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Got what it takes to make a whizbang website for Hamtramck?

The city of Hamtramck, Michigan's densest city, is requesting quotes for the redevelopment of its website.

According to an Request for Quotes, "The City of Hamtramck seeks qualified vendors to provide professional Internet web site design, development and implementation services for the redesign of the Cities [sic] current Website located at http://www.hamtramckcity.com. The city is seeking a redesigned modern work product with an enhanced graphic identity, value added features to provide capabilities and functions not currently available and capabilities to encompass emerging technologies such as GIS and streaming video for future enhancement.

Quotes must be submitted to:

City of Hamtramck
Clerk’s Office
3401 Evaline
Hamtramck, Michigan 48212

Quotes are due by September 23, 2014 at 10:00 a.m.

Local governments in metro Detroit don't have a great track record of building great websites -- anyone who's spent time on Detroit or Hamtramck's sites can attest to that. This is an opportunity to help a local government enter the 21st century.

Midtown Inc. closes in on $50K fundraising goal for green alley project

Midtown Detroit Inc. is seeking to raise a total of $50,000 towards the development of the district's second green alleyway. If the organization succeeds in raising the funds through its Patronicity campaign, the Michigan Economic Development Corporation will match the funds. At the time of this writing, donors have pledged just over $30,000 to the campaign.

The project is planned for an alley right-of-way bounded by Second Avenue, Selden, the Third Avenue alley, and Alexandrine. According to the project's Patronicity page, "the project will "transform the 415 foot long alley with the purpose of connecting future developments, promoting walk-ability and community connectivity - opening up business for restaurants like the Selden Standard."

For more details, visit the green alley project's Patronicity page.

Re-examining the $500 house: You get what you pay for

Good Magazine makes a compelling argument with which many who have bought "cheap" homes in Detroit might agee: When it comes to the $500 house, you often get what you pay for. In fact, these houses often carry a negative value.

"Here’s why very cheap can mean very big trouble," writes Good's Angie Schmit. "Houses, in addition to the land they occupy, are the sum of their parts. That key threshold where "affordability" turns into market collapse is when housing becomes so cheap that the cost to repair the structure is more than someone is willing to pay for the house. Just because houses might sell for peanuts in Detroit, doesn’t make, say, roofing materials or lumber any less costly. In other words, if your home is worth less than it costs to fix the roof, there’s strong incentive to walk away. And that’s what thousands of people have done in cities like Detroit, Youngstown, Ohio, and Buffalo, New York."

In other words, cheap houses generally require large investments of time and money, which Good Magazine's Angie Schmitt argues is a big problem, especially for the working poor who inhabit cities where this is the case. She suggests that the solution to this problem is actually the addition of more expensive housing to weak markets like Detroit, as well as an overall a reduction of the supply of housing.

Source: Good Magazine

Video: The case for historic preservation, not just demolition, in Detroit's war on blight

Last week, Mayor Mike Duggan and other dignitaries celebrated the city's efforts to remediate blight in conjunction with the demolition of a 19th century warehouse building on Fort Street. The building was demolished at the expense of its owner, the powerful Detroit International Bridge Co., which is controlled by the Moroun family.

According to the Detroit Free Press, Mayor Duggan praised the Bridge Co., saying, "If you’ve got a vacant commercial building in this town and you don’t have the ability to reuse it, we need you to step up and knock it down...We are going to need the business community to do what the Moroun family is doing here."

Yet the decision to tear down this structure was met by the skepticism of some who felt the building's historical and architectural significance and potential for redevelopment warranted its preservation. 

Blight and vacancy -- of land and buildings -- are two of Detroiters' greatest concerns when it comes to the livability of their neighborhoods. It's undeniable that Detroit has myriad structures that require demolition; yet demolition is not the only solution to Detroit's blight and vacancy problems.

In this video, the Michigan Historic Preservation Network argues that historic preservation and adaptive reuse are key elements to redevelopment efforts in the city.

