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« What happens when you ride the bus in Detroit
» Detroit News Roundup for Thursday, July 18, 2007

Detroit News Roundup for Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday July 16-18, 2007

All’s fair in Ann Arbor this week

While art fairs are a dime a dozen in the summer, those in the know don’t want to miss The Big One in Ann Arbor, Mich.

This year’s Ann Arbor Art Fairs — basically a collection of four art fairs for the free price of one — starts today and lasts until 6 p.m. Saturday.

More than 500,000 people are expected to turn out for the massive event, which showcases the work of nearly 1,100 juried artists from around the country. The whole thing takes up about 30 blocks of downtown Ann Arbor, home to University of Michigan’s main campus, a 200-mile drive from Chicago.

[via Chicago Sun-Times]

Going to Ann Arbor Art Fairs? Be aware of road construction

If you’re headed to the Ann Arbor Art Fairs, there’s roadwork you’ll want to know about.

The toughest is U.S.-23 north of Ann Arbor. The southbound freeway is down to one lane between Silver Lake and Barker roads in Livingston and Washtenaw counties. Northbound U.S.-23 also will be reduced to one lane overnight tonight and Thursday, between 8 p.m. and 5 a.m. each evening.

[via Detroit Free Press]

Nordstrom to Hire 300 at Twelve Oaks Store

Nordstrom, Inc., one of the nation’s leading fashion specialty retailers, plans to hire 300 local employees for its second store in the greater Detroit area at Twelve Oaks. The new store will open Friday, September 28 at 10:00 a.m.

[via MyFox Detroit]

Detroit news briefs

Volunteers needed to help clean East Warren

Detroit Synergy and the community group USNAP-BAC will work together to improve the East Warren neighborhood’s commercial district during a cleanup Saturday July 28 from 9 a.m. to noon.

The event will focus mostly on East Warren Avenue from Devonshire to Cadieux.

[via Detroit Free Press]

Wayne Co. to buy downtown skyscraper

In one of Detroit’s most unusual real estate deals in years, Wayne County Executive Robert Ficano plans to announce today that the county is buying the landmark Guardian Building skyscraper for $14.5 million as a possible home for county offices.

One of the most beautiful Art Deco high-rises anywhere, designed by Hirt Rowland. Its lobby is open to the public with a café and also a Pure Detroit store worth checking out for locals and out-of-towners alike.
[via Detroit Free Press]

Detroit entrepreneur pitches kid safety device to local retailers

DETROIT — Bridget Gaines took her idea for a device to keep children safe around electrical outlets all the way from Oprah’s Next Big Idea competition in March to a presentation Thursday in front of local executives from Wal-Mart and Sam’s Club.

Gaines knew she’d stumbled onto something after producers at the Oprah competition from QVC home shopping network projected her lifesaving device, M.O.M. Alert, could generate $40 million to $70 million in revenue.

After developing and getting the product manufactured, Gaines decided that in honor of her mother, who survived cancer, and her grandparents, who both died from it, to donate 10 percent of every sale of the pink M.O.M. Alerts to the Barbara Ann Karmanos Cancer Institute in Detroit.

[via DetNews.com]

Urban farming tour sprouts

More than 400 people are expected to sign on for one of the biggest annual events of the city’s underground culture: a behind-the-scenes tour of Detroit’s urban gardens, slated for Aug. 1.

The tour’s popularity, organizers and supporters say, is further evidence the city is becoming a national example of how unused land in depressed cities can be molded into fertile, crop-producing enterprises.

“The interest is there about growing healthy and locally and this fits in with that trend,” said Ashley Atkinson, project manager of Greening of Detroit who is helping coordinate the tour with the Detroit Agriculture Network.

The groups have chartered seven buses, and the two-hour tours will start at 6 p.m.

People can choose between visiting gardens on the west side or the east side of the city; there is also a tour of gardens in the Corktown, Woodbridge and Hubbard Farms neighborhoods that will be available to bike riders.

