PDA

You are viewing a trimmed-down version of the SkyscraperPage.com discussion forum.  For the full version follow the link below.

View Full Version : DETROIT | Development & Construction: Motown Lowdown



Pages : 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 [20] 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31 32 33 34 35 36 37 38 39 40 41 42 43 44 45 46 47 48

LMich
Jul 17, 2013, 7:17 AM
Ann Arbor doesn't have anything to be worried about. lol The University of Michigan ain't going anywhere.

Some news on M-1. It seems that M-1 Rail is still mostly on schedule, maybe pushed back a few weeks, as it was originally proposed to break ground in July-August, and now it's sounding like August-September. But, the most notable tpiece of news is that they haven't yet decided on whether to have the line on-wire or off-wire. I was not even aware they were considering off-wire.

M-1 plans to break ground on Woodward streetcar project by fall (http://www.detroitnews.com/article/20130716/METRO05/307160114/M-1-plans-break-ground-Woodward-streetcar-project-by-fall?odyssey=tab|topnews|text|FRONTPAGE)

By David Shepardson | The Detroit News

July 16, 2013

The group building Detroit’s planned 3.3-mile $137 million M-1 streetcar project up Woodward Avenue said Tuesday they plan to start construction later this summer or in early fall.

Construction for the streetcar line will occur in two segments with the first segment — Larned to Adams — set to break ground in the coming months.

The M-1 Rail Corp. also said it is still deciding whether transit system will be on-wire or off-wire. On-wire cars get their power from overhead wires while off-wire cars are powered by batteries.

The group presented details of the plan at the Downtown Detroit Partnership’s Summer Stakeholder Meeting on Tuesday, saying the goal is to minimize disruptions to businesses and residents during construction.

“During construction there will be some short-term inconveniences that will bring long-term benefits,” M-1 chief operating officer Paul Childs.

M-1 said once construction starts Woodward will be closed to traffic and pedestrians but detours will be available. Construction is expected to be limited from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Sunday through Saturday.

The group will disclose more details about the construction schedule after a construction manager is in place, which is expected soon, officials said.

...

Anyone have any preferences?

animatedmartian
Jul 17, 2013, 9:56 AM
I'd assume there's pros and cons to each method but I haven't really looked into it yet to find out.

I can't really seem to find any examples of cities that use off-wire cars, specifically cars powered by batteries.

If most cities are using overhead wires, I'd just go with overhead wires. Keep it simple with the tried and true.

animatedmartian
Jul 17, 2013, 1:32 PM
This... is a bit confusing.

Nostalgia for Tiger Stadium blamed for lack of development at site
July 16, 2013
By JC Reindl, Detroit Free Press Business Writer

The top Detroit economic development official accused U.S. Sen. Carl Levin, a Democrat from Detroit, and a nonprofit group Tuesday of blocking a redevelopment proposal for the Tiger Stadium site by insisting — for nostalgia’s sake — that plans include a baseball park with the same dimensions as those of the demolished field.

The original center field wall of Tiger Stadium was 440 feet from home plate — 20 feet more than at Comerica Park.

George Jackson, CEO of the Detroit Economic Growth Corp., told an audience of about 300 business and community leaders Tuesday that the now-scuttled redevelopment plan called for a row of retail stores, the Parade Company’s new headquarters and, to the chagrin of Levin and a nonprofit called the Old Tiger Stadium Conservancy, a Little League-style field with a shorter outfield and smaller basepaths than those in Tiger Stadium.

[...]

Jim Curran, a Lansing lobbyist who is helping the conservancy group, said the redevelopment plans were not called off by the senator or the stadium conservancy, but were put on hold this summer by the Parade Company, which has yet to raise the estimated $22 million to $25 million needed for a new headquarters.

http://www.freep.com/article/20130716/BUSINESS06/307160139/1002/business



Not so confusing and actually somewhat optimistic though hard to believe it might become reality.

Developer seeks new life for crumbling Packard Plant

http://img46.imageshack.us/img46/9284/gn5w.jpg

CHRISTINE MACDONALD THE DETROIT NEWS

An Illinois developer is in talks with the Wayne County treasurer to buy the notorious Packard Plant out of foreclosure for its $974,000 unpaid tax bill and convert the decayed landmark into a commercial, housing and entertainment complex.

Bill Hults, of Evanston, Ill., told The Detroit News he’s leading a group of investors who want to rehabilitate the crumbling 3.5-million-square-foot plant and build housing nearby. To complete the transformation, Hults has retained the legendary architectural firm that built the complex in 1903, Albert Kahn Associates.

Crews could begin adding concrete barriers, fences and armed security guards within a week to secure the 40-acre facility on East Grand and Mount Elliott, said Hults. He said investors want to save as many of the 47 buildings as possible despite their skeletal state and then build multi-family housing nearby.

The project could cost at least $350 million and take up to 15 years, but the renovation of the Packard itself could be complete in several years, according to Hults’ early estimates.

[...]

Hults said he’s backed by local and out-of-state investors he can’t yet disclose. He said they’ll emerge once the project develops and include a humanitarian group that wants to spend at least $85 million on veteran and senior housing near the area.

He envisions converting the ruin into the Villages of Packard, a mix of startup businesses, shops and restaurants, a boutique hotel and affordable and market-rate homes. Proposed designs from Kahn’s group include a main entrance along Grand Boulevard featuring ground-level shops and angled parking.



Eventually, Hults said he’d like to expand into nearby neighborhoods in a 630-acre triangle bordered by Interstate 94, Gratiot and Mt. Elliott that are dotted with vacant lots and abandoned buildings. He said he’s talked to city and school officials and private buyers about buying land for new multi-family housing.

[...]

The housing and some of the restoration of the main complex will be done using precast concrete walls the developers plan on manufacturing at a facility they are negotiating to buy near Coleman A. Young Municipal Airport, Hults said.

“We are going to try to employ everything we have to do in Detroit,” said Hults, who pledged to give hiring preference to city residents.

[...]

From The Detroit News: http://www.detroitnews.com/article/20130717/METRO01/307170043#ixzz2ZJKIhMGj

LMich
Jul 17, 2013, 2:19 PM
Oh, how I wish I could believe this. He probably means well, but I think he'll find out just how in over his head he is when he has to deal with the city. I hate that I've become so cynical, but securing the site and stablizing the plant, itself, is going to be a major development, let alone actually turning it into something.

animatedmartian
Jul 17, 2013, 2:52 PM
Oh, how I wish I could believe this. He probably means well, but I think he'll find out just how in over his head he is when he has to deal with the city. I hate that I've become so cynical, but securing the site and stablizing the plant, itself, is going to be a major development, let alone actually turning it into something.

Plus he still owes money back in Illinois. I don't know how much of a difference that'd make given the circumstances at the time, but I totally would have expected some well-known large-scale developers to tackle something like Packard Plant.

On the bright side, the worse that could happen is that nothing happens and Packard continues to sit there and crumble/get eaten away by scrappers. Basically one troubled landlord to the next.

mousquet
Jul 17, 2013, 3:27 PM
Anyone have any preferences?
It's funny that they're already thinking about something with no wires above one's head, when I thought it just would seem an insignificant detail to them for now, far from their major concerns. To me, given today's costs, avoiding wires makes sense only if they plan some really dense and attractive developments along Woodward. Maybe that's what they want sooner than one would expect. No need to say that'd be fantastic.
I'd assume there's pros and cons to each method but I haven't really looked into it yet to find out.

I can't really seem to find any examples of cities that use off-wire cars, specifically cars powered by batteries.

If most cities are using overhead wires, I'd just go with overhead wires. Keep it simple with the tried and true.
Nice's streetcars are the only anomaly I heard of to use something alternative to the 'ground-level power supply' I once quickly told the forum about in the light rail boom thread, some batteries only when they cross a couple of historic squares of their downtown, that's a very short part of the ride and then the batteries reload from regular pantographs along the rest of the line. In fact, most new lines in the country use heterogeneous systems, because their 'ground-level power supply' (that works like some sort of third rail) is still too expensive to make an extensive use of it. I think batteries could eventually be an interesting solution, you'd just seemingly need some very powerful to run a streetcar all along the 3.3 miles on Woodward.

animatedmartian
Jul 17, 2013, 3:42 PM
I think batteries could eventually be an interesting solution, you'd just seemingly need some very powerful to run a streetcar all along the 3.3 miles on Woodward.

Then if they do eventually plan on extending the line to 8 Mile and beyond or in any other direction, then yea that seems like they'd need pretty hefty batteries or cars that make relatively short trips.

Doesn't seem like the smartest idea in the long-term. :shrug:

mousquet
Jul 17, 2013, 5:10 PM
^ That was just a little bit of information. Of course I don't know what's the smartest for M-1. It depends on their overall plan and their priorities.

Off-wire systems are aesthetics gadgets. Their only purpose was originally to spare some historic neighborhoods from a mess of wires. And it is true that wires are a little messy, especially when nothing's buried. You see phone and power lines above your head, all along the streets... That's not reasonable in densely populated neighborhoods.

Also, and again, a same network might use 2 different kinds of supply. It only requires vehicles that support it, which is not the most expensive. I guess that's why Nice chose batteries in addition to regular overhead wires. They thought only 2 of their squares should be preserved from catenaries for now, which is, again, only a very short section of their line, while all the rest of it is supplied by overhead wires.

hudkina
Jul 18, 2013, 3:53 AM
I desperately want that for the Packard Plant. I think the best option might be to turn it into a Techtown/Gilbert-esque small business incubator. I really can't see retail or a hotel going in.

LMich
Jul 18, 2013, 7:30 AM
I've always imagined for at least part of the Packard site that it'd be renovated into something similar to the Russell Industrial Center. Either that, or I've always imagined these empty factories being sort of "town squares" for different parts of the city where you'd consolidate business and city service distribution, and then build out the neighborhood around them.

I have to say, I do like that at least the plan is not to renovate the plant in a vacuum, that they actually plan to lift up the neighborhood around it. All major developments in Detroit should be viewed in this kind of context.

It's funny that they're already thinking about something with no wires above one's head, when I thought it just would seem an insignificant detail to them for now, far from their major concerns.

The thing is literally about to start construction in a few weeks. They most certainly now can afford to niggle over the details. I can't imagine that this is the major design concern, at the moment. It sounds like they were just throwing it out there as an example of the things they are now focusing on since construction is now imminent. What else besides construction and design issues would they be concentrating on given where we are in the process?

animatedmartian
Jul 18, 2013, 12:29 PM
Came across this little video. I always like to hear about what's going on in Pontiac. Unlike other metro Detroit suburban downtowns, Pontiac is fairly old and large (and has a fair bit of decay). I think if done right, it's a city quite capable surpassing the likes of Royal Oak and the more affluent Birmingham. But anyway, thought this was a nice under the radar development.

70417382

JonathanGRR
Jul 18, 2013, 9:22 PM
I'd love to see that development of the Packard Plant. I'll remain optimistic for now because, well, the situation can't get much worse than it is now!

I'm hoping that Pontiac can pull this off; it'd be great to see that city be a great urban center of Oakland County again.

In other news...I'm totally shocked that Gilbert is trying to buy all of the land. This is quite a substantial amount of area, and I figured Gilbert would considered himself entrenched enough in developments...guess not:

Gilbert team's bid for jail site focuses on entertainment
Dustin Walsh | July 18, 2013

an Gilbert and his team envision a sprawling, entertainment-heavy mixed-use development on Wayne County's justice department properties in downtown Detroit.