In the words of Jerry Esters, preservation advocate and owner of the repurposed auto shop that Practice-Space calls home, "I can take you and show you buildings that have been refurbished and they're much nicer than seeing a vacant field."

Source: Michigan Historic Preservation Network

Second Avenue reconfigured for two-way traffic, gets bike lanes

Starting today, when we look out of the bay window of Model D's office at 4470 Second Ave. and see a car traveling southbound, we will no longer have cause for concern.

That's because Second Avenue is being reconfigured as a two-way street for the first time in decades. Sorry folks, but the pastime of watching cars going the wrong way down Second from the porch of the Bronx Bar is a thing of the past.

Second Avenue will now feature bike lanes, two-way traffic, and parallel parking (replacing angle parking on the west side of the street) between Cass Park (Temple Street) and the campus of Wayne State University (Warren Avenue). It's a similar transformation to those which occurred in recent years on Third Avenue and the portion of Second Avenue between Palmer Street and West Grand Boulevard just north of Wayne State's campus.

The conversion of two-way streets to one-ways became a trend in American cities after World War II as a means of relieving traffic congestion. In recent decades, as traffic counts have declined, a movement to convert one-way streets back to two-ways has emerged with the goal of calming traffic and spurring economic development along two-way corridors.

Source: Curbed Detroit

 

Weigh in on the idea you like best to replace downtown's I-375

Local planners have unveiled six options for transforming I-375, a downtown freeway that divides Detroit's central business district from near east side neighborhoods including Lafayette Park and Eastern Market.

The Detroit Downtown Development Authority (DDA) is inviting members of the public to learn about and comment on these six design alternatives at a community forum on Thursday, June 12, 2014.  The open house event will be held from 2:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. at Detroit Eastern Market Shed 5 (2934 Russell St.).

I-375 was built in 1964. Black Bottom, the neighborhood that served as the one-time center of economic and cultural life for Detroit's black community, was razed to make way for the freeway and urban renewal housing projects adjacent to it. In recent decades, the efficacy and overall usefullness of the freeway have been brought into question as traffic counts along the route have declined.

The six options for removing the freeway and replacing it with more pedestrian and environmentally friendly alternatives vary in cost from $40 million to $80 million.

To learn more about the proposals, visit http://i375detroit.com/.

Two national urban experts criticize Detroit's demolition plans

Two national figures widely considered experts on urban issues have weighed in on a local taskforce's recommendation to spend $850 million to demolish blighted structures in the city of Detroit. Stephanie Meeks, president and chief executive of the National Trust for Historic Preservation, and Andres Duany, an architect and founder of the Congress for the New Urbanism, both wrote short letters to the editor of the New York Times suggesting that Detroit think beyond demolition when addressing its blight problem.

Meeks suggests that preservation ought to play an important role in Detroit's attempt to reinvent itself.

"Preservationists understand that demolition must be part of the strategy for Detroit's future," she says, "but we need to ensure that the city's most important historic buildings are spared so they can become building blocks for the future."

Duany sees more value in funding young entrepreneurs than he does in spending $850 million on demolition.

"At $50,000 each there would be 17,000 loans or grants possible. Detroit would explode with activity and success. Its emerging reputation as the 'next Broolyn' would be fullfilled, even more quickly," he says.

Read both op-eds in the New York Times.
 

Local professor: To stop blight, first stop suburban sprawl

George Galster, a professor of urban planning at Wayne State University, is encouraging policy makers to stop taking a myopic view of Detroit's blight problem. He contends that blight in Detroit is not a problem the city can solve in isolation because it is the result of regional economic forces related to excessive housing development on the suburban fringe of the metropolis.

