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New Center : Detroit Development News

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Wayne County land bank to release 7,000 properties

Today, the Wayne County Land Bank will release a list of their inventory of 7,000 tax-reverted parcels. Qualifying non-profit organizations and adjacent residential landowners will be able to purchase property for a nominal fee as long as they adhere to certain criteria that includes maintaining and/or rehabilitating the property.

Properties will be disposed of on a first-come, first-served basis to qualifying entities. 


The Land Bank is a collaborative effort between County Executive Robert Ficano and Treasurer Raymond Wojtowicz. The process begins today at 3 p.m.
with an informational session for qualified non-profits. Further information is available at the Land Bank website.

Source: Jill Ferrarri,
Executive Project Manager, Wayne County
Writer: Kelli B. Kavanaugh


Recycle Here! expands reach throughout city, adds drop-off locations

Recycle Here! is expanding its reach, making it easier for residents from various neighborhoods to drop-off their goods. New drop-off sites are located in Southwest Detroit, East English Village and Palmer Park.

In its first 18 months of operation, the program has reached more than 20,000 participants and has collected more that 1.3 million pounds of recyclables.

Its main facility, at 1331 Holden, is open every Wednesday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. and Saturdays from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.

The  full schedule of rotating drops sites is as follows:

1st Saturday of every month:
Eastern Market, Wilkins and Russell, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
 
2nd Saturday of every month:
Corktown, Roosevelt Park, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
East English Village, E. Warren Ave. and Farmbrook, 8 a.m. to noon
 
3rd Saturday of every month:
Palmer Park, swimming pool lot, from 8 a.m. to noon
Rosedale Park, Christ The King Church, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. 

4th Saturday of every month:
Southwest Detroit, Clark Park, 8 a.m. to noon
Creekside, Jefferson and Chalmers, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Source: Matt Naimi, Recycle Here!
Writer: Kelli B. Kavanaugh


CCS firms up plans for Argonaut, to include student housing, retail and artsy middle and high school

A $145,000,000 investment will transform the Argonaut Building into a second campus for the College for Creative Studies. The building will house undergraduate and graduate programs in design, community outreach activities, student housing, research and professional activities in the design fields, and an art- and design- oriented charter middle school and high school. It will open in fall 2009.

The significant development will impact the college, the New Center neighborhood and the city as a whole. "This is going to transform CCS, operating on two sites with double the square footage. We're going to be operating a graduate program and operating a middle and high school," says president Richard Rogers. "It's a new educational model that we're pursuing, and I think it's going to enhance the college's stature in arts and design education and it's going to enable us to have a much more significant impact on the well-being of the city."

CCS will occupy approximately 70 percent of the 11-story Albert Kahn-designed Argonaut Building. Its design-based majors -- Transportation, Product, Interior, Graphic and Advertising --  and its Master of Fine Arts degree programs in Design and in Transportation Design, which will launch in 2009, will be housed in the facility.

The New Center site will also be home to CCS’s Community Arts Partnerships program, its Continuing Education department, 300 beds of student housing, a conference center with a 400-seat auditorium and a 360-seat dining hall.

CCS is partnering with the Thompson Educational Foundation and Henry Ford Learning Institute to operate the middle and high school. "Creativity will be built into the curricula of the schools along with the standard curricula," says Rogers. "The college and the school are going to interact in a number of ways." For example, CCS art education students will be able to do their student teaching in the lower schools.

The Argonaut will also be home to Detroit Renaissance’s new creative economy initiative which is intended to provide rental space and support services to fledgling creative businesses.

Rogers sees the college's use of the Argonaut as a fitting one. Originally built as a research facility by General Motors, it became home to the automotive industry's first design department. "The activities that the building originally contained are very close to the ones that CCS teaches," he says. "It's really great that a building that's this old can be repurposed in a way that will essentially make it brand new and just as useful as if we'd started from scratch and built a brand new building."

Rogers says the 760,000-square-foot building is in wonderful structural shape and that its loft-like design is well-suited to CCS's needs. The design architect on the project is, fittingly, Albert Kahn Associates.