Detroit is known among certain circles for its urban gardens/farms yet most people in the city don’t know they exist. Here’s a chance for Detroiters and visitors to see what’s growing underground.
[via DetNews.com]

Pooling business accelerators creates more entrepreneurs

First, we need to diversify and improve the entrepreneurial environment in Metro Detroit by expanding our capacity to provide services to more companies, like business planning, capital assistance, talent recruitment and export development. We can do that by creating a Regional Innovation Network from our existing business accelerators. In addition, we need to establish two new accelerators — one in Macomb County and the other in western Wayne County — and develop and implement a marketing plan and coordinated Web portal for the Regional Innovation Network of business accelerators.

Second, the region needs more capital to spin off more companies based on the innovation generated by our universities and help entrepreneurs start and grow their companies. A new regional venture capital fund that Detroit Renaissance, the Oakland Business Roundtable, Automation Alley and Ann Arbor SPARK are working on is just the right prescription. This fund, which aims to grow or establish new venture capital funds throughout the region, could help us address a historic weakness in the availability of financing for new business ventures in emerging business sectors.

Business incubator is like Ann Arbor SPARK and TechTown are what Southeast Michigan needs to increase its share of the new economy. In this letter from three business leaders the region is called on to further or what those groups are doing as well as duplicate them throughout the region, such as western Wayne County and Macomb County. In a way more is better yet SPARK and TechTown are located where they are for a reason. I don’t think the region should try to spread those resources everywhere just because the region is spread out that way.
[via DetNews.com]

Granholm signs Corridor Improvement Authority bill

Gov. Jennifer Granholm signed a bill Tuesday that will create a Corridor Improvement Authority to aid the construction of The Shoppes at Gateway Park in Detroit.

Gateway Park is a 330,000-square-foot development planned for the southeast corner of 8 Mile Road and Woodward Avenue near the Michigan State Fairgrounds. The $90 million project is expected to include about 40 stores and restaurants.

The bill, introduced by State Sen. Buzz Thomas, D-Detroit, allows tax-increment financing to fund redevelopment at the Gateway Park site, similar to laws set up by a Downtown Development Authority. While DDAs are limited to one community, CIAs allow the financing to apply across municipal boundaries.

[via Crain’s Detroit Business]

Is it real, or is it Tex-Mex?

On a larger scale, Taco Bell’s vision of Mexico is something entirely alien south of the border. When the fast-food chain tried to establish a presence in Mexico City in the 1990s, consumers were so perplexed by the “burritos” that a leading newspaper helpfully included a definition.

“It is important to promote our culture and educate people about real Mexican food, but we also need to be flexible and understand that a lot of people in the United States have yet to develop a taste for our food,” says Jeanette Avila, who owns the El Rancho restaurant in southwest Detroit.

To keep her customers happy, Avila keeps two menus: one Tex-Mex, which includes the always-popular fajitas and margaritas, and a traditional menu that offers a dish of breaded pork feet dressed in egg and topped with ranchera sauce.

“We sell both menus pretty evenly and that has a lot to do with non-Latinos being more open to try traditional Mexican food,” Avila said.

The Mexican government is trying to learn and share what outsiders think is Mexican cuisine. Many Americans, especially those not fortunate enough to live near an authentic Mexican ethnic neighborhood believe Taco Bell is the real deal, and many consider themselves fortunate if they have a non-chain Tex-Mex restaurant in their city. If you’re still one of those get yourself to Mexicantown and open yourself up to some real Mexican food, with much of the cuisine coming from the Mexican state of Jalisco.
[via Seattle Post Intelligencer]

Ann Arbor, Mich Apple Store opens Saturday

Apple Store Briarwood will open in Ann Arbor, Michigan this Saturday, July 21st at 10:00 AM. The store is located at 652 Briarwood Circle, between The Limited and D.O.C. Optical.

This will be Michigan’s 4th store.

The people of Southeast Michigan don’t have to drive far to get to an Apple store.
[via tuaw.com]

Museum moves toward goal

On the corner of Charest and Commor in Hamtramck, the Ukrainian American Archives and Museum, Inc. is getting its second wind.

Buoyed by new immigration from the Ukraine, museum officials are moving in a new direction while keeping with their old mission of connecting people with their history.

