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Detroit News Roundup for Much of October

Faygo: The Detroit pop company celebrates 100 years of fizz Sunday

When Faygo Beverages in Detroit turns 100 on Sunday, employees will celebrate.

But they will not chug cans of Faygo Brau, the company’s nonalcoholic ginger beer from the ’60s that looked and poured like real beer.

[via Toledo Blade]

Short story collection explores Detroit’s seamy underside

There are many characters in “Detroit Noir” — crooked cops, abusive boyfriends, desperate auto workers. But the personality that looms largest in this new collection of short stories is the city itself.

Moody and dangerous, battered and heroic, Detroit is the backdrop to each story and a vital part of the action.

[via DetNews.com]

ID Woodward to announce ground breaking soon

The developer, Detroit-based Sterling Group, is in the midst of finishing the paperwork for the project and hopes to break ground either late this year or early next. An announcement on exactly when a groundbreaking will be held s due in a couple of weeks.

“I feel pretty optimistic about where everything is. It seems to be working,” says Frank Guirlinger, director of development services at Sterling Group. “Were past the handshake part of the deal and into the brass tax of things.”

Re: ID Woodward loft development on downtown Ferndale’s north side. The building will utilize Euro-style elevator parking, which is unique to Michigan. The euro-style elevator parking systems allows a lift to store the vehicles so residents can press a button to get their car. [I believe other residences in Detroit have elevator parking though.]
[via Metromode Media]

Ann Arbor-based Sensigen gets $300k, to add 14 jobs in next year

Pockets lined with $300,000 in investment capital, Ann Arbor-based SensiGen, LLC, is expanding. The biotech company will add two jobs in the short-term and another dozen over the next year, President and CEO Shawn Marcell (CQ) says, thanks to the award from Pennsylvania-based Delaware Crossing Investors Group.

All positions, Marcell says, are highly-skilled scientific jobs.

[via Metromode Media]

Economic development coalition says 4,000 jobs created and $2.28B invested in first half of ‘07

A new report released this week ;by the Economic Development Coalition of Southeast Michigan shows $2.28 billion invested in 68 Michigan businesses and projects with more than 4,000 new jobs created in the first half of 2007. ;

The coalition - which includes Detroit Renaissance, the Michigan Economic Development Corporation, the Detroit Regional Chamber, Next Energy, Automation Alley and Detroit, Oakland and Macomb counties, among other major players in the economic development scene - was formed to spur economic growth in the area. ; ;

It’s a more subtle story than the sudden, dramatic losses of manufacturing jobs from a single company.
[via Metromode Media]

20 Kalamazoo-area firms seek funds to hire former Pfizer workers

KALAMAZOO — Following a three-month delay, $12 million pledged to keep Pfizer Inc. workers in Michigan was released Wednesday afternoon by Gov. Jennifer Granholm.

And just as fast, Ron Kitchens, president and chief executive of Southwest Michigan First, was in Lansing to deliver applications on behalf of 21 companies who would use more than $8 million to generate 450 new life-sciences jobs in Kalamazoo.

[via MLive.com]

Acts of state

In August 2006, Michigan State University students Annie Moss and Erik Adams had a simple idea: to start a blog to celebrate the local music they both loved. He was writing music reviews for MSU’s student paper, The State News; she was taking photographs at shows. So, pooling their creative output and putting it online seemed like a natural progression. But neither of them could have predicted the massive outpouring of support and encouragement that they’d receive over the course of the year that Just Haircuts and Jackets (justhaircutsandjackets.blogspot.com) was in production.

It wasn’t that what they did was unique, but that they were the first people to do it. The blog itself was simple, but without realizing it, they had given a voice to a community that’s become very strong in the last few years and which, up until then, had been undocumented — the statewide Michigan music scene. Not the Detroit scene, the Ann Arbor scene, the Flint scene or the Grand Rapids scene … but the Michigan scene, fueled by bands willing to travel cross-state for gigs, audiences willing to support music made by people from other ZIP codes, and a spirit of collaboration and camaraderie that’s rare just about anywhere these days.

[via Detroit Metro Times]

MOCAD celebrates successful first year

The New York Times and the Washington Post have taken notice of MOCAD. “A newspaper in Warsaw wrote us up,” says board president and acting director Marsha Miro. “Italian Vogue did a little thing on us. We’re a much more interesting city than the people who live here perceive.”

