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« Detroit News Roundup for Monday, August 20, 2007
» Detroit News Roundup for Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Detroit News Roundup for Thursday, August 23, 2007

State tourism funding bill introduced

Legislation to earmark $30 million annually in state sales taxes to fund Michigan tourism marketing has been introduced in the Legislature.

Senate Bill 690, sponsored by Jason Allen, R-Traverse City, is supported by a coalition of Michigan tourism business interests that seek to boost Travel Michigan advertising spending to $30 million annually, from the $5.7 million in general fund money thats been spent in past years.

“Increasing the Pure Michigan budget to a level that is competitive with other states will benefit our regions known for rivers, streams and lakes, to regions known for winter-time activities, to areas famous for summer golf and recreation, and to our urban areas boasting a variety of cultural attractions, festivals and entertainment,” Alexander said.

The coalition says every $1 spent on tourism promotion generates $2 to $3 in new sales-tax revenue.

[via Crain’s Detroit Business]

Genomatix launches US training site in Ann Arbor-Michigan Business Review

A German bioinformatics company established its first American operation in Ann Arbor this summer, aiming to increase American software sales as a percentage of its revenue.

Genomatix Software Inc. is also the first tenant of a wet lab incubator started by Ann Arbor SPARK in cooperation with the University of Michigan.

Thomas Werner, CEO of the German operation, told Business Review earlier this year that the company hoped to expand to 40 employees within three years (Business Review, April 5-11).

[via MLive.com]

Hotel to reopen with Motown flair

DETROIT — The Hotel St. Regis, a New Center lodge that was once in danger of closing, formally reopens this weekend following a $9 million transformation into a 125-room upscale boutique hotel.

The West Grand Boulevard hotel joins a rush of upscale lodgings in the works in or near downtown Detroit, including new hotels in the city’s three casinos and the revival of the Westin Book Cadillac and the Fort Shelby Doubletree Guest Suites, two buildings that were empty for years.

Twelve Motown recording artists — among them members of the Four Tops, the Supremes, the Miracles and Joe Billingslea’s Contours — are part of an investment group that took ownership of the hotel and cafe in 2006. Other investors include 15 Detroit-area ministers and developer Strather.

New Center is less than a mile from Hitsville USA, the birthplace of Motown, Detroit’s signature music. In its heyday, Motown played a big role in creating an international image of Detroit as a progressive, creative city.

[via DetNews.com]

Commercial real estate: Weathering a rough patch-Michigan Business Review

There’s an adage that prescribes: Believe half of what you see and none of what you hear. The advice holds up in commercial real estate, according to a group of real estate professionals who met one day last month at Oakland Business Review’s offices.

The drumbeat of bad news about the economy creates wear and tear on would-be entrepreneurs, investors and consumers’ collective psyche, which brokers fear reinforces the region’s economic blues. And that makes commercial real estate and development professionals’ work a tough go.

Q: That said, where are the next big opportunities?

Lakin: In our industry the big thing is replacement and rehabilitation of infrastructure. That will be needed to support a lot of the commercial development that’s going on.
The local communities are putting a lot of money into those things.

More than any other time that I can remember, the time is right for redevelopment in the urbanized areas, and not supporting the sprawl we’ve seen. Everything from gas prices to existing infrastructure is saying that urbanized areas are where we should be focusing. You’re already seeing that in Clawson and in Royal Oak, but it’s spreading out. Madison Heights is seeing some good potential.

Chaben: There is a bright spot - the outside interest we are seeing in local real estate. We sold out of our real estate in the last 12 months, $150 million, and 65 percent of that is from outside Michigan. Very often they’re coming from outside local areas. We’re seeing that local people are not as interested in local deals.

Why does it always take outsiders from other big cities and sometimes not so big cities to realize the value of real estate in Detroit and other amenities throughout the region?
[via MLive.com]

Record store hangs on with customer service

“We’ve done real well in Ferndale with Detroit techno, and in Roseville with rap and hip hop,” he said. “People know they can depend on us for the deeper stuff.”

This is RecordTime which has a location in Roseville or the original “dance room” was located as well as a store in downtown Ferndale which is still a great place to buy Detroit music.
[via MLive.com]

Downtown Ann Arbor moves ahead with percent for art program

As if downtown Ann Arbor, long known as a haven for creativity, couldn’t get artsy enough, it’s about to get even more so this summer.

The city plans to set aside $50,000 to install a piece of public art on the parking structure at Fourth and William streets. The art will be part of the parking deck’s $5 million renovation and will be facilitated by the city’s 1 percent for art program.

[via Metromode Media]

Learn to love your belly

You may not be from the Middle East, but that doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy the empowering sensuality of belly dancing.

“I think anybody who wants to feel better about her body and wants to start in a slow way should sign up for class,” says Molly Kozlowski, a member of Grand Ledge’s Habibi Dancers. “It’s amazing the self-confidence that grows in people. The first day of class, I get women in layers of clothing, and as the weeks go on, they pull up their shirts to see their bellies and wear tighter pants.”

[via Lansing State Journal]


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« Detroit News Roundup for Monday, August 20, 2007
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