| Follow Us: Facebook Twitter Vimeo RSS Feed

Buzz

3249 Articles | Page: | Show All

National business leaders bullish on Detroit, Kresge report indicates

The Kresge Foundation, a national nonprofit that supports America's cities and offers numerous Detroit-specific grants, recently released its "Detroit Reinvestment Index," which gathered data on what national business leaders think about Detroit and how the city compares to perceptions of cities generally.

Overall the document offers some hopeful conclusions. Perhaps the most encouraging is that 84 percent of those surveyed—senior leaders at global companies of over 250 employees—believe that Detroit "can become a great city again."

In a letter about the index, Kresge Foundation president Rip Rapson writes, "With caveats, I think it's fair to say that Business is very bullish on Detroit."

Other "key findings" include...
  • Business leaders believe Detroit has a number of assets, like "its racial, ethnic and cultural diversity, rich cultural history, effective local government, low cost of living and low taxes as key reasons."
  • Surprisingly, "Only 16% of business leaders are aware that Detroit is out of bankruptcy."
There's a lot more to digest in the 43 page report, which is available for download on the foundation's website.

Keegan-Michael Key to invest, spend more time in Detroit

Comedian and Detroit-native Keegan-Michael Key says he's going to invest more in his hometown.

According to an article in The Detroit News, "[Key] makes several trips a year to Detroit and is planning on spending even more time in the city." Part of that plan entails purchasing property here.

Key, most well-known for the groundbreaking comedy show, "Key and Peele" which he wrote with co-star Jordan Peele, has already engaged quite a bit with Detroit: he was one of the co-founders of Hamtramck's Planet Ant Theater and a member of Second City Detroit's mainstage cast (see Model D's article on the local improv scene). He recently filmed for a role in the upcoming Detroit-based comedy television series, "Detroiters."

Model D interviewed Key before his show at the Detroit Film Theater supporting the Detroit Creativity Project last year.

And there's more. "He also wants to tell Detroit stories; he says he's in the early stages of putting together a project that dramatizes Detroit's bankruptcy," writes Adam Graham.

Help select which mural gets painted at the Adams Butzel Recreation Complex

Every year, the 8-week Summer in the City program culminates in a celebration and mural painting. This year, they've chosen to adorn the Adams Butzel Recreation Complex in northwest Detroit with a hockey-themed mural.

And you can help decide which mural is selected. The Detroit Red Wings Foundation, along with the youth-led summer program, and the City of Detroit Parks and Recreation Department have come up with seven mural designs, all hockey-themed, as the section of the rec center to be painted is the Jack Adams Memorial Hockey Arena.

The mural that gets the most votes will be painted on the Finale Friday celebration, which includes more than just painting, and takes place on August 12. All are encouraged to vote for their favorite design and volunteer for painting.

Summer in the City is an organization that offers programming and volunteer opportunities in Detroit for youth. One project they commonly undertake is mural-painting—the organization says they've painted over 100 in the city.

Model D covered last year's Finale Friday at Crowell Community Center, also in northwest Detroit. An estimated 1,200 volunteers showed up.

To vote for your favorite mural design, click here.

Detroit Free Press strongly denounces county executives' efforts to derail regional transit

A prominent columnist at the Detroit Free Press, Pulitzer Prize winner Stephen Henderson, and the paper's editorial board have come out staunchly against recent efforts to scuttle regional transit by county executives L. Brooks Patterson and Mark Hackel, respectively of Oakland and Macomb counties.

"Twenty-six times this region has tried to create functional transit across three or four counties, and 26 times, we've come up short. Way short," writes the editorial board. "Until 2012, when the state Legislature created a Regional Transit Authority for southeast Michigan. This time, with state support and a rock-solid structure built to harness cooperation among the various parties in the region, things would be different. This time, we would get it right."

But then the two county executives objected to the plan, which had been in the works for many months, two weeks before the millage needed to get approved for the November ballot.

Here's what the editorial board thinks of the last-minute antics: "[R]epresentatives from Oakland and Macomb objected, blindsiding RTA officials and other board members who'd negotiated in good faith. Oakland's representative delivering a 19-page list of grievances, ranging from the quasi-legitimate to the asinine."

