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  #1581  
Old Posted Jan 10, 2013, 6:07 PM
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Dat pink tho.

Nice find.
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  #1582  
Old Posted Jan 10, 2013, 7:07 PM
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Quote:
Cobo Center's $299M revamp on target



The Detroit News
Tom Greenwood
10 January 2013

It's a New Year and a new look for Cobo Center as construction continues on a $299 million expansion and facelift to the 52-year-old convention hall that will welcome hundreds of thousands to the Detroit auto show in the next two weeks.

Experts agree that the center was long overdue for a major overhaul after years of complaints about roof leaks, heating problems, lack of exhibition space, limited Wi-Fi access and a dated look that was causing the city to lose convention business.

"The building was worn out because of budget limitations and at least 10 years of deferred maintenance," said Thom Connors, vice president and general manager of Cobo Center.

"It was only when the Detroit Regional Convention Facility Authority was formed in 2009 that we began to make progress towards a major overhaul of the center."

...

The first step taken to improve the convention center was to make repairs to its infrastructure.

"We repaired the roof, enclosed the loading docks, upgraded the electrical system, added parking spaces and more," Conner said.

Visitors to the 2013 North American International Auto Show will enjoy some of the improvements that include limited access to the dynamic three-story atrium facing the Detroit River; upgraded dining options and an expanded Wi-Fi system that can handle up to 30,000 users at a time.

Connors said daytime construction at Cobo Center will be suspended during the auto show, but will resume each night of the show.

"The improvements being made are the greatest things I've seen in the last 11 years I've been here," said Carl Berry, chief of security for the NAIAS.

"I can't tell you the number of complaints I've received over the years about doors that wouldn't close, inadequate heating and security concerns.

"I can also remember seeing barrels in the rafters catching water during the auto show. The makeover will expand the appeal of not just the auto show, but of Detroit."

By 2015 Cobo Center will have an additional 22,500 square feet of exhibition space; an additional 400 parking spaces; a new 38,000-square-foot ballroom with meeting rooms underneath; new food court; upgraded meeting rooms and a glass atrium facing the Detroit River.

The exterior of Cobo Center will also boast a 160-foot by 40-foot digital message board that will face Jefferson Avenue.

"At this point the project is about half completed, on time and on budget," Connors said.
http://www.detroitnews.com/article/2...text|FRONTPAGE
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  #1583  
Old Posted Jan 10, 2013, 8:18 PM
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I'm getting a free ride to NAIAS courtesy of my employer; I shall return with pics.
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  #1584  
Old Posted Jan 10, 2013, 8:52 PM
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I cannot wait to see the riverside atrium.
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  #1585  
Old Posted Jan 11, 2013, 2:27 AM
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I don't have the article on me right now, but it was announced that the DOT will be giving $25 million for the M-1 Rail project. LaHood is supposed to be going to Detroit ths weekend for it. This is great news, and it is likely we could see a fully-developed plan or even shovels in the ground this year!
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  #1586  
Old Posted Jan 11, 2013, 3:16 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jonathan.jam View Post
I don't have the article on me right now, but it was announced that the DOT will be giving $25 million for the M-1 Rail project. LaHood is supposed to be going to Detroit ths weekend for it. This is great news, and it is likely we could see a fully-developed plan or even shovels in the ground this year!
LaHood and DOT really need to make up their minds. I can remember 6 months ago that DOT had serious concerns about Detroit's ability to handle operation costs, and he was basically hinting that M1 should be of the cheaper BRT variety.

(notwithstanding that the city probably does have serious issues in covering operating costs of a rail M1...)

Either way "yay", I'm not complaining.
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  #1587  
Old Posted Jan 11, 2013, 3:43 AM
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The reason that the money was awarded was likely because the RTA legislation for Metro Detroit was signed. LaHood indicated that no money would be awarded unless an RTA was formed.
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  #1588  
Old Posted Jan 11, 2013, 11:31 AM
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Not even "likely because." It was the expressly stated reason for not turning the money over. Looks like the feds role in this has finally been resolved; now, it's up to M-1 to get the shovels in the ground during the first or second quarter.

BTW, some enigmatic words from George Jackson at the DEGC concerning the new Red Wings arena proposal and the future of The Joe:

Quote:
Jackson said a location for the arena and entertainment complex hasn't been determined.

But he did at least acknowledge rumors and speculation the development could go where recently purchased parcels of land sit between Woodward Avenue and Cass.
And, on JLA:

Quote:
Jackson said The Joe, leased to Olympia Entertainment, has already received interest for redevelopment because its in a prime location along the Detroit River.

Jackson declined to reveal the parties expressing interest in The Joe and their potential plans for redevelopment, but might've given a hint to what its future use could be.

"It's sitting there on the water; there's already interest in it," Jackson said. "I cant say for what, but the bottom line is that it comes from various people for various uses. The bottom line is that it's a site on the waterfront.
I'm betting he's talking private interest, which would rule out any kind of Cobo expansion. I'm guessing it'll be hard for them not to give it up for someone that wants residential, there. Just my gut feeling.

