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Around Downtown Detroit and the Neighborhoods

10.09.07 | technician | In real estate, hotel, corktown, downtown, riverfront, roundup, casino

Sorry for being quiet the last few days. I was up north around the Grand Traverse Bay Area. Beautiful piece of country which I’ll write more about later. For now, here’s a bit of what’s been in the news around the city of Detroit’s neighborhoods:

New owners take over the Lager House

Rumors are running rampant about what will become of the storied rock dive-bar the Lager House.

Folks in the music scene and beyond have been hearing for months that the Corktown bar on Michigan Avenue was closing down and would reopen as anything from an Ethiopian restaurant to a blues or jazz club (the most popular rumor).

But it appears the new owners, P.J. Ryder, formerly of P.J.’s Used Records in Ann Arbor, and George Kelly, a musician who owns a bookstore in Dearborn, both plan to keep the live music tradition alive at the Lager House. The Corktown bar that’s been stage for the Hard Lessons, the Von Bondies, the Paybacks and the Mugg, and countless other bands as well as techno DJs will try to have live music every night of the week.
[via DetNews.com]

In Third Quarter, Detroit the Area Leader in Office Rentals

Detroit’s office-rentals performance experienced a boom during the third quarter — a gain that came at the expense of suburban area markets including Troy and Southfield. According to a report by CB Richard Ellis, the suburban markets are now seeing higher vacancy figures.

During the third quarter, Detroit had positive net absorption of 24,000 square feet, compared to Southfield’s negative absorption of 110,000 square feet. Troy also bled 259,000 square feet, according to the report.

Now, don’t shed a tear for Troy or even relatively inner-ring Southfield. For decades, those two office markets were based on taking away office jobs from downtown Detroit which is part of the reason this region is not as healthy today as it could be and what the region needs is to strengthen its core, both residentially as well as commercially.
[via Commercial Property News]

$2.3M grant bringing health center to Detroit

Covenant Community Care and Southwest Solutions have received a $2.3 million grant from the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services to fund a fourth federally qualified health center in Detroit.

The center will receive $758,000 a year for the next three years. The center’s higher Medicaid billing rate will bring more federal resources to serve the uninsured and underinsured, said John Van Camp, president of Southwest Solutions in Detroit.

The federal designation also protects the center from lawsuits, he said, which will make it easier to recruit physicians. They will not need to carry liability insurance for their work at the center.

“There are still lots of people in the city of Detroit who do not have health care, who are still getting their primary care through emergency rooms,” said Kim Sibilsky, executive director of the Lansing-based Michigan Primary Care Association.

[via Crain’s Detroit Business]

Detroit Marriott in midst of $13M room renovation

Construction is under way on a $13 million renovation of the Detroit Marriott at the Renaissance Center.

The changes, expected to be completed by the end of the year, will upgrade all o1,298 rooms with new flooring, paint, artwork and lighting, said Matt Jones, marketing director.

Each room will also have a 37-inch flat-screen TV compatible with MP3 players and gaming devices.

The lobby and restaurant at the hotel will undergo a $2.5 million renovation. That work will start after the North American International Auto Show in January.

Also in the article is news about the Griswold development:
“The downtown Detroit new-construction condominiums called The Griswold-Capitol Park got approval Oct. 3 for its development agreement with the Downtown Development Authority.

The $30 million, five-story, 80-unit project is to be erected by The Roxbury Group P.L.L.C., a Detroit-based developer, atop a 10-story parking garage being built at 150 Michigan Ave., using air rights purchased from the DDA.

The $28 million garage, to be owned by the DDA, was being built for the Westin Book Cadillac hotel and condo project, now being renovated at Michigan Avenue and Washington Boulevard by Cleveland-based Ferchill Group.”
[via Crain’s Detroit Business]

Detroit mall still on track

DETROIT — An $80 million development that would bring a full-scale shopping center to the city will break ground later than originally expected but is still drawing strong support from local officials and interest from potential retailers, the project’s developers said this week.

The Shoppes at Gateway Park, an open air mall, is slated to bring more than 330,000 square feet of retail and restaurant space to the intersection of Eight Mile and Woodward on the northern edge of Detroit, adjacent to the Michigan State Fairgrounds.

