| Follow Us: Facebook Twitter Vimeo RSS Feed

Near East Side : Buzz

63 Near East Side Articles | Page: | Show All

Packard Plant developer outlines grand plans for Detroit

Peruvian developer Fernando Palazuelo made big headlines in 2013 when he purchased the long-abandoned Packard Plant on Detroit's east side. The property, which consists of 47 buildings and spans 40 acres, is perhaps the most daunting re-development project in all of the city of Detroit, which is saying a lot. Nonetheless, Palazuelo appears to be moving forward with plans for the massive ruin. According to Crain's Detroit Business, he has retained an architecture firm (Albert Kahn Associates) and a general contractor (O'Brien Construction Co.) to begin work on the rehab of a 150,000-sq-ft administrative building on the Packard property.

According to the same Crain's piece, however, those plans represent only a fraction of Palazuelo's Detroit ambitions:

"[Palazuelo] said in an interview with Crain's last week that he plans to make offers to buy five of greater downtown's most storied buildings: the 255,000-square-foot Book Tower and adjoining 260,000-square-foot Book Building; the 996,000-square-foot Penobscot Building; and the Albert Kahn Building and Fisher Building in the New Center Area, which total 925,000 square feet."

The Peruvian developer claims that he has the backing of a Lima-based private equity firm with over $500 million in assets.

Read more about Palazuelo's Detroit plans in Crain's Detroit Business.

Detroit gets several massive new murals

Last month, it appeared as if the city of Detroit was declaring war on mural art. On Oct. 15, the Motor City Muckraker reported that city officials had issued tickets to building owners along the Grand River Creative Corridor, declaring large-scale murals on their buildings' walls to be "graffiti," despite the fact that all works had been commissioned. Significant public outcry followed on social media, and Mayor Duggan's office responded quickly by rescinding the tickets.

Since then, public muralists have forged ahead with new large-scale works on prominent buildings around the city. Here's a quick roundup of three recent projects:

Albert Kahn mural, Russell Industrial Center, 1600 Clay St.

Detroit artist Kyle Danley recently completed a mural celebrating Albert Kahn, one of Detroit's most famous architects, on the side of the Russell Industrial Center, a Kahn-designed building. The Metro Times recently highlighted Danley and his mural in this feature. The Kahn mural, which is located on the northwest side of Building 2 of the Russell Industrial Center, joins the iconic "Chimera" mural by artist Kobie Solomon that is located on the building's west side and is visible from I-75. A mural reveal is planned for the Russell's Fall Open House happening Saturday, Nov. 15 at 1600 Clay St. Find event details here.

"Rise Up" mural in Milwaukee Junction

Curbed Detroit recently highlighted the emergence of a new mural on a vacant industrial building just blocks away from the Russell Industrial Center in the Milwaukee Junction neighborhood. Entitled " "Rising Up, Back on the Street," the massive 6,000-square-foot mural of a roaring tiger is the work of Los Angeles-based Australian artist David "Meggs" Hooke.

HopCat Detroit murals

The Grand River Creative Corridor and the "4731 Group" are curating five murals by Detroit artists Fel3000ftElmerMaltMelo and Kobie Solomon on the exterior walls of HopCat Detroit's new location on Woodward Avenue at Canfield in Midtown. The murals are currently in-progress, so go check out the artists at work. For more details on the HopCat project, check out this piece by Motor City Muckraker's Steve Neavling.

Flower mural in West Village

On Agnes Street between Parker and Van Dyke -- across the street from the new Red Hook Detroit coffee shop and new-ish restaurants Detroit Vegan Soul and Craft Work -- a large-scale mural is being painted. The mural appears to be the work of artist Ouizi, who has a similarly flower-themed painting on the back wall inside Corktown's Astro Coffee.  

Photo via Grand River Creative Corridor's Facebook page.

New Packard owner joins Freep Film Fest panel

Great to hear Fernando Palazuelo, who bought the Packard Plant in last year's foreclosure auction is in town and talking publicly about his massive redevelopment project.

Curbed Detroit reports that at last week's premier of the doc Packard: The Last Shift he told the audience that he will have a redevelopment plan for the site within three to four months. Sounds mighty good to us.

Read on here.

Is Packard plant going down? Maybe, maybe not

Finances appear to be an issue for Cristini, who did not return several calls from the Free Press on Friday. He told the Environmental Protection Agency last year that he didn't have the resources to pay $35,000 for cleanup costs at the plant. His company, Bioresource, owes $760,000 in back city and county property taxes. The city has a separate lien against the owner for $400,000 in unpaid taxes, a spokeswoman said.


Video stars: DetroitUnspun tunes into Data Driven Detroit

The pictures say it all. Well, no: Data Driven Detroit's Kurt Metzger and his charts say it all during episode 11 of DetroitUnspunTV. Plan to spend a good half hour getting an education on proper council re-districting that manages to keep the integrity of neighborhoods intact. Metzger knows his stuff.