Source: Richard Rogers, CCS
Writer: Kelli B. Kavanaugh


Round-up: Lefty's is pouring, New Center nets Firewater, changes in store at Riverfront 4...and more

Some news from around town:

Lefty's Lounge on Cass, inside the Belcrest Apartments, is now open. There are 15 large screen TVs, food -- 1/2-pound burgers, pizza, chicken wraps and salads -- and 15 beers on tap. Read more about Lefty's here.

• Speaking of food and drink, the East Side's Firewater Bar & Grill has opened a second location on Milwaukee in the New Center area. Full bar, dine in and carry-out with a menu dabbling in fish, pork and lamb chops as well as a myriad of sandwiches and salads.

Firewater is at 107 E. Milwaukee St. just south of E. Grand Blvd. Hours are 11 a.m. to 2 a.m. seven days a week, although they usually open a bit later on the weekends. Call 313-872-0812.

• Birmingham's Palladium cinema let the cat out of the bag on their web site: They are now operating the Riverfront 4 Theatres at the Ren Cen. For now, everything has pretty much stayed the same, but expect some changes. Model D will let you know when they are confirmed.

Gourmets take notice:  Zaccarro's Market on Woodward has some new offerings: cooking classes, which start July 8, and Sunday brunch, starting July 13. Molly Motor will be the chef for brunches; expect strata, quiche and frittatas ranging from $7.95 to $12.95 served from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. On-line registration is open for the first class, which will teach summertime Tuscan four-course meals. Future classes will include sauces, appetizers, Tapas, healthy desserts and children's cooking. Classes will range in price from $40 to $55.

• The Detroit Institute of Arts dedicated the Alexander Calder sculpture, "Young Woman and her Suitors," on June 23. The distinctive piece stood for more than 30 years at Michigan and Cass. It recently underwent a move,  total restoration and was installed on the DIA's lawn.

• Finally, Wayne State University's Police Department celebrated the grand opening of its new head-quarters. The department's 54 police officers and 44 civilian employees have relocated to the building located at Cass and Burroughs. There is a new high-tech dispatch center, an electronics repair shop, K9 indoor/outdoor quarters, holding cells and a gymnasium. Read more about the renovations to the historic Kahn building here.

Email tips to kellibkav@issuemediagroup.com.

Writer: Kelli B. Kavanaugh


D-Biz: Pure Detroit celebrates 10 years, launches organic line, relocates inside Ren Cen

Can you believe that Pure Detroit is 10 years old? Yup, and the company, that is perhaps the most "D-Biz" of them all, is launching a special line of tees and totes to commemorate it.

Pure has grown its Detroit boosterism into a viable business, which is an accomplishment in and of itself. Along the way, it has inspired new business owners, supported local artists and events and become an instantly recognizable brand.

The three Pure Detroit locations occupy a trio of landmark Detroit structures: the Fisher Building, the Renaissance Center and Guardian Building. Pure is wrapping up a move from the Ren Cen's Wintergarden into Tower 400, which co-owner Kevin Borsay characterizes as "a great location, highly visible."

Other news includes the launch of an organic line of tees and totes.

Model D would like to wish Pure Detroit a very happy birthday. Thanks for all the great stuff you do for our fair city.

Source: Kevin Borsay, Pure Detroit
Writer: Kelli B. Kavanaugh


Southwest Solutions to develop 150 units of housing for vets in New Center

On June 2, ground will be broken on Piquette Square, a 150-unit four-story mixed-use development in Milwaukee-Junction, east of Woodward and south of E. Grand Blvd. The $20 million development includes 6,000 square feet of common area -- space that will house supportive services such as job training -- and 5,000 square feet of ground floor commercial space.

"Piquette Square is an important piece of a major collaborative commitment to address the growing problem of homeless veterans in metropolitan Detroit," Tim Thorland, executive director of Southwest Housing Solutions, which developed the project and will own and manage it, said in a statement.
 
There were 3,596 homeless veterans in the Detroit area in 2005, according to the city’s Ten-Year Plan To End Homelessness. Homeless advocates now estimate that number to be more than 4,000. One of every three homeless men in Detroit and nationally is a veteran.

