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Detroit News Roundup for Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday September 10-12, 2007

SW Detroit OKs business improvement district

Southwest Detroit property and business owners voted 2-1 Tuesday to approve creation of a formal business improvement district.

A business improvement district, or BID, is a public-private partnership that assesses a tax on itself to provide services and programs, such as street, sidewalk and graffiti cleanup, security patrols, plantings and lighting for a specific area.

Kathy Wendler, president of the Southwest Detroit Business Association, said about 200 property owners controlling about 300 parcels will be included in the district. The owners voted over the past 30 days, and the BID passed with 67% of the vote, Wendler said.

The district covered includes West Vernor from Clark on the east to Woodmere on the west, and Springwells between Vernor and the I-75 service drive

The Southwest Detroit Business Association has had a voluntary BID program in the area for the past seven years, and is excited to make it a permanent program in southwest Detroit, association President Kathy Wendler said in a statement..

Huge win for Michigan!
[via Crain’s Detroit Business]

Southwest Detroit businesses will pay to bring in shoppers

The district covered includes West Vernor from Clark on the east to Woodmere on the west, and Springwells between Vernor and the I-75 service drive.

[via Detroit Free Press]


A promising new club, a venerable club in a fresh location, young clubs on the make — the metro Detroit scene is hanging tough, even in the midst of the rough economy.

So while the major institutions have, as usual, enticing concerts, don’t forget the lifeblood of any jazz scene remains the local clubs. The Jazz Caf, an intimate club carved out of the lobby-bar at the Music Hall, quickly became a favorite when it was introduced a year ago, but the schedule this year makes a strong case that the space is becoming indispensable. The national headliners include drummers Jeff Watts and Killer Ray Appleton, trumpeters Tom Harrell and Jim Rotondi, trombonist Steve Turre and pianist Michael Weiss.

[via Detroit Free Press]

Detroit-area job market may grow

Two surveys released on Tuesday suggest that the job market in metro Detroit is likely to improve in the last three months of the year.

A Manpower Inc. survey showed a favorable job market is expected for Wayne County during the fourth quarter. From October to December, 25% of the companies interviewed plan to hire more employees, while 13% of the firms expect to cut payrolls.

[via Detroit Free Press]

Cells of urban sweetness

That’s why it’s exciting to find out that metro Detroit community members from Highland Park to Royal Oak are tending hives. In one attempt to reclaim neglected land for productive use, volunteers have scattered 16 hives in strategic locations, all a casual walk from downtown. Listen carefully, and you may hear the nasal hum of worker bees ferrying pollen and nectar from the city’s weeds, flowers and vegetables to their hives.

Cheerful, bearded Detroit native Rich Wieske has singlehandedly placed many of these hives in their new homes as part of his side-business, Green Toe Gardens. Six years ago, the chocolate truffles he made every year in large batches as holiday gifts for family and friends were getting out of hand. Wieske turned honey into mead as well, and was alarmed by the cost of raw honey. For such a hands-on manufacturer, vertical integration was the next logical step. Bees converted Wieske to their cause so quickly that he formed Green Toe Gardens to market his award-winning honey, which he sells at the Royal Oak Farmers’ Market and Avalon Bakery. A grant from the sportswear company Patagonia enables him to lead community education programs, and to convert others to urban beekeeping. Though CCD has plagued some of his bigger business colleagues, Wieske says he hasn’t noticed it among his own hives, perhaps because he isn’t a large-scale beekeeper.

Every two weeks, Wieske takes a break from his day job at his film company to check on the hives and to show volunteers beekeeping techniques. His back yard-based hives recall those immigrants used to tend in the 1920s. Now, more than 80 years later, hives are slowly returning, tucked into spare lots and alleyways. City groups have quickly welcomed bees into their community gardens as well. Gardeners, Wieske says, speedily grasp the importance of the pollination a bee colony performs in any vegetable or flower patch. The plants require bees, butterflies and other pollinators in order to reproduce, so it just makes sense to link gardeners up with their own supply of bees.

[via Detroit Metro Times]

Far-out fare

The Michelin guide awards its highest honor, three stars, to restaurants that are “worth a special journey.” Tapawingo, in tiny Ellsworth 40 miles north of Traverse City and 265 miles from Detroit is considered by many critics to be the best restaurant in the state. But does it merit a special journey?

For starters, the setting is exquisite. Tapawingo, the Native American name for the land that the restaurant occupies, is a remodeled handsome country home, bordered front and back with lush gardens, overlooking St. Clair Lake (!). It features arresting modern art for sale on the walls, tasteful flower arrangements on the tables and mantel, cool blond wood accents and, especially, large windows that frame picturesque water views for most of the diners at the 20-odd tables.

