some ideas about encouraging on-road cycling. "One thing that I really bring to the table because I ride so much is that I know how to get around," he says. "We can make connections between these trail networks."

Source: Todd Scott, MTGA
Writer: Kelli B. Kavanaugh


D-Biz: Counting 21 businesses in 19 neighborhoods, and we want more of your faves

In October 2007, Model D kicked off a recurring series called D-Biz that is designed to draw attention to small businesses in Detroit that are unique or fill an important niche in their community.

Part of the reason we wanted to start this series was to highlight businesses that are not new but still deliver important services to Detroiters. The city's small businesses are a big part of what make Detroit's neighborhoods liveable, but they don't often get media attention.

As of last week, D-Biz has covered all of our featured neighborhoods. Here's a look at the 21 businesses in 19 neighborhoods that we've covered in the last six months, from bike shops to optical shops, from coffee shops to photo studios, and even a tennis racquet repair shop:


D-Biz will continue, and Model D encourages readers to share their neighborhood faves to be considered for coverage. Email kellibkav@issuemediagroup.com with your ideas.

Writer: Kelli B. Kavanaugh


Greening of Detroit expands Corktown offices, plans busy spring season

Greening of Detroit is spreading its roots: it has expanded its Michigan Ave. office space by a third, to 3,000 square feet. The extra room was desperately needed: the organization will grow from nine employees in 2007 to 25 by the end of 2008.

The additional staff will be busy this spring planting season. Its core mission is reforesting the city, and tree plantings are scheduled weekly from April 19 through June 7, with an estimated 1,500 trees going into the ground.

Planting so many trees requires plenty of volunteers; call the office at 313-237-8733. A special call is out for hands at a May 17 planting in East English Village, for which 250 slots still need filling.

Greening is also a partner in the ever-growing (no pun intended) Garden Resource Program, which supports urban agriculture in the city. Last year, over 5,500 residents participated in 220 family, 115 community and 20 school gardens. More than 120 tons of food were grown, and Greening is anticipating a 20% increase in both participation and output this year.

Little marketing is done to promote such an increase, says Greening's Ashley Atkinson. "It is literally growing down the street from house to house," she says. "It's really cool, committed people that we are attracting, and that's encouraging." Visit GRP's website to find out how to sign up and when plant pick-ups and workdays are scheduled.

One last thing: Greening's annual tree sale is scheduled for April 19 at Eastern Market, but Atkinson recommends reserving plants ahead of time. With just a month to go, half of the 1,400 trees, bushes and shrubs are already sold.

Source: Ashley Atkinson, Greening of Detroit
Writer: Kelli B. Kavanaugh
Photograph: Marvin Shaouni
Marvin Shaouni is the managing photographer for Model D & Metromode


Detroit one of 9 cities chosen for AIA sustainability audit, planning session

The American Institute of Architects has selected Detroit as one of nine cities that will receive a sustainability audit from a Sustainable Design Assessment Team later this year.

Teams of volunteer professionals like architects, urban designers, planners, hydrologists, economists and attorneys will come to the city for a three-day charette and team up with local architecture and engineering students, along with government officials, community groups and other stakeholders.

Diane VanBuren Jones of WARM Training spearheaded the SDAT application and is now coordinating the assessment itself. She says the out-of-town experts will arrive with "a national eye on how sustainability will work in your community."

Jones is particularly interested in mapping the city's energy systems. "We will take it down to the level of each business," she says.

The group could look at a tortilla factory, for example, she says. "It brings in corn and wheat -- some of it from Ohio instead of Michigan -- and the production uses a ton of natural gas. There is people energy and transportation energy and energy to heat and light the building." A map of all such systems would allow experts to close some energy loops. "How much would be spent on all of those energy systems if we got smart about it?" she asks.

The process is motivated by the environment and economics. Money saved by increased energy efficiency can create prosperity and new jobs, says Jones.

Which is why her next task is identifying funding sources for entrepreneurs, neighborhoods and developers interested in investing in green technologies such as solar panels or anaerobic digesters.

Jones anticipates that the SDAT will focus on areas with a framework for environmental initiatives already in place, like Southwest Detroit, the Woodward Corridor and Eastern Market.

Jones is currently working with several universities, including Wayne State, Michigan State and University of Michigan, to select the date for the SDAT.

Source: Diane VanBuren Jones, WARM Training
Writer: Kelli B. Kavanaugh


Eastern Market to share master plan at Feb. 29 town hall session

The Eastern Market Corp. is hosting a town hall meeting on Feb. 29 to share details of the organization's draft master plan for the district.

The plan, created by Chan Krieger Sieniewicz of Boston, divides the neighborhood into six distinct areas. "The market is so massive and there is so much vacant land and underutilized buildings, the plan has come up with proposed sub-districts," says Kim Hill of the EMC.

The core district is, of course, the public market area. The plan focuses on improving operations, quality control and shed renovations.

The Orleans Corridor is already dense with wholesale businesses and slaughterhouses. Hill says the plan recommends growing those types of businesses while adding additional smaller businesses, lofts, restaurants and bars to the area.

The Rivard/Mack Sector is home to wholesalers with larger footprints, a role it is expected to continue. It is recommended as the market's primary truck route.

The Wilkins Corridor, which runs east and west, is being looked at as a  connection axis between the market and its neighbors.

A key stakeholder in this area is the Detroit Edison Public School Academy on St. Aubin. The school is working with EMC and the Greening of Detroit to incorporate food production into its curriculum; a 2.5-acre city parcel is being pursued in order to implement this concept.

Hill says the organization is also looking into ways to create energy from food waste, a plan that she hopes to see implemented in 2009.

The fifth sub-district is the Dequindre Cut, a pedestrian and bicycle trail being carved out of an unused, depressed rail line. The current phase of development, which will run from the East Riverfront to Gratiot, will be complete in July 2008. Hill hopes to see it eventually extend up to Wilkins.

Finally, the plan examines the Gratiot Ave. Corridor, calling for a furthering of its current mixed-use condition. "It's a pretty cool place already," says Hill. "We want to continue to build upon what it already is: lofts, art, community." Of particular interest is improving connectivity across Gratiot.

The draft plan can be downloaded at DetroitEasternMarket.com.

The meeting will be held at noon at EMC's offices, 2934 Russell Street. RSVPs are requested; call 313.833.9300 or email dbarton@detroiteasternmarket.com.

Source: Kim Hill, EMC
Writer: Kelli B. Kavanaugh



City looking for developer to create 4,000 units of permanent housing for homeless

The City of Detroit has released a request for proposals for the development of 4,000 units of service-supported rental housing targeted to the homeless. The NEXT Detroit Permanent Supportive Housing Initiative is looking for developers  teamed up with service providers to deliver such a product.

The city, along with partner organization Detroit Collaborative to End Homelessness Together, recently completed a ten year plan for the elimination of homelessness that calls for a three-pronged strategy: the development of permanent housing called for in this RFP along with prevention and rapid re-housing.

Elterro Carroll, deputy director of the planning and development department hopes that this first round will generate 250 to 500 units over the course of the next two years. He anticipates that applicants will be both teams of developers and service providers as well as single organizations, such as Southwest Solutions, that already do both.

The RFP is deliberately vague as to the size and scope of proposed developments, leaving the door open for large projects sited on large parcels as well as smaller ones; types of housing called for include units designed to serve families, youth and the chronically homeless.