Watch the video, commercial free, here.

Upstart Boat Magazine creates Detroit issue

It was a lazy month for London ad agency owners Davey and Erin Spens. The pair, fascinated by magazines and travel, took an unusual vacation -- renting an office in Sarajevo, bringing their two coworkers along to pen a magazine offering readers a true glimpse of the formerly war-torn city.

After some help from writer Dave Eggers, who introduced the first issue of Boat Magazine with one of his short stories, the pair are at it again. They came to Detroit to produce their second issue -- a $12 "antidote to lazy journalism," printed on beautiful matte paper, with an article from Jeffrey Eugenides and interviews with Ben Wallace, Alex Winston and Jessica Hernandez.

We found one excerpt, a photo essay on Detroit food, in The Guardian:

We headed down there on a Saturday morning to find a bustling area filled with vegetable stalls, and thousands of people from all over Detroit and the surrounding states shopping for produce for home or business. The must-haves are the ribs from Berts, but we were as taken by the market across the freeway, with its walls painted in murals of meat, fish and cheese, which are sold inside.

Buy it here

The business of art, and Heidelberg Street

While art and commerce can be uneasy bedfellows (how to put a price on creativity; and whether it should be judged in those terms), a new study from the Center for Creative Community Development at Williams College proves one Detroit attraction satisfies both spheres.

Tyree Guyton's Heidelberg Project is more than an indoor-outdoor art exhibition -- it's a serious revenue-builder for the city. The study found that the project attracts $3.4 million in economic activity to Wayne County every year. That's partly because 70 percent of the more than 50,000 visitors who make their way to Heidelberg Street every year are from outside the county. Guyton's vision has also created 40 jobs in the region.


"The Detroit and wider Detroit region faces a wide array of challenges," Sheppard said. "I don't think it's correct to say that art and cultural organizations and projects alone can completely turn around the economy of Detroit ... but I think arts and culture projects like the HP are (part of that)."

Connect the dots here.

Revisiting the legacy of Belle Isle landscape artist Frederick Olmsted

As the nation's founding father of public parks, Frederick Olmsted is most celebrated for his East Coast creations, like New York's Central Park and Prospect Park. Canny locals know his imaginative green thumb extended to the Midwest, including our own most famous city green space, Belle Isle.

While Belle Isle's appearance has strayed from Olmsted's original intent, his sinuous, weaving canals tracing through the island park are virtually untouched.


I took a boat tour of the canals, accompanied by Keith Flournoy, Belle Isle's ever-resourceful park manager. (We were in a small, motorized launch, but you could get pretty much the same experience by renting a paddleboat.) We glided past weeping willows and under a series of wonderfully varied footbridges. "This is how Olmsted meant this park to be seen," Mr. Flournoy said.

Find out about Olmsted's other Mid-American works here.

PBS examines city's urban garden and sustainability issues

Journalist Desiree Cooper asks the tough questions about urban farming and Detroit's future on the DPTV series Sustainable Detroit, which aired its second episode Sunday nationally on PBS. She talks of the next wave of fortune-seekers to the city -- not property-flippers, but hoe-wielding gardeners who see promoting urban agriculture as a necessary next step for repairing, as Cooper says, the city's social fabric.


"If you're a caring person and you're surrounded by what seems to be just nothingness, it's a heavy, heavy burden," said Myrtle, adding that the gardens are a visible sign that someone on the block values the land, themselves and others. "When property is neglected, it says, 'We don't care, we can get away with dumping, and we can get away with vile behavior because nobody is watching.'" What they are really planting, said Myrtle, is a revolution in values.

Check out Cooper's blog, and cllick here to watch the video.

Art, bikes and a beautiful day at Anna Scripps Park

To celebrate its first year of work, the dynamo arts organization Forward Arts added a new event to its repertoire -- the donation-based Art Ride, which took 100 patrons to lesser-ventured city creations like Hamtramck Disneyland, Heidelberg satellite project Street Folk 2 and Power House Productions.

The bike ride culminated at Woodbridge's Anna Scripps Park, where Access Arts hosted seven installations and a number of workshops and showcases from its students. As the Knight Arts blog reports, over 15 organizations and stakeholders came together to put on the show.


This is a clear example of why art improves the quality of our lives. On a sunny day, kids built forts with their family and neighbors, and a diverse crowd admired the art pieces, while mingling in the park and snaking on delicious treats from the Pink FlaminGO! food truck. It created a positive energy that people were attracted to, and everyone walked away with a little bit of culture, whether (sic) they expected to or not.

Photographs and more available here.

