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Two Hamtown buildings could be bargain for right bidder

Two buildings on Jos. Campau in Hamtramck could be just the prime ticket for the right developer, if you read between the lines in this article on an upcoming closed bid in the Hamtramck Review. An excerpt:

The first to go up for bid is a partially developed loft space on Jos. Campau and Goodson, a former veterans post.
          
The city acquired the property for $40,000 after a developer failed to finish the project. The city, however, ran out of time and perhaps money to complete the project. The city will be seeking sealed bids for the property.
          
It could be quite a steal for the lucky bidder. The upper floor has already been converted into two lofts, while the downstairs is open for any configuration or purpose, including turning it into a retail space.
         
The next city-owned building to be put up for bid is the largest in the Jos. Campau business district, at the corner of Belmont. The four-story building came into the city’s possession due to a foreclosure.

A would-be developer had a state grant to tap into to help with rehab costs, but he could not secure a bank loan to finance the project.

The potential for this building is unlimited, and for the right developer a goldmine. Read the rest of the story here.

Sounds good to us. To submit a sealed bid, mail it to:

City of Hamtramck, Office of the City Clerk, 3401 Evaline, Hamtramck, MI 48212

Minimum bid is $145,500 and every bidder must submit a certified check in an amount equaling 10 percent of their bid. Make check out to Treasurer, City of Hamtramck. Bids are due Dec. 18, 3 p.m. That's this Wednesday. 

To see photos of the Goodson building, inside and out, go here.

Freep's Gallagher: A brief history of Black Bottom and I-375

Discussion and debate about whether I-375 should be replaced by a surface boulevard appears to heating up. John Gallagher of the Detroit Free weighs in with this commentary, excerpted here:

Named for the rich dark soil that French explorers first found there, the Black Bottom district in the 1940s and ’50s housed the city’s African-American entrepreneurial class, with dozens of thriving black-owned businesses and the Paradise Valley entertainment zone, where Duke Ellington, Ella Fitzgerald and Count Basie performed.

But the builders of I-75 and I-375 plowed multilane highways right through Hastings Street, the commercial heart of Black Bottom, and projects such as Lafayette Park and the public housing projects to the north destroyed the rest in the name of progress.

Read the entire piece here.

Go with the Flow: Party with DETROITGRAMS Friday at Great Lakes

DETROITGRAMS, a digital publication, couples its newest issue release about hip hop with a gallery night Dec. 20 at Great Lakes Coffee in Midtown Detroit. The event is 7-11 p.m.

DETROITGRAMS’ latest issue, called Flow, takes an intimate look at hip hop culture and examines its influence in modern Detroit. As a complement to this online content, the gallery night will illustrate how hip hop is much more than music as photographers and writers explore the lives of videographers, activists, producers and other influencers.

The event will present a photo exhibit and video footage along with a set by DJ Carmine. It is free and open to the public, RSVP here.
 

Fourth Annual Detroit Holiday Food Bazaar this weekend

Started in 2010 by food writer and small business owner, Noelle Lothamer, the Detroit Holiday Food Bazaar has established itself as a way to connect small food entrepreneurs with customers eager to purchase unique local and artisanal products, both for themselves and as holiday gifts.

This year's event takes place Friday, Dec. 13 (5-10 p.m.) and Saturday, Dec. 14 (11 a.m.-5 p.m.) in the Historic Jefferson-Chalmers Business District.
 
Lothamer -- who started the cottage food business, Beau Bien Fine Foods in 2010 with partner Molly O'Meara - hoped to sell the duo's jams and condiments to the public for the holidays, but the fledgling company was too small to vend at Eastern Market or to pay the high fees associated with most holiday fairs and markets. So, she decided to create her own one-night-only pop-up market, inviting a handful of fellow food entrepreneurs to join her.
 
The Bazaar is held each year in a different location, in hopes of highlighting different neighborhoods in the city. This year's Bazaar will be held in the Jefferson-Chalmers business district, at three different storefronts (14430, 14440, and 14401 E. Jefferson). Food trucks will be in attendance Friday evening, and pop-up-turned-permanent coffee shop Coffee & (___) (14409 E. Jefferson Ave., Detroit) will also be open for the duration of the event.
 
The Bazaar strives to showcase the best food artisans the area has to offer. This year's market will feature products such as "Old Timey Drinking Vinegars" from McClary Bros., smoked salmon from Great Lakes Smoked Salmon, hand-dipped chocolate truffles from Pete's Chocolates, olives and tapenades from Sofia's Selection, French lava cakes from Chez Chloé, coffee from Great Lakes Coffee and much more. Many of the vendors will be offering special holiday pricing or gift packaging not available elsewhere.

Corktown's Two James gets some video love from Al Jazeera America

From Deadline Detroit we learned that Al Jazeera America, which set up a Detroit bureau in August, aired a two-minute report (below) on the Michigan Avenue newcomer that opened a tasting room Nov. 1.