Rock Ventures LLC entered its bid today for the five properties, which includes the half-built jail site on Gratiot Avenue. The bid was in response to a request for information the county issued June 26 during a 60-day moratorium on construction of the jail site.

Matt Cullen, CEO of Rock Ventures, said the bid doesn't include a specific price, but lays out a plan, complete with financial analysis, to move the county's justice system and redevelop the properties.

Cullen said the properties would be mixed-use with retail and office spaces but focused on entertainment. He said the area could resemble L.A. Live, the $2.5 billion, 5.6 million-square-foot development in Los Angeles that includes the Nokia Theatre, the Grammy Museum, ESPN broadcasting studios, two hotels, condominiums and several restaurants. L.A. Live is next to the Staples Center, a multi-purpose sports arena.

Cullen said the type of redevelopment depends on whether the existing infrastructure can be used or must be knocked down.

"We have a keen interest in being a part of facilitating the discussion in moving everything to Mound Road," he said, referring to the shuttered Mound Correctional Facility in Detroit. "But a lot of work needs to be done yet to understand the buildings' assets and liabilities before we move forward."

The deadline to respond to the county's RFI is 4 p.m. today. The county declined to comment on whether other bids have been submitted ahead of the deadline.
...
http://www.crainsdetroit.com/article/20130718/NEWS/130719795/gilbert-teams-bid-for-jail-site-focuses-on-entertainment

Wow.

LMich
Jul 19, 2013, 7:09 AM
I think he's stretching himself too thin, and there is no way he can juggle all these balls at the same time, and get quality projects out of each. Apparently, though, he was just one or five bids that ultimately came in before the deadline, so it's not as if the county is just going to have to hand the site over to Rock, there are other options, including restarting the jail project, but scaled down. I guess the interest is a good problem to have in a downtown no one used to care about, but I'd like to see more parties involved in the downtown comeback.

In other news, One Kennedy Square is getting some more ground floor tenants.

CMU, Potbelly to locate in downtown Detroit (http://www.detroitnews.com/article/20130718/BIZ/307180113/CMU-Potbelly-locate-downtown-Detroit?odyssey=mod|newswell|text|FRONTPAGE|s)

By Michael Martinez | The Detroit News

July 18, 2013

Central Michigan University and Chicago-based Potbelly Sandwich Shop will set up shop on the first floor of the One Kennedy Square building at Campus Martius park.

Potbelly will open its second downtown Detroit location and 300th store nationwide in about 2,200 square feet of space at 777 Woodward Avenue, according to broker Bradley Rosenberg of Mid-America Real Estate. The chain should open by November.

Central will lease 4,000 square feet on the first floor to serve as a location to conduct orientation sessions, student financial planning workshops and financial aid workshops, according to Steve Smith, Central’s director of public relations.

“The new location is perfectly situated to make CMU’s offerings and services available to the growing downtown population,” Smith said. “With the incentives some corporations are offering their employees to live and work downtown and the number of corporations that have expanded their office size and presence in the area, the timing was good for CMU to partner with the city to meet the needs of an increasing professional audience and the city’s economic recovery.”

Potbelly, which also has a location inside the Renaissance Center, had been looking at Campus Martius for a while, according to Rosenberg, because of the foot traffic.

“It’s at the hub of everything,” he said.

...

LMich
Jul 19, 2013, 1:45 PM
The Aerotropolis around Metro and Willow Run is getting a new leader and a new name:

http://cmsimg.detnews.com/apps/pbcsi.dll/bilde?Site=C3&Date=20130718&Category=BIZ&ArtNo=307180112&Ref=V1&MaxW=600&Border=0

CEO named to lead development of hub near Michigan airports ('http://www.detroitnews.com/article/20130718/BIZ/307180112/CEO-named-lead-development-hub-near-Michigan-airports?odyssey=mod|newswell|text|FRONTPAGE|s")

By Louis Aguilar | The Detroit News

July 19, 2013

Taylor— The Wayne County-led plan to turn 60,000 acres around Detroit Metropolitan and Willow Run airports into a multimillion-dollar logistical hub got a new name and its first CEO.

Tim Keyes, former economic director of Romulus, was unveiled as the person in charge of the effort now called VantagePort. The original name of the multi-county initiative launched in 2009 was Aerotropolis, which officials from the Detroit Region Aerotropolis Development Corp admit never took flight.

Keyes takes on the CEO role of VantagePort starting July 1. He will be in charge of the plan officials contend will attract more than 60,000 jobs and pump more than $100 billion in investment into the region. His salary will be $125,000 a year, paid by taxpayer money.

“I’m ready to hit the ground running,” Keyes said. He will oversee a new marketing push and help formalize a land development plan, among other things.

...

A nine-member board of directors and a seven-member executive committee oversees the public initiative. The board consists of representatives from Wayne and Washtenaw counties; the cities of Taylor, Romulus, Belleville and Ypsilanti; and Huron, Van Buren and Ypsilanti townships.

There’s already been major investment in the VantagePort area. It has lured about $300,000 million from a dozen companies and little over 2,000 jobs, officials said Thursday. That includes a $117 million investment from GE to move into a Van Buren Township facility.

...

animatedmartian
Jul 19, 2013, 2:58 PM
VantagePort? Sounds like a cell phone provider. At least Aerotropolis was something that made you think of mile high skyscrapers with lanes of flying cars going between them.

Also, I thought I was just having Gilbert-fatigue. But yea, I'd hate to see something where 90% of all new projects are done by Gilbert and all look the same or cheaply done.

animatedmartian
Jul 19, 2013, 5:33 PM
Crowne Plaza hotel, the former 'Pontch,' reopens in Detroit
By Crain's Detroit Business
July 19, 2013

http://www.crainsdetroit.com/apps/pbcsi.dll/storyimage/CD/20130719/NEWS/130719778/AR/0/Crowne-Plaza-Detroit-Downtown-Convention-Cente.jpg&MaxW=620&v=201307121405

A historic hotel has reopened in Detroit.

The Crowne Plaza Detroit Downtown Convention Center, formerly the Hotel Pontchartrain, opened Wednesday at 2 Washington Blvd. across the street from the Cobo Center, after a $5 million renovation to its rooms, lobby and restaurant.

...

Future plans call for a sky tunnel from the hotel to Cobo, Kralevic told Crain's in March.
http://www.crainsdetroit.com/article/20130719/NEWS/130719778/crowne-plaza-hotel-the-former-pontch-reopens-in-detroit

JonathanGRR
Jul 20, 2013, 2:08 AM
VantagePort? Sounds like a cell phone provider. At least Aerotropolis was something that made you think of mile high skyscrapers with lanes of flying cars going between them.

Also, I thought I was just having Gilbert-fatigue. But yea, I'd hate to see something where 90% of all new projects are done by Gilbert and all look the same or cheaply done.

Agreed! VantagePort has no name recognition whatsoever.

What could even realistically be built on the sites that would be of a decent height and carry other substantial uses than purely 'entertainment?' Quicken Loans World Headquarters, perhaps? haha

animatedmartian
Jul 20, 2013, 4:13 AM
What could even realistically be built on the sites that would be of a decent height and carry other substantial uses than purely 'entertainment?' Quicken Loans World Headquarters, perhaps? haha

It'd probably be just hotels on top of hotels. Or luxury residential. Lol, but yea outside of something seemingly Las Vegas-y, not much.

animatedmartian
Jul 20, 2013, 1:37 PM
Update on the Zsite. They're on the Library streetwall now.

http://img16.imageshack.us/img16/7305/c9bu.jpg
http://www.bedrockmgt.com/properties/video.php?id=22

JonathanGRR
Jul 20, 2013, 3:19 PM
I can't say that I particularly like how the development is looking compared to its surroundings, but I'll reserve final judgement until I see the finished product.

Rizzo
Jul 20, 2013, 5:54 PM
Yeah the scale of that facade is intense (in a not so good way) compared to the surroundings.

LMich
Jul 22, 2013, 7:14 AM
Well, it's not as if there weren't realistic renderings showing what it would look like, in context, so this really shouldn't have come as a surprise.

In some more downtown news:

Blue Cross to buy building that houses Metro Times (http://www.detroitnews.com/article/20130719/BIZ/307190109/Blue-Cross-buy-building-houses-Metro-Times?odyssey=mod|newswell|text|FRONTPAGE|s)

By Michael Martinez | The Detroit Newss

July 19, 2013

Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan is finalizing plans to purchase the Detroit Cornice and Slate Building — home to the Metro Times — at the corner of St. Antoine and E. Lafayette Streets.

The health care provider plans to convert the second and third floors of the 24,000-square-foot-building to office space for about 100 existing BCBSM employees, according to spokeswoman Helen Stojic. Flood’s Bar & Grille will remain on the first floor.

In addition to Metro Times, the building is also home to Paxahau, an event productions and management company in charge of the Movement Electronic Music Festival, among other events.

The building sits in between BCBSM’s Bricktown customer service facility and its Lafayette Street headquarters. A skywalk between the two properties sits to the south of the Cornice and Slate building.

“It was a natural fit to incorporate it into our campus because of its proximity,” Stojic said in an email.

...

The article goes on to say Metro Times is looking for another space. I can't really imagine them moving out of the greater downtown given their paper's focus.

http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/3/3c/Detroit_Cornice_and_Slate_Company_Building.jpg/496px-Detroit_Cornice_and_Slate_Company_Building.jpg
Andrew Jameson (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Detroit_Cornice_and_Slate_Company_Building.jpg)

animatedmartian
Jul 22, 2013, 8:42 AM
Wow they've never owned that building? Whenever I pass by it on the street or look at it from google, it looks like there's a modern addition on the the north side of the building. A lot of times it's pretty easy to miss the very nicely preserved facade especially while driving.

I always thought it was just apart of the campus.

LMich
Jul 22, 2013, 9:08 AM
There was an addition built on to it sometime last decade, can't remember exactly when. I'd always thought of it as the Metro Times Building. I had always assumed that BCBS didn't own it, or else it probably would have been gone. I'm glad it stayed out of their hands long enough for them to come to appreciate it. That, and the current president of the company is big on preservation (he did the Ottawa Street Station renovation in downtown Lansing).

animatedmartian
Jul 23, 2013, 10:45 AM
The name might be familiar to some.

$60M east riverfront development in Detroit to bring housing, streetscape
By JC Reindl
July 23, 2013

http://img843.imageshack.us/img843/3600/vpj4.jpg

A national developer plans to build five blocks’ worth of apartments, town houses and small-scale retail on Detroit’s east riverfront, one of the biggest such projects since the recession and a bet by the company that urban living in Detroit will remain popular with some young professionals.

The $60-million project would fill mostly vacant land east of the Renaissance Center, north of Atwater Street and just west of the popular Dequindre Cut Greenway. The proposed mix of three- to four-story town houses and apartment buildings could offer monthly rental rates of about $850 up to $1,700.

The St. Louis-based developer, McCormack Baron Salazar, specializes in urban market revitalization. Its chairman and CEO, Richard Baron, is a Detroit native.

