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Massive Herman Kiefer development progressing

Just because no shovels have hit the dirt, that doesn't mean there hasn't been progress at the vacant Herman Kiefer Hospital complex development near Detroit's Boston Edison neighborhood. 

According to a Detroit News article, head developer Ron Castellano is set to take over the site this spring as part of a $143 million, "multi-year development agreement to rehabilitate and reuse the seven medical complex buildings and 462,605-square-foot main hospital, the former Hutchins and Crosman schools, as well as the JTPA nursing school."

The deal was approved in 2015, but because of the complicated funding package and phased development plan, it took time to transfer the properties. "Castellano explained each piece of the project should raise enough money to support itself and also help fund another piece of the development," writes Christine Ferretti. 

An important piece of the total funds will come from potential brownfield development reimbursements totalling $47.7 million to clean up waste from prior developments. 

Also noteworthy, the project may be the first in the city to operate under Detroit’s new community benefits ordinance. "The law, approved in November, lays out a process for engaging the community to negotiate job guarantees and other factors for projects worth at least $75 million. The multiphase project is expected to produce at least 1,067 jobs."

Read the full article here.

TechTown awards ceremony to recognize excellence in entrepreneurship

TechTown Detroit, a business incubator located in New Center, has done a lot to support entrepreneurship since opening its doors in 2004. And at The Salute! Awards, which takes place on October 13 at TechTown, they'll recognize a few of those standout entrepreneurs.

This year's winner of the "Entrepreneur of the Year" award will be given to Sean Ainsworth, CEO and founder of RetroSense Therapeutics, a biotech company that develops "life-enhancing gene therapies" based on research conducted at Wayne State University. Ainsworth and the company have received numerous accolades in the past, including being named one of the "50 Smartest Companies in the World" by MIT Technology Review.

The ceremony will recognize other people who've contributed to Detroit's business ecosystem. James Feagan IV will receive the "Business Champion of the Year" award for his consulting work with NEIdeas, Motor City Match, and more. Three current or former TechTown clients will receive Lab (technology) and Block (neighborhood) awards as well.

The finalists for the awards were nominated by a committee of "leaders in the startup and small business community."

"There is so much happening in Detroit's entrepreneurship and small business community, we could have given a hundred of these awards," says Ned Staebler, president and CEO of TechTown, in a press release.

Food, dessert, and drinks from local businesses will be served at the event.

The Salute! Awards will be presented at TechTown’s annual Toast of the Town celebration of entrepreneurship on Thursday, October 13 from 6:00 to 9:00 p.m. at TechTown, 440 Burroughs, in Detroit.

How to do Small Business Saturday the easy way


With the holiday season (and all of the shopping it entails) upon us, there's good reason to feel stressed. Thankfully, several Detroit nonprofits are teaming up to make shopping easy and enjoyable, all while promoting city-based small businesses.

This Saturday, Nov. 28, the Downtown Detroit Partnership is hosting its 12th annual Shop Detroit event in conjunction with American Express's Small Business Saturday. Participants will be able to hop on busses at any of nine pickup locations around the city and be shuttled to a handful of retail districts, including the Cass and Canfield district, the shops at the Park Shelton, the Fisher Building, the Livernois Avenue of Fashion, and downtown. Along the way, the good folks at the Detroit Experience Factory will provide background on the shopping options, as well as historical tidbits about the city. The best part? The tours and shuttles are free and open to the public.

In conjunction with Shop Detroit, the Build Institute will be hosting a Build Bazaar in the atrium of One Campus Martius. Build Bazaar is a rotating pop-up marketplace celebrating emerging entrepreneurs from Build Institute's small business development program. To learn more about Build Institute's Shop Detroit Build Bazaar, click here. Can't make it this Saturday? Check out one of the other Build Bazaars happening between now and Christmas.

To RSVP for Shop Detroit, click here.

New Center Park's summer series returns with movies, music, 'Macbeth,' and more

Since it opened in 2010, New Center Park has hosted free events every summer, from free concerts to movie screenings. This year is no exception. The summer season kicks off on Wednesday, June 3, with a screening of local film "Detroit Unleaded" in conjunction with the Cinetopia International Film Festival.

This year's movie series, which traditionally took place on Wednesday evenings, has been expanded to two nights. Films for adults will play on Wednesdays and Films for families will play on Fridays.

A series of special events are also scheduled for New Center Park this summer, ranging from a performance of "Macbeth" by Shakespeare in Detroit to musical performances by local artists like Thornetta Davis to a celebration of Motor City Brew Works' 20th anniversary.