"From ingredients to packaging, everything at Two James Spirits is local," notes the network's local correspondent, Bisi Onile-Ere.

See the video here.

Discussion and screening of 'Girls Gone Vinyl' work in progress

An official selection of New York's Athena Film Festival-2013, the locally-produced documentary Girls Gone Vinyl will be getting a screening of the work in progress this Thursday at Cinema Detroit in Midtown's Cass Corridor.

There is also a panel discussion and VIP reception as part of Thursday's event, also a fundraiser to complete production of the film. 
 
The panel is made up of:
 
Jenny Lafemme- DJ and producer of Girls Gone Vinyl
Maggie Derthick- promoter and producer of Girls Gone Vinyl
Rebekah Farrugia - professor and author of Beyond The Dance Floor
Ted Krisko - DJ/producer currently playing across the Americas and Europe
Walter Wasacz - journalist and managing editor of Model D
 
VIP reception is 6:30 - 7:30 p.m. and is $75. That gets you cocktails and lite fare, a guaranteed seat for screening and the panel discussion, and a VIP gift bag.
 
General admittance is 7:30 p.m. and is $25 at the door. Screening is 8 p.m. Discussion and Q&A follows the screening. The night will feature the sounds by resident Girls Gone Vinyl DJs supported by the Audio Rescue Team.
 
Your ticket purchase directly funds the final needs to finish the film, editing and script writing.

The event is Thursday, Dec. 12 at Cinema Detroit, 3420 Cass Ave.

Urbanist Dispatch: Detroit music scene has potential to grow beyond current $1 billion

We thought this report from the Urbanist Dispatch would pair nicely with our Detroit music feature from last week.

An excerpt:

Despite its legacy, research by Florida and his colleagues at the University of Toronto’s Martin Prosperity Institute (MPI) suggests Detroit is not fully capitalizing on its local music scene. An analysis of figures from the Bureau of Labor Statistics and the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis allowed MPI to develop a Metro Music Index to rank cities based on the local music scene.

Nashville tops the list, followed by the obvious (New York City and Los Angeles) and the surprising (Rochester, New York). Detroit doesn’t crack the top 25. It comes in at 37; unable to even beat much smaller Kalamazoo, Michigan, which is ranked eighth overall when small metros are included.

C'mon people, let's begin to rebuild and reload our funky groove thing. Read on here.

News: 'New Wave' brings energy to greater downtown

Oh, yes, we are definitely feeling the good urban vibes that are multiplying around the city, particularly in the greater downtown area visited by Michael H. Hodges for this piece. It's a good one. Here's an excerpt: 

That energy is visible in the commercial flowering in Corktown, where Two James Spirits and an expanded Motor City Wine recently joined more established businesses like Slows Bar BQ and the Mercury Burger Bar. You can see it in the 34 floors of spanking-new apartments -- every last one rented -- in the David Broderick Tower, once a dark, depressing sentinel that loomed over Grand Circus Park.

And you can hardly miss it in the annual Nain Rouge parade, or the formal pop-up dinner parties that briefly take over public spaces -- both animated by a new sense of fun and delight in the city.

Read more here.

Derrick May: Detroit music legends can do more for their city

Techno legend Derrick May has been an articulate spokesperson for creative Detroit life for nearly 30 years. He's a coveted interview by culture-based media around the world. So when asked by the UK's Guardian what this city needs he responded that successful artists must do more for the place that helped them prosper.

An excerpt: 

Detroit is an original city and we have got to the point of no return. We've hit the bottom of the bottom, now we're recreating ourselves, a whole new creative class, a whole new energy that will be instilled upon kids my young daughter's age. We will be talking about Detroit till the day we die. It will always be something magical.

Read more here.

Ponyride hosts second annual open house this Friday

Last year, over 500 people attended Ponyride's first open house and organizers are expecting even more this year. The Corktown co-work space and incubator is holding its event this Friday, Dec. 6, from 6 to 10 p.m. 
 
Called the Holiday Open House, there will be a pop-up marketplace featuring Ponyride's tenants and local independent maker-preneurs. 

Ponyride is at 1401 Vermont St., Detroit.

HuffPost Detroit: What Detroit could look like in 20 years

We were pleased to see this piece by former Model D section editor Ashley Woods, now editor of Huffington Post Detroit, get tons of play on social media last week. And with good reason: it compiles many splendid ideas that could work (some are already in motion) in Detroit in the coming decades.

An excerpt:

Change is brewing in the Motor City. New projects are targeting investment in hotspots like downtown and Midtown, and the city's neighborhoods could see major transformations under long-term plans like Detroit Future City.

Some of those changes are a long way off, but others are already under way -- enough that we can take a peek at 18 examples of the Detroit of the future...

