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Developers buy four New Center buildings for $3.1M

Optima Aegidius Group, a German-based development group, just purchased four buildings in New Center near TechTown Detroit for $3.1 million, according to a Crain's Detroit Business article.

The four buildings, writes Kirk Pinho, "total just more than 71,000 square feet. The company anticipates building additional space on top, totaling 21,000 square feet to accommodate the planned 60 units. As planned, the project would also have 29,000 square feet of retail space. Construction is expected to begin next year after financing and city approvals are received."

The group has contracted local developer Scott Lowell to carry out the project.

Read the full Crain's article here.

185-unit apartment complex set to open soon in Lafayette Park

Lafayette Park, the east-side neighborhood containing the acclaimed Mies van der Rohe townhouses, has had little new construction for decades. Until now.

DuCharme Place, a $45 million, 185-unit development comprising four apartment buildings, is set to open soon. It will be the first "new lifestyle community in 40 years," according to a Multifamily Executive article. 

The design, writes Jennifer Goodman, was inspired by Lafayette Park's own van der Rohe.

"The contemporary and energy-efficient design will feature a terraced live green roof complete with lawn, garden, fitness center, and swimming pool. Exteriors will include insulated glazing and be clad in a rain screen fiber-cement reinforced panel system with aluminum-framed windows, featuring railings of laser-cut painted metal."

Read the full Multifamily Executive article here.

BLAC Magazine lists best ways to celebrate Black History Month in Metro Detroit

Looking for ways to observe Black History Month in Detroit? Well, BLAC Magazine has compiled a helpful list of eight venues and events happening in February around Metro Detroit.

Included in the list are expected institutions like museums, libraries, and universities. For example, The Henry Ford Museum in Dearborn is will, for 20 days, "explore different aspects of Black history, from the northern migration and the civil rights era, all the way to present-day issues. Activities will take place throughout the museum, including in the Michigan Café, which will feature African-American-inspired recipes."

A surprising and intriguing inclusion on the list is the downtown PuppetART Detroit Puppet Theater, which is performing "Oh Ananse!", "PuppetART's popular annual hip-hop-flavored take on a West African story."

Click here for the full list with dates and times.

Allied Media Conference seeks session proposals for AMC2017

The Allied Media Conference (AMC) is an annual conference held every summer in Detroit dedicated to using art, media and technology to advance social justice and social change. Last year was the conference's 10th in Detroit, but according to event organizer Allied Media Projects (AMP), "AMC2017 will be the most important Allied Media Conference that we have ever hosted."

One unique feature of AMC is that attendees have the ability to shape the conference. And one major way they can do that is by proposing sessions, which anyone can do until the deadline on March 12. 

[Check out Model D's article on the AMC celebrating 10 years in Detroit]

AMP has some general criteria they look for in session proposals: "We especially love sessions that share interesting ideas, strategies, and tools in an accessible way, and that offer opportunities for continued work and connections beyond the AMC."

The organization is also hosting three online information meetings for people who want more info on the process.

Click here to propose a session or for more info on the AMC and session guidelines.

Downtown synagogue hires rabbi, plans major renovations

For the first time in 16 years, Detroit's only synagogue will have a new rabbi.

Arianna Silverman was named the rabbi of Isaac Agree Downtown Synagogue last year, according to an article in the Detroit News. Previously, the synagogue was lay-led, meaning members of the congregation would lead services.

Silverman, a "a 39-year-old Manhattan transplant," said a major reason she took the post was because of the youth-led Jewish revival in the city. "They are a big reason I'm here," Silverman said in the article. "We have plenty of people who attend our services who are in their 20s and 30s. Many are involved in nonprofit work, community gardens, social justice, cultural issues."

In related news, "The synagogue is preparing to launch a multimillion-dollar campaign to restore the building," writes Louis Aguilar. "They want to convert the top two floors into more office space, add an alternative chapel, as well as community meeting and rental facilities."

Homegrown comics co-create Comedy Central show, "Detroiters"

A couple of local comedians have co-created a Comedy Central show set to debut on Feb. 7.

