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Detroit News Roundup

September residential sales up in Detroit

Residential sales in the city of Detroit were up 10.2 percent for September compared with September 2006 figures from Farmington Hills-based Realcomp II Ltd.

The city also posted good numbers for the third quarter of 2007, showing an increase of 8.4 percent over the same period of 2006. Over the course of 2007, the city posted an increase for six of the nine months compared with 2006 numbers.

The residential figures come on the heels of a strong third quarter for the city in terms of commercial real estate. Figures released by the Southfield office of commercial firm CB Richard Ellis showed the absorption of office space in the city outpaced suburban office markets.

The untold story.

Ann Arbor think tank wants nonpartisan vision for state

The Ann Arbor-based Center for Michigan is looking for ways to build consensus on Michigan’s future and to eliminate partisan politics.

The co-chairs are: Paul Hillegonds, senior vice president of corporate affairs and communications at DTE Energy Co.; Mark Murray, president of Meijer Inc.; Glenda Price, retired president of Marygrove College; Doug Rothwell, president and CEO of Detroit Renaissance; Marilyn Schlack, president of Kalamazoo Valley Community College; and S. Martin Taylor, chairman of the University of Michigan Board of Regents and retired DTE Energy Co. executive.

The consensus effort is expected to pick up momentum between now and the 2010 elections, growing to a group of more than 10,000 residents who will serve as a resource for legislators on the state’s core assets and possible strategies to support and expand them.

Ignoring that the group comes from very political Ann Arbor, these are very apolitical, non-partisan, dogmatic ideas here. Read the Crain’s article for lots more information. This is no small plan and the group aims to transform the state of Michigan in half a decade or so. They are gathering the money to do so and they have the people.

Gilmartin: Mich. must invest in great places to live

Research continues to show that “place” matters more than ever as an increasingly mobile work force seeks a place to live first and a job second. This is quite a change from a generation ago, but something that policy-makers must consider moving forward. Given the research, it makes sense for us to focus resources on creating great places for people to live.

And despite the fact that our state economy remains in transition, the fact of the matter is communities have enormous roles to play in creating places that will attract and retain the companies of the future, and those who will work for them. Truth be told, it’s already happening across our state.

In Detroit, the redevelopment of the waterfront, Midtown and Campus Martius, (which was last year named one of the top urban parks in the country) has led to a new energy and investment.

In Grand Rapids, investment from both the public and private sectors is creating a life science and medical research capital.

In Lansing, it has been difficult to get around this summer with the continued redevelopment work in the downtown and stadium district. The announcement by the Accident Fund Company to locate its world headquarters downtown will only add to the buzz that’s been created.


Detroit Docs film festival returns after retooling

Wednesday to Oct. 21
Detroit Film Center
1227 Washington Blvd.
Detroit Film Theatre at the Detroit Institute of Arts
5200 Woodward
Cranbrook Art Museum
39221 Woodward
Bloomfield Hills
$7.50; $5 students/seniors
$45 festival pass
313-961-9936 or www.detroitdocs.com


Recycling interest is picking up

After starting their Midtown program, Kubik and Naimi got the attention of city officials and won a city contract to expand recycling opportunities. Now, the contract is being fulfilled by Recy-clean while Recycle Detroit, a not-for-profit organization, is working to increase interest in recycling. Collections have gone from 2,000 pounds of material per month a year ago to 100,000 pounds per month today.


Eero Saarinen was a prolific and unorthodox master of 20th-century architecture.

After traveling Europe, Saarinen teaches briefly at Cranbrook Academy of Art near Detroit… Eero Saarinen and Associates firm opens near Detroit…. The massive GM Technical Center opens in Warren, Mich… Gateway Arch completed.

Eero Saarinen, born in Finland, came to Detroit, and later designed St. Louis’s Arch.

14th Ann Arbor Polish Film Festival, 2007

November 10-11


City steps in to give Bing riverfront project a boost

Faced with delays in getting riverfront condominium projects built, the City of Detroit is intervening to give a project headed by civic and business leader Dave Bing a financial push.

The Detroit Brownfield Redevelopment Authority, a quasi-public arm of the city, approved a plan today that includes a bond issue backed by future tax revenues from the project to help get the project started. The plan now goes to City Council for approval.

The bonds will be paid back out of the future tax revenues from Bing’s $60 million Watermark project, although investors who buy the bonds would be responsible for the risk in case of default, not the city.


Ann Arbor-based Zattoo grows from 5 to 22, hiring up to 17 more

Zattoo is a Ann Arbor start-up based on technology that allows live video to be streamed to lots of computers at the same time.

TechCrunch calls it “The Best Live P2P Television Platform Available Today”. It’s getting quite popular for people who want to watch specific programs, especially in Europe, where they have an office in Zurich.

Restoring the glory: Renovation of hotel unearths previous beauty

Now that the decades of debris and tattered walls are gone, the massive steel frame of the iconic Fort Shelby building is on full display on the second floor just outside the former Crystal Ballroom.

For the crew behind the $82 million renovation of the downtown Detroit building, the steel structure provokes as much awe as some of the ornate decor that managed to survive years of neglect.

The black steel frame looks as solid as the day it was built around 1927, when famed architect Albert Kahn designed an addition to the hotel. The frame, about 30 feet long and running from floor to ceiling, features sensuous curves that once housed elegant doors and windows.

The Fort Shelby Doubletree Guest Suites Detroit is slated to open in December 2008 with 204 rooms. The building will also include 63 upscale apartments that may become condominiums; a martini lounge; retail space that will include a national “upscale restaurant” to be announced; and 38,000 square feet of conference space. The residences are slated to open May 2009.

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