Prospective applicants can pick up an RFP from PDD's Welcome Center on the second floor of Cadillac Tower. They also can view and download the RFP at the City’s Website, www.detroitmi.gov/pdd. On Feb. 27, applicants are invited to attend an RFP information session at 10:30 a.m. in the department’s 23rd floor conference room. Completed proposals are due on March 28 and development teams selections will be announced on May 1. For more information call 313-224-1538.

Source: Elterro Trent Carroll, PDD
Writer: Kelli B. Kavanaugh


D-Biz: Gabriel Imports stocks the best in olives, feta and other specialty foods

Gabriel Import Co. is jam-packed with an incredible variety of olives, feta cheese and olive oil -- not to mention family-made hummus, spinach and meat pies, za'atar herb bread and spicy cheese balls.

The family of owner Michael Sandros has run Gabriel since 1945; the original owners were relatives that started the business in 1915. The shop moved to Market St. from its Russell St. location in 2002.

Sandros is effusive about his products. He carries green olives with and without pits as well as varieties stuffed with blue or white cheese, garlic, almonds, anchovies, pimentos and jalapeno. His black olives include kalamata from Greece and alphonso from Chile. He also stocks pickled turnips, mixed vegetables, stuffed eggplant and peperoncini.

Feta choices include domestic and imported versions of Greek as well as French (milder) and Bulgarian (sharper). Olive oil runs the gamut from top-notch extra virgin to lower-grade pomace.

Sandros worries about his shop's future, with the dispersion of his base immigrant customers and the rise of low-sodium diets. But he plans to keep pushing ahead. "With the help of God, we've found a way to survive," he says.

Gabriel also carries an assortment of rice, sauces, spices, canned and jarred goods and pita breads. Hours are Mon. through Fri. 9:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Sat. 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. It is located at 2434 Market St. next to Farmer's Restaurant. Call 313-567-2890.

Source: Michael Sandros, Gabriel Import Co.
Writer: Kelli B. Kavanaugh


Roundup: Candy Co. lofts all leased; new owner at Lager House

A collection of news and tidbits from around town:

• It seems like rental lofts in Eastern Market are going like proverbial hotcakes. Just two months ago, we reported that the FD Lofts were almost 100% occupied. Now we can report that the four-unit Detroit Candy Co. building on Gratiot is fully leased and occupied, within one month of its completion.

Spirit of Hope Church in North Corktown (formerly Trinity Episcopal) has built a community garden that features some new public art: a brick archway by noted artist Jerome Ferretti.

• TV Sports Bar and Grill has opened up at 2548 Grand River Ave. downtown, recently home to Half Past Three. Same owners, different vibe: There's food and, more importantly, 35 high-definition screens, enough to never miss a game. But don't look for Lions beer mirrors, as TV is striving for the higher end of the sports bar spectrum.

• Much rumor and misinformation has been circling the interweb about the Lager House -- it's sold, it's not sold, it's open, it's closed. Well, it is finally safe to say that it is sold, but still open. And so far, not much has changed (well, except that it is cleaner and now serves drinks in actual glasses). New owner P.J. Ryder does have plans for some programming diversification, i.e., booking bands that are not just firmly in the realm of rock and roll. The Lager is open six days a week until 2 a.m.

Writer: Kelli B. Kavanaugh


Work starts on Dequindre Cut's transformation

With brush-clearing in progress, the Dequindre Cut already looks different than it did earlier this summer. For starters, you can see more of its famous graffiti.

The depressed rail corridor is being transformed into a pedestrian and bike pathway that connects the East Riverfront to Eastern Market from Woodbridge to Gratiot. The Detroit Economic Growth Corp. has contracted with ABC Paving Co. to build the $3 million enhancement project, which is expected to be complete by May 31, 2008.

Once the one-mile stretch is completely cleared, four unused bridges will be demolished, although their vertical concrete abutments will remain in place in order to preserve their graffiti. "Unless it is obscene or offensive, our policy is to leave it in place," says DEGC project manager Michael Dempsey of the graffiti. "We also want to encourage new works to the extent that the artists are willing to do that -- as long as they pick up their aerosol cans after themselves!"

Over the winter, site preparation will take place with the bulk of the construction — paving, installation of lights and security cameras and landscaping — happening in the spring.

When more money is secured, amenities like benches and interpretive signage will be added to the Cut. The eventual hope is to extend the pathway, although the corridor north of Gratiot is privately owned. At the other end toward the river, the three blocks between Woodbridge and Atwater, known as the Dequindre Trail, are currently in design phase.

The Dequindre Cut will be maintained in perpetuity by the Detroit Riverfront Conservancy.

Source: Michael Dempsey, DEGC
Writer: Kelli B. Kavanaugh


Talkin' turkey at Eastern Market: Murals down; $1.3M project wrapping by Thanksgiving

The murals are gone! The murals are gone!

Although the removal of the kitschy murals from Shed 2 has not been without controversy, now that they are gone the debate has been rendered moot. The warm historic brick and the words "Eastern Market" have been revealed, and frankly, it looks great.

The $1.3 million project also includes replacing and repairing bricks, removal of paint from the shed's interior and replacing the wood surrounding the upper perimeter. Work will be complete mid-November.

When the shed re-opens there will be one very visible change: the central concession stand will have been replaced with an area that will be programmed by the Eastern Market Corp. "It will be a stage for educational opportunities," says Kimberly Hill, the organization's director of outreach and community relations. Expect cooking demonstrations, healthy food presentations and other events such as "Shop with a chef."

Shed 2 will have a focus on locally-grown food, meaning those grown in Michigan, Ohio and Ontario. "Michigan is our number one focus," says Hill, "including community urban agriculture." It will also feature other homegrown products, such as locally-baked bread and locally-grown cut flowers.

Hill says work will proceed to each and every shed, with Shed 3 up next. After Shed 3 is complete, the organization plans to add more days of the week to the market's hours of operation. "We really want to make Eastern Market the premium 'supermarket' destination in the city of Detroit," she says. "As our customer base increases, so will our days of operation."

Shed 2's restoration was funded by the Hudson Webber, Kresge and Kellogg Foundations, DTE, the City of Detroit and the State of Michigan.

Source: Kimberly Hill, Eastern Market Corp.
Writer: Kelli B. Kavanaugh


Social Compact study findings make powerful statement about Detroit's growing core

Washington, D.C.-based Social Compact has released initial findings from its study of Detroit demographics. The numbers revealed by their DrillDown approach paints a wealthier and more populous picture of Detroit than does the Census.

This is good news for the Detroit Economic Growth Corp., which plans to use the information to attract retailers to the city. The findings include:
  • The resident population of Detroit is 933,043, nearly 62,000 more than projected by the current Census population estimates. 
  • The average income of a Detroit household is $48,000 as opposed to the 2000 Census estimate of $40,900. 
  • There is $800 million of informal economic activity in Detroit's economy each year. This is income like tips, side-consulting, baby-sitting and the like that do not register on traditional market measures.
  • The aggregate income of Detroit households, $15.8 billion, is $2 billion greater than indicated by 2000 Census estimates.
  • At least $1.7 billion of resident retail spending is being leaked outside the city limits.
Traditional census methods tend to undervalue older urban cities for several reasons, one of them being a bias towards new home construction. "The bureau assumes that a certain percentage of homes built before 1940 are retired each year," says Social Compact president and CEO, John Talmage. "The burden rests on the city to prove otherwise."