For a full schedule of New Center Park's summer series, click here.

Is the development craze in Midtown spreading to nearby Milwaukee Junction?


In a longform piece for Bridge Magazine, veteran Detroit journalist Bill McGraw takes a deep look at Milwaukee Junction, an old industrial district that is quickly attracting the interest of local real estate developers.
 
Home to Ford Motor Co.'s original factory, The Ford Piquette Area Plant, Milwaukee Junction was one of the city's most productive industrial areas in the first half of the 20th century. "At its peak in the 1940s, some 33,000 people worked in Milwaukee Junction, and there were 33 heavy manufacturing plants," write McGraw.
 
Though its former glory as an industrial hub of Detroit has mostly faded (it's still home to a handful of industrial businesses), McGraw describes a growing interest in the neighborhood by real estate developers. Currently, the area only has a small amount of housing, but McGraw sites its proximity to other quickly gentrifying Detroit neighborhoods like Midtown and New Center, as well as its closeness to the under-construction M-1 Rail line, as reasons for its imminent development.
 
Think Milwaukee Junction is Detroit's next hot neighborhood?
 
Read more in Bridge Magazine.

Michigan Urban Farming Initiative intern to live in city's first shipping container house

A lucky intern at the nonprofit Michigan Urban Farming Initiative will become the first person to inhabit a house made from a shipping container, reports the Detroit News.

The container is currently being converted into occupiable housing in the parking lot of General Motor’s Detroit-Hamtramck Assembly plant. Once completed, it will be moved to Michigan Urban Farming Initiative's headquarters on Brush Street in New Center.

The nonprofit purchased the container for $3,000, but estimates that it will cost between $20,000 and $25,000 to convert it into a home. According the News, "Local GM workers will volunteer to convert the container into a home and 85 percent of the materials will be scrap from local GM plants."

Read more in the Detroit News.

Freep: Check out updated map of M-1 Rail line

OK, here it, the latest graphic for the M-1 route, set to break ground this spring. The Freep published a map. Check it out.

An excerpt:

Naming rights for the urban rail line -- like in Cleveland and other cities -- could bring $1 million or more to help pay for the line, slated to run 3 miles along Woodward from Jefferson Avenue downtown to Grand Boulevard in New Center.

More here.

Cleveland transit holds lessons for Detroit's M-1

With work on the Woodward Corridor's M-1 rail set to begin soon, the Freep's John Gallagher writes about how a not dissimilar rail line in Cleveland has worked out.

An excerpt:

Cleveland’s HealthLine shows that detailed planning can pay off. The city created new zoning rules requiring developers building along the route to build their projects right up to the sidewalk with parking behind the building to avoid the look of suburban strip malls. The city’s Regional Transit Authority even commissioned more than 100 new trash bins with a snappy design for the route. Playing off the hybrid design of the bus rapid transit vehicles, which run on tires like buses but use dedicated lanes like a train, the HealthLine’s slogan is "It’s not a bus. It’s not a train. It’s the future."

Read more here.

NCB Capital Impact and Kresge Foundation launch Innovative Woodward Corridor Investment Fund

 NCB Capital Impact and The Kresge Foundation are launching the Woodward Corridor Investment Fund, developed to invest in transformative real estate projects that advance the physical redevelopment of Detroit’s Woodward Corridor.  

With the support of MetLife, Inc., PNC Bank, Prudential, Calvert Foundation, Living Cities, and the Max M. & Marjorie S. Fisher Foundation, the Fund will provide capital to projects that are mixed-use, mixed income, transit-oriented and promote density, diversity, vibrancy, and walkability in Detroit’s core.

The $30.25 million Woodward Corridor Investment Fund is designed to support Detroit’s revitalization by financing critically needed housing units along Woodward Avenue, a main artery and home to major medical and academic campuses and arts and entertainment venues. The Woodward Corridor includes Detroit’s Midtown neighborhood, where occupancy rates exceed 95 percent and demand is high for hundreds of additional units. By focusing on the Woodward Corridor, home to many of Detroit’s largest institutions and employers, the fund will help attract residents and commercial activity, establish a model sustainable corridor, and expand economic opportunity for all residents.

The Fund will provide long-term fixed rate loans under terms not currently available through traditional financial institutions, allowing a single loan source rather than the many layers of capital that can be time consuming and difficult to assemble. This will allow developers to commence construction on their projects more quickly. 

PNC’s capital was also pivotal to catalyzing the fund as it demonstrated how a local Detroit bank’s finances leveraged funding from other national partners.