The museum used to have a much higher profile when Hamtramck was the center of Ukrainian life in metro Detroit, and most families attended the nearby Immaculate Conception Catholic Church. In those days, there was an annual Ukrainian Festival in downtown Detroit.

Now, museum officials want to move to Warren where the Ukrainian Cultural Center is located and where there are many Ukrainian businesses, Nykorak said.

I believe the museum should stay in Hamtramck since it’s mostly a historical museum and the history of Detroit’s Ukrainian American culture is in Hamtramck. When we try to move far institutions further and further out from the core, the decentralization causes problems of its own wire as the center could be used instead to focus attention somewhere special.
[via Detroit Free Press]

Guide To 2007 Michigan State Fair

The Michigan State Fair is almost here and some can already taste the fair goodies.

The fair will be open from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. beginning Aug. 22 to Sept. 3 at the fairgrounds.

Parking will be available for $7 per vehicle and admission is $10 for adults and $5 for seniors and children.

Children under 2 years old get into the event for free.

The Fairgrounds are located in southeast Michigan at the corner of Eight Mile Road and Woodward Avenue in Detroit - two miles from Interstate 75, three miles from Interstate 696, and eight miles from Interstate 94.

[via WDIV]

MotorCity’s revenue up 10 percent in June

The opening of the MotorCity Casino’s expanded and renovated gaming facility boosted June revenue by nearly $4 million or 10 percent compared to the same month last year.

MotorCity Casino is the first of the three to open its permanent casino. The new gaming area boasts state-of-the-art audio, video and colorful light systems and the décor has an automotive flair.

“We’re employing some radical new technology,” said Gregg Solomon, MotorCity’s chief executive officer said during the casino’s opening. “I’m proud to say that this casino will have many, many firsts in the casino industry.”

MotorCity will complete its permanent casino/hotel/entertainment complex with the opening of its 400-room luxury hotel on Nov. 1.

MotorCity Casino which is in the lead to complete its permanent casino is also doing better than competitors MGM and Greektown.
[via DetNews.com]

Midtown Density

The university is spearheading these public-private partnerships to develop more residential housing in Midtown as part of its strategic plan to transform the area into a thriving urban community. It’s well-known that many of Wayne State’s 33,000 students have moved into the variety of residence halls and apartment buildings on campus in recent years. University leaders hope more of the school’s 9,000 faculty and staff will decide to move into some of the 500 new homes on the market.

“Today more and more people are realizing that Midtown Detroit is where the action is,” says Wayne State President Irvin Reid. “As we fulfill our strategic mission to revitalize Detroit, we have become part of the growing rhythm of this diverse neighborhood and we are devoting necessary resources to help our students, faculty and staff share in this vision for Midtown living.”

With billions of dollars of investment in this millennium alone, Midtown is a neighborhood to watch in Detroit. It’s got a captive daytime population from its several schools and medical institutions, cultural attractions, and all the highways lead to it. The university neighborhood association is committed to increasing the number of residents in the area which is a trend any entrepreneur should recognize. And the ones that have already seen their investments grow from square footage with no value to $200 per square foot know this.
[via Model D]

MONEY: Plymouth ‘Best Place to Live’, A2 Not

Money’s 2007 ranking finds three Michigan cities are among the 100 “Best Places to Live”: Plymouth Township (#37), Farmington (#55), and Saline (#59).

Gone from the list are 2006 honorees: Ann Arbor, Farmington Hills, Sterling Heights, Warren and West Bloomfield.

Have things really changed among the suburbs? I can see why Farmington, with its historic downtown, farmers market and events, would take over from surrounding Farmington Hills. I can also see why Sterling Heights and Warren might fail to make the list, even as Warren attempts to build a downtown. But is Saline really better than Ann Arbor except as a bedroom community? And does anybody really think, if price isn’t a factor, that it’s better to live in Plymouth than Ann Arbor? The title of the article wants to suggest that the magazine is saying something that they’re not.
[via WXYZ]

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« What happens when you ride the bus in Detroit
» Detroit News Roundup for Thursday, July 18, 2007