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Detroit Thermal adds customers in Midtown as it expands staff

The Woodward Gardens development signed up to become the newest customer of Detroit Thermal's steam energy system.

The mixed-use development on Woodward Avenue in Midtown, set to break ground later this year, joins Cadillac Square Apartments and Park Avenue House as the newest customers to the underground steam power system that snakes throughout the greater downtown Detroit area.

"These three buildings are putting us deeper into the hottest real-estate section of Detroit," says Scott Barr, director of business development for Detroit Thermal, adding that the company has expanded its staff to 43 people.

Woodward Gardens is a 47-unit apartment building that will have 30,000 square feet of retail space at its base. It's the latest addition in what Barr expects will be growing list of customers for Detroit Thermal.

"We are very close to announcing some major buildings, including a couple that used to be on the steam system and are coming back. Some are renovations," Barr says.

Source: Scott Barr, director of business development for Detroit Thermal
Writer: Jon Zemke

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

Taste of Japanese Pop in Midtown

Chou Anime Café is bringing a touch of Japanese pop to culture to Woodward Avenue.
 
It is a unique café/entertainment experience created in Akihabara, Japan.
 
"These cafes are a haven for video game geeks and anime lovers," says owner Oneka Samet. "Our café features a large screen TV where we’re usually playing anime, animated TV shows and movies originating in Japan or playing video games."
 
Chou Anime Café serves healthy food options for guests too, including salads and wraps, desserts and special café beverages. Guests can enjoy tea with the café’s servers, who are normally dressed-up in colorful costumes. Japanese snacks include Ramune, Pocky and Hi-Chew.
 
"We also offer imported snacks and retail related to Japanese and American Pop culture. Many of our retail items like jewelry, art prints and costume pieces are handmade from local artists and our very own staff," Samet says.
 
Samet has lived in Detroit all her life and started reading comic books as a youth. Previously, she worked as a librarian at the Detroit Public Library.
 
"It was working there with young adults that inspired me to pursue this passion. It’s a new and innovative idea that I think will be fun for many in our city," she says.
 
Samet looks forward to adding a coffee vendor, having regularly scheduled events including karaoke, video game tournaments, artist classes and guest visitors along with an open house this fall. 

The business is at 4206 Woodward Ave. -- in a cluster of shops near Willis St. -- in Detroit's Midtown.

Source: Oneka Samet 
Writer: Leah Johnson 

BE NICE Yoga arrives in Midtown

Through steady and consistent yoga practice, Monica Breen experienced a connection to herself she had not felt before. She calls it a "distinct feeling," one where you realize there is "more to life." Breen’s love for yoga is the inspiration behind BE NICE Yoga, located at 4100 Woodward Ave. in Midtown.
 
"We are located right above Detroit Community Acupuncture and Peoples Records, businesses that have seen great success since their move to this building," said Breen.
 
As its website explains, BE NICE Yoga takes its name from one of yoga’s ethical principals. One principal is Ahisma, meaning non-violence. Yoga master Dharma Mittra says the simplest way to live in the spirit of Ahisma is to simply "be nice" -- that is, be nice to everyone and everything around you, hence the name BE NICE Yoga.
 
BE NICE Yoga is a boutique yoga studio, one that shies away from the impersonal atmosphere of franchise yoga studios. Boutique studios are independently owned and operated, with small class sizes and personal attention. At BE NICE Yoga, there is a team of well-educated instructors that offers classes rooted in a variety of styles of yoga.
 
The studio exudes freshness, featuring renewable bamboo floors and an abundance of natural light and fresh air.
 
"I would describe the studio as clean, comfortable and thoughtfully well designed," said Breen. "A perfect place to offer the living art of yoga."
 
It’s also a perfect place to promote healthy living, considering that Midtown itself is home to places like Hub of Detroit, Goodwells Natural Foods, Avalon Bakery, and Raw Food Café, all businesses promoting a healthy lifestyle.
 