Sam Richardson and Tim Robinson wrote and star in "Detroiters," a show about two ad-men and good friends from Detroit. The New York Times recently published an article about the show and its creators, which labeled Detroit as "Comic City."

In it, the pair talk about their distaste for portrayals of Detroit: "'The typical depiction of Detroit is this blighted, 'RoboCop' post-apocalyptic world,' said Mr. Richardson, best known for playing the unflappable aide Richard Splett on 'Veep.'

"Mr. Robinson, a featured player and then a writer for "Saturday Night Live," described the look in even darker terms. 'It's ruin porn,' he said. 'It's all burnt-out buildings. It seemed like almost everything that was getting shot in Detroit for a while was a horror movie. We just wanted to show the city the way we saw it growing up.'"

Richardson and Robinson both honed their comic skills at Second City: Detroit before it closed. And if you're lucky, you can occasionally catch them improvising at the Planet Ant Theater.

Detroit Revitalization Fellows accepting applications for 2017-2019 term

Wayne State University is once again accepting applications for its Detroit Revitalization Fellows program.

The fellowship places talented, "mid-career" individuals for two-year full-time jobs in organizations or companies "working at the forefront of Detroit’s revitalization efforts." Previous placements have been at foundations like Hudson-Webber, companies like Rock Venture, and nonprofits like Jefferson East, Inc.

Prior fellows have been impressively diverse in race, gender, and origin. And many who come from outside Detroit end up staying after the fellowship ends.

"Being a Detroit Revitalization Fellow is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to play a role in the transformation of a great American city," said Asandi Conner, director of Detroit Revitalization Fellows, in a press release. "These are meaningful positions for emerging leaders ready to drive progress while building a strong network, learning firsthand about urban challenges and opportunities, and working side-by-side with Detroiters who are deeply invested in our city's future."

Other facts about the fellowship:
  • 67 fellows have completed the program since it began in 2011
  • More than 650 applications were received for the 2015-2017 program
  • Approximately 20 fellows will be selected this round
The application period runs from January 23 through February 10. To apply or learn more, visit detroitfellows.wayne.edu.  WSU is also holding a series of informational sessions to aid the prospective applicants. Here are the dates, times, and locations: 
  • Tuesday, Jan. 17 at 6 p.m. at the Arab American National Museum (13624 Michigan Ave., Dearborn, MI 48126);
  • Wednesday, Jan. 18 at 6 p.m. at the Matrix Center (13560 E. McNichols, Detroit, MI 48205);
  • Tuesday, Jan. 24 at 6 p.m. at Marygrove College, Madame Cadillac Building, Main Dining Hall (8425 W. McNichols Rd. Detroit, MI 48221)
  • Wednesday, Jan. 25 at 9 a.m. at TechTown (440 Burroughs St., Detroit, MI 48202);
  • Tuesday, Jan. 31 at noon (Virtual, visit detroitfellows.wayne.edu to register);
  • Thursday, Feb. 2 at 6 p.m. at Detroit Cristo Rey High School (5679 Vernor Hwy., Detroit, MI 48209).

Former Model D managing editor offers smartphone photojournalism workshop

In today's media landscape, it's important to have a diverse set of tools, to have the ability to tell your story in a variety of mediums. For those looking to do just this, Model D managing editor Walter Wasacz is teaching a smartphone photojournalism workshop through Allied Media Project's media making academy, Co.Open.

[Read some of Wasacz's 100+ features for Model D]

According to the description, "This class will teach participants how to become independent documentary makers by using your phone as a creative instrument for written and visual communication."

The workshop will take place from 6 to 9 p.m. every Tuesday evening in February. To learn more or register, click here. To learn about other workshops offered by Co.Open, click here.

Public education news org Chalkbeat officially launches in Detroit

Journalism has taken a beating in recent years. So when something positive happens in news media, it's a pleasant surprise.

Just this week, Chalkbeat Detroit officially launched. Chalkbeat covers public education in local markets, and has been piloting in Detroit for the past year. According to a piece written by Chalkbeat co-founder Elizabeth Green, the response in Detroit has been great—people are desperate to know about public education here.