Immigrants and intergenerational households are also often under-counted.

"This really creates better information for actual business people, developers and brokers," says DEGC project manager Olga Savic. The organization will work to educate these entities, along with government officials and community development corporations, as to how these numbers can be used to leverage commercial investment.

There will also be more surveying at the neighborhood level, which has the potential to reveal even more residents and income. "The numbers are good enough to go after grocery stores now," says Talmage. "It's just going to get better."

Download a copy of the report here.

Source: John Talmage, Social Compact and Olga Savic, DEGC
Writer: Kelli B. Kavanaugh


Networking group launched to encourage new Detroit businesses

Any slightly-observant Detroit resident -- or even an intermittent Model D reader -- has likely noticed that new businesses are sprouting up all around the city. It's just not happening quickly enough for a couple of local entrepreneurs who have started Open City, a networking group for would-be Detroit business owners.

Over 60 people, a mix of aspiring and actual business owners, attended the group's kick-off meeting at Cliff Bell's on September 18. "We wanted to introduce people to the concept of having a group whose purpose is simply to encourage them and educate them about opening a business in Detroit in an informal manner," says co-founder Liz Blondy of Canine to Five Detroit Dog Daycare.

Blondy and her cohort, Clare Nelson of The Bureau of Urban Living, realized that there were plenty of hurdles standing in the way of starting up a business in Detroit, such as red tape, the perception that the city is unsafe and is not a place where money can be made. Start-up financing is also an issue.

They think the effort is worth it. "People will be so appreciative. They will notice it more then if you open in the suburbs," Blondy said in her opening remarks. "You’ll get more PR for opening in Detroit. Detroiters crave new exciting businesses. Being located in Detroit will help distinguish your business. A high end modern furniture store in Birmingham? There are like four of them. In Detroit, it is unique."

Detroiter Dave Mancini has been contemplating opening up a pizza parlor in the city for several years. "I gave up on Detroit, to be honest," Mancini says. "It was difficult to get in touch with the type of people I needed to get in touch with, and I was having trouble finding space that was not prohibitively expensive to rehab." He attended the meeting as a last-ditch effort at the urging of a friend.

He's glad he did. "There was such good energy from so many people," Mancini says. He was greatly encouraged by keynote speaker Jackie Victor of Avalon Breads. "Having talked to her made me feel better about my prospects down here," he says. "Since the meeting, I've been making more calls. I realize that I haven't turned over every rock yet."

Open City's next meeting will take place October 16. For more information, contact Blondy at liz@caninetofivedetroit.com.

Source: Liz Blondy, Open City
Writer: Kelli B. Kavanaugh


FD Lofts almost fully-occupied by mixed-use tenants

Twenty five of the 27 completed units at the FD Lofts in Eastern Market are currently leased. The building will ultimately feature 30 units when construction on the last three wraps up in November.

Developer Bob Heide is proud of his mix of tenants. Five of the building's units are used solely for business, five for live-work spaces and the rest for residential. The immediately-available units are two of five that have been designed as office or studio space and share a common bathroom.

Heide's goal is to go condo with the development after the five-year historic tax credit abatement period expires. He offers tenants first dibs on their unit and $100 credit for each month they live in the building. "If they've lived here five years, that's 60 months (and) $6,000 off the sales price," he says. "The vast majority of current tenants have expressed interest in purchasing their unit when they are able."

That level of commitment to the building has resulted in many of the tenants signing multi-year leases. "We're looking for good, quality, longterm tenants," Heide says.

Heide attributes the success of the FD Lofts to planned improvements to Eastern Market's infrastructure, as well as its retail and restaurant offerings. "It's an up-and-coming area of the city, a walkable portion of the city," he says.

Rent ranges from $1,000 to $1,500 per month. The three residential units that will be available in November as well as the two available office/studio spaces are available for viewings by appointment. Contact Heide at 313-832-3000.

Source: Bob Heide, Urban Life Development
Writer: Kelli B. Kavanaugh


New Eastern Market Welcome Center re-opened and refurbished

The Eastern Market Welcome Center, located at 1445 Adelaide at Market St., has reopened after a refurbishment sponsored by the Eastern Market Corporation. Kimberly Hill, EMC's director of outreach and community relations, says the improvements included "painting, lighting and cleaning." She says the purpose of the welcome center is to provide a "vibrant, colorful gathering space" in a "central location" for guests of the market.

The welcome center, open Saturdays from 7 a.m. to 4 p.m., sells Eastern Market merchandise such as book markers, coffee mugs, aprons and postcards as well as gardening guides. It also serves as an information center, providing maps, directions and restaurant menus. Another of its uses is for the meeting site for Preservation Wayne tours, which are held every Saturday at 10 a.m.

Long term, Hill says, the welcome center will host events as well — "Like cooking demonstrations, food safety, those types of things." It is also a place where she hopes people will join the Friends of Eastern Market. Members receive an exclusive canvas shopping bag in recognition of their support.

Hill also notes that construction on Shed 2 of the market will start on August 24 and that the last Saturday for vendors in that shed will be August 11.

Source: Kimberly Hill, Eastern Market Corporation
Writer: Kelli B. Kavanaugh


DFC begins construction on new Eastern Market HQ

Construction began last week on the renovation of the building that will become the home of the Detroit Film Center. The three-story, 10,000 square-foot former meat packing plant in Eastern Market is located on the service drive of the Chrysler freeway, around the corner from the Flying Apron Bakery.

The current phase of construction will build out the ground floor, which will house DFC operations. The space will include classrooms, offices and a screening room. This phase will also see facade improvements and the construction of a new staircase to the upper floors that does not require access into the DFC space.

Once the DFC is moved into their new digs, construction will proceed on the upper stories. DFC president Robert Anderson says the intended uses are a yoga studio on the second floor and two rental lofts on the third.

Anderson says the DFC's goal is to celebrate the grand opening of its new headquarters the week of October 17, in order to tie it in with this year's Detroit Docs Film Festival.

Source: Robert Anderson, DFC
Writer: Kelli B. Kavanaugh


Detroit development is target for new ShoreBank loan fund manager

On July 2, John Schoeniger began work as Loan Fund Manager at ShoreBank Enterprise Detroit (SED), a nonprofit affiliate of ShoreBank Corporation. Most recently, Schoeniger was Vice President of Residential Real Estate Lending for ShoreBank in Cleveland.

Schoeniger will work primarily with small- and mid-sized developers and minority- and female-owned small businesses. Money from the fund can be used for predevelopment and preconstruction financing as well as predevelopment work such as appraisals, environmental assessments and architecture and engineering. "We want to fill gaps if there are any," he says. "We are willing to be creative and flexible, up to and including equity or equity-like deals."

The new position became necessary when SED received nearly $12 million in investments and loans from the Ford and Knight foundations in January. The fund's goal is specific: build and renovate commercial and residential properties in Detroit, particularly in Next Detroit neighborhoods. Schoeniger's goal is to have $2 million "out the door" in the twelve months.

He points out that funds from SED can be used to leverage conventional financing and/or to fill in any gaps that remain in a development portfolio. A developer, he says, "might have some of the money, but not all. We will try to figure out what they need and how to get it to them."