Well said, Ash. Read on here.

Green builders raising funds for AFTERHOUSE project

We ran into people behind this project at Eight & Sand last week and were thoroughly intrigued and impressed. They are working on a house in the NoHam neighborhood near the Power House, Hinterlands Detroit and other cool neighborhood projects, converting a irrepairably damaged structure into a productive, sustainable greenhouse.

Here's more info: 

The process for building AFTERHOUSE is quite simple. First the damaged parts of the house are removed while preserving the foundation. Then a stairwell is excavated down to the basement level. After that we build a simple shed-style greenhouse covering the existing basement foundation, rotating the slope to face due south and maximizing solar exposure. We then construct an insulated platform facing the street, maintaining the cultural and urban character of the original house porch while guarding against temperature fluctuations. Lastly we build a series of planters into the insulated platform to grow summer crops and shade the greenhouse from the summer heat.

$12,000 will pay for the demolition of the house, utility disconnections and permitting fees, building materials to construct the greenhouse such as lumber, polycarbonate, insulation, siding and roofing material, subcontracting fees for specialty trades such as electrical and plumbing, as well as plants and growing material.

If you'd like the help this project get funded, go here.

Detroit to receive PlacePlans econ assistance

Detroit is among eight Michigan cities selected to receive technical assistance with key economic development projects designed to attract and retain residents and employers. Specifically, Detroit will get help in designing a new neighborhood center on the city’s southwest side.

Detroit, along with Cadillac, Flint, Kalamazoo, Holland, Jackson, Marquette, and Midland, will participate in PlacePlans, the Michigan Municipal League announced last week. The eight cities were selected as part of a statewide application process.

PlacePlans is a joint effort between the MML and Michigan State University to help communities design and plan for transformative placemaking projects. The PlacePlans are done with support from the Michigan State Housing Development Authority (MSHDA) and Governor Snyder’s MIplace Partnership.

The Southwest Detroit Business Association’s plan for the Vernor Livernois Project will support the redevelopment of a vacant and blighted property in the heart of one of the city’s strongest commercial districts. The plan will design a new neighborhood center area on what is currently a 6.9-acre brownfield site at West Vernor Highway and Livernois Avenue in the heart of southwest Detroit. The Vernor Livernois Project will become a focal point for this vibrant and diverse community, providing a public square, locally oriented retail and community meeting space as well as new employment opportunities.  

Gary Heidel, chief placemaking officer for MSHDA, said the eight communities selected are from all areas of the state and the projects involved range from revitalizing a historic downtown block in Cadillac to transforming a key commercial corridor in Detroit.


Start making Noel Night plans now

The 41st Annual Noel Night is Saturday, Dec. 7 from 5 to 9:30 p.m. in Midtown Detroit’s Cultural Center Area. Over 70 institutions, including the Detroit Institute of Arts, the Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History, the Detroit Historical Museum, the Detroit Public Library, and Model D HQ among many others, open their doors to the public free of charge during this Cultural Center-wide holiday "open house."

Activities include horse-drawn carriage rides, holiday shopping, family craft activities and performances by over 120 area music, theatre, and dance groups. The evening’s festivities culminate with a community sing-along on Woodward Avenue.

Noel Night activities take place in and around Midtown Detroit’s Cultural Center institutions, primarily between Cass and John R and Kirby and Willis. Free shuttle service is offered between participating venues. Convenient parking is available in area lots. 

Noel Night is produced by the University Cultural Center Association, a nonprofit community development organization that supports economic growth in Detroit's Midtown district. Go here for more information.

Detroit 'Gayborhood' idea gets play in Slate, Deadline Detroit

Most major U.S. cities (and major world cities) have neighborhoods that are either organically or intentionally filled with LGBT-oriented commercial and residential districts. The last area Detroit claimed as a "gayborhood" was Palmer Park, bordered by McNichols, Woodward and Pontchartrain Blvd. Prime time for the neighborhood filled with gorgeous apartments (now under restoration) was the late 1970s and early 1980s.

Talk is getting a bit louder that it'd be a mighty fine idea to develop a gayborhood in the city once again. Read an excerpt from Slate (which itself was excerpted in Deadline Detroit):

(KICK's) Curtis Lipscomb hopes to make Detroit’s LGBTQ community more visible. Although gay neighborhoods usually develop organically, Lipscomb has been meeting with a group of about 10 people from the banking, nonprofit, and community development sectors who want to establish a gay enclave in Detroit. "Detroit has more gay bars than the suburbs, better nightlife, and arts that make it attractive. And depending on the area, it has cheaper rent too," he said.
 
The gay neighborhood, which could include retail locations, housing, cultural institutions, places of worship, and gay bars, would likely be developed in Palmer Park, Midtown, or downtown Detroit.
 
Read more here.

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