“We think that there’s pent-up demand for the housing product with the workforcedowntown and others,” said Baron, who hopes to break ground by the spring and finish by early 2016. “I’ve always wanted to come back to Detroit and help with the redevelopment of the city.”

...

http://imageshack.us/a/img62/3637/5rvj.jpg

http://imageshack.us/a/img163/3328/n3s6.jpg

...

Like all recent downtown and Midtown developments, this east riverfront project would depend on a hodgepodge of various government subsidies and foundation support, as Detroit rents are not yet high enough to support all-private ventures.

About half of the financing would come from a U.S. Housing and Urban Development mortgage. An additional $6.7 million of support would come from the Michigan Community Revitalization Program and $5.5 million from the Michigan Business Tax program for Brownfield redevelopment.



http://www.freep.com/article/20130723/BUSINESS04/307230014/Detroit-riverfront-development-apartments-291-units-Globe-Building


Here's what the area looks like as of December 2012 (the only real difference is construction on the Globe Building has started since then):

http://farm9.staticflickr.com/8219/8279584230_98a5ea46fa_b.jpg

http://farm9.staticflickr.com/8502/8278521759_dcf3a27e0e_b.jpg

http://farm9.staticflickr.com/8063/8278529575_ab67f95984_b.jpg

So yea, kinda glad to see something finally being put here. :cheers:

LMich
Jul 23, 2013, 12:28 PM
Well, this certainly came out of nowhere. And, no, the name doesn't seem to ring a bell, for me. Speaking of Rivertown, I wonder whatever happened to GM's plan for its RiverEast lands directly to the east of headquarters?

LMich
Jul 23, 2013, 1:17 PM
Businesses bring new buzz to historic New Center (http://www.detroitnews.com/article/20130723/BIZ/307230025/Businesses-bring-new-buzz-historic-New-Center-area?odyssey=mod|newswell|text|FRONTPAGE|s)

By Maureen McDonald | The Detroit News

July 23, 2013

Another Detroit neighborhood is showing signs of resurgence.

New Center, once the world headquarters of General Motors and a shopping Mecca that included Sak’s Fifth Avenue and Crowley’s Department Store, is carving its own niche at the corner of Grand Boulevard and Second Street, bolstered by the business boom downtown and in Midtown.

“Revitalizing the New Center area is a fun project of ours,” said Andy Gutman, president of the Farbman Group, which manages the Fisher, Albert Kahn and New Center One buildings. “Business is on such a roll in Detroit it can only get better. The city bankruptcy may help free up money for better police protection and civic services.”

Besides the maintenance and restoration of these historic buildings, the Southfield based-management company has launched events, including bringing a caravan of food trucks to the area, to create buzz and pedestrian traffic. As many as 3,000 people pass through the three buildings daily.

...

New tenants include Detroit Electric, an electric car company, along with stable clients such as Vision Information Technology, WJR Radio, Detroit Public Schools, Henry Ford Health System and the Fisher Theater.

Outside, New Center Park hosts events through the summer and someday soon the M1 rail line will run from downtown to Grand Boulevard.

Farbman is also close to inking a deal with a restaurant client from Boston, which would help bolster night traffic to stores and the Fisher Theater. The site is on the southeast end of the building.

“Farbman certainly makes a big effort to recruit new tenants,” said Sue Mosey, executive director of Midtown Detroit whose organization looks to increase development and energize neighborhoods from Mack Avenue to Grand Boulevard. “As the core of Midtown continues to redevelop, you’ll see a push of activity all the way to New Center.”

...

This is a good read.

animatedmartian
Jul 23, 2013, 4:34 PM
Well, this certainly came out of nowhere. And, no, the name doesn't seem to ring a bell, for me. Speaking of Rivertown, I wonder whatever happened to GM's plan for its RiverEast lands directly to the east of headquarters?

Ah, well, this developer has been trying to build in Detroit since pre-recession. He's the same guy who wanted to daylight the Bloody Run creek and build a neighborhood along it and also had a few proposals for residential in Midtown.

http://www.crainsdetroit.com/article/20111120/FREE/311209978/developer-revives-long-held-dream

Anyway, here's the overhead plans for his current endeavor from the Detroit News.

http://img35.imageshack.us/img35/3986/wixk.jpg
http://www.detroitnews.com/article/20130723/BIZ/307230068/-55M-project-would-bring-residential-housing-retail-Detroit-riverfront

Edit: This is the first phase of the project. Phase-two would be developed west of Riopelle along Atwater and have 200 additional units and retail.

hudkina
Jul 23, 2013, 4:40 PM
I honestly don't think it's that big of a difference in density from many other urban neighborhoods. I kind of like the idea that it isn't a bland array of photocopy rowhouses.

I think it also leaves open the possibility of infill towers if the demand ever rises.

LMich
Jul 24, 2013, 7:09 AM
I honestly don't think it's that big of a difference in density from many other urban neighborhoods. I kind of like the idea that it isn't a bland array of photocopy rowhouses.

I think it also leaves open the possibility of infill towers if the demand ever rises.

All things considered, it's better than what it could have been, and certainly better than what is there (or isn't there, in this case), now. It's always been my opinion for Rivertown, anyway, that towers be kept away from the riverfront and more up along Jefferson. I don't care what happened outside of the Rivertown, but I've always liked the human-scaled feel of the district.

Rivertown was always village-like, and this will return it to that feel. This time, it looks like it'll have a fresher maritime feel than the heavy warehouse architecture of old. That's not a bad thing. I also like that some of the units will be affordable, because what that shows me is that this could be replicated across the inner city. Imagine that this is the kind of things that becomes common in, say, the emptied out residential areas north of Gratiot. Someone has to take the plunge, eventually.

EDIT: BTW, I kept trying to figure out what the Guoin Mews was before I figured out it'll be a reconstructed street and pedestrian pathway. lol

hudkina
Jul 24, 2013, 12:51 PM
I agree that Rivertown should not become a Vancouver-esque bland tower district, but I could see something similar to the Lofts at Rivertown where you have a mid-rise tower surrounded by the street-level development.

http://www.aerialpics.com/E/stearns-rivertown.jpg

http://activerain.com/image_store/uploads/9/8/6/6/0/ar117512443706689.jpg

Something in the 8 to 12 story range wouldn't be bad, and the larger towers could then go along and north of Jefferson.

animatedmartian
Jul 24, 2013, 3:55 PM
Silverdome owners pitch plan for MLS stadium, mall, condos on jail site
By Dustin Walsh
July 24, 2013

http://img16.imageshack.us/img16/3195/oeof.jpg

http://img706.imageshack.us/img706/9140/z5xc.jpg

The Toronto-based owners of the Pontiac Silverdome have submitted a bid for the Wayne County justice department sites in hopes of opening a stadium for a Detroit Major League Soccer team, along with a mall, residential space and office towers.

Triple Properties Inc. is seeking to acquire the five current justice properties, including the half-built jail site, plus the former Detroit Police Department headquarters at 1300 Beaubien St., said Steve Apostolopoulos, co-founder and managing director of Triple Properties.

Apostolopoulos declined to reveal the specific price of the offer, but called it "competitive."

Along with the stadium, the more than $1 billion development would include a 275,000-square-foot retail complex with high-end retailers and food courts, 1 million square feet of residential space including two towers, and 1.3 million square feet of office space and parking.

Apostolopoulos said his firm has been in discussions with MLS about starting a professional soccer team in Detroit since acquiring the Silverdome in 2009, but the league had reservations about a team in Pontiac.

He said Wednesday he believes a downtown location would help secure a team from the league.

"We've been in discussions with the league for a few years, and it boils down to the stadium," he said. "Ideally they want to be downtown."

The MLS currently has 19 teams that averaged a collective 18,807 fans per game last season. On May 21, the league announced its 20th team would be located in New York City.

[...]

http://www.crainsdetroit.com/article/20130724/NEWS/130729936/silverdome-owners-pitch-plan-for-mls-stadium-mall-condos-on-jail-site

Apostolopoulos goes on to say that this would be entirely privately funded . As if I wasn't a bit skeptical with that price-tag, that statement really confirmed my skepticism. No one else has 100% privately funded anything that large in Detroit (or even half that size) so why should we believe Apostolopoulos is capable of doing it? Plus could Detroit really fill a 25K soccer stadium?

hudkina
Jul 24, 2013, 6:41 PM
Ironically, the stadium is the least pie-in-the-sky thing about that proposal. There's absolutely no way any of it gets off the ground.

JonathanGRR
Jul 24, 2013, 11:11 PM
I was actually going to post yesterday saying "maybe they should be a soccer stadium there!" but I figured it would be too far-fetched. I don't really mind the location since it doesn't tamper with the street grid a whole lot. However, I do remain skeptical that this would happen. If it does, that'd be great, but there are a lot of factors to consider...I think a sizable down-payment would have to be made to the county before the transaction would go through to ensure that the plans actually materialize.

mind field
Jul 24, 2013, 11:20 PM
The proposal with the soccer stadium has some pretty unrealistic elements. A mall would fail miserably at that location. Metro Detroit is likely over retailed as it is. The office tower would be out of place and not really too close to any amenities i.e. Campus Martius. And i'm not sure occupancy and rents warrant the construction of a new tower anyway.

LMich
Jul 25, 2013, 7:24 AM
Ironically, the stadium is the least pie-in-the-sky thing about that proposal.

I was thinking the exact same thing. lol The soccer stadium seems like the most realistic part of the entire thing.

Yeah, Triple Group is really kind of a joke, to be honest, and I get annoyed at their grandstanding. I wouldn't call them slumlords, but they certainly have ambitions far beyond their actual talents. The 50-and-60-floor towers in this concept just show that they try too hard with their proposals, and what stretches their credibility. Hell, the thing would be unrealistic with 30-story towers. I grumble a lot about the Ilitches and Gilbert, these days, but they'd never propose something so unrealistic and over-the-top. When Triple Group can get something done with the Silverdome, then they can come and make these grandiose plans.

I honestly don't know how this is all going to pan out. It may very well be that Wayne County restarts the jail project, if they keep getting these exaggerated proposals.

animatedmartian
Jul 26, 2013, 9:25 PM
Positive news on Detroit's office space vacancy. Detroit could lower to 25% after factoring in Campbell-Ewald's move in 2014. Still pretty high, but the lowest number Detroit's seen in almost a decade.

http://www.detroitnews.com/article/20130726/BIZ/307260081

animatedmartian
Jul 30, 2013, 10:18 AM
Detroit's Grand Circus Park gets new life
SERENA MARIA DANIELS THE DETROIT NEWS

[...]

In addition to lofty development projects that promise to transform downtown in the coming years — including M-1 light rail, a planned events arena and entertainment district, as well as the purchase by Quicken Loans founder Dan Gilbert of more than two dozen downtown properties — the backers of Gilbert’s “Opportunity Detroit” campaign have earmarked $2 million toward smaller, short-term improvements in five of downtown’s parks, including Grand Circus Park, to give the area a neighborhood feel.

That’s resulted in such events as beach party Fridays — complete with real sand — at Campus Martius; film screenings at Capitol Park; hip-hop and ballet dance performances at Paradise Valley Park; and jazz and theater shows Wednesday nights at Grand Circus Park.

[...]

Most renovations are taking shape on the eastern portion of the park, closer to Comerica Park, including a temporary stage where jazz and theatrical performances are taking place Wednesday evenings until Aug. 24. The western portion will remain relatively untouched aside from sprucing up of the landscaping.