Schoeniger came to banking from a background in construction and real estate which, he says, helps him "communicate to all kinds of small- to mid-sized contractors and developers." He sees "rust belt" parallels between his experiences in Cleveland and the initiative he has undertaken in Detroit.

Source: John Schoeniger, SED
Writer: Kelli B. Kavanaugh


Eastern Market's Detroit Candy Co. 4-unit building ready for occupancy Aug. 1

The 4-unit Detroit Candy Co. Building on Gratiot at Jay is in the process of securing final inspections; first move-ins are expected on August 1.

The first-floor unit includes the basement. It is 1,800-square feet and will rent for $1,400 per month. The other three 1,500-square feet units each occupy an entire floor, have private elevator access and will rent for $1,300 per month. All units feature poured concrete counters and custom cabinetry as well as stainless steel appliances.

Developer Ryan Cooley of O'Connor Real Estate and Development says he has already been receiving two to three calls each week on the building without the benefit of advertising. He attributes the interest to the building's location. "Eastern Market has one of the best potentials for urban landscape residential living," Cooley says. He believes the planned upgrades to the market, spearheaded by Eastern Market Corporation, will only increase that potential. "It will be that much more attractive. I think we're a little early where we're at, but I certainly think we're getting close," he says. "Interest is picking up instead of people just talking about potential."

Cooley and his partners plan to convert the buildings to condominiums in five years, as soon as state and federal historic tax credits regulations allow.

Source: Ryan Cooley, O'Connor Real Estate and Development
Writer: Kelli B. Kavanaugh


Detroit Evolution Laboratory to begin serving organic food, teaching yoga and more on June 23


Detroit Evolution Laboratory will host an open house June 23 with free massages, yoga classes and samples of raw, vegan and vegetarian food. It is located at 1434 Gratiot on the second floor -- entry is in the rear.

Partners Gregg Newsom and Angela Kasmala conceive Detroit Evolution as "incubator for a series of businesses."

Yoga classes will be offered twice daily six days a week. A massage instructor and practitioner, Newsom will also offer on-site and traveling massage therapy.

Kasmala will teach cooking classes, beginning with a basic vegetarian course on June 30. Future classes will include raw foods, macrobiotic, glute- and wheat-free and a shopping tour of Eastern Market.

As for organic food, Detroit Evolution will prepare pre-ordered meals that will be dropped off at one Midtown and one downtown location daily. The menu will include a daily sandwich special, a create-your-own salad, one vegetarian entree and another that will be either vegan or raw. The two entrees will be featured for an entire week.

Orders must be placed by 10 a.m. and can be processed on-line. Food will be prepared in commercial kitchens in Eastern Market churches creating "another community aspect" according to Newsom.

In the fall, Detroit Evolution will begin delivering food with a vegetable oil-fueled van. They hope to open a dine-in space in the spring.

Detroit Evolution will also offer workshops on sustainable living, alternative energies and greening concepts. For this reason, they feel it is essential to be located in Eastern Market. "This is where people in Detroit connect to the land," Newsom says.

Sources: Gregg Newsom and Angela Kasmala, Detroit Evolution Laboratory
Writer: Kelli B. Kavanaugh


Flying Apron Bakery swoops into Eastern Market

The Flying Apron Bakery opened on Russell Street in April. Owner Mary Wolfe once worked at The Cookie Factory, the bakery that occupied the space for years. "I saw the potential in this place then," Wolfe says.

The Flying Apron sells donuts, croissants, bagels, brownies and muffins. Wolfe will also bake cakes and pies to order. Coffee and capuccino are available and Wolfe plans to add fresh smoothies, flavored tea and lemonade soon.

Wolfe says she was welcomed to the Eastern Market community by neighboring businesses and residents alike. "The antique store gave me tables and chairs and the wine shop gave me barrels for display," she says. The bakery currently seats about 15. Wolfe says she will add outdoor seating.

The bakery's unusual name represents "running around," says Wolfe, who, upon request, will send her aproned staff out to the sheds to deliver a farmer's order. Now, customers are bringing her vintage aprons to be displayed on the walls.

Current hours are Tuesday through Saturday, from 6 a.m. until 4 p.m., although Wolfe plans to eventually stay open seven days. "The neighborhood people have been asking," she says.

Source: Mary Wolfe, The Flying Apron
Writer: Kelli B. Kavanaugh


Roundup: restaurants, H&R Block open around town

Here's a round-up of several new businesses and openings around town:

• The venerable Whitney has re-opened under new ownership. Read Model D's interview with new owner Bud Liebler here.

• H&R Block has opened a new branch office on Gratiot, just east of Eastern Market (pictured). Location information is here.

• Pizzeria Venti has opened on the campus of Wayne State University. Read all about it here.

• Lastly, a new Mexican/Italian restaurant has opened up in Southwest Detroit, El Barzon. The restaurant is on Junction just south of Michigan Avenue and features full menus of both cuisines. The restaurant is named after a Mexican revolutionary song about injustice in farm fields. El Barzon is at 3710 Junction; its phone number is 313.894.2070.



If you have any tips on a new business in Detroit, Hamtramck or Highland Park, let Model D know by emailing our development news editor Kelli B. Kavanaugh.


Public input sessions held for Detroit Transit Options for Growth Study

The cities of Detroit, Hamtramck, Highland Park and Dearborn have retained transit consultants to identify feasible rapid transit alternatives within the four cities. The study's managing agency, the Detroit Department of Transportation, is hosting four open houses in the coming week to share ideas and solicit input on the project, called Detroit Transit Options for Growth Study.
  • Mar. 21, 11 a.m. - 2 p.m. at the Guardian Building
  • Mar. 21, 5 p.m. - 8 p.m. at WSU McGregor Conference Center
  • Mar. 22, 5 p.m. - 8 p.m. at U-M Dearborn, Fairlane Center
  • Mar. 24, 10 a.m. - 1 p.m. at the Samaritan Center on Conner
Two presentations will be given at each event by DDOT staff and DTOGS consultants, potential routes and modes will be on display and questions and comments from the public will be heard.

The study is the first step in the formal process established by the Federal Transit Administration in securing federal funds for rapid transit.

Please RSVP to Tim Roseboom.

Source: DTOGS


Cityscape event to discuss historic preservation's effect on state economy

Cityscape Detroit will host an event entitled "The Economic Benefits of Historic Preservation" on Mar. 20. The keynote speaker will be Kristine Kidorf, a preservation consultant and board member of the Michigan Historic Preservation Network.

Kidorf will discuss the recent MHPN "Report Card" study that analyzes the impact that historic preservation has on Michigan's economy; in 2002-05, the years the study was conducted, $1.93 billion was added.

Because of this enormous impact, the study recommends increasing the state tax credit for historic preservation to 25% which, when coupled with the federal 20% credit, adds up to a 45% credit for a rehab project. Kidorf points out that since the state of Missouri enacted such a credit, not one historic building in St. Louis has been demolished.

She says the study also demonstrates, "For every $1 in credit, there was $11 in economic impact added."

The study can be downloaded here.

The Cityscape event begins at 6:30 p.m. and will be held at SmartDetroit on the Penobscot Building's 13th floor. It is free and open to the public. RSVPs are preferred; email rsvp@cityscapedetroit.org.