"People are seeking natural health and wellness to improve the quality of their lives," said Breen. "And I envision Midtown to be a model for America’s healthy and independently-run future. We are creating meaningful and relevant businesses here. It’s a perfect complement to the important developments taking place in the Downtown Business district."
 
In addition to yoga classes, BE NICE Yoga offers workshops, offsite or "corporate yoga," private instruction, donation-based classes, community fund-raising and a September teacher training. Each week, Breen, along with seven instructors facilitate classes centered on yoga, a form of exercise that is now a $6 billion industry in the U.S.
 
Breen, who first fell in love with yoga in 1997 in New York is thrilled to be working as an instructor for a business that’s thriving.
"Sometimes yoga feels like exercise alone, but it’s much richer than that. My goal is to provide expert instruction in a friendly, non-competitive environment. Our studio becomes a place where people feel at home while they discover themselves in true happiness, wellness and peace. And this can be a healing to a whole community because it starts with the individual."

Source: Monica Breen 
Writer: Leah Johnson 
 

Grants approved for energy-saving improvements

The Economic Development Corporation of the City of Detroit approved $648,000 in SmartBuildings Detroit matching grants to make energy-saving improvements. These improvements will take place at Cobo Arena, the Cobo parking garage, Wayne State University, Grand Trunk Pub and the Charles Condominiums.
 
This set of grants is expected to leverage $3.76 million in additional investments from the building owners or other sources, for a total of $4.4 million in energy-saving improvements.
 
"These grants show how we are working with both small businesses and large, anchor institutions to make substantial energy cost savings," said project manager Scott Veldhuis.
 
The $164,000 grant given to the Detroit Regional Convention Facility Authority will pay for energy-saving improvements to Cobo arena and the Cobo parking garage. Upgrades include insulation, LED lighting and motion-detector controls, along with other items.
 
Wayne State University will make $1.39 million in energy-saving improvements to seven different buildings, replacing steam traps, installing controls to conserve water and updating heating and cooling systems. Grant funds are paying for $380,000 of the cost.
 
Owners of Grand Trunk Pub plan to use their $32,437 grant funds to pay for new LED light fixtures, replacement of AC units, a kitchen hood heat capture system, and improved insulation throughout two buildings. The total cost of improvements is estimated at $129,750.
 
The SmartBuildings Detroit Program uses a $10 million U.S. Department of Energy (US DOE) grant to encourage new energy-saving improvements for institutional, commercial and public buildings in downtown Detroit. Boundaries for the program include the Central Business District, Midtown, New Center, the Eastern Market, the East Jefferson Riverfront Corridor, all Detroit Works Demonstration Areas, Southwest Detroit, and sites of most of the city’s major health care and educational institutions.
 
Source: Bob Rossbach 
Writer: Leah Johnson 

Kraemer Design Group updates buildings on Woodward Avenue

New designs are soon to be seen on Woodward Avenue thanks to Kraemer Design Group, PLC. KDG has been selected as the architect, Historic Consultant, and interior designer for Bedrock Real Estate Service property located at 1528 Woodward Avenue- the former United Foundation Building.
 
The building was constructed in 1916 and received a major renovation in 1960 when it became the headquarters for the United Foundation. The modern renovation included a full height aluminum curtainwall on the front façade and "Mad Men" era interiors for the second floor corporate offices.
 
The second building being redesigned by KDG is the former Lane Bryant building at 1520 Woodward. KDG will provide the same architectural, historic consulting, and interior designing services to this building as the aforementioned project. This building was built in 1909, and received its façade renovation in 1945 in the Art Deco Style.
 
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 

Finalists of "It's about Place" contest represent Detroit

Let’s Save Michigan recently announced the winners of the "It's about Place" contest, and two of the finalists are from Detroit.
 
A panel of national placemaking experts chose Detroit’s Canfield Social Yard project as the $2,000 grand prize winner. This project seeks to raise awareness of the west Woodbridge area in Detroit and foster a culture of neighborhood and civic engagement by programming a vacant lot with entertainment and educational events.