Piquette Square is situated on the site of the historic Studebaker factory that was destroyed by fire in 2005. The project is being financed through a combination of tax credits, bond funding, MSHDA chronic homeless funds and various grants. The project is expected to be completed and operational in the spring of 2009.

Source: Steve Palackdharry, Southwest Solutions
Writer: Kelli B. Kavanaugh


Detroit preservation group releases list of 10 endangered buildings, announces name change

In an effort to instigate a citywide dialogue about historic buildings that are in danger of demolition, Preservation Wayne — now called Preservation Detroit — has released a list entitled Endangered Buildings List 2008. It includes iconic structures like the Michigan Central Station, Lee Plaza Apartments, Forest Arms and the Vanity Ballroom.

The list also draws attention to several broader categories such as religious buildings no longer in use, retired schools and foreclosed single family houses.

"These are widespread issues that will require widespread solutions," says the organization's executive director Francis Grunow. "A wholesale approach is a better approach."

Conversation about endangered buildings was a focal point of the group's annual membership meeting that was held on Thursday, May 22 at the Detroit Boat Club on Belle Isle -- another structure on the list.

At the event, which was attended by 150, Grunow also made the announcement that the organization was changing its name to Preservation Detroit. "It's exciting and very long overdue," he says.

Preservation Detroit host an awards ceremony on September 25 at the Colony Club on Park Avenue and are inviting nominations, which are due on June 13 and can be downloaded here: http://www.preservationwayne.org/docs/Awards_Nomination_2008.pdf.

Source: Francis Grunow, Preservation Detroit
Writer: Kelli B. Kavanaugh


Second University Prep elementary school to open this fall in TechTown

University Preparatory Academy will open its fourth school this coming fall. The 50,000 square foot elementary school, located on Antoinette just west of Cass, will house 384 students in kindergarten through fifth grade. In TechTown, it joins a high on Antoinette between Second and Third and another elementary school on Holden at Fourth. UPA's middle school is located on St. Antoine, near the intersection of Warren and I-75.

The school system draws students from across the city and inner ring suburbs who are selected in a blind lottery. Its focus is strong basic learning skills with an eye towards graduation rates that are comparable with those seen in affluent suburbs.

So far, they are on track: last year, more than 90 percent of the UPA high school's first graduating class went on to a institution of higher learning. Doug Ross, the superintendent expects to hit that goal again with the class of 2008.

He attributes some of UPA's success to its heavy presence in TechTown. "We want to give the students real world experience in business and professional settings," Ross says. "All of our students, beginning in middle school, spend a great deal of time doing unpaid internships."
 
Ross observes that TechTown is home to numerous "interesting" businesses including start-ups at TechOne, Henry Ford Health Systems, NextEnergy, Dalgleish Cadillac and Wayne State University. "New Center is packed with businesses of all kinds," he says.

New Urban Learning, the non-profit parent of UPA, will launch a second school system this fall focused on science, math and technology. Ross will step into the role of CEO in July.

Read more about the University Preparatory Academy Science and Math Middle School here.

Source: Doug Ross, UPA
Writer: Kelli B. Kavanaugh


New Detroit greenways coordinator will boost efforts to create city trails

Michigan Trails and Greenways Alliance has created a new position dedicated to furthering a network of trails in Detroit.

The new Detroit greenways coordinator, Todd Scott, will coordinate maintenance, fundraising, security, programming, promotions and development for the eight greenways under various stages of planning and development within the city.

Scott comes to the position with a great deal of experience in cycling advocacy. He is the former director of the Michigan Mountain Biking Association and has been involved with numerous other initiatives, including the citizen’s committee for Michigan State Parks, MDOT Metro Region Nonmotorized Advisory Committee, City of Ferndale Bicycle Committee and the League of Michigan Bicyclists.

"Todd’s skilled advocacy, wealth of knowledge about nonmotorized transportation and recreation, and understanding of and enthusiasm for the revitalization of Detroit are key ingredients that he brings to this project," stated Nancy Krupiarz, Executive Director of MTGA.