In just a short time, the scrappy, nonprofit news organization led by reporter Erin Einhorn has done some impressive work, whether it's describing the incredible commute some parents and kids take to school, or the unconventional solutions to Detroit's Head Start programs.

To sign up for Chalkbeat Detroit's newsletter, click here.

Detroiters utilize the gift economy to get by

While Detroit's greater downtown area has seen fantastic growth the last few years, much of the city still struggles. One way low income Detroiters survive is by making use of the gift economy, according to an article in Bloomberg News.

"When the city didn't have the capacity to provide, alternative systems were created," says Erik Howard, co-founder of the Southwest Detroit youth-development organization Young Nation, in the article penned by Model D contributor Valerie Vande Panne.

The article describes a potluck barbecue where attendees exchanged and gifted items, and which eventually morphed into the Free Market of Detroit.

Detroiters also exchange skills. "Jane Slaughter, who's on the time bank's volunteer-run steering committee, offers writing and fruit-drying services; in exchange, she's gotten rides to the airport, shiatsu bodywork, and a garbage disposal installed," writes Vande Panne.

The gift economy has other benefits as well. By lifting each other up, communities are strengthened.

Click here to read the full article. 

North End urban farm makes jams to benefit neighborhood

Oakland Avenue Urban Farm in Detroit's North End has always strove to tie their work back to the neighborhood and its history. The same is true for the farm's latest venture, "Afro-Jam," as described by Model D contributor Martina Guzman writing for NPR.

"The idea for Afro Jam was born out of a need to generate revenue year round while also keeping the community involved, says [Oakland Avenue Urban Farm director Jerry] Hebron. 'The community is at the root of everything we do,' she says."

Their idea was to create jams using old, local recipes, "including some that had been handed down for generations." Later, Guzman writes that some of these recipes were unearthed "from hiding places in attics and long-forgotten recipe boxes."

And the profits from Afro-Jams will directly benefit the neighborhood. "Proceeds from the jam venture go to Northend Christian CDC, a nonprofit that's aimed at revitalizing Detroit's North End historic district, where One Mile and Oakland Avenue Urban Farm are based."

[To read more about the recent developments in the North End, check out this Model D story]

Plans in the works for revitalization of Fort Wayne

Fort Wayne, the historic star-shaped fortification located in Detroit's Delray neighborhood, is an underused landmark in the city. Aside from weekend visitors and the occasional event, the fort sits largely unused. But in the coming years, Fort Wayne may get considerably more use, perhaps even tenants.

The Kresge Foundation recently awarded a $265,000 grant for a two-year project of renovation and strategic planning.

The grant will help fund a project director, National Park Service urban fellow David Goldstein, to guide the planning process. "The consultant will also be charged with creating a leasing program for the City of Detroit, which will allow for the renovation and use of the more than 30 military buildings in the fort complex," according to the press release. "An RFP is expected to be released by spring 2018 to seek proposals from prospective tenants, including community and cultural organizations, to renovate and lease buildings on the fort grounds."

"For nearly 175 years, Historic Fort Wayne has stood as a cultural and historical landmark, today attracting some 150,000 visitors a year, from neighborhood soccer leagues to Civil War re-enactments," said George Jacobsen, senior program officer in Kresge’s Detroit Program, in a press release. "As we think about its place in the fabric of Detroit now and in the future, Historic Fort Wayne holds great promise as an active and connected point for the Southwest Detroit and broader communities to recreate, as a space to celebrate contributions of multiple cultures, and as a potential location to support the development of small and creative-sector businesses."

The project is a partnership between the City of Detroit, the National Park Foundation (NPF) and the National Park Service (NPS) Midwest Region.

National sports publication writes about DCFC's colorful fans

There's no doubt about the enthusiasm of fans for Detroit City FC. That's especially true after reading a recent article in SB Nation detailing the rabid fan base of the minor league soccer club that plays out of Keyworth Stadium in Hamtramck.

Part of that enthusiasm comes from something most professional teams lack—"a soccer movement that is also intrinsically tied to something bigger than just sport: building community," writes Liana Aghajanian. They've become embedded in their new home of Hamtramck and built goodwill with local residents.