Admission will remain free for at least the next year, and any day now they’ll hire a director. “All the things I dreamed about were happening,” Miro says, summarizing the museum’s inaugural 12 months.

[via Model D]

Biz incubator TechTown working to build space for long list of hopefuls

Wayne State’s business incubator, TechTown, is working with Detroit Renaissance and Plante & Moran to fund a build out more room for the nearly 50 potential tenants on its waiting list.

The line of credit was used to do the build-out the fifth floor and parts of the first and fourth floors of the 140,000-square-foot building. No work has been done on the second and third floors. Charlton estimates it will take about $8 million to $10 million to finish the building.

The incubator is in a catch-22 it can’t finish rehabbing the old factory at 440 Burroughs until it gets more tenants, but the space that has already been rehabbed is at full occupancy and there is no room for more tenants.

[via Model D]

Biodiesel firm chooses to launch in Warren

Dan Angell, left, and James Padilla Jr., two of the co-founders of The Power Alternative, stand outside the Warren building where they plan to begin biodiesel production in January.

The founders of a new biodiesel firm have chosen Warren over three other municipalities to launch the first operation of its kind in Macomb County.

[via Royal Oak Daily Tribune]

Chinese officials network in state

Delegations from five Chinese cities visited southeast Michigan on Friday to seek new business opportunities in metro Detroit.

More than 50 representatives from Beijing, Hunan, Guangzhou, Tianjin and Dalian joined Michigan governmental and auto industry leaders at the Detroit Chinese Business Association’s auto supplier networking event in Novi to seek out business leads in Michigan.

Jeff Zijian Zhao, president of Andus R&D Inc., a company that does business in China and the United States and has an office in Canton, said there are ample opportunities in southeast Michigan.

“We wanted to set up shop in Detroit because it has an abundant supply of engineers, sophisticated testing facilities and automotive engineering services,” he said.

Also: NWA gets OK for Shanghai-Detroit flights
[via Detroit Free Press]

The Art Institute of Michigan to open in Novi in November

Education Management LLC recently announced the addition of The Art Institute of Michigan to its Art Institutes system of schools. With its first day of class slated for Nov. 8, The Art Institute of Michigan will occupy approximately 38,000-square-feet at 28125 Cabot Drive in Novi. The school will begin enrolling students immediately.

“We are thrilled to bring an Art Institute school to the Detroit area,” said John Mazzoni, president of The Art Institutes, in a statement. “The Art Institute of Michigan’s design, fashion, and culinary programs, led by a skilled faculty, will help students achieve their professional aspirations while making an important impact on the communities in which they will live and work.”

But why Novi??? Why not some part of Detroit where artists already exist and would like to live?
[via pride source.com]

Top-ranked music site, SoulTracks, to host first annual awards show in Detroit

Chris Rizik isn’t content to just be one of the area’s leading venture capitalists — he recently launched a new fund, Ardesta I, with long-time collaborator Rick Snyder.

The lifelong music fan noticed a dearth of good on-line information about classic soul artists so, in 2003, he began building SoulTracks, a website that has since grown to house a stable of twelve writers. Considered to be the top soul music website in the nation, SoulTracks averages 100,000 visitors and 250,000 page views per month.

Detroit will always be the home of Hi-Tech Soul. :)
[via Metromode Media]

Ann Arbor Compendia lands $2.5M plus, to add 10-15 positions

Money makes the world go ’round - and keeps technology start-ups in business. ;

Compendia Bioscience, Inc., an Ann Arbor-area company formed last year to commercialize Onocomine, a web-based analysis tool for the cancer gene expression database, has gotten a $250,000 investment from Ann Arbor SPARK, the business incubator and economic development engine, and $2.4 million small business innovation and research grant from the National Cancer Institute. ;

[via Metromode Media]

Downtowns Become Boomertowns

In communities as far flung as Birmingham, Northville and Ann Arbor, baby boomers are moving downtown, city officials report, bringing an influx of social and economic capital into downtown communities and businesses. As Gen-Xers become homebuyers and ;baby boomers become empty nesters, there’s a ;growing trend of retirement age couples who are opting for city centers instead of suburban ;retirement communities. In fact, the number of seniors moving downtown ;has become ;large enough that it has spawned the term “ruppie,” or retired older person.