Scott is currently acclimating himself to the various greenways projects on the table, including the Midtown Loop, Corktown-Mexicantown Greenlink and Connor Creek Greenway. "The greenways in Detroit have so much variety in terms of where groups are at," says Scott. "I'm finding that there are similar challenges and different challenges."

Finding affordable liability insurance for the nonprofits sponsoring the various greenways was Scott's first task. He also hopes to work on integrating Detroit's burgeoning trails network with the larger regional one and has some ideas about encouraging on-road cycling. "One thing that I really bring to the table because I ride so much is that I know how to get around," he says. "We can make connections between these trail networks."

Source: Todd Scott, MTGA
Writer: Kelli B. Kavanaugh


48 units of senior housing to break ground in North End

Cameron Court Senior Village, a 48-unit, senior housing complex, will break ground on April 25 at the corner of Cameron and Alger in Detroit's North End. The project is being developed by Vanguard Community Development Corp. and is located just blocks from the organization's Melrose Square Homes.

Eighteen of the units are 655-square-foot, one-bedrooms and 30 are 855-square-foot two-bedrooms. Amenities include computer, exercise, community and fellowship rooms. The building itself is three stories and is vinyl-sided with brick elements on the facade. It is L-shaped and includes a porch wrapped around the rear.

The project is being funded with MSHDA tax credits syndicated by the National Equity Fund, a Charter One construction loan and a bridge loan from LISC. The apartments will be rented to seniors over the age of 55 that earn 30 to 60% of the area's Average Median Income.

The ceremony is scheduled for 11 a.m. Please RSVP your attendance to 313-872-7831 or SADavis@VanguardCDC.org by Wednesday, April 23.

Source: Scott Alan Davis, Vanguard CDC
Writer: Kelli B. Kavanaugh


D-Biz: Counting 21 businesses in 19 neighborhoods, and we want more of your faves

In October 2007, Model D kicked off a recurring series called D-Biz that is designed to draw attention to small businesses in Detroit that are unique or fill an important niche in their community.

Part of the reason we wanted to start this series was to highlight businesses that are not new but still deliver important services to Detroiters. The city's small businesses are a big part of what make Detroit's neighborhoods liveable, but they don't often get media attention.

As of last week, D-Biz has covered all of our featured neighborhoods. Here's a look at the 21 businesses in 19 neighborhoods that we've covered in the last six months, from bike shops to optical shops, from coffee shops to photo studios, and even a tennis racquet repair shop:


D-Biz will continue, and Model D encourages readers to share their neighborhood faves to be considered for coverage. Email kellibkav@issuemediagroup.com with your ideas.

Writer: Kelli B. Kavanaugh


Greening of Detroit expands Corktown offices, plans busy spring season

Greening of Detroit is spreading its roots: it has expanded its Michigan Ave. office space by a third, to 3,000 square feet. The extra room was desperately needed: the organization will grow from nine employees in 2007 to 25 by the end of 2008.

The additional staff will be busy this spring planting season. Its core mission is reforesting the city, and tree plantings are scheduled weekly from April 19 through June 7, with an estimated 1,500 trees going into the ground.

Planting so many trees requires plenty of volunteers; call the office at 313-237-8733. A special call is out for hands at a May 17 planting in East English Village, for which 250 slots still need filling.

Greening is also a partner in the ever-growing (no pun intended) Garden Resource Program, which supports urban agriculture in the city. Last year, over 5,500 residents participated in 220 family, 115 community and 20 school gardens. More than 120 tons of food were grown, and Greening is anticipating a 20% increase in both participation and output this year.

Little marketing is done to promote such an increase, says Greening's Ashley Atkinson. "It is literally growing down the street from house to house," she says. "It's really cool, committed people that we are attracting, and that's encouraging." Visit GRP's website to find out how to sign up and when plant pick-ups and workdays are scheduled.

One last thing: Greening's annual tree sale is scheduled for April 19 at Eastern Market, but Atkinson recommends reserving plants ahead of time. With just a month to go, half of the 1,400 trees, bushes and shrubs are already sold.