Source, Kristine Kidorf, Kidorf Preservation Consulting and MHPN


Boutique clothing manufacturing facility opens in Russell Industrial Center

Sarah Lurtz and Sarah Lapinski, best-known as the duo behind fashion line Wound Menswear, have opened a small manufacturing facility in the Russell Industrial Center. The 800 square-foot space includes 13 machines and a large cutting table, enough equipment to complete, as Lurtz describes it, “small-run production of a clothing line.”

Lurtz, Lapinski, their business partner and one other employee staff Motor City Sewing, and are currently hard at work producing the next Wound line, comprised of 64 jackets, 64 pairs of pants and 32 shirts each of two styles. While still learning what the shop’s capacity is, Lurtz estimates that a small line such as Wound can be turned around in 4-6 weeks, “standard production time” for the industry, she says.

Services available to other designers from Motor City Sewing include pattern drafting, sample sewing, cutting, fabric and material sourcing and grading. Lurtz and Lapinski also offer consulting services to other designers to help get a idea off the ground and into production.

Lurtz says she and Lapinski were inspired to open Motor City Sewing after realizing there was a void in the market of a boutique-style quality clothing manufacturing facility in the Midwest region. She is proud that the care tags sewn in to each garment produced at Motor City sewing will read, “Made in Detroit, USA.”

Upcoming events at Motor City Sewing include a Sunday brunch open house on March 11 and a Wound launch party on March 30 followed by a trunk sale of the line on March 31.

Source: Sarah Lurtz, Motor City Sewing and Wound Menswear


$400,000 awarded to arts community to establish Cultural Alliance of SE Michigan

The Cultural Alliance of SE Michigan has received $400,000 in start-up funding from the Community Foundation of Southeastern Michigan along with the McGregor Fund and the Hudson-Webber Foundation. The Alliance will work to increase collaborations between and visibility of arts and cultural organizations in the seven-county SEMCOG region.

The Cultural Alliance will represent the arts and culture community in regional planning efforts and will market the programs and amenities of member organizations to a diverse group of audiences.

The chairman of the Cultural Alliance’s board will be Steven K. Hamp, former president of The Henry Ford and Chief of Staff of Ford Motor Co. “The Cultural Alliance represents a new era for the arts and culture in our region,” he said in a release. “It embraces all dimensions of the cultural community: performing arts, visual arts, history and historic preservation, community cultural activities, arts education, science and nature, libraries and literature. Our goal is to foster innovation and creativity and enable our many and diverse cultural resources to contribute more dynamically to the people and communities of southeastern Michigan.”

All participating parties stress the Alliance’s inclusiveness, as organizations both big and small, fledgling and established, will have access to the collective’s resources and expertise.

More than 60 organizations from across all seven counties participated in an 18-month planning process to develop the Cultural Alliance, and several hundred will be invited to participate.

Source: CFSEM


Good old Butcher's Inn back in business in Eastern Market

Eastern Market mainstay Butcher's Inn re-opened under new ownership for breakfast and lunch over Labor Day weekend; but now that its liquor license is in place, it will also be open for dinner six nights a week. The restaurant is at 1489 Winder.

While the appearance of the restaurant and bar's first floor looks much the same as it previously did, the second floor has been transformed into a “quiet, more lounge-y atmosphere,” owner Don Bailey says. With wi-fi and self-serve coffee priced at just $1.33, he hopes that it will draw a steady clientele not looking for the bar or restaurant scene.

With his three other partners, Bailey was looking to open a restaurant in either Midtown, Eastern Market or downriver. On a Saturday morning shopping trip to the market, he spotted a for-sale sign on Butcher’s and ended up buying it. “It was kind of like fate,” he remembers.

As for being located in Eastern Market, Bailey appreciates being able to “walk to most of the places that we buy [our produce] from.” Soup is made everyday with fresh market goods, and two-three daily dinner specials will be selected based on what is available that very day.

The menu has been updated from Butcher’s previous incarnation, but has retained the Grand Marnier-infused French toast that was a customer favorite; a new item is the John Sinclair burger that features an olive-mayo dressing.

Butcher’s will serve dinner until is closes, at “ten-ish,” and Sunday brunch will be added in March.

Source: Don Bailey, Butcher's Inn


Six civic groups come together as 'One D' to seek regional solutions

The leaders of six regional organizations have announced a new collaboration, called One D, that aims to address pressing issues in Southeast Michigan.

The heads of United Way for Southeastern Michigan, the Detroit Metro Convention & Visitors Bureau, Cultural Alliance of Southeastern Michigan, the Detroit Regional Chamber, New Detroit and Detroit Renaissance said Tuesday morning that they will work together to focus on:
• Economic prosperity;
• Educational preparedness;
• Regional transit;
• Race relations;
• Regional cooperation;
• And quality of life.

No government agency specifically was represented among the six leaders of the alliance, but Michael Brennan, CEO of the regional United Way, said the group's make-up is significant because private sector leadership plays an important role in growing and uniting the region. "There is no mayor of Southeast Michigan, no county executive of Southeast Michigan," he said. On the other hand, the groups say their boards represent more than 250 local businesses, as well as countless nonprofits, community agencies and cultural groups.

One D member Shirely Stancato, CEO and president of New Detroit, said the group would present a specific agenda that includes a report card for the region at the chamber's Mackinac Conference in late May next year.

Brennan said that it's imperative to work together and show a united front for working regionally. During interviews for a recent United Way survey, respondents were asked to name a regional organization affecting change. "More often than ot we got a long pause," he said.  The One D coalition hopes to fill that void, he said.

Residents can learn more about the One D project during a special 30-minute broadcast on local PBS station WTVS (Channel 56) at 7 p.m. Monday, Nov. 20.

Writer: Clare Pfeiffer Ramsey
Source: One D

Preservationists sign on to unified vision

The Greater Detroit Historic Preservation Coalition ratified a "Vision for Detroit" document on October 17. The GDHPC is comprised of more than twenty organizations that believe that preserving Detroit's built environment is integral to its overall redevelopment. Member organizations include Preservation Wayne, Cityscape Detroit, Detroit Synergy and Riverfront East Alliance.

Francis Grunow, Preservation Wayne's executive director, credits the National Trust for Historic Preservation for bringing the organizations together in the wake of the demolition of the Madison and Lenox buildings. He says, "This coalition-building process with the National Trust over the last year has the been the catalyst for bringing the Detroit preservation community together."

The Vision document states the coalition's commitment to preservation and explains it reasons for this commitment, which include: job creation, tourism, return on investment, the city's identity and social justice.

For more information, contact Preservation Wayne.

Source: Francis Grunow, Preservation Wayne




Mixed-use community being planned east of Eastern Market

The area to the east and north of Eastern Market, much of what was once known as Poletown, is being re-envisioned as a mixed-use community. This vision is being put to paper by Steven C. Flum Inc. Architects at the behest of a group of developers and religious leaders in the area. Market Square Community, as it is being called, is roughly bounded by Erskine to the south, the Dequindre Cut to the west, I-94 to the north and Chene, Elmwood and Grandy to the east.