"We are beyond excited about winning the Let's Save Michigan: "It's about Place" competition," says Nora Leon of the Canfield Social Yard project."It's a tremendous honor and we can't wait to get our hands dirty and bring Canfield Social Yard to life. We think the project has the potential to become a great asset for the Woodbridge community." 

The other project, Innovation Square: Detroit was the $500 runner-up. This project will transform an unflattering parking lot in Tech Town into an inviting outdoor space that encourages inter-organization collaboration and community development. Its goal is to generate enough momentum to secure follow-on funding.

Source: Sarah Szurpicki
Writer: Leah Johnson 

New venture on horizon for Detroit: Pop LLC

Detroit Pop LLC, the creative force behind 71-POP, a unique pop-up retail experience for entrepreneurs, announces its latest pop-up venture: D:pop.
 
Following the one year success of the 71-POP project, D:pop will allow local entrepreneurs to showcase a pop-up style retail installation. These items and accessories are for men, women, kids, and home. Each pop-up shop will be connected to a virtual e-commerce pop-up shop, video profile, social media engagement, marketing support, and launch event.  
 
D:pop will have a strong cast of local artists, designers, and entrepreneurs, giving Detroiters an opportunity to support their own. Also, D:pop will feature exclusive partnerships with designers under its "Mod & Pop" label.
 
The grand-opening of D:pop is Saturday, June 30, 3-7 p.m. at D:hive headquarters, 1253 Woodward Ave. Guests can enjoy food, music, networking, and shopping. In tandem with this event, I Am Young Detroit will be celebrating the launch of its newly expanded website.
 
This event will bring awareness to the 2012 Hatch Detroit Contest. The contest runs until August and visitors can vote for their favorite retail business idea for Detroit.

Source: Asia Willis
Writer: Leah Johnson
 

Farbman Group hosts vegan-style pop-up supper

For the Farbman Group, "chartreuse" represents more than the color green. Chartreuse is a pop-up dining experience held at various locations. This month, it'll take place at the Fisher Building.  
 
Corrine Rice, a certified raw and vegan chef is hosting the event to create "a memorable culinary social movement that exists briefly and disappears immediately, as if It were a dream."
 
The evening will feature a four-course all vegan meal with menu items including an Asian-salad, crab cakes, jalapeno-watermelon gazpacho and an almond nougatine. Tuesday is the last day to visit the Fisher Building or New Center building to win tickets to the pop-up dining experience.
 
Live entertainment is part of the event and a video crew from American Hipster Presents will film the meal for its YouTube documentary series.
 
"Farbman Group is committed to doing our part to support the creative entrepreneurs that make Detroit a one-of-a kind place to live and work," said Farbman. "Guests will get to experience the grandeur of the Fisher Building while enjoying a culinary experience that is unmatched."
 
The pop-up dining experience is Friday June 22 at 7 p.m. in the Fisher Building. Tickets are $50 and must be purchased by Tuesday, June 19 (that's today) at chartreusedetroit.com

Source: Andrea Trapani 
Writer: Leah Johnson 

Detroit company approved to support business initiatives

Ellington WF, LLC is one of three companies approved for incentives by the Michigan Strategic Fund through the Michigan Business Development and Community Revitalization Programs to support their expansions in the state.
 
A $1 million Community Revitalization Program Performance based grant was awarded to Ellington WF, LLC to offset costs for site preparation and construction of the new Whole Foods building in Detroit. This project is expected to create 80 permanent jobs, with a total capital investment of up to $14.9 million.
 
The other two companies, Altronics Energy, LLC and FIAMM Technologies, LLC were awarded incentives to expand their respective operations in Cadillac and Byron Township.
 
"These three companies are demonstrating that Michigan can compete with any state in the country as a great place to grow a business," said Michael A. Finney, MEDC President and CEO. "These new investments show once more Michigan’s highly competitive business climate and tremendous workforce capabilities mean real opportunities for leading edge companies."
 