Tapawingo’s prix-fixe dinners run from $50 to $65 for three courses — appetizer, entrée and dessert. The menu changes frequently through the seasons, as does the consistently creative complimentary amuse-bouche that amounts to a mini-course. On one recent occasion, chef Jeremy Kittelson who formerly worked at Chicago’s Blackbird, composed “Three Colors of Cauliflower” with tiny flowerets sandwiched between paper-thin truffle tidbits floating in a béchamel sauce.

On all accounts then, from the lovely surroundings, the gracious service and the fascinating dishes, Tapawingo lives up to its national reputation. But is it worth a special journey? That obviously is a personal decision, but I should note that celebrity chef Mario Batali, who summers in Northport, periodically makes a pilgrimage to this singular temple of gastronomy 70 miles distant from his home.

If you’re thinking of a fancy place to go on vacation… Traverse City with an evening at Tapawingo?
[via Detroit Metro Times]

Tickets Still Available for Detroit Uncorked;

Local Business Community Comes Together in Support of Event DETROIT, Sept. 11 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ — Attention wine lovers, tickets are still available for the fourth annual Detroit Uncorked, one of the region’s largest wine events. Detroit Uncorked, benefiting the Children’s Center, is held at Ford Field, Sept. 28 from 6:30 p.m. to 9 p.m., and is presented by Ford Motor Company and Ford Field and created and organized by Detroit Wine Organization (DWO).

[via PR Newswire (press release)]

Residents begin moving into 37-unit Midtown Detroit loft development

Because three exterior walls are new construction, the vast majority of Mid-Med is not a historic building. Despite the difficulty in executing a project of this magnitude, [developer JB] Peabody is glad to have undertaken Mid-Med. “Now this building will stand another 100 years,” he says. “You have modern construction, but the faade is still heritage. It’s pretty exciting to be a part of that.”

Units range in size from 833 to 1,724 square feet and in price from $200,000 to $386,000. Peabody will reduce the price of units reserved by Sept. 30 by $30,000 to $60,000.

[via Metromode Media]

Job growth in Detroit area expected to rise

Also, 17% of executives surveyed plan to add staff during that time period, while 3% said they anticipate reductions in personnel.

The net 14% increase is up three points from the areas third-quarter 2007 forecast and two points above the national average.

[via Detroit Free Press]

Detroit CIOs Forecast Increase in Fourth-Quarter Hiring

DETROIT, Sept. 11 /PRNewswire/ — A net 14 percent of chief information officers (CIOs) in the Detroit area expect to hire information technology (IT) professionals in the fourth quarter of 2007, according to the most recent Robert Half Technology IT Hiring Index and Skills Report. Seventeen percent of executives surveyed plan to add staff during the quarter and 3 percent anticipate reductions in personnel. The net 14 percent increase is up three points from the area’s third-quarter 2007 forecast and two points above the national average.

The local results reflect a two-quarter rolling average based on interviews with 200 CIOs from a stratified random sample of companies in the Detroit area with 100 or more employees; 1,400 executives were queried for the national data. (To view the national results, visit http://www.rht.com/PressRoom.) The surveys were conducted by an independent research firm and developed by Robert Half Technology, a leading provider of IT professionals on a project and full-time basis. Robert Half Technology has been tracking IT hiring activity in the United States since 1995.

[via Earthtimes.org]

Restore the Great Lakes: Study finds return on investment would be double the $26 billion cost

One key to the economic salvation of Buffalo and much of the rest of the American Rust Belt? Were swimming in it.

The five lakes of what they call American’s North Coast (or South Coast, if you’re Canadian) are still the center of some 35 million people and a source of drinking water, transportation and recreation for what was once, and could be again, one of the continent’s largest economic drivers.

[via Buffalo News]

Home sales up, but lower than last year

A total of 3,763 homes were sold in Wayne, Oakland, Macomb and Livingston counties in August, up 6.4 percent from the 3,538 in July, but off 3.4 percent from the 3,892 sold in August 2006. The numbers were released Monday by Realcomp, the Farmington Hills-based multiple listing service, and tracked sales of existing houses and condominiums in the four southeastern Michigan counties.

[via DetNews.com]

Wayne County deputies protect students on Detroit buses

DETROIT — Children riding city buses to school will have some extra eyes watching over them as 48 Wayne County Sheriff’s deputies settle into their new duties patrolling the bus lines.