A total of nine distinct neighborhoods have been identified, and a master plan is being developed that calls for infill housing utilizing the existing street grid and a neighborhood commercial main street on Chene. These guidelines for future development are calling for a range of housing types and enhanced connectivity to Eastern Market and Midtown via Mack, Canfield and Warren. Flum's Jason Fowler, who has been working on the plan, notes that Market Square is "absolutely connected to a lot of things that are uniquely Detroit."

Three of the nine neighborhoods have some legs in terms of financing and design. Village @ Market Square will include over 100 moderately-priced market rate townhouses south of Mack and just east of the Dequindre Cut being financed with City of Detroit HOME funds as well as a 4% direct loan from MSHDA.

The other two neighborhoods are both for-sale single-family infill housing made affordable with the help of City HOME funds. Just north of Mack from Village, Leland Estates calls for 26 units of housing, and on the east side of Chene, just north of Gratiot, will be Scott Homes—another 35 units.  

Future plans call for loft developments, rental homes and townhouses and senior housing.

Source: Jason Fowler, Steven C. Flum Associates 

Wayne County to host Nuisance Abatement Seminar

Wayne County's Nuisance Abatement Program, which can be utilized as a tool for community groups and individuals to deal with vacant and dangerous structures in their neighborhoods, will be explained at the "RAP with NAP" seminar and reception at 6 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 21.

"A lot of community groups call our office because they have problems with abandoned properties in their neighborhoods. Sometime we can do a wonderful job, sometimes we can't because [the property is] beyond our scope," says Wayne County's Mike Russell. "We will explain what the NAP program can do, what we cannot, and then give alternative resources to address the issue."

If a property is ultimately deemed a nuisance by the county, the first priority is to work with the owner to rehab the property or sell it to someone that can. "The court awards title to the county as a last resort," Russell notes. At that time, NAP places the property on its Web site in hopes of finding a new owner.

Russell hopes to see "developers, community activist groups and financers together in a nice atmosphere." The seminar will be at the Wayne County Building, 600 Randolph, in the Atrium.

For more information contact Mike Russell at 313.967.2203 or mrussell@co.wayne.mi.us.

Source: Mike Russell, Wayne County


Crain's to throw house parties at 40 Detroit homes

Crain’s Detroit Business is hosting the Ultimate House Party at 40 private homes across the city to showcase the diverse range of housing options available in the city. The Sept. 28 invite-only event will start off with cocktails at each guest’s designated home. All guests will then converge for food, drinks and jazz at a downtown afterglow.

Crain’s publisher, Mary Kramer, says the goal of the House Party is to “introduce suburban professionals to a neighborhood experience.” Attendees will be directed to a particular house, which may be a historic home such as the former home of Henry Ford in Boston Edison, or a newer development like Shorepointe Village in Grayhaven on the riverfront.

The invitation-only event was nearly sold-out as of Monday, with at least 700 people expected to attend.

Kramer, who is a Detroit resident, says, “Many people come down to Detroit for entertainment, but far fewer get off the highway and experience a neighborhood.”

She hopes to grow the event into a weekend-long open house of properties for sale citywide.

Source: Mary Kramer, Crain’s Detroit Business


Crain's 'Living in the D' guides still available

Looking or a copy of Crain's Detroit Business' special Living and Investing in the D section but missed last week issue? The issue featured business opportunities and places to live in the city.

You can still purchase a copy from Crain's for a dollar each. Contact Crain's at
(888) 909-9111.

You can also view all the content online and download a PDF version at crainsdetroit.com.




Detroit visitors bureau offers $50 gas card summer promotion

The Detroit Metro Convention and Visitors Bureau has created a summer city promotion offering a $50 gas card when two or more adults stay in select Detroit metro area hotels for two nights.

Carolyn Artman, media relations manager for the bureau, says it’s one of the largest city gas promotions in the country. To take advantage of the promotion, travelers to Detroit must register on the Visit Detroit website at http://www.visitdetroit.com/ and click on the free $50 gas card package.

Participants can choose from 13 select area hotels taking part in the promotion, and can customize and reserve their stay online at the Visit Detroit Web site.

“We want people to come see what Detroit has to offer,” says Artman.

Source: Carolyn Artman, Detroit Metro Convention and Visitors Bureau


Summer in the city kicks into high gear

Get yourself out and enjoy Detroit. From the Riverfront to New Center, this is prime time to get out in the city, and there's no shortage of big events, outdoor music, festivals, picnic spots, etc.

A few ideas:

• Catch the International Freedom Festival fireworks Wednesday, June 28. Pick your favorite viewing spot (Eastern Market, Belle Isle, Hart Plaza, wherever) and pull up a lawn chair for the biggest, the best big boomers in Southeast Michigan.

• The Comerica Tastefest in New Center runs June 30-July 4. There's no better place to eat, drink, be merry, then eat some more. Plus there's a killer music lineup, too.

• Is anybody else unable to stop humming the circa 1984 "Bless You Boys" anthem? The Tigers are out of town, but catch the game in the shadow of the old stadium at Nemo's in Corktown, or in the shadow of the new one at the Hockeytown Cafe or Cheli's Chili.

• Get out to Belle Isle. Bike, swim, run, picnic, let the rugrats go on the Playscape. And there's a new Nature Zoo for the kiddies, too.

• By land or sea, listen to music on the Riverfront. Chene Park has national acts like Teena Marie and Brian McKnight. Plus GM's added a concert series in front of the Renaissance Center.


New DET stickers show some Detroit love with Euro style

Show some pride and Euro flair in the 'D' and display one of the new "DET" decals.

The white oval with black lettering is modeled after the stickers used in Europe to identify what country cars are from. In this country, Americans put replicas of the European stickers on their cars to identify their own European roots.

The Metro Detroit Convention and Visitors Bureau has printed up 10,000 of the Detroit version, and they gave out thousands of the free stickers to kick off their Doors Open Detroit event in Campus Martius last Friday. While they last, you can request one by e-mailing DETpride@visitdetroit.com or calling 1-800-DETROIT.

"We want to blanket the community with them to show our civic pride," says Renee Monforton of the bureau.

Source: Renee Monforton, Metro Detroit Convention and Visitors Bureau


Preservation Wayne celebrates 30 years of efforts, looks ahead

Preservation Wayne is marking its 30th anniversary this week.

The nonprofit is dedicated to “promoting and protecting Detroit’s historic built environment.”

The group’s efforts aim to preserve as well as revitalize Detroit’s historic areas, promoting awareness through events, lectures and media, as well as advocating for policies and preservation-friendly development.

“We're looking to further the preservation ethic in Detroit and set the stage for efforts in Detroit for the next 30 years ... and we're looking to the community for help and input,” says Douglas McIntosh, Preservation Wayne's president.

The group offers popular walking tours of the city. The tours help introduce people to the city’s architecture, history and landmarks. For more information on Preservation Wayne, go to http://www.preservationwayne.org.

Source: Preservation Wayne

Cityscape aims to educate Detroiters about national retailers

Ever wonder why there isn’t a Linens ‘N Things in your neighborhood? Cityscape Detroit is holding a forum to help Detroiters understand what national retailers look for in deciding where to open their stores — and hopefully, “learn what Detroit can do to get more national retailers,” says Andrew Koper, senior officer of the organization.

The forum will take place Monday, May 8 at 6 p.m. Patty Formosa of MapInfo — a corporation that utilizes Geographic Information Systems (GIS), databases, and demographics to advise retailers and restaurants where to locate — will make a presentation tailored to the Detroit market followed by questions and answers and discussion.