One dream, many voices: the battle to redesign Detroit

The Christian Science Monitor made Detroit the subject of an exhaustive cover story on the struggle between the city's power players -- union heads, city officials, neighborhood leaders, and more -- to create a plan for right-sizing both the city's landscape and services it provides to citizens. This article digs beyond the cliches to provide a balanced look at the varied interests and stakeholders involved in Detroit's immediate plans for renewal, from the Mayor's office to the one-acre urban farm.


Evidence of that small-town environment is the escalation of urban farms in Detroit that are repurposing empty lots. There are 875 urban farms and community gardens operating throughout the city, a network of which is providing affordable, pesticide-free food at neighborhood farmers' markets, restaurants and retail outlets, according to Detroit Works Project data. Green growth is everywhere from small tomato plantings in a patch of a corner lot on a residential street to large orchard tracts planned by John Hantz, a local businessman who plans to build "the world's largest urban farm" in Detroit.Read the rest of the story here.

Conner Creek to host Detroit River kayaking tours

Hey, East Side Model D readers -- we've got the lead on a summer outing just for you. Residents of these East Side zip codes -- 48205, 48207, 48211, 48213, 48214, 48215, 48224, and 48234 -- are eligible to participate in a day of kayaking along the Detroit River. The kayak adventure is presented by the Conner Creek Greenway, a project put on by the Detroit Eastside Community Collaborative. For only $5 a head, paddlers will explore both the Detroit Rive, the Fisher Mansion and the numerous canals along the waterfront.

Two tours will embark on Aug. 13 from Maheras Gentry Park where Conner meets the river at 9 a.m. and 1 p.m. We can't think of a better way to enjoy the city's natural splendor (while keeping cool!). Click here for more information and contact Libby or Caitlin at 313-571-2800 ext. 1159 to register for either expedition.

Go (Mid)west, young man -- Detroit, the new frontier

A century and a half ago, adventurers, dreamers and gamblers alike headed west to seek freedom and fortune. A new article in YES! Magazine hails Detroit as the new American frontier for the modern-day visionary. Urban agriculture, cheap land, yes -- Detroit has these things, and more. But, author Aaron M. Renn notes, the city's relatively lax attitude avoids a pattern of interference, which often hampers development in stronger cities. And that's birthed a community of "self-determinants," working together to create something closer to utopia out of the ruins.


Whether this trend really pumps life back into Detroit remains to be seen. But it has done one essential thing: it has created an aspirational narrative of success in Detroit that other Americans might imagine themselves being a part of. If that starts to attract people in sufficient numbers to reverse core city population decline, Detroit could be at the start of the long road back.

Say yes. Read more here.

Grace Lee Boggs: How a Detroit Summer plants the seeds of revolution

When longtime Detroit activist Grace Lee Boggs started the Detroit Summer program in 1992, her vision was of a multi-generational collective sharing ideas and efforts to rebuild the community. She knew the work would be slow -- one empty lot, one potluck, one garden at a time.

But in a passage from her new book, The Next American Revolution: Sustainable Activism for the 21st Century, Boggs says she rejected the more typical (and large-scale) frameworks of a left-wing organization or sizable nonprofit, noting, "the system continues to function because neither carries the potential to transform society."


" ... our hope was that Detroit Summer would bring about a new vision and model of community activism -- one that was particularly responsive to the new challenges posed by the conditions of life and struggle in the postindustrial city. We did not feel this could be accomplished if control of our activities was ceded to the dictates of government or the private sector, even though this meant that we would be working on a small scale. However, by working on this scale, we could pay much closer and greater attention to the relationships we were building among ourselves and with communities in Detroit and beyond.

Read more here.

Juxtapoz artists make permanent home in Detroit

Detroit News columnist Donna Terek says she wasn't thrilled with last year's Juxtapoz art project, in which the California-based mag turned six national artists loose in an East Side Detroit neighborhood to work their magic on a street of abandoned homes. But two of those "fly-by-night" creatives are making a permanent nest in Detroit, and brought five more with them.

Artist Ryan Doyle, along with his family, will continue working on the three-story art installation he calls the "Treasure's Nest" while running an informal artists' hostel and planting an urban garden. And Doyle already sounds like a resident: "I don't know why everyone doesn't want to move to Detroit," he says.


In a way, what they're doing seems a hipster cliche by now: move to Detroit, buy a cheap house, plant an urban garden. But so what? Cliches develop because they are methods that work. Detroit could use more like these.

In fact, it can use a lot more. In a city bleeding population, can we afford to look askance at a transfusion of creative plasma like these enthusiastic Detroit-ophiles? We need as many of them as are willing to come. And, while I was skeptical about the magazine's helicopter artist drop, this is exactly the kind of thing that creates buzz about Detroit on the coasts where the majority of cultural opinion makers resides and publishes.

Check out the rest of the story here.

63 Near East Side Articles | Page: | Show All
Signup for Email Alerts