Nationwide, there are about 78 million boomers, born between 1946 and 1964 - and next year, the first wave turns 62, becoming eligible to claim Social Security benefits. State demographers estimate there were roughly 2.6 million boomers in Michigan in 2006, almost double the 1.5 million Michiganders 62 and older that year.

[via Metromode Media]

City residents get their wish: Upscale grocer opens today

Organic pasta is on the shelves.

When Mike’s Fresh Market opens today at 7 Mile and Livernois in Detroit, it will bring to the city an upscale grocery store — something in short supply that often sends residents into the suburbs for the foods they want.

[via Detroit Free Press]

City housing project looks like work of art

Anyone looking for another reason to feel good about Detroit’s future should look to southwest Detroit, where a housing project aimed at struggling artists offers enormous potential for an already diverse neighborhood.

The $5.5-million Whitdel Building project could generate a vibrant mix of residential, entertainment and retail development around the Hubbard Street neighborhood, as have dozens of other art-space housing projects in urban neighborhoods around the country since the mid-1990s.

[via Detroit Free Press]

21st Century Fund, Venture Michigan Fund add $200M to the mix

In addition to the Detroit Renaissance fund of funds, at least nine state venture-capital firms are raising a total of at least $570 million.

Some of their fundraising will come from two state-based funds of funds, which don’t invest directly in companies but invest in VC firms or private-equity firms that in turn invest in companies.

[via Crain’s Detroit Business]

State forms biotech legislative caucus to grow life sciences

The initial group includes state Sens. Tupac Hunter, D-Detroit; Randy Richardville, R-Monroe; Tony Stamas, R-Midland; and Gretchen Whitmer, D-Lansing; and Reps. Dave Hildenbrand, R-Lowell; Bill Huizenga, R-Zeeland; Robert Jones, D-Kalamazoo; and Rebekah Warren, D-Ann Arbor.

At the MichBio Expo, James Greenwood, president and CEO of national interest group Biotechnology Industry Organization, urged Michigan to continue investing state resources in life sciences companies regardless of the industry’s profitability struggles, chief executive officer of the industry’s national association said recently in an interview.

[via MLive.com]

Oslo nightclub to reopen in downtown Detroit

Metro Detroiters still mourning the loss of Oslo, the hip sushi-bar-meets-electronic-music nightclub that closed suddenly in December, should break out the chopsticks and brush off those dancing shoes.

The restaurant and hotspot on Woodward Avenue in downtown Detroit is scheduled to reopen Wednesday under new ownership and with a similar format: hip, underground music downstairs, and Asian food upstairs.

[via Detroit Free Press]

Detroit’s west side gains 60000-square feet retail plaza

A 40,000-square foot Metro Food Center will anchor a 60,000-square foot retail development at Livernois and Warren on Detroit’s west side.

Both [developer Mike] Dikhow and [broker David] Shanaman are adamant that this area of the city is underserved by retail. “There are close to 30,000 people with a one-mile radius, and that is just from the census data,” says Shanaman. “They are going to Dearborn and other parts of the city for their shopping.”

[via Metromode Media]

City gives Pavilions of Troy go ahead, work to begin in January

The developer, headed up by Virginia-based Richardson Development Group, plans to start razing the old Kmart headquarters site at the northwest corner of Big Beaver Road and Coolidge Highway in January. Construction of the mixed-use development — which will feature condos, a hotel and office and retail space is expected to take several years.

The $300-million project will be quite the contrast for the affluent Oakland County suburb dominated by traditional sprawling, car-centric infrastructure. The project will incorporate a dense and pedestrian-friendly new urbanism design on the 40-acre site. A town square will be surrounded by retail shopping, a theater, restaurants, a hotel and residential units. The town square will have a pavilion for concerts and can be used for ice skating and other seasonal events, similar to downtown Detroit’s Campus Martius.

[via Metromode Media]

OncoImmune opens Ann Arbor lab

When two co-founders of Columbus’ OncoImmune Ltd. took jobs at the University of Michigan in 2006, the biotech company made sure it didn’t lose the expertise.

The company, which has been developing molecular therapies for treating cancer and multiple sclerosis in its office at the Business Technology Center on Kinnear Road since 2000, signed a lease and has opened a 600-square-foot lab in a building adjacent to a vacant Pfizer Inc. facility in Ann Arbor. Spark, the city’s economic development organization, and the university took over the 35,000-square-foot space and opened it to use by life science companies.