The event will be held in the Bernath Auditorium of the WSU’s Adamany Library, located at 5155 Gullen Mall. Non-members are requested to make a $7.50 donation.

Through this and other events, Cityscape aims “to support the community of people in Detroit who are interested in urban planning, architecture, preservation and ‘the built environment,’ and to attract people outside the city who are interested in urbanism…into [the] city,” according to Koper. For more information, visit www.cityscapedetroit.org.

Source: Andrew Koper, senior officer, Cityscape Detroit

Calling all urban explorers: Preservation Wayne walking tours set to begin

Preservation Wayne’s Walking Tour season will begin on May 2, with tours happening each Saturday and Tuesday through Sept. 20. "(The tours) give people the touch and feel and taste of the city that I think people really respond to," says Preservation Wayne’s executive director Francis Grunow. "When you put a layer of history and interpretation with what people are seeing, they look with brand new eyes at what the city was, is, and can be.”

Tours of Downtown, Eastern Market, Midtown, and the Cultural Center begin each Saturday at 10 a.m. An Auto Heritage tour is given two Saturdays a month; it begins at the Model T Automotive Heritage Complex, or T-Plex, on Piquette Street. Tuesday tours are downtown-centric and focus on things like restaurants and bars, skyscrapers, architects Louis Kamper and Albert Kahn, or sculptures, fountains and public art.

Two one-off tours include a spotlight of Ferry Avenue held in conjunction with the Festival of the Arts on June 10 and 11 and the Theatre District on Aug. 12.

Saturday morning tours begin at 10 a.m. and Tuesday evening tours begin at 5:30. Click here or call (313) 577-3559 for more details.

Source: Francis Grunow, Preservation Wayne

Work begins on Detroit Candy Co.'s 4 rental loft units

Construction has begun on the loft redevelopment of the former headquarters of the Detroit Candy Co., located on Gratiot at Jay near Eastern Market.

“We’re finishing up interior demolitions and we’re going through the permit process. We should have our final permit in hand next week," says Ryan Cooley, one of the building’s developers. The four-story building will become four rental lofts.  

The basement will be incorporated into the first-floor unit—“It’s a really cool looking basement,” notes Cooley—creating a two-story 1,800 square foot space that they plan to rent for $1,200 a month. The 1,500-square-foot upper three floors will each be accessed by a private elevator entrance and will rent for up to $1,500. “The views are amazing because of the way the building is angled. The views from each loft encapsulate the skyline of the entire city,” says Cooley.

Cooley notes the building’s “proximity to downtown. You can walk to sporting events, it’s right there off the I-75 entrance. Obviously, Eastern Market itself is the main appeal.” Cooley expects tenants to start moving in this September; the project’s architect is BVH.  

Source: Ryan Cooley, O’Connor Real Estate and Development

City's second environmental forum to discuss quality of life issues

The City of Detroit is hosting a second Environmental Forum to identify actions that can be taken to address issues raised at the first forum held in March. The forum will be held on from 5-8 p.m., Wednesday, April 19, at the Northwest Activity Center at 18100 Meyers Road.

Air quality and illegal dumping ranked as priority issues based on analysis of the first forum. Other issues raised include recycling, water quality, abandoned buildings and lots, and green roofing.

Source: Lareina Reid, City of Detroit Department of Environmental Affairs


Bike, plant, clean to kick off spring

• Greening and Cleaning: Greening of Detroit’s spring planting season starts Saturday, April 8, at 9 a.m., volunteers will gather at the North Rosedale Park Community House, located at 18445 Scarsdale.

Fifty trees will be planted on Bretton and Lancashire Streets to replace trees lost to the emerald ash borer. “The neighborhood rallied to raise funds to cut the trees down; we’re continuing our re-planting efforts that we began last fall,” says Joe Sulak, Greening of Detroit’s urban forester.

Detroit Synergy’s Project Clean is starting off its spring season by committing volunteers to lend a hand at the North Rosedale planting. You can sign up to volunteer for this planting by contacting Detroit Synergy at clean@detroitsynergy.org or by calling the Greening of Detroit at 313-237-8733.

Plantings take place every Saturday through June 10. Click here for a full planting schedule that even includes weekday opportunities.

Biking: Also on Saturday, Detroit Synergy’s Detroit Bikes! Group is hosting its first city ride of the year. Cyclists will gather at the Millennium Bell in Grand Circus Park at 1:30 p.m. for a 8 to 9 mile ride around downtown, along the riverfront, to Belle Isle and back to Eastern Market for lunch and/or shopping.  The ride is at an easy pace of 8 to 12 mph.

Click here for more info. Please note that riders are required to wear helmets.

Sources: Joe Sulak, Greening of Detroit and Alexander Froelich, Detroit Bikes!




Greening of Detroit working to coordinate, link greenways projects

The Greening of Detroit, along with the city's Planning Commission and Planning and Development Department, is holding a series of events  to coordinate greenways planning throughout the city.

The Community Foundation for Southeastern Michigan’s Greenways Initiative has sparked "an explosion of excitement and enthusiasm for greenspaces,” says Greening of Detroit’s Ashley Atkinson. "Now a plan must be created to identify a unified vision and plan for linking greenways citywide.”

The Greening of Detroit is hosting an open house from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Tuesday, March 14 at their office at 1418 Michigan Avenue. Any organization is invited to stop by to ensure that a copy of their greenway plan is included in the overall city inventory.

This inventory, combined with City of Detroit data, will be presented at two workshops at the Belle Isle Casino. The first, from 5:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. Tuesday, March 28, will present a preliminary greenways map. At this time, the public will be invited to identify missing projects and share ideas for future greenways.

The second workshop from 11:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. Wednesday, March 29, is intended to allow city officials and other key stakeholders an opportunity to review and discuss the preliminary map.

Greenways currently being planned or under development in Detroit include the Corktown-Mexicantown Greenlink, Southwest Detroit-East Dearborn Greenway, Midtown Loop, Dequindre Cut, Hamtramck Trail, the Lyndon Greenway Project in Northwest Detroit, Conner Creek Greenway, and the Electric Avenue Greenway in Southwest Detroit.

Source: Ashley Atkinson, Greening of Detroit  


New Eastern Market shop offers accessories, home accents with urban flair

Urban Décor & Accents at 2453 Russell is adding to the diversity of shops located in Eastern Market.

The store, which opened earlier this month, offers a “mix of accessories for women and men and for your home,” says owner Keith Kelly, “helping to provide for the urban clientele.” The shop has handbags, jewelry, scarves and gloves brought in from all over the world, including places like Asia, Italy and Brazil.

By mid-February, Urban Décor & Accents will also sell custom-made blinds, bedding, and window fashions. Kelly has been in the interior design business for more 20 years, and felt there was a void in Detroit for exclusive interior home accents.

Kelly will design his own exclusive line of bedding called Urban Décor Exclusive. The also will carry name brand blinds and window treatments, along with window scarves and panels made to fit the large urban windows of Detroit’s lofts and large homes. A wide array of fabrics and design books will be available in the store for those who seek custom designs.

Urban Décor & Accents holiday hours are Monday through Saturday from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m.

Source: Keith Kelly, owner of Urban Décor & Accents


California winemaker pays tribute to the Motor City

The Garretson Wine Co. in Paso Robles, Calif., has created special blends of wines dedicated to the Motor City.