 The Fund will begin accepting applications Oct. 1. It will make initial loan approvals before the end of 2013 for projects that will start construction prior to the end of 2014. More information is available here.


What's happening at Detroit Design Festival?

Those of you going to tonight's DDF opening party at the A. Alfred Taubman Center for Design Education no doubt know the answer to what's up from now until Sunday, Sept. 22, when six days of intense creativity and innovation in design comes to a close.

But not everyone knows. So here is your portal to the happenings for the week, including a design dash, a Mies van der Rohe walk in Lafayette Park, a John Cage show at the College for Creative Studies' Center Galleries, the grand opening of the Untitled Bottega and other super cool events.

Check it all out here.

Atlantic Cities: Detroit, new American design capital?

This is rather flattering. Steven Heller, co-chair of the MFA Design program at the School of Visual Arts and co-founder of the MFA Design Criticism program at the NYC school, recently visited Detroit.

Here's what he had to say in Atlantic Cities: 

I was blown away by this surprisingly little known but inspiring incubator of art and design - the rare collegiate creative enclave that engages with, reflects, and embodies the city it's in.

That city is, of course, a poster child for urban blight and urban flight. But it's also the storied home of American manufacturing and industrial innovation, and with the help of College for Creative Studies, it could well become the design capital of the United States again.

Awfully nice of you, Steven. Read on here.

Feds give final approval to 3.3-mile M-1 rail

On Monday, the 3.3-mile circulating streetcar along Woodward Avenue received clearance to proceed from the Federal Transit Administration (FTA). Also, M-1 Rail President and CEO Matthew P. Cullen welcomed eight new members to the nonprofit’s board of directors and introduced Jeni Norman as Chief Financial Officer.
 
The FTA has completed the environmental clearance for the Woodward Avenue Streetcar Project. With the issuance of the Amended Record of Decision (ROD), the project is allowed to move forward to the next phases of design, right of way acquisition and construction. This is the last approval step under the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) process. 

Now that the process for approval of the Amended ROD has been completed, the M-1 Rail organization continues to strengthen its team with the hiring of a chief financial officer and by electing eight new members to its board of directors. These announcements come about two weeks after hiring a chief administrative officer and director of governmental & community affairs.

Video: CCS partners with Shinola on design project

We've been marveling at how quickly Shinola has captured the imagination of the Detroit public. The College for Creative Studies has been doing more than that. The art and design school is partnering with the watch and bicyle maker on a research project. 

An excerpt:

Research projects are highly conceptual and allow students the opportunity to participate in creative, research-based assignments within real-world design parameters. Our corporate partners commit design and technical staff to students by providing guidance, expertise and feedback. Organizations financially sponsor conceptual design projects for CCS students and encourage inventive and unique design concepts. The corporate sponsors typically work with teams of CCS undergraduate juniors and seniors or graduate students and are supervised by CCS faculty to pursue new directions in design for their products. CCS’ corporate partners are continuing to expand and diversify their relationships with the College. 

Read more about it here.

Richard Florida reacts to 7.2 greater downtown study

In a piece last week in Atlantic Cities, Richard Florida tackles the recently released 7.2 study that shows greater downtown to be better educated and more diverse than the city at large. There is much complexity to this finding, such that we plan on following what it all means in a variety of ways in the near future.

Here's an excerpt from Florida's story:

The Greater Downtown corridor has a population of 36,550 people or 5,076 people per square mile. It might not be not downtown Manhattan, Chicago, Boston, San Francisco, or Philadelphia, but it compares favorably to other Midwest city-centers, like downtown Minneapolis, with 3.4 square miles and 28,811 people; downtown Pittsburgh at 1.3 square miles and 4,064 people; and downtown Cleveland at 3.2 square miles and 9,523 people. Of these downtowns, only Minneapolis has greater density than Greater Downtown Detroit.

Read more here.

Study: Greater downtown growing in wealth, diversity

A report published today and to be shared with investors, developers and city planners, found that greater downtown residents are wealthier than Detroiters at large, but less affluent than the average for the full populations of cities such as Minneapolis and Pittsburgh, which some see as prime examples of successful urban rebirth.

John Gallagher of the Freep has the scoop. An excerpt:

(Data Driven Detroit's Kurt) Metzger pointed out that things are changing so rapidly in the areas that the report may already be slightly dated. For example, gains from the Live Downtown and Live Midtown incentive programs that have bought hundreds of new residents who work for participating businesses into the area in the last two years are not fully captured in this report.

Read the rest of the story (and the full reporthere.


199 New Center Articles | Page: | Show All
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