Things really seem to be heating up, again, kind of like when they were in the middle of the previous decade before the crash.
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  #1589  
Old Posted Jan 11, 2013, 1:26 PM
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Originally Posted by LMich View Post
Things really seem to be heating up, again, kind of like when they were in the middle of the previous decade before the crash.
They do seem to be heating up, but I've never seen this kind of momentum in my lifetime.
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  #1590  
Old Posted Jan 11, 2013, 8:48 PM
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I'll be jubilant when I start seeing construction cranes.
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  #1591  
Old Posted Jan 12, 2013, 5:34 AM
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More from George Jackson. Seems the two dailies didn't pick up on this, quite yet...

Quote:

fairgrounds could be 'a lot more' than a theater, official says

By Eric Lacy | MLive.com

January 11, 2013

DETROIT, MI - Plans for a Magic Johnson-backed Detroit development project at the old Michigan State Fairgrounds site appear on pace for approval from state and city officials.

And the project - if approved - would most likely include "a lot more" than just a movie theater, said George Jackson, Detroit Economic Growth Corporation (DEGC) president and CEO.

"We're working through that now; it’s still in the early stages," Jackson told me of the Johnson project, proposed on Woodward, just south of Eight Mile. "We're still crossing the Ts and dotting the Is; we’re doing our due diligence.

...

The 500,000-square-foot development in Detroit, according to the Associated Press, would also include an Amtrak station.

...
So, nothing real new, there, until the article bring in an alternative project by some group called Growtown that I'd never heard of called Meta Expo:

Quote:
While officials at both the state and local levels appear eager to develop the fairgrounds for mixed, commercial use, there has been some backlash from community groups and activists about the potential land sale.

A website called Growtown.org, the home of a non-profit with an alternative plan, claims the Johnson-backed project would turn the area into a "90s-style strip mall" with wasteful parking lots.

Growtown claims in a video (one you can view in the player at the end of this post) that the old fairgrounds site's 157 acres could fit the downtown business districts of Birmingham, Royal Oak or Ferndale.

The group's alternative: a mixed-use project called META Expo - a place with a regional transit center, blue water systems, green technology and commercial/residential activity.

Growtown's video claims it would be a more suitable place "where people can live, work and raise their families."

A series of meetings will be held in Lansing and Detroit in the coming months to discuss the state's plans for fairgrounds.

The next one is 2 p.m. January 17 - at locations in Lansing and Detroit.
Either of these would be an improvement for what's currently there, but Meta Expo is a far superior plan that would further justify the new multi-modal transit center that is going to be built at the site, regardless.

Some pictures from Meta's facebook page:

Quote:




They even have a plan for the neighborhood to the south:

There is just so much going on, right now.
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  #1592  
Old Posted Jan 12, 2013, 5:55 AM
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That looks like it could be one of the best new urban developments in the Midwest.

I counter the argument "that anything is better than what's there now" and say "let's not pick the worst possible option and go with the one that people will actually consider a worthwhile development".
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  #1593  
Old Posted Jan 12, 2013, 6:13 AM
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I think they are going to give it to Magic simply because his is the only plan with any actual money behind it. I'd love to see META Expo implemented - the orchards, gardens and such would be an awesome touch in Penrose/Grixdale - I just know that the state and city want the kick bang for the buck, and money talks.
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  #1594  
Old Posted Jan 12, 2013, 7:19 PM
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Meet the Commonwealth of Belle Isle.

Quote:


Developer pitches $1B commonwealth for Belle Isle

BY LOUIS AGUILAR THE DETROIT NEWS

Detroit — As the broken city thinks big and radically about its future, a developer is stepping forward with a revolutionary idea: Sell the city's Belle Isle park for $1 billion to private investors who will transform it into a free-market utopia.

The 982-acre island would then be developed into a U.S. commonwealth or city-state of 35,000 people with its own laws, customs and currency.

City officials are likely to reject the plan. But on Jan. 21, supporters including Mackinac Center for Public Policy senior economist David Littmann, retired Chrysler President Al Sperlich and Clark Durant, co-founder of Detroit's Cornerstone Schools, will present the Commonwealth of Belle Isle plan to a select group of movers and shakers at the tony Detroit Athletic Club.

Among the confirmed reservations of about 50 people who will hear the pitch are Sandy Baruah, president and CEO of the Detroit Regional Chamber, and Beth Chappell, president and CEO of the Detroit Economic Club, organizers say. It's not clear if they know what's in store.

"We are among the people looking for answers to the city's problem," said Rodney Lockwood, a Bingham Farms developer who is the driving force behind the idea.

The former chairman of the Michigan Chamber of Commerce and current board member of the free-market-oriented Mackinac Center for Public Policy has written a self-published book about the plan called "Belle Isle: Detroit's Game Changer." A website called commonwealthofbelleisle.com debuts on Jan. 22.