The article also details a rally born out of frustration at the announcement of a possible Major League Soccer team in Detroit that took place between fans of DCFC and F.C. United—"a semi-professional team born out of frustration with the commercialization of English football owned and run by its 5,381 members"—based out of Manchester, England.

There's colorful descriptions of "Le Rouge," a nickname for DCFC and their fans, throughout the article, as well as figures like this: "This year, in addition to 15,000 people live streaming the event, more than 7,000 attended their opening match—a figure that some teams in higher leagues like the United Soccer League and the North American Soccer League fail to draw."

Click here to read the article in full.

How Detroiters can get involved with Standing Rock

Protests over the Dakota Access Pipeline have become a major national story and one of the most prominent environmental movements in years. People from all over the country have travelled to Standing Rock, the portion of the pipeline that was set to be installed near a Native American reservation, to support the Sioux tribe who fear about the contamination of their main water source, The Missouri River.
 
In large part because of the scale of the protests, The Army Corps of Engineers recently decided to halt construction of the pipeline. While considered a major victory, protests are not expected to end anytime soon, especially since president-elect Donald Trump has said he's in favor of the pipeline.
 
Detroiters have also come out in force to support the protests. There have been benefits and fundraisers at Trinosophes, El Club, Marble Bar, Citizen Yoga, the Tangent Gallery, and more.
 
The art gallery and studio Riopelle is hosting a "Solidarity Night," presenting some of the avenues people can support the movement.
 
A documentary filmed by members of Activate! 313 after their visit to Standing Rock will be screened this Thursday at the Universe Building on Montana Street. Model D contributor Michele Oberholtzer also visited Standing Rock and wrote a very moving piece about it for her website.
 
These are just some of the ways Detroiters are getting involved in the Standing Rock protests. What other events, fundraisers, screenings, and protests are taking place? Comment below or send more information to feedback@modeldmedia.com. This article will be updated as we receive more information.

Live6 Alliance and Model D host productive community conversation

On Friday, December 9th, the Live6 Alliance and Model D came together to host a productive community conversation. Attendees included students, faculty and leadership from both the University of Detroit Mercy and Marygrove College, as well as residents and business owners who live and work in the communities along 6 Mile and Livernois Avenue.
 
Lead by the Live6 Alliance's executive director Lauren Hood, the event took place on the University of Detroit Mercy's campus. Over 50 people were in attendance, and participated in critical conversations around the role that higher institutions can play in the equitable growth of the area, how residents can be engaged, and addressing the diverse needs of everyone who lives, works and plays in the area.
 
Jay Meeks served as panelist for the event. He lives in a small community inside the Fitzgerald neighborhood, and would like to see Marygrove and the University of Detroit Mercy do more to community issues.

"I spoke about the institutions using their weight to tackle other community issues such as blight that are still very much a problem," he says. "I've called city hall, I've spoken to the district manager, I've talked to the land bank about open and trespass homes in the community. They haven't been boarded up, they've been torn down, so I would just like to see the college and the university call city hall as well, and join a coalition of people who are demanding if not immediate demolition or board up, then at least a response."
 
Reverend Dr. Gloria Albrecht, a professor in the master's of community development program at the University of Detroit Mercy, is also a Live6 resident. She gained a better understanding of the disconnect residents in the communities feel with the universities. "We have to go deeper than we did tonight," she says.
 
As the neighborhoods in the Live6 community continue to garner development attention, it's important to remember the unique makeup of this area. Neighborhoods like University District, and adjoining neighborhoods such as Sherwood Forest, Palmer Woods, and the Detroit Golf Club Community, are some of the most stable areas within the city, and have incomes significantly higher than the U.S. average. This flies in the face of the assumption that Detroit is a tabula rasa, and future development will have to delicately balance the needs and expectations of the strong communities that already exist in the neighborhoods of Live6.

Check out this video produced by Final5 on the event. 

656765339 from Final 5 on Vimeo.

3251 Articles | Page: | Show All
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