All three projects are expected to add a total of 201 new jobs in Michigan.
 
Source: Kathy Fagan
Writer: Leah Johnson

Chalmers Sq. Project ready to be unveiled

After a 10-year effort, Jefferson East Business Association (JEBA) and the Michigan State Housing Development Authority (MSHDA) are ready to unveil the Chalmers Sq. Project. This is a $7 Million reconstruction project in the Historic Jefferson-Chalmers Business District.

Originally, these were three vacant buildings, with one building having only three walls and no roof. They have been renovated into 47 family-style apartments with 17,000 square feet of new commercial space.
 
JEBA assisted in getting the building transferred from the city to a private developer and performed Phase 1 environmental site assessment on the properties and worked to help secure pre-development financing.
 
Earlier this month, JEBA hosted the Jazzin’ on Jefferson event. Congressman Hansen Clarke and MSHDA Director Edwin Harlin took the stage for the official unveiling of this important eastside development.
 
The Chalmers Square Project is developed by Shelbourne Department and Malino Construction. MSHDA, the City of Detroit, and Local Initiative Support Corporation were major project supporters.
 
Source: Eve Doster and Lisa Hardwick 
Writer: Leah Johnson 

Sold! Wayne County 2012 auction

To assist distressed citizens and in turn, stabilize communities, Wayne County Treasurer Raymond J. Wojtowicz plans to hold a public sale of over 5,000 properties.
 
Those interested can do research on the available properties by viewing the list here. The information is searchable by city, street and zip code.
 
Bids will be accepted starting June 22. The minimum bid for a structure is $500 and the minimum bid for a vacant lot is $200. Tie bids will be resolved in favor of the earliest bid based on the time indicated on the incoming bid in the Office of Wayne County Treasurer’s system.
 
The closing time for bids will be July 10 at 2 p.m.
 
Source: David J. Szymanski
Writer: Leah Johnson

Chez Zara welcomes coffee snobs

Mallak Beydoun knows her coffee and she is no stranger to the coffee business. That explains why her slogan for Chez Zara Coffee Shop is "Coffee Snobs Welcome."
  
Beydoun is the owner of Chez Zara, "Chez" meaning "place of" and "Zara" is the name of her 14 year-old niece.
 
Chez Zara has a small kiosk in the Chase Tower, but the flagship location is prepping for its opening this summer in the Madison Building.
 
"This will be the first time we actually got to express what we wanted in a coffee shop and this is the first time I’ve been involved in the whole design process," Beydoun said.
 
The shop will have an urban mixed Parisian look and will feature a certain world coffee every single day, creating an authentic experience. Guests can enjoy one on one interaction with the barista, and small snacks like pastries from Avalon and macaroons to complement the coffee. 
 
Beydoun is excited to utilize this space and partner up with other local nearby businesses such as the Detroit Opera House to offer special Chez Zara promotions.
 
"We want to make this a Detroit landmark, just like Garrrett’s popcorn is a landmark in Chicago," she said.
 
Chez Zara is expected to open in the Madison Building in late July or early August.

Source: Mallak Beydoun
Writer: Leah Johnson 

Woodward Garden Theater Project in last phase

The Woodward Garden Block project recently received the last funding needed to complete construction of the Woodward Garden Theater.

The project was started on 2002 by developers Woodward Garden Theater, LLC. and Woodward SA-PK, LLC led by long time partners Michael Byrd, William Mosely and George Stewart. The team of supporters include Midtown Detroit, Inc. (MDI), Quinn Evans Architects, McIntosh Poris Associates, Miller Canfield, Strength Property Partners and Zachary & Associates.
 
"Without the willingness of these partners to look for innovative solutions to the obstacles that faced this project, we wouldn’t be celebrating the revival of this block." said Stewart.
 
The theater is a 32,000 square feet, 1,300 person capacity live music-theater, originally designed by C. Howard Crane. The funds will also allow for the development of a mixed-use development with approximately 12,000 square feet of leasable space and 61 market rate apartments adjacent to the theater.
 