Probably the most notable change is the restoration of the park’s two historic fountains — the Russell Alger Memorial Fountain, which anchors the park’s east side, and the Edison Fountain on the west. Both are the only functioning historic fountains downtown, Gregory said.

[...]


From The Detroit News: http://www.detroitnews.com/article/20130730/METRO01/307300025#ixzz2aWSZ5NT1

Rail>Auto
Jul 30, 2013, 11:55 AM
If soccer isn't going in the Silverdome what are they going to do with it?

LMich
Jul 30, 2013, 12:29 PM
From The Detroit News: http://www.detroitnews.com/article/20130730/METRO01/307300025#ixzz2aWSZ5NT1

Anyone know the season for the fountains? I've never really paid attention, and the last time I did, it was years ago in the summer and they weren't on.

Anyway, good to hear. The parks always should have been seen as the places to center the downtown districts around, but I guess it's better late than never. BTW, what do you guys think of the reconstruction of Capitol Park?

animatedmartian
Jul 31, 2013, 3:12 PM
Anyone know the season for the fountains? I've never really paid attention, and the last time I did, it was years ago in the summer and they weren't on.

Anyway, good to hear. The parks always should have been seen as the places to center the downtown districts around, but I guess it's better late than never. BTW, what do you guys think of the reconstruction of Capitol Park?

They're both on now. Not sure if they're on a schedule but last time I was down there was in April and they were on.

Capitol Park seems forgettable. It's nice, but unlike Campus Martius or GCP, there's no real major draw to it and it just seems like a run of the mill downtown plaza. I think there needs to be a little more greenery and a tree canopy.

There's a small park on Grand River and Randolph that pulls this off pretty well and I would want Capitol Park to be similar to that one.

animatedmartian
Jul 31, 2013, 3:24 PM
Grand Park Centre sold to Bloomfield Twp.-based Princeton Enterprises
By Kirk Pinho

http://img829.imageshack.us/img829/4822/9sh7.jpg


Bloomfield Township-based Princeton Enterprises LLC has purchased the two-building Grand Park Centre office complex at 28 W. Adams St. in Detroit from the Detroit Police and Fire Retirement System.

Princeton Enterprises likely paid between $4 million and $5.5 million for Grand Park Centre, according to real estate sources.

The deal for the 177,000-square-foot complex, previously known as the Michigan Mutual Building, also includes an attached 115-space parking deck and a surface lot on Woodward Avenue with 23 spaces.

Matt Lester, founder and CEO of Princeton Enterprises, said his company also plans to open a 5,000- to 10,000-square-foot satellite office in Grand Park Centre in the fall and to double the amount of available parking space "in order to be a first-choice facility among potential office users."

"We want to be down there," Lester said. "Then, longer-term, there are some thoughts about extensive renovations, particularly to the vacant floors in the (40,000-square-foot) annex, so that's where the action is going to be more mid-term."

Princeton Enterprises will remain headquartered in Bloomfield Township for the time being, although Lester said the company may eventually move its headquarters to Detroit.

...


http://www.crainsdetroit.com/article/20130730/NEWS/130739991/grand-park-centre-sold-to-princeton-enterprises


M1 awards Calif.-based firm major contract for streetcar project
By Bill Shea

http://imageshack.us/a/img839/5117/doed.jpg

The nonprofit M1 Rail effort has awarded the contract to build the Woodward Avenue streetcar project loop to Alameda, Calif.-based civil construction firm Stacy and Witbeck Inc.

Stacy and Witbeck, which has built 17 transit systems, was awarded the project's construction manager and general contractor bids from a pool of five companies, M1 said in a statement tonight.

Detroit-based White Construction Co. has been subcontracted by Stacy and Witbeck to work on the project, M1 Rail said.

Because engineering is still underway, a maximum contract price hasn't been determined. M1 believes construction of the grade-level streetcar loop itself between Hart Plaza and New Center will cost $135 million to $145 million, which could drive the total project cost closer to $187 million from a previously estimated $137 million.

Of that, the state is funding a Woodward resurfacing and some overpass work concurrently with the streetcar line construction, M1 COO Paul Childs previously told Crain's. The MDOT work, at a cost of $35 million to $45 million, will be between Sibley and Chandler streets. That amount is part of the project's total, which could end up higher or lower than $187 million.

Future bids will include an estimated $9.5 million for construction of a vehicle storage and maintenance facility, $27 million for six streetcars, and for a private-sector vendor to operate and maintain the streetcar system at an estimated $5.5 million annually. The $187 million assumes only $5.5 million for a year of operations, so the total could rise under a multi-year deal.

...

http://www.crainsdetroit.com/article/20130730/NEWS/130739984/m1-awards-calif-based-firm-major-contract-for-streetcar-project

hudkina
Jul 31, 2013, 4:35 PM
Harmonie Park is the name of that other park. Capitol Park should have had more green. Granted, grass is probably more expensive to maintain.;)

animatedmartian
Jul 31, 2013, 5:47 PM
Or they could always go with sand. That seems to be the summer time trend for Detroit. :D

Volleyball & Lawn Games Open on Detroit RiverWalk
By Clare Liening

http://imageshack.us/a/img607/2618/ny58.jpg

One of Detroit’s most cherished gems for outdoor activities, the Detroit RiverWalk, is getting even better with new upgrades launching Monday evening. A beach volleyball court, along with oversized lawn games, beach toys and more than 100 pieces of beach-type furniture, will be featured along the stretch of the RiverWalk – from the G.M. Renaissance Center to Rivard Plaza & Pavilion – now through the end of September.

“Throughout the last decade, the Conservancy has been working to not only continuously develop and provide public access to Detroit’s riverfront, but to also offer a wide range of activities and amenities that help create a greater sense of community,” said Faye Nelson, president & CEO, Detroit RiverFront Conservancy.

....

http://imageshack.us/a/img835/7592/o4t2.jpg


http://www.after5detroit.com/articles?create_datetime=1375109651&id=4551

hudkina
Aug 1, 2013, 3:55 AM
The lawn chairs are a nice touch. It makes me want to go just for that reason.;)

LMich
Aug 1, 2013, 7:13 AM
Capitol Park seems forgettable.

This is why I asked. The reconstruction seemed really "Meh", to me.

On Grand Park Centre, the sell doesn't sound like that big a deal. The building wasn't renovated that long ago, and from what I understand, it didn't have terrible vacancy. In my dreams, they'd eventually demolish the annex and the tiny adjacent lot on Woodward, and fill in the corner with something substantial and befitting an entertainment district.

SO glad to hear about the genereal contractor being chosen. This was kind of imminent, as it pretty much follows schedule, but it allows everyone to breath. No, we get shovels in the ground by next month with a successful, national company running the show.

animatedmartian
Aug 2, 2013, 5:44 PM
State Savings Bank owner, Andreas Apostolopoulos, files for demolition petition.

http://detroit.curbed.com/archives/2013/08/state-savings-bank-owner-files-petition-for-demo.php

stormkingfan
Aug 2, 2013, 10:15 PM
Don't mean to rain on the parade, but am I missing something here? While I'm seeing all these developments, Detroit has tanked out to the point of bankruptcy. (???)

hudkina
Aug 3, 2013, 2:09 AM
I would hope you would understand the difference between municipal governance and private-sector development. The municipality of Detroit has such a massive load of debt, that it is not capable of paying for both its long-term obligations (bond payments, pensions, etc.) and its short-term municipal services (police, street-lighting, etc.) Because of this, it has decided to file for Chapter 9 bankruptcy protection in an effort to focus more on short-term municipal services and either reduce or eliminate long-term obligations.

On the other hand, you have people, companies, and organizations that are mostly unrelated to the municipal government that are seeing the value of Detroit and are investing in the city. Dan Gilbert has purchased dozens of buildings and is moving thousands of employees into the downtown core. Other companies (large and small) are following suit. A new light-rail line (that is mostly privately funded) will soon begin construction connecting the growing residential, office, and retail base in Downtown, Midtown, and New Center. New residential units are being added (through renovation and new construction) throughout the downtown core. A new stadium/entertainment district is planned that will include retail, office, and residential. Public funding will be a major source, but tax revenue that is specifically generated for such downtown developments will be used. A newly renovated, regionally-operated convention center will soon be completed. New hotels are coming online or under construction.

All of this is occurring despite the financial status of the municipality of Detroit.

LMich
Aug 3, 2013, 3:08 AM
State Savings Bank owner, Andreas Apostolopoulos, files for demolition petition.

http://detroit.curbed.com/archives/2013/08/state-savings-bank-owner-files-petition-for-demo.php

I hope the preservation community gives this guy hell. The demolition makes absolutely zero sense. If he's not going to do anything with the building - if he doesn't know how to reuse that building - then he should put it up for sell. No more of this. We've had far too many downtown slumlords in the past to accept another one.

Not enough parking downtown? You've got to be kidding me. He must think we're stupid. Downtown has been doing far too well the last few years to revert back to the olds ways of the early part of the previous decade. No more Madison Lennox situations, please.

uaarkson
Aug 5, 2013, 1:13 PM
Book Tower (my second favorite skyscraper in the world) may be on the verge of renovation, at long last.

http://detroit.curbed.com/archives/2013/08/request-for-public-hearing-might-mean-action-at-the-book-tower.php

LMich
Aug 5, 2013, 2:18 PM
Wouldn't this be great? It's also one of my favorite skyscrapers of all time, and my favorite in Detroit.

http://detroit.curbed.com/uploads/booktowerimages.jpg
(Left image via Ryan Southen; Right image via Emporis/Chris Cousins)
(http://detroit.curbed.com/archives/2013/08/request-for-public-hearing-might-mean-action-at-the-book-tower.php)

....

The renovation plan document dates back to September 2012, with an update written in April 2013. The plans are for the Book Tower, the Book Building, and the adjoining two-story building to the south. The renovation described includes apartments for floors 4-36 and retail and commercial space for the basement floor up to the third.

....

mousquet
Aug 5, 2013, 3:49 PM
I was wondering how vacant the David Stott was. It doesn't appear in the bad shape of the Book tower + building, but nonetheless in the need of at least a cleaning up, and maybe a heavy renovation that would plan a mixed reuse too.
Wouldn't this be great? It's also one of my favorite skyscrapers of all time, and my favorite in Detroit.
Well, it may be the most heavily decorated and the most impressive at first glance, but then you take a better look at this slender Art Deco reddish silhouette...

http://3.bp.blogspot.com/-ufKwVGb1W7Y/TVwEMUZhLjI/AAAAAAAAA8Y/0D1Hr27HeEY/s1600/StottBuilding.jpg
http://fromthekage.blogspot.fr/2011/02/david-stott-building-detroit-skyscraper.html

What's the best is quite questionable, especially when Art Deco towers seem usually more appreciated than the neoclassical works of the same era. The David Stott has to be one of the very finest Art Deco pieces in the entire city, and maybe simply the best.

mind field
Aug 6, 2013, 2:46 AM
Book Tower (my second favorite skyscraper in the world) may be on the verge of renovation, at long last.

http://detroit.curbed.com/archives/2013/08/request-for-public-hearing-might-mean-action-at-the-book-tower.php

I can't wait to see this imposing tower renovated. The large vacant building list is dwindling quickly!