[via Bizjournals.com]

Plans to convert Pfizer space announced

The University of Michigan and Ann Arbor Spark announced Monday afternoon a plan to convert a 34,400-square-foot Pfizer Inc. facility into a wet lab incubator for life science companies and university researchers.

Thanks to a $1 million grant from the Michigan Economic Development Corp., the school and Spark have assumed the lease for the Ann Arbor facility, which is in the Traverwood office park on Huron Parkway.

[via Crain’s Detroit Business]

Lawrence Tech and Skillman team up to grow East Side microenterprises

Such enterprises have been extraordinarily successful at poverty reduction in developing countries. What is particularly heartening about the Skillman-Lawrence Tech initiative is that residents in the Osborn neighborhood asked for it. Rather than outside experts telling Detroiters what they needed, Osborn residents told Skillman that they wanted to create a sustainable entrepreneurial culture.

“Residents said they want to build small and intergenerational family businesses,” says Jerry Lindman, director of Lawrence Tech’s Center for Nonprofit Management. “They want a permanent cultural change to do that.”

[via Model D]

Jos. Campau’s tallest building getting $1.5M mixed-use makeover

“Mixed-use development is the next wave in Hamtramck,” says community and economic development director Erik Tungate, and it’s coming in the redevelopment of the four-story Hauser Building.

The building, located on Jos. Campau at Belmont, will be redeveloped into one floor of commercial and three stories of for-sale lofts. Behind it, a new four-story building will be constructed with another three floors of lofts and ground-floor parking for all 10 residential units.

[via Model D]

A semester in Spain? Try Detroit

University alum Rachael Tanner was sitting in her urban and community studies class in April when a thought struck her: The University already sends students to Washington, D.C. for a semester. Why not set up a similar program in Detroit?

So Tanner came up with the idea for a semester-long residency in Detroit. She’s now organizing a program in which students live and work there for a semester while taking classes at the University’s Detroit Center.

[via Michigan Daily]

Mexican officials scout auto offices in metro Detroit

A delegation of Mexican officials was in metro Detroit Friday to explore opening about a dozen Michigan offices for mostly auto-related Mexican companies beginning next year.

Each office could employ up to 30 people in sales and administration, often in joint ventures with U.S. companies. Some of the Mexican companies being considered work in design and information technology for the auto industry.

[via Detroit Free Press]

AIA Detroit hosting tour of architect designed homes in downtown Royal Oak

Picking out an architect’s home is pretty easy. Just look for the one that takes the most chances and still finds the means to make them work in its own unique, quirky way.

In the neighborhood adjacent to downtown Royal Oak’s east side, that home belongs to Frank Arvan, principal architect at FX Architecture. His 2,800-square-foot home/office is built around a central courtyard using industrial materials, such as pour-in-place concrete walls, galvanized metal roofs and siding. Then there are the soft wooden doors and windows on the front faade that respects the character of the surrounding bungalows.

[via Metromode Media]

Ann Arbor’s Citi Centre Lofts become 4 Eleven Lofts, construction begins

Never mind that work crews have razed the old TCF Bank training center building and are prepping the fenced-off site at the corner of Division and Washington streets, behind the McKinley Towne Centre, for construction. Nevermind that the developers web site is now calling the development 4 Eleven Lofts. Thats not “news.”

Earlier this year, however, ;a Joseph Freed spokesman said a ground breaking on the development was set for September with construction wrapping up in May of 2009.

[via Metromode Media]

Cbeyond enters Detroit market

Cbeyond Inc. has established a Detroit office and plans to hire about 100 staff for the new office by the end of its first year.

“Detroit is the eleventh largest small business market in the United States with over 51,000 small businesses, and we built Cbeyond from the ground up to serve such small businesses exclusively,” said Jim Geiger, Cbeyond chairman and CEO. “This fact combined with the pro-competitive regulatory climate in Michigan made Detroit a great fit for Cbeyond. Our productivity-enhancing applications will help fuel Detroit’s thriving small business community.”

[via Bizjournals.com]

Windsor: the Las Vegas of the North

Windsor, Ontario offers a variety of bars and a large casino close to Bowling Green, but one of the biggest reasons as to why it is so popular with students is the legal age to participate in these activities.