Says Galster:

"Since 1950, two-thirds of the city’s population has systematically been siphoned off by the region’s housing 'disassembly line.' In the tri-county metro area, developers have in every decade since 1950 built many more dwellings -- an average of more than 10,000 per year -- than the net growth in households required. Developers figured that their new suburban subdivisions could successfully compete against the older housing stock. They were right. As households filled these new dwellings they vacated their previous homes, which other households decided to occupy because they were viewed as superior options to where they were previously living."

Galster recommends the region establish a "a metropolitan growth boundary" to limit suburban development and stem the tide of blight in Detroit.

Read Galster's op-ed in the Detroit Free Press.

Detroit Future City to host "Blight Bootcamp"

On the heels of the release of the most comprehensive data set ever on blight in the city of Detroit, Detroit Future City (DFC) is hosting its first ever "Blight Bootcamp."

This Saturday at Wayne County Community College District's Downtown Campus (1001 W. Fort St.), DFC is putting on a series of free workshops that will equip ordinary citizens with tools to address blight in their neighborhoods. Sessions include:

Transforming Blight into Gardens and Farms
Securing Vacant Properties
Community Art to Fight Blight
Green Space Solutions
Blight Mitigation Resources
Data Driven Decision Making
Blight and Public Health
Resident Led Neighborhood Safety
Deconstruction vs. Demolition
Repurposing Commercial Vacancies
Youth Engagement in Blight Mitigation
Advocating for your Neighborhood

Those interested in attending Blight Bootcamp can register here.

Visit Detroit Future City's website for more information.

Another green alley coming to Midtown

"Another Green Alley." No, we're not talking about a new album by Brian Eno. We're talking about a transformation coming to the alleyway between Cass Ave. and 2nd Ave and Willis and Canfield Streets. The alley's cracked concrete will be replaced with brick pavers and green infrastructure. 

According to Midtown Detroit, Inc. the Alley's transformation will begin later this month.

This will be Midtown's second green alley. The first is located between Prentis and Canfield off of 2nd Ave.

Source: Curbed Detroit

Read more here.

DetroitUrbex launches new site that visualizes city's evolution

DetroitUrbex.com, a site well known for its visual documentation of the city of Detroit over the years, has launched a new project that showcases the stark changes in the city's lanscape over the last 134 years. The site, entitled "Detroit: Evolution of a City," features images of a location overlaid with images of that same location from a different era. The result is truly mind blowing.

Visit for yourself: http://detroiturbex.com/content/ba/feat/index.html

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.

Curbed Detroit updates Gar Building progress

It's good to get a progress report on the rehab of one of Detroit's most fascinating turnaround building projects, as seen in Curbed Detroit:

Where most people saw an abandoned castle with an attic full of bird turds, local production company Mindfield saw office space. Roughly two years have passed since we first wrote about the impending renovation. According to the original timeline, the GAR should be little more than a good Swiftering away from its debut. Alas, intense renovation work continues, with an updated goal of opening this fall.

Read more here.

We'll drink to that: Hopcat to open at M-1 Rail stop

The building at 4265 Woodward (most recently inhabited by Agave) is being converted into the new Detroit home for HopCat, which will become city’s largest beer bar featuring 130 taps with an emphasis on Michigan craft beers.

The business is reportedly investing $3.3 million into the building at the southwest corner of Woodward and Canfield, vacant since 2006. The location is where a stop on the M-1 Rail streetcar line will be.

The Detroit location will feature an outdoor beer garden and live music. Read more here.

Video report: Mapping Detroit blight

A newly formed task force has been charged with spearheading an effort to electronically catalog blighted properties in the city. That's certainly a good start to addressing a complex problem. Watch this Voice of America report on the Motor City Mapping Project in this video.

As a bonus, here's the Freep's John Gallagher asking "what's next" after the rubble has been cleared. Will measures that came out of the work done by Detroit Future City, including building on urban ag and other green and blue (daylighting subterranean creeks that exist on the city's east side) projects, be implemented? Good questions, John.

See Gallagher's piece here.  
211 Redevelopment Articles | Page: | Show All
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