Source: Ashley Atkinson, Greening of Detroit
Writer: Kelli B. Kavanaugh
Photograph: Marvin Shaouni
Marvin Shaouni is the managing photographer for Model D & Metromode


Henry Ford's genetics division to occupy 14,000 sf in TechTown

Henry Ford Health System is killing two birds with one stone with its latest development. The relocation of a portion of its genetics department -- from its main West Grand Blvd. campus to TechOne -- will afford the hospital space to continue to grow research and clinical operations on-site.

Build-out has begun on the cytogenetics and DNA labs, which will occupy 14,000 square feet on the fourth floor. William Schramm, the hospital's vice president of strategic business development, estimates the space will be ready for business "on or around July 1."

Having a presence in TechTown has other potential upsides, says Schramm. "There will be other similar, related kinds of health sciences, and informal exchanges may begin to take place." He also posits a future relationship with Wayne State University along with other TechOne tenants as a result of their proximity.

The lab build-out will cost $3 million, and is being jointly funded by Henry Ford and TechTown.

Source: William Schramm, Henry Ford
Writer: Kelli B. Kavanaugh


Detroit one of 9 cities chosen for AIA sustainability audit, planning session

The American Institute of Architects has selected Detroit as one of nine cities that will receive a sustainability audit from a Sustainable Design Assessment Team later this year.

Teams of volunteer professionals like architects, urban designers, planners, hydrologists, economists and attorneys will come to the city for a three-day charette and team up with local architecture and engineering students, along with government officials, community groups and other stakeholders.

Diane VanBuren Jones of WARM Training spearheaded the SDAT application and is now coordinating the assessment itself. She says the out-of-town experts will arrive with "a national eye on how sustainability will work in your community."

Jones is particularly interested in mapping the city's energy systems. "We will take it down to the level of each business," she says.

The group could look at a tortilla factory, for example, she says. "It brings in corn and wheat -- some of it from Ohio instead of Michigan -- and the production uses a ton of natural gas. There is people energy and transportation energy and energy to heat and light the building." A map of all such systems would allow experts to close some energy loops. "How much would be spent on all of those energy systems if we got smart about it?" she asks.

The process is motivated by the environment and economics. Money saved by increased energy efficiency can create prosperity and new jobs, says Jones.

Which is why her next task is identifying funding sources for entrepreneurs, neighborhoods and developers interested in investing in green technologies such as solar panels or anaerobic digesters.

Jones anticipates that the SDAT will focus on areas with a framework for environmental initiatives already in place, like Southwest Detroit, the Woodward Corridor and Eastern Market.

Jones is currently working with several universities, including Wayne State, Michigan State and University of Michigan, to select the date for the SDAT.

Source: Diane VanBuren Jones, WARM Training
Writer: Kelli B. Kavanaugh


City looking for developer to create 4,000 units of permanent housing for homeless

The City of Detroit has released a request for proposals for the development of 4,000 units of service-supported rental housing targeted to the homeless. The NEXT Detroit Permanent Supportive Housing Initiative is looking for developers  teamed up with service providers to deliver such a product.

The city, along with partner organization Detroit Collaborative to End Homelessness Together, recently completed a ten year plan for the elimination of homelessness that calls for a three-pronged strategy: the development of permanent housing called for in this RFP along with prevention and rapid re-housing.

Elterro Carroll, deputy director of the planning and development department hopes that this first round will generate 250 to 500 units over the course of the next two years. He anticipates that applicants will be both teams of developers and service providers as well as single organizations, such as Southwest Solutions, that already do both.

The RFP is deliberately vague as to the size and scope of proposed developments, leaving the door open for large projects sited on large parcels as well as smaller ones; types of housing called for include units designed to serve families, youth and the chronically homeless.

Prospective applicants can pick up an RFP from PDD's Welcome Center on the second floor of Cadillac Tower. They also can view and download the RFP at the City’s Website, www.detroitmi.gov/pdd. On Feb. 27, applicants are invited to attend an RFP information session at 10:30 a.m. in the department’s 23rd floor conference room. Completed proposals are due on March 28 and development teams selections will be announced on May 1. For more information call 313-224-1538.

Source: Elterro Trent Carroll, PDD
Writer: Kelli B. Kavanaugh

204 New Center Articles | Page: | Show All
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