Part of their argument is that Oakland and Macomb fail to see the region as a cohesive whole—they are stuck in a balkanized mindset.

Henderson's column, titled "Hackel, Patterson trying to build a wall in S.E. Michigan," demonstrates he feels similarly. Like the editorial board, he questions the timing, and goes point by point through their objections, which he calls "selfish." But again, county executives fail to see that the "dividends pay back region-wide."

He ends the column with a plea: "Time is short. For this to get onto the November ballot, something has to be approved by early August. If that doesn't happen, we're looking at 2018 before another opportunity comes up. And that would be near-criminal neglect. Think of the stranded and isolated lives, kept from opportunity by our lousy transit, that will unfold over those next two years."

A Model D article from last year speculated whether the suburbs would buy in to regional transit. Perhaps, sadly, we have our answer. 

Small businesses multiply, crime declines along Jefferson Avenue corridor

A recent article in Crain's Detroit Business details the rapid growth of five neighborhoods extending along Jefferson Avenue, stretching all the way to the Grosse Pointe border.

A number of new businesses have opened up along the Jefferson Avenue corridor recently. "Beautiful Bridal, along with a new Caribbean restaurant, a Christian yoga center, women's clothing boutiques, a casual branded clothing store, a used record store, and a coffee shop and bakery, are a few of the more recent businesses that have planted roots along the eight miles between downtown Detroit and Grosse Pointe Park," writes Marti Benedetti.

Some significant numbers accompany these developments. The most salient is the approximately $1 billion in new investment since 2009.

Also notable, writes Benedetti, "Since 2014, crime along the Jefferson corridor declined more than 31 percent. In 2015, there was a 38 percent drop in auto theft and a 22 percent reduction in robberies, according to JEI's 'Safe Jefferson' program."

In addition to new businesses, several apartment and housing developments are finished or underway. Lakewood Century Apartments, for example, is a $7 million, 35-unit project at Lakewood and Jefferson—no opening date was mentioned.

There's also the Jefferson streetscaping, which will include the first protected bike lanes in the city.

Josh Elling, Executive director of the economic development organization Jefferson East, Inc., credits economic development in Detroit's greater downtown area, as well as "business-supporting" institutions, for the economic spillover taking place in the Jefferson corridor.

U.S. cities, Detroit included, are rethinking the alley

An article in The Atlantic's City Lab begins on a poetic note:

"The alley is dark no longer.

"In the United States, these almost-accidental spaces between buildings have existed in a sort of limbo: not quite streets, but still thoroughfares; not private, but not public enough to feel protected; backdrops to crime, or filled with trash heaps."

The article continues by detailing the way cities, including Detroit, are creatively rethinking use of these "almost accidental" spaces. For years, writes Eillie Anzilotti, "[alleys] were a place to conduct activities considered unfit for the main street," like big deliveries or trash collection.

But urban planners are beginning to recognize how much untapped space exists in alleys. One of these new approaches was adopted by Detroit's own Tom and Peggy Brennan. The Green Alley, adjacent to their business-incubator and coworking space the Green Garage (profiled in Model D), is a prototype for the green alley movement being adopted by many U.S. cities.

The Green Alley, writes Anzilotti, "incorporates permeable surfaces and gardening space, and has transformed a space once filled with mattresses and hypodermic needles into a community gathering place."

There's many other interesting cases mentioned in the article, and one wonders which alleys in Detroit would make for promising redevelopment opportunities. 

Next High Growth Happy Hour focuses on real estate

Detroit's rapidly fluctuating real estate market has no shortage of entrepreneurs breaking into it. There's an opportunity to hear from two fast growing local startups at the next High Growth Happy Hour, August 3rd from 6 to 8 p.m., in Detroit’s North End neighborhood.

The speakers will be David Alade of Century Partners, a real estate development company with a holistic revitalization and innovative funding approach, and Max Nussenbaum, CEO & co-founder of property management startup Castle (read Model D's profile on Castle and their rapid growth). David and Max will share insights into Detroit's real estate market, including how they have broken in and created a new model for their businesses.