LMich
Aug 9, 2013, 7:14 AM
The renovation of the Grand Army of the Republic (GAR) Memorial Hall continues to move forward:

http://multimedia.detroitnews.com/pix/5e/56/5a/fd/c1/a8/20130524154842_2012-1103-ad-GARbuilding111.jpg
Ankru Dholakia | The Detroit News

Michigan awards $660K grant to renovate Detroit's old castle building (http://www.detroitnews.com/article/20130808/BIZ/308080036/-1/rss12)

By Michael Martinez | The Detroit News

August 8, 2013

Detroit’s grand old castle building, shuttered since 1982, took another step toward revitalization Wednesday.

NewGAR, LLC, which owns the Grand Army of the Republic Building in downtown Detroit, will receive $660,000 for the renovation and was one of three companies to garner incentives Wednesday from the Michigan Business Development Program, which provides grants, loans and other assistance to businesses investing or creating jobs in the state.

“It all helps to add up and makes a project like this possible,” said David Carleton, one of three owners who started NewGAR. “It’s an important piece.”

The GAR building, 1942 W. Grand River Ave., was constructed in the late 1800s for Union Civil War veterans who belonged to an organization called the Grand Army of the Republic. Renovation plans call for restaurants, offices, and a Civil War museum.

Carleton said the restaurants will tip their hats to the history of the building. One will be a classic-themed diner that will “reflect the American heritage,” he said. The other, larger adjacent space will take advantage of unique ground floor aesthetics, which include high ceilings and squared pillars. That restaurant will be called Republic and have a tavern setting.

The second and third floors will be rented as office space, although no tenants have been found. Detroit-based Mindfield, a media project company that Carleton and the other two building owners are partners in, will take up the top floor. Mindfield hopes to move in by the first quarter of 2014.

...

LMich
Aug 13, 2013, 7:21 AM
While the conception and development of this thing has been and continues to be a cluster-you-know-what, the Troy intermodal station will be opening in a few weeks, regardless:

http://www.crainsdetroit.com/apps/pbcsi.dll/storyimage/CD/20130811/NEWS/308119951/AR/0/Troy_transit_center_site.jpg&MaxW=620&v=201307121405
Nathan Skid | Crain's Detroit Business

Troy moves ahead on transit center (http://www.crainsdetroit.com/article/20130811/NEWS/308119951/troy-moves-ahead-on-transit-center)

By Chad Halcom | Crain's Detroit Business

August 11, 2013

At the current pace of construction, there is a good chance Troy will be finished with its transit center project before the Michigan courts can say the same.

And if the center opens near Maple Road and Coolidge Highway next month with the legal question of ownership unresolved, the city could have to buy it back at substantial cost from Farmington Hills-based Grand/Sakwa Properties LLC in a long-running dispute.

The Federal Railroad Administration last week notified Troy it would resume reimbursements to the city for construction on the transit center, which had been halted for several months, after receiving a plan for continuous control from the city, said Rob Kulat, public affairs specialist for the railroad administration.

Reimbursements had stopped on the federal funding portion of the nearly $10 million transit center after the Michigan Court of Appeals ruled in May that the property belonged to Grand/Sakwa, not the city. Troy has racked up about $1.6 million in reimbursable building expenses since then, said City Engineer Steve Vandette.

A three-judge appellate panel overturned a 2011 Oakland County Circuit Court ruling in Troy's favor, and ruled that Grand/Sakwa is entitled to reclaim 2.7 acres of land where most of the construction is taking place.

The city asked the Michigan Supreme Court to take up the case a few weeks ago, but has also requested an assessment on the property from an outside consultant, which is expected soon. The assessment would be a precursor to a possible condemnation case in court against Grand/Sakwa to retake the site if the courts continue to side with the developer.

...

Troy will never be the transit hub of Oakland County, but it can be - and now will be - one of them. Whatever the case, it will certainly be better for what passed as a station in Birmingham.

BTW, the skybridge is quite a bit taller than what I imagined it'd look like.

JonathanGRR
Aug 13, 2013, 3:35 PM
The Detroit Free Press Building and the David Stott Building will be going up for auction next month. Gilbert has expressed interest in purchasing the David Stott before, so it will be interesting to see if he can snag it.

animatedmartian
Aug 13, 2013, 7:15 PM
More retail coming to Campus Martius, namely Potbelly Sandwich Shop and an unconfirmed Starbucks.

http://detroit.curbed.com/archives/2013/08/is-starbucks-joining-potbelly-and-cmu-at-campus-martius.php

animatedmartian
Aug 15, 2013, 3:56 AM
Preservation prevails in Detroit! :multibow::cheers:

Detroit commission turns down State Savings Bank demolition request

Detroit’s Historic District Commission denied permission to the owners of the architecturally significant State Savings Bank to demolish the structure to build a parking garage.

The commission’s staff told the commission at the start of the public hearing today that the owners of the bank met none of the four criteria in the city’s landmarks ordinance that would allow demolition.

Triple Properties, a Toronto-based firm, owns the nearby Penobscot office tower as well as the State Savings Bank. It proposes demolishing the historic bank structure to build a $30-million garage with more than 1,000 spaces to serve the Penobscot tenants and ground-floor retail.

Bob Kraemer, a Detroit-based architect representing the owners who want to demolish the bank building, told the commission that demolition was a trade-off to save the equally historic Penobscot skyscraper. Without parking nearby, the Penobscot becomes less economically viable, Kraemer said.

“We are here to say we have make difficult choices. The Penobscot Building itself is in peril. … There’s a financial issue right there,” Kraemer said.

...
http://www.freep.com/article/20130814/BUSINESS06/308140175/State-Savings-Bank-demolition

Bob Kraemer must have been paid some big bucks to support the demolition of a historic building. Doesn't exactly bring a good name to his architectural firm considering they've been behind a lot of the historic renovations around downtown. :yuck:

LMich
Aug 15, 2013, 7:18 AM
I was particularly disappointed to see Bob Kraemer's name pop up considering the focus of their work in Detroit. The idea that the Penobscot complex could do better with more parking seems less of a legitimate critique than the critique that the Penobscot complex could do better if it wasn't owned by borderline slumlords.

Honestly, Triple Properties are the kind of vultures you can attract when your real estate market collapses. In a more normal market, a company like mom-and-pop Triple would have to get in on the groundfloor; instead, they come to Detroit and buy landmark properties like the Silverdome and the Penobscot buildings for pennies on the dollar. I'd love to see nothing more than for them to cash out, and take their game back to Toronto, where they'd never be allowed to get away with the crap they think they can get away with in Detroit.

Welcome to Detroit, Triple. We're desperate; we're not that desperate.

animatedmartian
Aug 15, 2013, 5:20 PM
Wayne County votes to end construction of over-budget jail

http://img22.imageshack.us/img22/2172/hdoi.jpg

Detroit— Members of a Wayne County board voted unanimously Thursday morning to terminate construction contracts and halt work on an over budget jail construction project.

The county is spending $2 to $4 million a month since work was suspended in June on the half-finished jail on Gratiot and Madison, June Lee, chief of staff for Wayne County Executive Robert Ficano, told the county’s building authority.

About $120 million has been spent so far on the jail, but it’s unclear how much more must be spent to wind down the project, officials said. It could cost at least $5 million more.

The termination of contractors won't be immediate but they will be given an estimated few weeks to wrap up work at the site.

Ficano recommended halting work on Wednesday and exploring proposals from three developers to buy the site and nearby county-owned facilities. The county would instead use proceeds from the sale and other money to retrofit the state’s abandoned Mound Road Correctional Facility into the jail.

...

From The Detroit News: http://www.detroitnews.com/article/20130815/METRO01/308150087#ixzz2c3ieEDrJ

Two of the three proposals are from Gilbert and Triple Properties. I don't think they've released the third proposal yet. According to Crain, this is all there's known about the third proposal: Todd Fenton, former Wayne County EDGE member who is fronting a plan on behalf of an unknown investor.


http://www.crainsdetroit.com/article/20130814/NEWS/130819941/wayne-county-narrows-plan-for-half-built-jail-site-to-3-proposals

Shady, shady...

uaarkson
Aug 15, 2013, 6:47 PM
The good ol' Fail Jail. What a classic Detroit saga.

animatedmartian
Aug 15, 2013, 10:36 PM
According to Detroiturbex, demolition crews are starting on the Brewster Douglass projects (finally).

https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=636928956340819&set=a.283513105015741.75285.109210839112636&type=1

Rizzo
Aug 16, 2013, 12:13 AM
Preservation prevails in Detroit! :multibow::cheers:


http://www.freep.com/article/20130814/BUSINESS06/308140175/State-Savings-Bank-demolition

Bob Kraemer must have been paid some big bucks to support the demolition of a historic building. Doesn't exactly bring a good name to his architectural firm considering they've been behind a lot of the historic renovations around downtown. :yuck:

No comment should have been his answer if asked. Wanting to tear down that building was an awful idea. And architects should always deal with challenges creatively, not wiping them out. The Penobscot isn't doing well because it's vintage. The demands on modern office space are so extreme nowadays since every firm is heavy into tech and bigger on open office space. Typically these buildings were well suited for boutique firms, small non profits, and doctors offices. In any major city, these firms don't typically receive the luxury of connected parking....that's why they pay less in an old building. Architects should work to make upper floors more desireable to boutique firms that typically have younger employees that will park further away, bike or take transit to their job.

I should point out that for evey garage Detroit builds, it's equally a loss to economic development. That's less available property to put tax paying businesses workers and residents on. Detroit's core is so tied up with infrastructure and support systems that I worry sometimes future transit won't be as effective as it could be.

Ideally most folks would get in the mindset that the people mover could provide great utility as a shuttle from parking to the office. Plus walking a couple blocks to work is healthy and enjoyable.

LMich
Aug 16, 2013, 7:28 AM
I would not worry about running out of developable space due to parking garage. A cursory look at any aerial will show there being more than enough room when you look at underutilized surface lots.

As for the consolidated jail project failure, it rolls into one all that is wrong with the business community's relationship to local government in this region, particularly the construction/demolition and contracting industry in Detroit. The only solace I take in all of this is that the jail was a project conceived years ago under a previous administration and in the era of pay-for-play, and that this mistake wouldn't be made post-Kilpatrick. Kwame's gone, now, but there is no way Ficano is getting re-elect, god willing. These were and are two of the biggest crooks you'll ever meet. There is a reason Kym Worthy launched an investigation into this, yesterday. I can't for the life of me figure out how Ficano has been able to escape the feds when everyone around him as fallen; that dude has nine lives.

LMich
Aug 16, 2013, 11:45 AM
Here's an update on Detroit Bikes. I really do hope they do well. I was kind of surprised to find that their facility is deep in the westside on Schaefer near Plymouth.

http://cmsimg.freep.com/apps/pbcsi.dll/bilde?NewTbl=1&Site=C4&Date=20130816&Category=BUSINESS&ArtNo=308160024&Ref=PH&Item=8&Maxw=640&Maxh=410
Jessica J. Trevino | Detroit Free Press

Detroit Bikes aims to crank up mass production (http://www.freep.com/article/20130816/BUSINESS06/308160016/detroit-bikes-factory-launch)

By Frank Witsill | Detroit Free Press

August 16, 2013

A day before its public debut, Zak Pashak is tweaking the $550 commuter bike he’s manufacturing in west Detroit and plans to sell nationwide, mostly through bike retailers.