“One of the most important aspects of our new DDOT bus patrol will be keeping an eye on the children to make sure they have safe passage to and from school every day,” said Sheriff Warren C. Evans. “Children can be exposed to a lot of different types of people on public buses than they are on a yellow school bus, so it’s important to have some additional sets of eyes to look out for them.”

[via DetNews.com]

Made in Michigan: Comedy Film ‘Take 2′ has World Premiere at Royal Oak Main Art Theatre

ROYAL OAK, Mich., Sept. 10 /PRNewswire/ — What would happen if Hollywood came calling for a sequel to the worst horror movie ever made? The answer comes in “Take 2,” a made-in-Michigan comedy that will have its world premiere at the Main Art Theatre in Royal Oak at 8 p.m. Sept. 20. The film is a production of Blue Hammer Films and Compass Films HD.

“Take 2″ is from director Tom Chaney and the production team that produced the late-night-cable horror classics “Frostbiter: Wrath of the Wendigo” and “Mosquito.” The film was shot entirely in Michigan, at locations in and around Detroit, Plymouth, Grosse Pointe, Ann Arbor, Ypsilanti and Howell.

[via PR Newswire (press release)]

“Living in the V” neighborhood open house will take place Sept. 30

Come one, come all to The Villages of Detroit. Residents there are giving folks a chance to get to know their community by opening their collective doors on Sept. 30.

“Living in the V” is an afternoon neighborhood open house to showcase the area’s charms, housing types and amenities. The purpose of the open house is to draw attention to the wide range of housing types available. From affordable historic homes in West Village to mansions in Indian Village, from high-rise luxury at the Detroit Towers to lofts at English Village, the area has a choice for every taste and budget.

[via Model D]

MSU-Detroit Partnerships will work to build partnerships, create jobs

MSU Detroit-Partnerships is a research and community collaboration hub that Michigan State University has opened at the Youthville Detroit facility.

[via Model D]

Residents begin moving into Mid-Med Lofts, two units immediately available

The Mid-Med Lofts have come a long way from a single brick facade that was shored up by wooden braces.

Construction has progressed to the point where one of the 36 lofts is occupied, two are ; ready for occupancy and available for purchase, 12 are sold and nearly complete and 22 will be finished to the specifications of buyers once they are sold.

Mid-Med will host an all-day open house on September 20 in conjunction with Crain’s Ultimate House Party. Contact 313-319-0443 for more information.

This is great for Detroit Medical Center faculty and students, even the added retail component. A little something extra on the way to Beans’n'Bytes for some coffee.
[via Model D]

Walk Don’t Run

To say that Detroit is a walker’s paradise is something of an overstatement. Unfortunately, we don’t have La Rambla, Champs-lyses or Fifth Avenue to remind us of how being alive in a city can transform what most of us consider exercise into sheer pleasure. Distance magically shrinks in great urban places that have a lot of stuff to see along the way. Impressive buildings (both large and small) provide the backdrop to lively streetscapes that catch the eye and stir the imagination.

To say that Detroit has the bones of a walkers paradise is most certainly an understatement. Weve got great building blockslandmarks that other cities, including places like Barcelona, Paris and New York would kill to get their hands on. To be sure, weve got our share of interesting urban texture, from numerous residential historic districts to all manner of businesses, churches, and institutions, each speaking volumes to our citys rich cultural heritage.

Please join us for our fall Historic House Party at the beautifully restored Detroit River Place, this Thursday, Sept. 13, 7-9 p.m. There will be wine, hors d’oeuvres and special guest John Stroh III.

Read the article for some great photos.
[via Model D]

The next Ann Arbor? Ypsilanti hopes to learn from its neighbor

Ann Arbor’s success at attracting new, diverse investment is held aloft as proof Michigan cities can blossom amid the domestic auto industry’s tribulations.

Now, local leaders hope, it’s neighboring Ypsilanti’s turn.

Ypsilanti has attracted about $18.5 million in investment based on permits filed in the last five years. Developer Stewart Beal has been in the forefront of new private projects in the city because he believes Ypsilanti is ripe for investment. He was behind the $3.5 million West Michigan Loft Apartments project that saw 20 luxury lofts built in five downtown buildings.

Beal’s latest Ypsi project is the Thompson Block redevelopment in the city’s Depot Town area, turning a collection of former Civil War barracks into 16 loft apartments atop 10,000 square feet of commercial space. The $4 million project is slated to open in 2008.

[via Crain’s Detroit Business]

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