Agenda

6:00 - 6:30: Networking & Drinks

6:30 - 7:30: Casual chat and Q&A with attendees

7:30 - 8:00: Networking

RSVP here to attend. Space is limited for this free special event. Drinks and light appetizers will be served, and you’ll also get to be the first to see a brand new space Century Partners is redeveloping into a restaurant at 9425 John R Rd., Detroit.

Learn more about the High Growth Happy Hour series, which connects entrepreneurs and inspires them to scale in Metro Detroit.

Subscribe to our sister publication Southeast Michigan Startup to follow more companies scaling in Detroit.

Hatch Art launches fundraiser to save Hamtramck Disneyland

The Hamtramck art collective Hatch Art, using the local crowdfunding platform Patronicity, has launched a fundraiser to help save Hamtramck Disneyland, the famous folk-art site started in the backyard of Ukrainian immigrant Dmytro Szylak.

Syzlak immigrated from Ukraine to Hamtramck with his wife in the 1950s. For the last 30 years of his life, he constructed and renovated the whimsical, vivid artwork that contains tributes to his new and past home countries.

Syzlak passed away last year, and his estate sold the artwork to Hatch Art in May 2016.

If they reach their goal of $50,000, Hatch Art will, according to the fundraiser, "repair and maintain the outdoor, site-specific folk art installation as well as establish an artist's residency program and gallery space."

The installation hasn't been properly cared for in some time and is indeed in need of numerous upgrades. "The garages that support the art suffer from rotten roofs and sagging structures," reads the fundraiser. "Much of the art is weathered, falling apart and in need of immediate attention to be saved."

The "Save Hamtramck Disneyland" fundraiser ends August 20. 

Article explores overlooked beauty of east riverfront housing

Former Model D managing editor Matthew Lewis wrote an article for Hour Detroit about the attractive, and relatively overlooked housing on the Detroit River. Titled "Strait Outta Downtown," the article profiles apartments and houses in The Jeffersonian, "a 30-story, 410-unit midcentury masterpiece," and the Joseph Berry Subdivision, "a small neighborhood consisting of just four streets and fewer than 90 homes."

"But the beauty of its residences—and the influence of its residents—are outsized," writes Lewis.

The article notes that the East Riverfront is a potential growth spot given the skyrocketing real-estate values in downtown and midtown, and its location along Detroit's most distinctive natural feature.

The Jeffersonian, Lewis writes, "features views of cityscapes that are uniquely Detroit—the downtown skyline, blocks of the near east side that are lush with greenery and sparse of houses, Chrysler's sprawling Jefferson North assembly plant, Waterworks Park, and the tidy Berry sub immediately below."

The article then profiles the 5,200 square foot Georgian Colonial located in the Joseph Berry Subdivision and owned by the Linn family since 1983. The houses in the subdivision Lewis writes, "rarely go on the market. A non-waterfront, 5,200-square-foot Tudor described as a 'renovation opportunity' sold last year for $220,000. The Linns' newest neighbor, Kid Rock, moved in two years ago to a house on the west end of Dwight Street."

The article also lists other housing options along the riverfront and is accompanied by attractive photographs of housing, owners, and views of the river and city. 

Forward Cities nominee discusses scholarship for "mapping the world"

Forward Cities nominated Detroiter Jerry Paffendorf of Loveland Technologies to receive a scholarship to the Aspen Institute's Ideas Festival earlier this month.

In addition to be able to attend the event for free, Paffendorf was invited to pitch his idea of mapping the world, which he discusses here with The Lift on Aspen 82.

The Lift | Jerry Paffendorf from The Lift on Vimeo.

 

Developers take lead installing public art in downtown Detroit

Public art is becoming an increasingly common sight as developers both big and small (including Model D's startup editor Jon Zemke) integrate murals and sculptures into their redevelopment projects in the greater downtown Detroit area.

The Detroit News profiled Midtown-based artist Nicole Macdonald's work creating murals of the Motor City's great leaders, including her largest work to date, a billboard-sized tribute to Mary Ellen Riordan on the side of a duplex in North Corktown.