The company plans to roll out and start selling its bikes at a public party from 5 p.m.-9 p.m. Friday at the Old Miami bar on Cass Avenue in Detroit. Other debuts are planned in Windsor on Saturday and in Toronto on Wednesday.

“I think there’s a market for the bikes,” said Pashak, 33, who moved to Detroit from Canada and has invested about $2 million in the company, Detroit Bikes. “The key for us is volume. We need to sell a lot of bikes.”

The bicycle business has gained traction in metro Detroit in the past year.

The trend has been driven in part by people looking for American-made products and a sense that the Detroit label is hip. Other metro Detroit bike makers include Detroit Bicycle, AutoBike and Shinola, which opened a retail shop in Detroit this year.

But Detroit Bikes is the only one that is also mass-producing the frames.

Model T of bikes

Pashak, a drummer who made his money promoting music venues in Canada, said he is capitalizing on urban biking and environmental trends nationally, and a need for reasonably priced mass-production bikes.

He bought a 50,000-square-foot building, outfitted it with equipment and hired two dozen workers.

He aims to make and sell 5,000 bicycles by the end of the year, 20,000 next year, 40,000 after that.

http://cmsimg.freep.com/apps/pbcsi.dll/bilde?Site=C4&Date=20130816&Category=BUSINESS06&ArtNo=308160016&Ref=V4&MaxW=600&Border=0

...

LMich
Aug 17, 2013, 5:57 AM
This is from a few weeks ago, but it's about a developer doing renovations in out-city neighborhoods, particularly Palmer Park:

http://www.crainsdetroit.com/apps/pbcsi.dll/storyimage/CD/20130804/NEWS/308049984/AR/0/Mark_Leipsitz_and_KathyMakino-Leipsitz.jpg&MaxW=620&v=201307121405
TONY BARCHOCK

Mark Leipsitz and his wife, Kathy Makino-Leipsitz, share a dream of revitalizing Detroit apartment buildings and, in turn, improving the surrounding neighborhoods. They recently restored the La Vogue building in Palmer Park.

Developer scours city to rehab Art Deco-era apartment buildings (http://www.crainsdetroit.com/article/20130804/NEWS/308049984/developer-scours-city-to-rehab-art-deco-era-apartment-buildings)

By Maureen McDonald | Crain's Detroit Business

August 4, 2013

If Mike Ilitch collects stadiums, Dan Gilbert buys downtown office buildings and the Cooley family captures Corktown real estate, Kathy Makino-Leipsitz is a collector of distressed Art Deco-era apartment buildings found deep in Detroit's neighborhoods.

As the owner of Shelborne Development LLC, she owns 26 apartment buildings and four parking lots in three Detroit neighborhoods: five in Jefferson Chalmers, 14 in Palmer Park and seven in New Center.

Thirteen of the properties are fully rehabbed or are barreling toward completion, including her most recent accomplishment: a $10.1 million restoration of three buildings in the Jefferson-Chalmers neighborhood.

"We find diamonds in the rough and put them back on the tax rolls," said Makino-Leipsitz.

Makino-Leipsitz, 52, bought her first Detroit property in 1983 on West Alexandrine Street and continued to make investments as she found good deals. But when she married her second husband, Mark Leipsitz, they decided to start targeting their development in specific neighborhoods.

...

Since then, Shelborne Development has completed three of the 14 buildings in Palmer Park: the La Vogue, Sarasota and Seville. To get there, Makino-Leipsitz has to replace roofs, install new windows and even alter studio configurations into one-, two- and three-bedroom options. Often the team rips walls down to studs and replaces infrastructure, including wire and insulation. They also add new appliances, granite counter tops and oak kitchen cabinets.

"We're building brand new units in the envelope of historic buildings and stabilizing neighborhoods," said Makino-Leipsitz.

...

animatedmartian
Aug 17, 2013, 6:11 AM
IFtxB4RjgwM

Officials unveil rail cars for planned Ann Arbor-Detroit commuter train
LEONARD N. FLEMING - THE DETROIT NEWS

Ypsilanti — The future rail commuter line from Ann Arbor to Detroit got a boost Friday as transportation officials unveiled three of the 23 refurbished cars that will support the route.

The 38-mile MITRAIN line, which has been discussed for years with millions of dollars spent, still has no official start date. But transportation officials at a Friday event touting the new cars estimated the line could start in two to three years after the rail tracks along the route are upgraded.

“When we get the five trains a day each way, it’s got to be reliable, clean, safe and frequent enough so people have flexibility,” said Paul Tait, executive director of the Southeast Michigan Council of Governments, which covers seven counties. “It takes an inordinate amount of time. But all the pieces are in place. We’ve got the cars. We’ve got the engines. We’ve got the money for the track improvements.”

...

The rail cars, which can go as fast as 84 miles per hour, are old train cars from Chicago’s mass transit system. The bi-level cars have new seats and flooring.



From The Detroit News: http://www.detroitnews.com/article/20130816/METRO05/308160099#ixzz2cChIXSPY

Rizzo
Aug 17, 2013, 6:36 PM
^ Once M1 Rail is in place, this will really function like an efficient regional transit system. It will be a boom to tourism. So many folks I know travel to Detroit or Ann Arbor from Chicago but can't do both because there is no good service between the two

LMich
Aug 19, 2013, 7:27 AM
^ Once M1 Rail is in place, this will really function like an efficient regional transit system. It will be a boom to tourism. So many folks I know travel to Detroit or Ann Arbor from Chicago but can't do both because there is no good service between the two

Tourists will be a big part of this, no doubt, but I also see this as a really big hit with residents of both cities getting too and from the airport more than anything else if the fare is right.

LMich
Aug 20, 2013, 11:49 AM
It absolutely blows my mind that Ford didn't keep these properties up and use them as something. Hopefully, they'll find a local benefactor. I mean, the kind of money we're talking about - at least simply to buy the buildings - is what someone like Gilbert finds in his couch cushions, and we're talking about a major piece of Detroit, Michigan, and United States history, here.

Group makes final push to save historic Ford buildings (http://www.detroitnews.com/article/20130819/AUTO0102/308190085/Group-makes-final-push-save-historic-Ford-buildings?odyssey=mod|newswell|text|FRONTPAGE|p)

By Karl Henkel | The Detroit News

August 19, 2013

A local economic and community development group is making a final push to turn a historic car plant into an automotive attraction center.

The Woodward Avenue Action Association, beginning today, will try to crowd-source the $125,000 needed to purchase two former Ford Motor Co. buildings in Highland Park. The association wants to use the buildings as a central location where tourists and automotive enthusiasts can learn and seek information about auto-related activities in the Metro Detroit area.

“We’ve not been very good at telling our own story,” said Deborah Schutt, interim director of the Woodward Avenue Action Association, said of the automotive industry. “So we’ve decided, let’s pull everything together and tell our story.”

A “Five Dollars a Day” campaign — an ode to Ford founder Henry Ford, who 99 years ago famously instituted a $5-a-day wage for auto workers — aims to help the association raise the necessary money and finalize a purchase agreement with Bloomfield Hills-based National Equity Corp. by its Sept. 19 deadline.

The association has offered $550,000 to buy the buildings; the 40,000-square-foot administration building on Woodward Avenue and the adjacent 8,000-square-foot garage. The association says it has secured a $400,000 grant from the Michigan Department of Transportation and $15,000 from the Michigan Economic Development Corp.

But even if the association raises $125,000, it will still need to renovate the buildings. Schutt said the association will seek new market and historic tax credits to help with any possible renovation costs.

...

The plant site in 1978 gained National Historic Landmark status.

...

JonathanGRR
Aug 20, 2013, 2:43 PM
I don't know if it mentions it in the article, but the group has said that they would like to pursue a UNESCO World Heritage Site designation if they are successful with the purchase. Most of the United States' World Heritage Sites are natural landmarks, so it'd be interesting to see the Highland Park Plant added to the list.

It absolutely blows my mind that Ford didn't keep these properties up and use them as something.

I'd imagine that Henry Ford himself would have wanted it kept in better care, but many automotive companies share this story of out-growing and abandoning their heritage.

Docta_Love
Aug 20, 2013, 11:07 PM
I'm really excited to see that how close they are to their goal, although I'm not sure how confident I would be about "crowd sourcing" $125,000.

It absolutely blows my mind that Ford didn't keep these properties up and use them as something.

My Father a Ford employee told me maybe ten years ago that parts of the Highland Park Complex was still used for storage. I know that the complex also has security as well which has probably saved it from a fate similar to the Packard Plant. But I certainly agree that it's embarrassing how underutilized the complex is, a building changed the world like the Model T factory did deserves better than being a glorified storage container.

Edit: I'm not sure if it still is used for storage, it wouldn't surprise me if during the great recession Ford moved its storage to a more cost efficient building. But my point is that at least up until recently Ford Motor Company still used the complex and has at least kept it mothballed.

LMich
Aug 21, 2013, 7:12 AM
No, you're right. The vast majority of the complex is still very much in use as storage space (i.e. Highland Park Industrial Center). I believe the Highland Park Fire Department even leases space in the complex. You'd think them using the larger, less architecturally significant parts on the site, that they'd also try and keep up the stuff fronting and closer to Woodward, though. The administration building on Woodward should have never been allowed to rot like that. But, it's in one of the poorest, if not the poorest incorporated city in Michigan, so HP wasn't going to take Ford on and Ford wasn't going to proactively do anything, anyway.

Each of the Big Three have been less caring than anyone would want them to be with their inner-city heritage properties. GM has done the best having stayed within the city limits, but Chrysler and Ford have been just horrible. This shouldn't be surprising since Ford and Chrysler orginally set up in Highland Park just so they wouldn't have to deal with Detroit city government, and this was in the 1910's, no less. People tend to forget that GM was technically the only one of the Big Three technically headquartered in Detroit. Ford was in Dearborn, of course, and Chrysler in Highland Park until the early 90's. As early as the 50's, Ford was winding down their operations in HP. When Ford and Chrysler pulled out of their operations in HP and Hamtramck, they basically didn't look back.

JonathanGRR
Aug 21, 2013, 2:34 PM
Henry Ford II was a major financier for the Renaissance Center and moved Ford operations there when it was finished. I find it ironic that General Motors now occupies the buildings after Ford moved out.

LMich
Aug 22, 2013, 12:39 PM
Wayne Co. hopes to close deal on Packard Plant next week (http://www.detroitnews.com/article/20130822/METRO01/308220057/Wayne-Co-hopes-close-deal-Packard-Plant-next-week?odyssey=tab|topnews|text|FRONTPAGE)

Christine MacDonald | The Detroit News

August 22, 2013

Detroit — Wayne County Treasurer officials say they hope to close by the end of next week on a deal with a Chicago-area developer to buy the infamous Packard Plant and avoid selling the property at next month's public auction.

Negotiations are still ongoing but Chief Deputy David Szymanski said he hopes to be in Wayne County Circuit Court next week to get a judge to sign off on the deal that would let developer Bill Hults buy the property by paying off its more than $1 million unpaid tax bill.

The treasurer and Hults have been in talks for months about buying the dilapidated facility, which Hults has said he hopes to turn into a commercial, housing and entertainment complex.

