Detroit's newest tech company is moving to the Motor City by renovating one of the city's Victorian gems. The co-owners of
, a website that covers tech, gaming and Internet culture, have purchased the Sullivan House in Woodbridge and are in the early stages of renovating the 100-year-old mansion into its new headquarters.
"We have both been interested in Detroit for quite sometime," says Brian Ambrozy, a native Detroiter and co-owner and editor in chief of Icrontic. "The momentum has been building for a few years. The reason we chose Woodbridge is the momentum has been centered on the Midtown, Corktown and Woodbridge areas."
Ambrozy and Lincoln Russell, Icrontic's other co-owner and lead web developer, have been building the geek-lifestyle-oriented website community from Ambrozy's home him in Warren since the early 2000s. They are now turning the seven-room mansion at the corner of Calumet and Avery streets into not only Icrontic's new home but also the home for both of their families. They also plan to use the sprawling Victorian mansion as the base for Icrontic's events, which attract dozens of tech enthusiasts at a time.
"The place we stay has to have space so 30 of our friends can crash here," Ambrozy says.
And then there is the 'Wow' factor. That's what the new owners of the Sullivan House
, named for Detroit coal magnate Daniel Sullivan, couldn't stop saying when they first saw it. There is so much 'wow' to the structure's fireplaces, pocket doors, wrap around porch and corner tower that it overcame the house's significant renovation needs. Russell says he always wanted a house with a turret so that he could look out at the neighborhood while he codes.
"I love the architecture," Russell says. "I was going to be a history teacher before I went into web development. I love finding out everything about this house."
The circa-1899 Victorian needs significant upgrades in its core systems, exterior and a growing list of other places. However, Ambrozy and Russell are aiming to do everything right the first time, such as installing a super-energy-efficient boiler system. The business partners expect to spend this year getting all of the core systems online, and then taking their time with the rest of the restoration to make sure it is done right. You can read more about their renovation experiences at Icrontic's new blog, IntoDetroit
. Not to mention even more on the "wow" factor at Curbed Detroit.
Source: Brian Ambrozy and Lincoln Russell, co-owners of Icrontic
Writer: Jon Zemke
Read more about Metro Detroit's growing entrepreneurial ecosystem at SEMichiganStartup.com.