"A group of students were walking by and they stopped and asked, 'Who's that?' and I had the opportunity to tell them," Nicole MacDonald is quoted in the article. "That's what public art is all about. It's empowerment."

Model D broke the story about the mural of the legendary former president of the Detroit Federation of Teachers earlier this year.

Group seeks to make two streets temporarily car-free

An article in the Detroit News reports that an organization called Open Streets is applying for permits to convert stretches of Michigan Avenue and Vernor Highway into exclusively pedestrian and bike streets.

"If the city and state gives permission, the two major thoroughfares would be shut for several hours, from noon to 5 p.m., on two consecutive Sundays, organizers said. The planned dates are Sept. 25 and Oct. 2," writes Louis Aguilar for the Detroit News.

While it's only for a matter of hours, twice, on parts of each road, this is a big deal. The car-free zones could demonstrate new planning possibilities for Detroit, which has been heavily reliant on automobile transportation for decades.

Also noted in the article, Detroit is late to the game in offering pedestrian roads. Other cities offer an example of what might take place on those Sundays.

"They inspire local businesses to set up sidewalk booths," writes Aguilar. "Musicians play. Yoga and other exercise classes are held on the street along with other family-friendly activities. A street-fair atmosphere takes root, with the actual street and the community it supports as the focus."

Cleveland's bus rapid transit system could be a model for Detroit

Next fall, residents of Southeast Michigan will have an opportunity to vote on a property tax millage to fund a new regional public transportation system. One of the components of that system is bus rapid transit, or BRT. Since we've never had a system like that in place, it's understandable to wonder what it might look like.

But Cleveland's BRT HealthLine has been around since 2008. And for those wondering, The Detroit Free Press recently published an article with the title, "Curious about bus rapid transit? Check out Cleveland."

There are many benefits and services of HealthLine. "Buses generally arrive at each station every 5-7 minutes during busier times of day," writes Eric Lawrence. "They travel on separate lanes for about 80 percent of the route and get traffic signal preference that is controlled by GPS. Service also runs all day. Level platform boarding makes getting on and off easier. Stations are covered and have seating and message boards, and riders purchase passes ahead of time."

That dedicated lane and traffic signal preference means commutes have been shortened considerably, which has resulted in a 60 percent increase in ridership. This does contribute to a complaint, expressed by rider James Hunt: "He said the 'only downside' to the HealthLine is 'how full it'll get.'"

BRT has had measurable effects on Cleveland's economy as well: "$6.3 billion in economic development," according to experts. HealthLine has been so successful, that it's the only BRT line in the United States to receive a "silver" rating by the New York-based Institute for Transportation and Development Policy.

If Cleveland is any indicator, it would behoove Southeast Michigan to approve the millage next election.

Stroh's to once again be brewed in Detroit

It's been over 30 years since Stroh's beer was brewed in Detroit, the city in which it was founded. But that's about to change, according to a Crain's Detroit Business article.

Brew Detroit, a brewery and tasting room located on Abbott Street in Corktown that makes a number of beers for Michigan brands, got label approval to brew Stroh's Bohemian-Style Pilsner on June 8. 

Though the exact date Detroit-brewed Stroh's will be available is unknown, Crain's Dustin Walsh writes that beers typically appear on the market "within weeks or months of receiving label approval from the federal regulatory body."

Stroh's Brewing Company was founded in Detroit in 1850 by German immigrant Bernhard Stroh. The company stayed in the family for generations, though it stopped brewing in Detroit in 1985 and "razed its 1 million-square-foot brewery, bottling and warehouse buildings on Gratiot Avenue at I-75," writes Walsh.

Stroh's was eventually acquired by Pabst Brewing Company in 1999. So while the Stroh's that will be brewed again in Detroit bears little resemble to the 31-million barrel a year company when it was last here, it's still exciting news for lovers of beer and Detroit history. 

Emerging leaders convene to talk #solutionsjournalism

As humans, we learn best through stories. So what better way to grapple with the complex history, policy and movements in our region than through great reporting and storytelling?