With Canada’s legal age to drink and gamble being 19, many students, especially those under 21, travel north of the border to Windsor to enjoy themselves.

[via Bowling Green News]

These numbers add up to a better city

Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick has always been good at promoting Detroit as one of the nation’s most untapped business markets. Now he has the numbers to back him up.

A six-month analysis of the city’s population and buying power suggests Detroit is both bigger and wealthier than the latest census figures suggest. The numbers, produced by Social Compact Inc., a reputable nonprofit group out of Washington, D.C., put a valuable new sales tool in the mayor’s hands.

[via Detroit Free Press]

RTI International opens Ann Arbor office

RTI International is expanding its Health Solutions business unit, opening a new office at the home of the University of Michigan.

The new Ann Arbor office features six employees providing research and consulting to pharmaceutical clients, RTI says. Specifically, the office will provide consulting on health outcomes - the study of how the health care process affects patients.

[via Bizjournals.com]

Social Compact study findings make powerful statement about Detroit’s growing core

The resident population of Detroit is 933,043, nearly 62,000 more than projected by the current Census population estimates. ;The average income of a Detroit household is $48,000 as opposed to the 2000 Census estimate of $40,900. ;There is $800 million of informal economic activity in Detroit’s economy each year. This is income like tips, side-consulting, baby-sitting and the like that do not register on traditional market measures.The aggregate income of Detroit households, $15.8 billion, is $2 billion greater than indicated by 2000 Census estimates.At least $1.7 billion of resident retail spending is being leaked outside the city limits.

Traditional census methods tend to undervalue older urban cities for several reasons, one of them being a bias towards new home construction. “The bureau assumes that a certain percentage of homes built before 1940 are retired each year,” says Social Compact president and CEO, John Talmage. “The burden rests on the city to prove otherwise.”

[via Model D]

Dollar parity can’t quench US desire for Windsor’s vices

Americans may be getting fewer cigars, beers and fully nude strip shows for their money, but most don’t seem to mind paying a little extra.

Despite the rising loonie and fears it would scare American tourists away from Windsor, many still found good reason to cross the border on the weekend, and it was all about what they couldn’t get at home.

[via National Post]

Taubman CEO predicts Metro Detroit comeback

NOVI — Even in the midst of Michigan’s deep economic troubles, Robert Taubman sees Metro Detroit making a big comeback.

Maybe not next year or the next, but the state will bounce back, he said. In 20 to 30 years, he anticipates a thriving regional economy.

[via DetNews.com]

Developer planning condos for fans

Following the lead of several real-estate companies across the nation, a developer is working on plans to build hotel-style condominiums in Ann Arbor aimed at fans who want a place to stay on football weekends.

The condos will be about a mile and a half from Michigan stadium and cost between $97,000 and $189,000, said Mike Brenan, general manager of Brenan Hospitality Management Group.

[via Michigan Daily]

Motor City primed for development

It’s a tough economic climate for optimists, especially when talking about a city that has for years struggled to keep and attract businesses and residents. So Detroit’s recent construction activity is examined by some who cautiously ask: Can this last?

The answer is just as cautious: probably.

[via MLive.com]

Square Footage: Detroit development up to residents

But that’s part of the problem - the “magic bullet” approach, according to Robin Boyle, Wayne State University professor and Urban Land Institute co-chair. And chances are, if you’re reading this month’s edition of Structures, the thing that will save Detroit, the region and the state could very well be you.

Providing an infrastructure for mass transit will be part of the recovery, along with clean and modern facilities, Boyle said. So will having the right zoning for repurposing and redeveloping the city. So will private investment and the willingness to keep building residential and commercial sites in Detroit - and any number of our other aging cities, like Royal Oak and Birmingham - Boyle said. Cooperative efforts that cross county lines, as well as cooperation between government and private investment, will be required.

[via MLive.com]

State’s economy might buck up on loonie’s rise

The fact that the Canadian dollar — nicknamed for the bird stamped on the flip side of the Canadian dollar coin — now equals the U.S. dollar in value could mean we’ll see even more Canadian shoppers at metro Detroit malls.

Doug Phillips tells the story of two men who recently drove nearly 200 miles from Waterloo, Ontario, to Auburn Hills. Each man spent a few thousand dollars at the Bass Pro Shops Outdoor World in Great Lakes Crossing.

[via Detroit Free Press]

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