Lockwood readily admits the idea has no political traction.

"You have to put ideas out there — especially now, when so much is up for debate," Lockwood said.

The idea won't go anywhere, said George Jackson, president and CEO of the Detroit Economic Growth Corp., the quasi-public agency that promotes development for the city.

"Belle Isle will get fixed," Jackson said, referring to an agreement to turn the island into a state-run park. "It won't be that plan. But it will be fixed."
Quote:
Here's the scenario for the Commonwealth of Belle Isle that Lockwood and others want to see: Private investors buy the island from a near-bankrupt Detroit for $1 billion. It then would secede from Michigan to become a semi-independent commonwealth like Puerto Rico and the Northern Mariana Islands.

Under the plan, it would become an economic and social laboratory where government is limited in scope and taxation is far different than the current U.S. system. There is no personal or corporate income tax. Much of the tax base would be provided by a different property tax — one based on the value of the land and not the value of the property.

It would take $300,000 to become a "Belle Islander," though 20 percent of citizenships would be open for striving immigrants, starving artists and up-and-coming entrepreneurs who don't meet the financial requirement.

Among the citizenship requirements are a command of the English language, a good credit rating and no criminal record. Mogk adds that such a scenario would make the island "a drain of talent and resources" at the expense of Detroit.

From The Detroit News: http://www.detroitnews.com/article/2...#ixzz2Hn7H46Iv
Detroiters will definitely not fly for an over developed Belle Isle. (And it'd be equally facepalming if they went with this over the META plan).
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  #1595  
Old Posted Jan 12, 2013, 7:56 PM
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Wow. Not only would this be a bad move for the region, it would never get past the proposal stage. In order for it to happen, the state legislature and Congress would have to vote for it. Do they honestly see that happening?

On another note:

Quote:
Judge Grants Sachs Permission To Demolish Hotel Charlevoix
Saturday, January 12, 2013, by Paul Beshouri


Hotel Charlevoix photo by Andrew Kopietz.

After 108 years on the corner of Park and Elizabeth, the dilapidated Hotel Charlevoix might soon be converted to rubble. According to WXYZ Detroit, a judge recently signed an order to demolish the Charlevoix, meaning owner and professional building neglector Ralph Sachs seems to have gotten his way after having been denied clearance to demo last year. Sachs has owned the Charlevoix since 1981, basically failing to maintain the building since the get-go. After smashing a parked car with a rain of bricks last year, the crumbling facade has become so hazardous that the city recently constructed a protective fence around the perimeter. We'll update you further as we learn exactly what the demo order says.
http://detroit.curbed.com/archives/2...charlevoix.php
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  #1596  
Old Posted Jan 12, 2013, 10:41 PM
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I guess when you have $1 billion dollars on hand, the assumption is that you can do anything and everything. Heck, it'd be easier for the investor to buy up vacant lots in the city and build whatever he wanted with a fraction of that money.
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  #1597  
Old Posted Jan 17, 2013, 11:30 AM
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Gilbertown gets another addition...

Quote:


Greektown Casino-Hotel to join Dan Gilbert's Detroit empire

By JC Reindl | Detroit Free Press

January 17, 2013

Dan Gilbert, the billionaire founder of Quicken Loans, announced plans Wednesday to buy Greektown Casino-Hotel, calling it a next step in a broad vision to remake downtown Detroit into a 24-hour, live-work-play district.

Rock Gaming, a Gilbert-owned company, said a deal was in the works for controlling interest in the corporation that owns the Greektown Casino complex, one of three casinos in Detroit.

"Our plans are in the early phases," Gilbert said in a statement. "However, we envision significant investment in the Greektown Casino-Hotel, as well as the enhancement and growth of the existing entertainment district. We see this unique area extending to Campus Martius and along Woodward Avenue, building on the positive momentum already occurring in the heart of downtown Detroit."

For Gilbert, the Greektown opportunity is "the perfect intersection of a focus on investment in downtown and our gaming business," said Jennifer Kulczycki, a Rock Gaming spokeswoman.

Gilbert has bought 15 buildings in downtown Detroit to further his overarching plan for Detroit 2.0 -- a district centered on entrepreneurial digital-age companies.

...
Maybe, Greektown Casino's potential will finally be realized, now. It's a shame that the most integrated of the casino into its surroundings has also been the most consistently mismanaged one.
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  #1598  
Old Posted Jan 17, 2013, 2:28 PM
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Wow.. Did not see that coming. Iv always found greektown casino to be in a weird spot. But with gilbert owning it, im sure the surrounding area will clean up!
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  #1599  
Old Posted Jan 17, 2013, 3:06 PM
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We'll see if he turns out to be a savior or a Biff Tannen.
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  #1600  
Old Posted Jan 17, 2013, 10:30 PM
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A couple of construction updates. Whole Foods.





http://detroit.curbed.com/archives/2...facade-now.php

And the Public Safety HQ.







http://detroit.curbed.com/archives/2...take-shape.php
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