That's why Metromode, Model D and Metro Matters are thrilled to announce the first convening of our Emerging Leaders Advisory Board. Over the next year, this group of local leaders will meet quarterly and online to advise our solutions journalism coverage of metro Detroit's most pressing issues. The project is made possible with support from the Southeast Michigan Community Foundation.

We received over 50 applications from talented and bright leaders in a broad range of fields from across southeast Michigan. It was a difficult task to select only 19 to serve on the board.

These talented folks came together in early June at the Urban Consulate in Midtown to brainstorm and prioritize the regional issues and solutions that we'll be writing about in the coming months.

They are a group driven by love, passion and pride for metro Detroit.

"I love Detroit and want to contribute as much as I can to the revival of a great city," says board member Jonathan So of Huntington Woods. "Every time someone sees that I'm from Detroit they want to talk about the city and where it is going. We are all ambassadors."

They also want to get involved and make a difference.

"I applied to the board to help shape the future of my city and region," says board member Kate Cherry of Hamtramck. "I hope the project results in greater awareness of urban issues and knowledge of regional growth strategies among people in our area."

They're looking for an opportunity to connect with one another and expand their knowledge.

"I hope that serving on the board will be an opportunity to connect with professionals in the area from a variety of disciplines to hear new takes on regional issues," says board member Sonja Karnovsky of Ann Arbor. "By harnessing our collective abilities and experiences, we can find ways to leverage resources in southeast Michigan."

They even want to help foster leadership among younger residents.

"I want to inspire other millennials to enter politics," says board member, millennial and Madison Heights mayor Brian Hartwell. He's also interested in keeping the area attractive to residents. "Another goal is to retain homegrown talent by giving emerging leaders an opportunity to make a difference here in Michigan. This program will slow the export of new thinkers."

Our first conversation ran the gamut from race and immigration to land use and sprawl to infrastructure, digital justice, civic engagement and more.

Board member Sean Kammer of Pontiac sees political fragmentation as the region's greatest hurdle.

"Political fragmentation has reinforced segregation of the population by race and income more so than it would be if we had stronger regional authorities and more services that are regionally provided," he says. "This fragmentation has led to disparities in public service provision and real estate values that have made some cities more vulnerable to economic recessions than others."

Karnovsky echoes that sentiment.

"This disconnect leads to a lack of resources in parts of the region that need them most," she says. "Money, ideas, and resources don't get shared equitably between parts of the region and this leads to inequality. "

Arquette Palermo sees water as an important regional challenge. 
 
"The impacts of climate change, especially on our water resources,  is a looming issue. This can impact quality of life, disease, economics and so much more, and I think the average citizen does not realize this."

Hartwell sees infrastructure as the top issue facing the region.

"The tragedy unfolding before our eyes is the continued disinvestment of infrastructure in our urban core and inner-ring suburbs for the benefit of far-flung exurbs," he says. 

We'll be digging in to help you understand how these issues affect our daily lives in metro Detroit. We'll also take a careful look at how government, business and citizens are proposing (or already implementing) solutions to address them.

Below is a list of our Emerging Leaders Advisory Board members, as well as a form you can fill out to let us know about solutions to the issues. We want to hear from you!

2016 Solutions Journalism Advisory Board Members

Zubeyda Ahmed, Highland Park
Michele Arquette-Palermo, Orion Township
Mohamed Ayoub, Dearborn
Lauren
Bealore, Southfield
Kate Cherry, Hamtramck
Ghida Dagher, Dearborn Heights
Jon Dones, Detroit
Gillian Gainsley, Ypsilanti
Garlin Gilchrist II, Detroit
Lesley Hairston, Detroit
Melissa Halpin , Northville
Brian Hartwell, Madison Heights
Sean Kammer, Pontiac
Sonja, Karnovsky, Ann Arbor
Ash Nowak, Detroit
Michael Radtke Jr., Sterling Heights
Gabriela Santiago-Romero, Detroit
Jonathan So, Huntington Woods
Jeremiah Wheeler, Detroit

 
Photos by Nick Hagen.
3249 Articles | Page: | Show All
Signup for Email Alerts