Szymanski said Hults has been the only person who has expressed interest in buying the complex and is hopeful the deal is cemented soon.

"If it really takes place, it will be the rebirth of a part of Detroit," Szymanski said.

...

At the very least, this gets the Packard complex an owner that can actually be reached and negotiated with. I seriously doubt his plans will be fully fulfilled, but even in the worst case scenario, we're not left wondering who owns this thing, which has been disputed for years.

The Freep has a more detailed, yet, bizarrely, more negative and editorialized, article on this that explains that if he's able to gain ownership of the plant that he has six months to either secure it or demolish it. So, whatever the case, the Packard is quickly coming upon a day of reckoning.

LMich
Aug 26, 2013, 8:31 AM
Woodward Avenue Streetcar update:

Subcontractors begin vying for work on Detroit's $140 million M1 Rail project (http://www.mlive.com/business/detroit/index.ssf/2013/08/subcontractors_begin_vying_for.html#incart_river_default)

David Muller | MLive.com

August 25, 2013

DETROIT, MI - At an open house for subcontractors and others needed to help build a 3.3-mile streetcar down Woodward Avenue in Detroit, Lawrence Stevenson said he considered being involved in the project as something that would be “historic.”

...

The open house was held Friday at Motor City Casino by California firm Stacy and Witbeck, Inc. for the numerous subcontractors needed for the $140 million task.

Everything from asphalt milling to signage to trucking to underground electrical subcontractors are needed to complete the city’s light rail, which is slated to be finished near the end of 2015.

Construction begins this fall in the area between Larned and Adams streets. Once complete, the streetcar line will run along Woodward Avenue from Grand Boulevard in New Center to Congress Street in downtown Detroit.

...

EuphoricOctopus
Aug 27, 2013, 1:41 AM
Detroit Marriott plans $30-million renovation

http://cmsimg.freep.com/apps/pbcsi.dll/bilde?Site=C4&Date=20130826&Category=BUSINESS06&ArtNo=308260068&Ref=AR&MaxW=640&Border=0&Detroit-Marriott-plans-30-million-renovation


By John Gallagher

Detroit Free Press Business Writer

A Detroit landmark is getting a facelift.

The Detroit Marriott Renaissance Center, the city’s tallest structure, announced today it will undertake a $30-million renovation of the hotel’s rooms and meeting spaces in 2014.

All 1,329 guest rooms and 100,000 square feet of meeting space will be redone, beginning with room renovations in February. All the work should be finished in a year. The hotel will remain open throughout the work, with a few floors at a time undergoing reconstruction.

...

http://www.freep.com/article/20130826/BUSINESS06/308260068/Detroit-Marriott-renovation

LMich
Aug 27, 2013, 7:46 AM
When was the last time the Marriott was redone? I guess it's longer ago than I thought. Good to hear they are staying current, though.

The Broderick's commercial space gets another tenant (I'm pretty sure the residential space is all rented out):

http://cmsimg.freep.com/apps/pbcsi.dll/bilde?Site=C4&Date=20130826&Category=BUSINESS06&ArtNo=308260131&Ref=AR&MaxW=300&Border=0&Broderick-Tower-Detroit-Automation-Alley-s-newest-home
Automation Alley wil open its first office in Detroit in the Broderick Tower. File photo by Patricia Beck/Detroit Free Press

Broderick Tower in Detroit to be Automation Alley's newest home (http://www.freep.com/article/20130826/BUSINESS06/308260131/automation-alley-office-detroit)

Frank Witsil | Detroit Free Press

August 26, 2013

Automation Alley, an association that aims to boost tech and innovation in southeast Detroit, is set to open its first office in Detroit in the Broderick Tower next month.

The group, which was founded in 1999 and has offices in Oakland and Macomb counties, announced its plans today.

“We didn’t do it sooner because we didn’t have the resources to do it,” said Ken Rogers, Automation Alley’s executive director. “Now we’re going, whether we have the resources to do it or not. We’ve wanted to do it for a long time.”

The 15,000-square-foot office, at 1570 Woodward, is inside the Grand Circus training institute. It is set to open Sept. 23.

The new office was chosen, Rogers said, because it is close to the emerging tech community in Detroit and fits with the new training center. In addition, he said, the association received an undisclosed amount from the Michigan Economic Development Corp. to open the offices.

...

And, here's a great photo from the News:

http://cmsimg.detnews.com/apps/pbcsi.dll/bilde?Site=C3&Date=20130826&Category=BIZ&ArtNo=308260093&Ref=AR&MaxW=600&Border=0
Broderick Tower | Detroit News File Photo

LMich
Aug 27, 2013, 10:37 AM
I need to start visiting Curbed Detroit more regularly. They cover a lot of the smaller projects that don't hit the News or Freep.

http://detroit.curbed.com/uploads/FormerCrains.jpg

New Owner Dumping $3M Into Vacant Rivertown Office Complex (http://detroit.curbed.com/archives/2013/08/new-owner-dumping-3m-into-vacant-rivertown-office-complex.php)

By Paul Beshouri | August 26, 2013

Have you ever noticed this office complex? Once the headquarters for Crain's, it recently sold to a Birmingham-based venture after being listed for $3M. It's rather sad-looking at the moment, but the new ownership is saying they'll throw down $3M to renovate the 29-year-old building. With "several tenants ready to sign leases," the new ownership sounds confident they can lease out the space, which totals over 90,000 square feet. Why might someone shell out the big bucks for this nondescript office complex? Perhaps it has something to do the 294-unit housing development planned for the area one block east.

http://detroit.curbed.com/uploads/UhaulComplete.jpg

Renovations Complete: U-Haul Officially Opens NBC Building (http://detroit.curbed.com/archives/2013/08/renovations-complete-uhaul-officially-opens-nbc-building.php)

By Paul Beshouri |August 23, 2013

After more than a year's worth of intense renovations, the NBC Building is officially back. Built in the 1920s as a massive bakery for Nabsico, the structure was picked up by U-Haul just over a year ago. We don't know what they paid for the joint -- it was once listed at $2.25M -- but its a safe assumption that the company dumped some major cash into bringing 'er back. With its main staircase and massive windows restored, NBC's rediscovered grandeur might make it among the most inspiring self-storage facilities imaginable.

I was kind of surprised about Crain's former headquarters. I always thought it'd be one of the first things to go when the neighborhood got hot seeing as how it sticks out, and not really in a good way.

Oh, Crain's also has a blurb on a former synagogue in the northeast of Midtown going residential:

Midtown loft project receives $1 million state incentive loan (http://www.crainsdetroit.com/article/20130821/NEWS/130829964/midtown-loft-project-receives-1-million-state-incentive-loan)

By Paul Gautz | Crain's Detroit Business

August 22, 2013

A $1 million performance-based state loan will help renovate the historic Tushiyah United Hebrew School in Midtown Detroit into 25 market-rate housing units and a gated parking lot.

The Michigan Economic Development Corp. announced Wednesday that the Michigan Strategic Fund had approved the project, located at 600 and 609 E. Kirby St.

The plan, by 609 E. Kirby Lofts LLC, in total, is expected to generate almost $6.6 million in total capital investment, according to the MEDC.

The company is owned by real estate developer Richard Hosey III. Hosey has been involved with more than 75 projects totaling more than $2 billion in commercial real estate deals, the MEDC said.

...

animatedmartian
Sep 1, 2013, 9:27 PM
Anyone ever noticed how dirty One Woodward has gotten over the years?

Photo credit; Detroit Regional News Hub (https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=10151786667818070&set=a.136095148069.110380.98050943069&type=3&theater)

http://img27.imageshack.us/img27/7415/0q0o.jpg

LMich
Sep 2, 2013, 8:05 AM
Can't say that I ever did, but I love the reaction of the guy that got caught looking at the camera. lol So Detroit.

hudkina
Sep 2, 2013, 1:59 PM
That would make for a great meme.;)

animatedmartian
Sep 3, 2013, 7:32 PM
Construction has started on the old Federal Reserve Bank.

Photo credit; Detroit Regional News Hub (https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=10151790309078070&set=pb.98050943069.-2207520000.1378236633.&type=3&theater)

http://img607.imageshack.us/img607/1743/btqi.jpg

animatedmartian
Sep 4, 2013, 1:07 PM
Demolition begins for historic Brewster-Douglass homes
DARREN A. NICHOLS - THE DETROIT NEWS - SEPTEMBER 4, 2013

http://img543.imageshack.us/img543/6730/xthk.jpg

Detroit — The city began the long-awaited demolition of the historic Brewster-Douglass homes Wednesday, tearing down a chronic symbol of blight in Detroit.

Detroit Mayor Dave Bing and U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development Secretary Shaun Donovan were on hand to commemorate the occasion. The Detroit Housing Commission has been awarded $6.5 million from HUD’s Capital Fund Emergency Grant Program to pay for the demolition.

[....]

Demolition will be done in two phases. In the first phase, the row houses will be torn down. During the second phase, which is expected to begin early next year, the mid-rise houses will be demolished and next year the four high-rise towers will follow.

Mayor Dave Bing said it marked a major achievement in the effort to tear down abandoned buildings in Detroit. So far, the city has torn down 8,000 abandoned buildings and is on target to reach his goal of 10,000 by the end of the year.

“The beginning of demolition today is another great example of what can be done through partnerships. It takes everyone working together to transform our city,” Bing said. “This is not the end of the Brewster projects. This is a new beginning.”

City officials said the Brewster-Wheeler Recreation Center will not be demolished. The city will look for ways to reopen the facility for young people and senior citizens.

[...]



From The Detroit News: http://www.detroitnews.com/article/20130904/METRO01/309040093#ixzz2dwk1Ycf0

LMich
Sep 5, 2013, 7:18 AM
I'm glad they are saving the Brewster-Wheeler Recreation Center. This demolition is absolutely necessary, but it's also a bit bitter sweet. I kind of wish they'd kept the towers and did infill around them like they did with the Jeffries Homes-turned-Woodbridge Estates, but I'm not going to cry about it either way. I also hope that whatever replaces this site, that they reconnect the street grid in the area.

So much opportunity, here. Bye, bye, Brewster.

http://farm1.staticflickr.com/155/338165335_b778cb0a9b.jpg (http://www.flickr.com/photos/53911892@N00/338165335/)
Florence Ballard and the Supremes in the Brewster Projects, their old neighborhood on Detroit's east side. (http://www.flickr.com/photos/53911892@N00/338165335/) by Pan-African News Wire File Photos (http://www.flickr.com/people/53911892@N00/), on Flickr

animatedmartian
Sep 5, 2013, 11:40 AM
Personally, I don't think they're all that attractive of buildings and I'd rather have some thing a little more updated and dense in it's place. A restored grid doesn't seem exactly necessarily since the area forms a wedge shape from Wilkins to Brush, but I imagine there's a lot of potential for creativity given the size and location.

animatedmartian
Sep 8, 2013, 1:27 AM
Detroit Meijer store stalled
MICHAEL MARTINEZ THE DETROIT NEWS

Grand Rapids-based grocer Meijer Inc.’s plans for a second Detroit store have been stalled by the city’s bankruptcy case.

Meijer filed a motion Friday asking U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Steven Rhodes to lift an automatic stay on lawsuits against the city triggered by the bankruptcy filing. The company cannot move forward on developing a lot in northwest Detroit for a superstore because of “private use restrictions” that limit the site’s use to residential purposes.