Here is what winemaker/owner Mat Garretson had to say about the wines:

“Motor City Cuvees (I make both a red and a white) serve as 'introductions' to my winery and my winemaking style. The white is a blend of Viognier and Roussanne, while the red is Syrah, Grenache, Mourvedre and Viognier. Like everything I produce, these wines are crafted from grape varieties traditional to the Rhone Valley of France.

Too often wines in this category are simple, one-dimensional 'cocktail wines'. I wanted these wines to be — while enjoyable — more structured and full of character. This way, they'll appeal to both novices and wine geeks alike.

As for the tribute to the Motor City? Having traveled there over the years, and having sold wines (both mine and others) there, I felt it high time to pay tribute to a city that (at least from many CA winemakers) was too often overlooked.”

The wines cost about $19.95 a bottle. Local stores they are available from include Cost Plus Eastern Market Wine Warehouse.

For more information visit www.garretsonwines.com

Source: Mat Garretson, winemaker/owner of Garretson Wine Company


First lofts available for purchase in Eastern Market

The old E & B Brewery at the corner of Winder and Orleans in Eastern Market is being converted into approximately 35 residential units.

Built in 1891, the E & B Brewery building stands nine stories tall, the tallest in Eastern Market, offering skyline views of Downtown Detroit. In 1970, the first spaces in the building were converting into residential units for lease and were among the first lofts offered in Detroit. In 1996, the number was increased to 15 units for lease.

Today, Jim Pellerito, president of E & B Brewery Lofts Development, is completing the conversion of the 72,000-square-foot structure. “People love the area, there is lots of demand,” says Pellerito.

The lofts start at $138,000 to $347,628 and range from 940 to 2,165 square feet. “It’s the buyer’s choice to purchase and keep them raw, or plan on finishing them,” says Pellerito.

The two models are expected to be finished by the end of the year, with already six reservations to purchase units.

For more information visit www.e-bbrewerylofts.com

Source: Jim Pellerito, president of E & B Brewery Lofts Development


Scavenger hunt to showcase new development and revisit old treasures

Detroit Synergy and Get in the Game are holding a scavenger hunt to inform Detroiters and suburbanites about good things in the city.

The “Get in the Hunt … Rediscover Detroit,” scavenger hunt will be at 11 a.m. Saturday, Nov. 5, starting at Sacred Heart Church, 1000 Eliot in Eastern Market.

“We want to bring people in and see how the city has changed and get excited about it again,” says Cheryl Bartholomew, project leader for Detroit Synergy.

The hunt will lead teams of two to four members through Eastern Market and Downtown to learn about new businesses in the city and rediscover the city’s rich history.  Teams will have to find clues, perform tasks and answer trivia about the city. There will be an equal mix of new and old developments highlighted throughout the journey.

For more information go to www.detroitsynergy.org.

Source: Cheryl Bartholomew, project leader for Detroit Synergy


Federal Grant to help clean up neighborhoods and plant vegetation

Environmental Protection Agency approved a grant for the cleaning and greening of Detroit. Community groups, along with the Greening of Detroit, will create maps of areas in their neighborhoods that need to be cleaned up and planted with vegetation.

- Source - Detroit Free Press

 


Detroit-Ann Arbor rail plan gets $100 million look

A $100 million federal allocation will enable design and plans for a mass transit system to connect Michigan’s two premier cities: Detroit and Ann Arbor.

Southeast Michigan Council of Governments (SEMCOG) officials this fall "will present options for light rail, rapid bus and commuter rail lines to local leaders in the Ann Arbor-Detroit corridor. Local support is critical because the federal grant requires a local match of at least $20 million," says The Detroit News.

- Source: Read the entire article at The Detroit News


U-M to offer a new certificate program in real estate development

The University of Michigan this year will offer a new certificate program in real estate development that focuses on building well-designed, livable and sustainable communities with a high quality of life.

The program will enroll graduate students in a curriculum that focuses on development and redevelopment of economically, environmentally and socially sustainable places. The certificate program gives graduate students in professional programs, such as urban planning, business, architecture and law, the opportunity to take a range of courses that deepen their skills and qualifications in real estate development and related fields.
 
With a national advisory board of industry leaders, it aims to strengthen the curriculum in real estate development and ultimately enhance the knowledge base underlying this interdisciplinary field.

- Source: University of Michigan's Taubman College of Architecture and Urban Planning website


New garden will stimulate the senses of touch, smell

The Greater Detroit Agency, a nonprofit organization, recently received a grant for facade improvements to help clean up the business district in northwest Detroit.  While sprucing up the office exterior, the Greater Detroit Agency and the Greening of Detroit decided to team up to lay the foundation of a new sensory garden. 

By incorporating pussywillow and roses, the sensory garden will help the blind and visually impaired challenge their senses of touch and smell.

The garden is likely to be completed by next year.

- Source: The Detroit News


Hilton Head buys portfolio of over 400 homes in Detroit

Hilton Head Properties Inc., a Houston-based real estate investment company, has bought more than 400 residential properties in Detroit from the Detroit Neighborhood Development Corp.

With most of the properties, scattered across the city, Hilton Head Properties Inc. plans to revitalize these homes and resell them.

- Source:  San Antonio Business Journal


Detroit Agriculture Network shows off Detroit’s best gardens

The Detroit Agriculture Network (DAN) is hosting the annual Garden Tour on August 10th, 2005. The guided bus tour is an opportunity to share gardens with neighbors from all around Metro Detroit.  Visits are arranged to some old favorites as well as some new gardens.  The hard work, creativity and dedication of Detroit gardeners will be at its best display during this tour.

"Over the last two years, The Detroit Agriculture Network, Greening of  Detroit, Michigan State University Extension, and EarthWorks Garden at  Capuchin Soup Kitchen have been working diligently to provide resources and education to Detroit's urban gardeners. The annual Detroit Agriculture Network Garden Tour is an opportunity to see all of our hard work pay off as well as to share it with the rest of the world" said Ashley Atkinson of The Greening of Detroit.

Community and backyard gardens play an important role in the City of Detroit.  They provide thousands of pounds of nutritious produce for Detroit families and they improve communities by connecting neighbors, providing an alternative to vacant lots, reducing crime and improving property values.

The tour leaves from the 4H Community Center, 5710 McClellan at 5:30 on August 10th and will last approximately 2 hours. The tour will be followed by a community potluck at 4H.

- Source:  Based on information provided by Ashley Atkinson, Project Manager, The Greening of Detroit


Day trips in the D

The World is Coming-Get in the Game, a public information campaign aimed at metro Detroiters, wants folks to experience the new Detroit and talk to visitors and friends in a new way.  Planned Day Trips around “new developments, polished up Riverfront and renovated city landmarks and skyscrapers” give a sample of what the city and the suburbs now have to offer.

“Get Informed, Experience it, Get Involved, Spread the word and see the changes,” says the site because “we have the ability to change the conversation about Detroit, how we talk about ourselves and the pride we feel. It all begins with us. When you’re on a plane, at a restaurant, out with your friends -- spread the word about all the positive things that are happening in Detroit”.

Click here to get detailed tour information and other fun facts about the D

- Source:  Information gathered from The World is Coming-Get in the Game site

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