The Michigan Economic Development Corporation awarded the project a $750,000 loan via the Michigan Strategic Fund’s Community Revitalization Program. Other critical funding of the Woodward Garden Theater project came in the form of a HUD Section 108 loan through the City of Detroit, HUD 221 funding through financial intermediary First Housing and a variety of brownfield, federal and state historical tax credits. Federal tax credits were purchased by Symetra Life Insurance. 

Stewart, who has lived and worked in the Midtown district since the late 1950s, believes this project has been long overdue. 
 
"Restoring this block to its former glory and providing a place where people will be able to experience great music and soon live (and) work has been the least I can do to give back to a neighborhood that has meant so much to me over the years," he said. 
 
Once completed, the building will house a theater, a full service catering restaurant and a conference center allowing for diverse facility use.
 
On Monday, Woodward Gardens, LLC and MDI celebrated the final phase of the development stage with the "Woodward Garden Block Development Celebration." The event took place on the rooftop of the Woodward Gardens Parking Deck on Alexandrine.

Visit the Woodward Garden Block Development and the Woodward Garden Theater project or call 313-833-5720 for more information. 

Source: Nicole Brown, Midtown Detroit 
Writer: Leah Johnson 
 

MSU Community Music School set to rock this summer

Kids in the "D" can get their summer groove on at one of two music day-camps at the MSU Community Music School-Detroit. Rock Camp takes places June 18 through 22 from 1 to 5 p.m. daily, and concludes with the kids performing a rocking gig at Detroit River Days on June 23 at 11 a.m. 

The Aspiring Musicians Program (AMP) Band Camp will be held June 25 through 29 from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. daily, with a finale concert at CMS-Detroit on June 29 at 3 p.m. 

CMS-Detroit 's first-ever Rock Camp is led by The Outer Vibe, a five-piece alternative rock/pop band who throws an energetic party onstage with wall-of-sound guitar, dance-inducing drums and bass, and powerful lead vocals. The five band members -- Nick Hosford, Lisa Kacos, Sean Zee, Andrew Dornoff and Jeff Brems -- boast eight college degrees between them. The teen Rock Camps they established in 2009 have exploded in popularity, with budding young musicians from Detroit to the Lake Michigan shoreline lining up to soak up the group’s advice on showmanship, teamwork and marketing.
 
Rock camp is for middle and high school students, ages 12-18, who have some experience on guitar, bass, drums, keyboard or vocals. The camp coaches young musicians in instrumental technique, songwriting and performing, as well as teaches them how to create and promote their own rock bands. Tuition is $200 and financial assistance is available by application. 

The Aspiring Musicians Program (AMP) Band Camp returns to CMS-Detroit to bring together elementary and middle school age students for a harmonious adventure that includes sectionals, big band rehearsal and a Finale Concert for families and friends. 

Beginning and intermediate-level band students will work with CMS-Detroit's popular faculty and mentors, as well as study and perform with other talented students from across Southeastern Michigan. The students will receive class instruction in instrumental technique and theory, and explore music through musicianship classes. Tuition is $200 and includes lunch each day.

Tuition assistance is available for CMS-Detroit music camps. Financial aid applications must be submitted in person at 3408 Woodward Ave., and will be accepted in the order they are received. 
 
Since opening its doors three years ago, CMS-Detroit has offered music education and music therapy opportunities for people of all ages, abilities and incomes. Classes include Early Childhood music classes (for birth-3, ages 3-5 and 5-7); MSU Jazz@CMS-Detroit (for middle and high school-age students); the Aspiring Musicians Program (for elementary and middle school students); Detroit's first New Horizons Bands chapter for adults; Adult and teen group Strings, Guitar and Piano; and Music Therapy clinical services.  

For more information go here, call 313-578-9716 or send an email here.  
553 Midtown Articles | Page: | Show All
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