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Work begins on Sherbrooke Apartments renovation in Midtown

The Sherbrooke Apartments is coming full circle this year. The apartment building in Midtown started out as plush, luxury units nearly a century ago before being chopped up into smaller, cheaper units. It was vacant for a few years before a local developer began transforming the apartment building back into high-end units.

"It was originally an elegant building," says Lis Knibbe, a principal at Quinn Evans Architects and the developer of the Sherbrooke Apartments. "We want to bring back a little bit of that elegance."

The Sherbrooke Apartments opened in 1913 as six units at the corner of Second Avenue and West Hancock Street. They were designed for upper-middle-class tenants living only blocks away from the present Wayne State University. "Given the size and the quality of these units, they were definitely upper-middle-class units," Knibbe says. "All of these units had maid's rooms."

Knibbe and her team are turning the apartment building into six 1-bedroom and eight 2-bedroom units with the potential of combining some of the 1- and 2-bedroom units into a large 3-bedroom apartment. Rents will range between $850 and $1,500 per month.

The $3 million project will restore the original woodwork in the building, along with a number of smaller original details. It will add a geothermal heating system and provide a balcony or private outdoor space for each unit that is above ground. Work is expected to wrap up by the end of this year.

Source: Lis Knibbe, developer of the Sherbrooke Apartments
Writer: Jon Zemke

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

Getting beauty in a box is possible

Entrepreneur, beauty and fashion are three significant words to Brittany Marshall, creator and owner of My Brown Box.
Marshall’s company is based online and provides and ships a variety of beauty products and lifestyle goods to the homes of customers around the city.
"I got the idea from a company named Birch Box, that serves all women, but not specifically women on color," said Marshall. "So now we are the Birch Box for women of color."
Customers can visit the site and create a beauty profile. They will be asked to choose if they want a one year or six-month subscription. Then, a brown box of 5-7 product samples will be shipped to them based on their individual beauty profile. If a customer is pleased with the results of the samples, they can purchase the full-size of the product through the company’s e-commerce shop.
Marshall plans to celebrate the start of her business in August at The Art Direction, which is the location of her brother's creative branding agency in Hamtramck.
Marshall is looking into office space for her company, plans to do conferences, and eventually have a storefront. She recently welcomed two new team members; a beauty editor and director of brand relations.
Because of her background, Marshall is confident that following the example of her dad and brother, both businessmen, and her mom, who is a makeup artist, will help make her company a success.
"We want to create a community to share information," Marshall said.  

Source: Brittany Marshall 
Writer: Leah Johnson 

MCAA gives funding for renovations

The Michigan Council for Arts and Cultural Affairs (MCACA) announced an increase in funding to $6.1 million for its fiscal year 2013 programs, allowing for renovations of buildings in local areas.
"We are very excited about the support from Governor Rick Snyder and his administration for this increase in funding," said MCACA Executive Director John Bracey. "The additional dollars will allow us to add a new Capital Improvement program, intended for the renovation of facilities and equipment. We also have a new logo to celebrate our future."
MCAA will offer grants for three programs.

One program is for operations and project support. This program will give specific operational support to arts and cultural organizations only.

The second program is capital improvements. Through this program, nonprofit organizations and municipalities will receive funding  for the expansion, renovation or construction of cultural facilities; upgrade of equipment and furnishing to provide a competitive and up-to-date environment and necessary equipment. 

The final program provides funding assistance to Michigan nonprofit organizations and municipalities for the expansion, renovation or construction of cultural facilities; upgrade of equipment and furnishing to provide a competitive and up-to-date environment and equipment.
Interested nonprofit organizations and schools are eligible to apply for projects that would take place between Jan. 1, and Sept. 30, 2013. Completed online applications are due by Oct. 1. Further information about these programs can be found here

MCACA will be conducting free informational workshops on grant guidelines and the application process for potential applicants throughout the state and online throughout the rest of the summer. The Detroit workshop will be held today 
Tuesday, July 31, 1 to 3 p.m. at Max M. Fisher Music Center, 3711 Woodward Ave. 

Source: Alison Loveday 
Writer: Leah Johnson 

Kresge Foundation opens 5-person office in Midtown

The Kresge Foundation has opened a new office in the heart of Detroit's Midtown neighborhood, a move that will bring five new jobs into the city.

The Troy-based foundation has renovated 2,500-square-feet of office space in the Woodward Garden Block development. The new office will face Woodward Avenue, a few blocks north of Martin Luther King Boulevard, above the Midtown Detroit Inc. offices and the Great Lakes Coffee Roasting Company. Detroit craftspeople created amenities such as desks and a conference table made from wood reclaimed from other buildings in and around the city.

"Having a presence in Detroit reaffirms our longstanding commitment to the health and vitality of the city," says Rip Rapson, president of The Kresge Foundation. "Detroit is central to our identity."

The office space provides a home base for the national philanthropic organization's Detroit-centric programs, which work with nonprofits, community groups, businesses and government agencies across the city. The foundation's contributions work toward creating long-term economic opportunity, advancing social equity, promoting cultural expression, and re-establishing the city as the center of a vibrant southeast Michigan.

Detroit-centric causes make up about 20 percent of The Kresge Foundation's giving each year. Its portfolio of work in the Motor City includes partnerships with the likes of NextEnergy, Eastern Market Corp, WARM Training Center, and the Detroit Riverfront Conservancy to transform Detroit into a desirable, green city. The Kresge Foundation is also working to promote entrepreneurial development through support for the New Economy Initiative funder collaborative.

"(The new Detroit office) connects us to the energy of the city and the energy in Midtown in particular," Rapson says.

Source: Rip Rapson, president of The Kresge Foundation
Writer: Jon Zemke

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

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

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

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

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 
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