Construction of the project, announced in March, was originally set to begin by the end of this year and was to be completed by March 2009. The groundbreaking now is planned for mid- to late spring of next year, with the opening date of the center still uncertain.

The main anchor would be J.C. Penneys, a welcome addition (or return) to the city, especially after the black-owned department store downtown closed 2-3 years ago over on Fort…. anyone remember the name?
[via DetNews.com]

Asian elegance banks on the river

The Asian Marketplace offers casual dining in an atmosphere meant to capture the energy and excitement of Asian street life. Guests can select from Korean barbecue, Vietnamese pho, Thai stir-fry, Chinese bao and Japanese ramen.

“We see Asian Village as an entertainment and culinary experience,” Park said. “We’ve got rooftop space for weddings and room inside for variety shows, dinner theater and festivals like Chinese New Year.”

Asian Village finally opened last month with a fundraiser for the Detroit Riverfront Conservancy and was attended by Mayor Kilpatrick.
[via C Newspapers]

Clubs raise the bar on nighttime entertainment

The nightclub scene at the newly opened MGM Grand makes the venue a destination in and of itself, and its two main nightclubs, V and Ignite, could dramatically alter nightlife habits in Detroit.

V, located on the main floor of the casino, is easily the splashier of the two clubs. The 300-capacity, oval-shaped club features an impressive lighting scheme and a pulsating sound system that pumps house and techno beats. Dancers on elevated platforms in the center of the room are dressed in barely-there tops and skirts and act as a gateway, of sorts, from the club’s bar area to its centrally located dance floor.

“This place is like Vegas — in Detroit,” said Joseph Prezzato, 30, of West Bloomfield Township. He enjoyed the club’s energy and its dancers, and said the club’s overall feel took him to another place altogether. “You don’t feel like you’re in Detroit. You feel like you’re on vacation.”

Keep in mind there is dress code at V. Maybe not as fun as the “No Ugg Boots” dress codes at other Detroit clubs, tennis shoes are prohibited here as are non-designer jeans.
[via DetNews.com]

Courtyard Detroit Downtown Introduces Fully Refurbished Event Spaces for Successful Meetings and Elegant Weddings

October 3, 2007 — Ideally situated in downtown Detroit and connected to GM Renaissance Center by skywalk, the Courtyard by Marriott Detroit Downtown offers an excellent setting for everything from a board meeting to a Detroit wedding reception. The recently completed renovation of two spacious event spaces brings a fresh, contemporary atmosphere to social gatherings and meetings at the stylish Detroit hotel.

The renovation at the downtown Detroit hotel includes the Cascade Ballroom, accommodating settings for up to 300 guests, and the Skyline Room, with settings for up to 100 guests. With new contemporary décor–from carpeting to color scheme–new menu items with a Sweet Lorraine’s influence, and new non-traditional attire for servers, the Cascade Ballroom is perfectly suited to a memorable themed event or elegant social affair. Now, one of the most desirable wedding banquet halls Detroit offers, the Skyline Room at the Courtyard Detroit Downtown features access to outdoor event space on the tennis courts that overlooks the Detroit River, GM Renaissance Center and the city skyline.

[via Emediawire (press release)]

BoA gives $1 million to Next Detroit Initiative

Kenneth Lewis, chairman and CEO of Bank of America Corp., met with Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick Tuesday morning and presented him with a check for $1 million for the mayor’s Next Detroit Initiative.

Kilpatrick was expected to lobby hard to have BOA move the headquarters for Troy-based LaSalle Bank Midwest N.A. to downtown Detroit.

Bank of America has expressed interest in moving their regional HQ to downtown Detroit! They like downtowns. Imagine that.
[via Crain’s Detroit Business]

Detroit to get WiMax in 2008

Sprint Nextel will make Detroit completely wireless by the end of 2008.

[via Model D]

Mayor revisits neighborhoods

Here are some changes residents say they’ve seen:
East English Village
• Police are more visible, including officers who walk the beat on Warren and Mack avenues.

• 40 block clubs have been established. Police are more visible.

It’s only been a few months since Mayor Kilpatrick targeted six diverse Detroit neighborhoods for trying out new strategies in stabilizing or revitalizing them (or rebooting, in some cases). The neighborhoods haven’t completely transformed, but some changes have been noticed. And the mayor is following up.
[via Detroit Free Press]

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