....

Meijer argued those restrictions are inconsistent with the current zoning of several lots as a retail district. The company said it can only change those restrictions by suing the city, something prohibited by the bankruptcy judge.

According to the filing, the development site was rezoned by the city in November 2011 as a planned development district consisting of a large retail center, gas station and multiple-tenant retail building.

...

But the site still contains “private building and use restrictions” that have halted development.

Meijer, in its filing, said it “believes the city has no objection to the relief sought in this motion.” The grocer is not seeking any money by suing the city, and is only doing so because a law says a city must be named as a party in any complaint to vacate, correct or revise the use of a site.


From The Detroit News: http://www.detroitnews.com/article/20130907/BIZ/309070018#ixzz2eG8E4yvV

I feel kinda ignorant on how zoning works, but how is it zoned for retail but limited to residential use? Wouldn't that mean it's zoned for residential? Wouldn't the restrictions be voided by the rezoning? And how would a bankruptcy or non-bankruptcy effect that? :shrug:

LMich
Sep 9, 2013, 7:15 AM
This is bizarre, and I think the News probably should have done a bit more research before sending this to print, because I'm sure that's a very simple question to answer. I'm also surprised by this, but Detroit government has all kinds of little obstacles that many of the bureacrats probably don't even know about. You'd think a rezoning would obviously wipe clean these "private building and use restrictions", or at least the ones that don't conform to the new zoning classification of the site.

What's crazy is that the city is actually for this project, and the bankruptcy unknowingly stalled this.

animatedmartian
Sep 16, 2013, 6:41 AM
This flew completely under the radar, but one of the high rise hotels in Southfield was demo'd a couple of weeks ago. The only article that I found about it basically says Southfield has plans for redevelopment but doesn't specific what type.

2P9ehDpz2xo

Among other news these past few weeks.

LINK DETROIT CONSTRUCTION BEGINS, LET'S CELEBRATE!

By David Sands | September 6, 2013

DETROIT—On your mark, get set, go! Detroit's next big biking and walking project is about to rush past the starting line.

Construction on Link Detroit, a multi-modal enhancement plan put forth by the city to enhance and connect existing greenways projects is now underway. When completed in November 2014, it will create an accessible network of routes for cyclists and pedestrians between major destinations like Eastern Market, Hamtramck, the RiverWalk, downtown Detroit and Midtown.

The city of Detroit and other partner organizations believe the multimodal enhancement plan will spur the regional economy while providing cost-effective non-motorized travel options to local workers and residents.

....

To start with, Eastern Market will be getting a major upgrade. The street curbs on Russell Street will be lined up in a consistent manner, and the area will be spruced up with trees and greenery. In addition, new bike parking structures will be installed at the district's main parking lot and at the corner of Russell and Wilkins.

The market will also feature easy access to the Dequindre Cut, a below-street level biking and walking path built on an old railroad line in downtown Detroit, which will be extended as part of the project. Currently, it runs from Woodbridge Street near the Milliken State Park at the riverfront to Gratiot Avenue. The extension will take it a mile north to Mack Avenue. Three bridges spanning the Cut will also be repaired and another taken down.

"You will be able to get up to Wilkins Street, where there will be an exit and entrance ramp... and you will be also able to continue to go further up to Mack Avenue," said Ellefson. "You will be able to continue biking on Dequindre Cut without having to cross the crazy seven-lane freeways at Gratiot at that point."

Another connection will link Eastern Market with Detroit's Midtown neighborhood, home to cultural attractions like the Michigan Science Center and the Detroit Institute of Arts. A new phase of the 1.8 mile Midtown Loop greenway will allow cyclists and pedestrians easy access to the market along a route that stretches across Mack, Brush and Wilkins.

A final component of Link Detroit, called the Hamtramck Connector, will join the Dequindre Cut with trails in Hamtramck via a striped bike lane running east on Mack and then north on St. Aubin.


http://wearemodeshift.org/link-detroit-construction-begins-lets-celebrate

http://farm9.staticflickr.com/8020/7414610658_1d6e5c787e_b.jpg (http://www.flickr.com/photos/wearemodeshift/7414610658/)
Connecting Detroit TIGER IV Grant (http://www.flickr.com/photos/wearemodeshift/7414610658/) by wearemodeshift (http://www.flickr.com/people/wearemodeshift/), on Flickr

http://farm9.staticflickr.com/8164/7414768946_70b28767a4_b.jpg (http://www.flickr.com/photos/wearemodeshift/7414768946/)
Dequindre Cut Before (http://www.flickr.com/photos/wearemodeshift/7414768946/) by wearemodeshift (http://www.flickr.com/people/wearemodeshift/), on Flickr

http://farm9.staticflickr.com/8165/7414625368_22a345dbb6_b.jpg (http://www.flickr.com/photos/wearemodeshift/7414625368/)
Dequindre Cut After (http://www.flickr.com/photos/wearemodeshift/7414625368/) by wearemodeshift (http://www.flickr.com/people/wearemodeshift/), on Flickr

LMich
Sep 16, 2013, 7:50 AM
I really want someone to get construction shots of this. I had to do some aerial research to picture this to get oriented (not an eastsider, lol). It appears that apart from Wilkins being where the cut begins to end and the railway brought to grade, which would make sense for why they chose it as the location of the entrance and exit ramps, that Wilkins will also be the road they use to get the trail coming from the other way (Midtown Loop Phase 4) over the Chrysler. This is all good news, because there is currently no direct crosswalk to the market once the cut takes you up on the monster that is Graitot.

Which bridge is being brought down, though? Between Wilkins and Gratiot you have Alfred, Division and Adelaide.

animatedmartian
Sep 16, 2013, 8:24 AM
I really want someone to get construction shots of this. I had to do some aerial research to picture this to get oriented (not an eastsider, lol). It appears that apart from Wilkins being where the cut begins to end and the railway brought to grade, which would make sense for why they chose it as the location of the entrance and exit ramps, that Wilkins will also be the road they use to get the trail coming from the other way (Midtown Loop Phase 4) over the Chrysler. This is all good news, because there is currently no direct crosswalk to the market once the cut takes you up on the monster that is Graitot.

Which bridge is being brought down, though? Between Wilkins and Gratiot you have Alfred, Division and Adelaide.

Apparently Alfred.

http://detroit.curbed.com/archives/2013/09/dequindre-cut-extension-should-start-construction-soon.php

LMich
Sep 16, 2013, 12:42 PM
You know, I was just thinking about how awesome it'd be if they could ultimately connect this to Highland Park's unused east-west railway, completely forgetting that we'd discussed this some months back, I believe. So, I was going around ModeShift, and he's the map, again, that shows a seperate, but connected, long-term project: The Detroit Inner Circle Greenway (http://wearemodeshift.org/detroits-inner-circle-greenway-project-receives-needed-funding).

Known as the Detroit Inner Circle Greenway, the route is being put together by the City of Detroit with the assistance of a coalition that includes the Michigan Trails and Greenways Alliance and the Community Foundation for Southeast Michigan. The cities of Dearborn, Hamtramck and Highland Park are also helping handle parts of the greenway that pass through their jurisdictions.

The 26-mile route would fall roughly between Wyoming and Mt. Elliot to the west and east, and McNichols and the Detroit River to the north and south. It would join together the Dequindre Cut, Detroit RiverWalk and Southwest Detroit greenways with a number of others now on the verge of being built.

http://wearemodeshift.org/sites/default/files/content/Inner-Circle-Greenway.jpg

They are saying that half of the loop will be completed by the end of next year with the big challenge remaining purchasing an 8.3 mile section of Conrail railway (Detroit Terminal Railroad) you can see running through the northwestern part of the inner-city into Highland Park:

http://www.michiganrailroads.com/RRHX/imagesRRHX/Maps/DetroitTerminalRRCoMap1916.gif
MichiganRailroads (http://www.michiganrailroads.com/RRHX/Maps/DetroitTerminalRRMap1916.htm)

animatedmartian
Sep 16, 2013, 3:29 PM
You know what'd be cool? If they managed to make a path connecting to Palmer Park either on McNichols or Woodward or maybe even both.

Rizzo
Sep 16, 2013, 3:51 PM
I love the inner circle greenway concept and I hope they can attract some big grants to make this possible. The Dequindre section IMO is a model for what the US can do in an ultimate situation of pedestrian and bicycle access across the city. To me, it's the non-motorized answer to riders who don't want to drive and may opt out of taking the LRT. Hey, you gotta satisfy everyone.

I agree with animatedmartian though. Palmer Park is a nice pocket of high density and would be nice if it was somehow connected.

animatedmartian
Sep 16, 2013, 11:41 PM
Schostak Bros. plans $111 million, 16-story Detroit office tower
September 16, 2013

By Kirk Pinho

Livonia-based Schostak Bros. & Co. plans to build a $111-million, 16-story office building on Monroe Street downtown, the first new major office building construction in Detroit’s central business district since construction on One Kennedy Square began in 2005.

The Detroit Brownfield Redevelopment Authority’s nine-member board has reviewed a $27-million brownfield tax incentive plan for site preparation and infrastructure improvements for the building, which is expected to include first-floor retail space and a parking deck wrapping around Cadillac Tower facing Campus Martius.

Questions about the proposed building’s size were not immediately answered late Monday. Its parking deck would house 1,000 cars.

The two-parcel development site at 32 Monroe and 825 Bates St. is bounded by Monroe, Farmer Street, Bates, Woodward Avenue and Cadillac Square.

...

http://www.crainsdetroit.com/article/20130916/NEWS/130919874/schostak-bros-plans-111-million-16-story-detroit-office-tower

Aerial reference.

http://img31.imageshack.us/img31/3963/byjy.png

Guiltyspark
Sep 17, 2013, 1:43 AM
http://www.crainsdetroit.com/article/20130916/NEWS/130919874/schostak-bros-plans-111-million-16-story-detroit-office-tower

Aerial reference.

http://img31.imageshack.us/img31/3963/byjy.png

This is a shame. I think that is one of the best locations for a 50-60 floor skyscraper. Not mid level filler. I guess we have to take what we can get.

mind field
Sep 17, 2013, 1:48 AM
This is a shame. I think that is one of the best locations for a 50-60 floor skyscraper. Not mid level filler. I guess we have to take what we can get.

Why is it a shame? Downtown already has a nearly 50 floor office tower (One Detroit Center a.k.a Comerica Tower) that is probably over half vacant! Why would anyone build another one?

Guiltyspark
Sep 17, 2013, 2:54 AM
Why is it a shame? Downtown already has a nearly 50 floor office tower (One Detroit Center a.k.a Comerica Tower) that is probably over half vacant! Why would anyone build another one?

Wow this forum is adversarial. No one would build another. But if for some reason demand in the future increase then this would be the prime location. Now it is getting filled up. That is all I was saying.

The last significant skyscraper in this town was built 20 years ago. It's sad.

animatedmartian
Sep 17, 2013, 3:19 AM
There's plenty of room for taller structures in other locations. I personally never really imagined anything taller than 1001 Woodward going there. As long as there's a complete streetwall and first floor retail along Cadillac Square, Campus Martius, and Monroe street, I'm satisfied.

That'd be a real shame if it was just a wall to a parking garage. But we shall see in the coming weeks whenever they hopefully come up with renderings.