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Student-journalist imagines new life in historic Detroit buildings

We get excited when student-journalists bust out into the local spotlight. We found this one by a Detroit architecture loving student Chris Zadorozny in HuffPost Detroit. An excerpt: 

With the recent push of hotels in the city now, including the Westin Book-Cadillac, the DoubleTree Fort Shelby, and the soon-to-be-renovated David Whitney Building into an Aloft Boutique hotel, this could work again. Yes, the Marriott at the Renaissance Center is right down the street, and most of the high-end visitors stay at the Book-Cadillac, the views could entice many to stay.

Read on here.

Detroit rises and shines for National Geographic Traveler

Writer Andrew Nelson saw plenty that impressed him on a return visit to Detroit at the behest of National Geographer Traveler. One thing that caught his eye were the art deco towers, which he says "make those in Miami’s South Beach look like anthills."

Then he met up with architectural historian Dan Austin. "Detroit has one of the largest collections of Roaring ’20s architecture anywhere in the country," Austin told him. "And it’s not just art deco buildings, either--a town house development, Lafayette Park, is the largest collection of mid-century modernist Mies van der Rohe residences in the world." Well said, Dan. 

Keep reading here.

BBC reports: Space for growth in Detroit

Sure, you may have heard much of this before -- that the city is underserved by national food chains, the manufacturing base has collapsed and population has been on a decades-long decline -- but it does feel kinda good to get the BBC to weigh in on urban farming, Eastern Market, the importance of Whole Foods entering the marketplace and, of course, the creative possibilities of having incredible amounts of space as an asset.

Read it all here.

Atlantic Cities profiles downtown catalyst Dan Gilbert

Dan Gilbert has been making plenty of news locally with his purchases of properties in the lower Woodward corridor. He's been getting some love from the national press, as well, like this Q&A in Atlantic Cities.

Read more about Gilbert's lifelong downtown love affair here.

AIA: Detroit part of "New Big Three" for practicing architects

In the voluminous, intriguing scholarly piece, writer Wellington Reiter describes Detroit, New Orleans and Phoenix as U.S. cities "that have visited the frontlines of the future and are reporting back to the rest of the us, a bit wobbly and worse for wear, but still standing and in some respects, regaining their footing."

The rest of his paper is even better. Read it here.

What is the Detroit brand? Experiencing people and place

Independent filmmaker Erik Proulx spent nearly two years traveling to Detroit to film Lemonade: Detroit, trying to find stories of reinvention that accurately reflect its brand. A brand, he says he could have never fully grasped without the first hand experience of being there.

Experience was the teacher for Proulx, as it is for us all.  

He writes all about it for Forbes, no less. Great stuff. Read about it here.

Eastern Market reinventing itself with more than food

The Detroit News reports: "A $3.9 million upgrade has begun of Eastern Market's Shed 5, which is the heart of the market's plant and flower business. The upgrades will include a commercial-grade kitchen aimed at upstart local food producers.

"Among the entrants in the farmer's market area are a self-described hacker space, a letterpress storefront and an art gallery. Plans are under way to build a community kitchen aimed at small-scale food entrepreneurs, and construction of a 40,000-square-foot fish farm inside a former city sewage facility may begin soon."

More, we say, more, more, more. Read the rest of the article here.

HuffPost Detroit rounds up Dan Gilbert's greatest hits of 2011

Most of us have followed the multiple stories of Quicken Loans founder/chairman Dan Gilbert buying up Detroit skyscrapers in the lower Woodward corridor. His newish company, Bedrock Real Estate Services LLC, manages the properties.

And there are hints of more to come. While we wait, HuffPost Detroit editor Simone Landon maps out Gilbert's real estate scores -- purchased for a cool, cumulative $50 million -- here.

Detroit Revitalization fellows announced

The Detroit Revitalization Fellows Program is a partnership between Wayne State University, the Kresge Foundation, Hudson-Webber Foundation and the Skillman Foundation that brings together talented professionals in Detroit. They will participate in a program combining two years of full-time employment with executive development-style education, networking opportunities and professional coaching and mentoring.

See the list of fellows here. We'll follow this story as it develops.

Progressive landscape for social entrepreneurship: it's here

Have a killer project that, no matter how great, fails to get the city's attention?

You're not alone, says writer-activist Achille Bianchi in HuffPost Detroit. "This is why so many grass-roots and socially progressive movements and organizations thrive and continue to thrive in Detroit," he writes. "Their invention, innovation and efficiency spawns from a certain type of need that only specialized tools can fix." We like how that sounds.

Read the rest of Bianchi's piece here.

Bright lights, our city: New documentaries focus on future of Detroit

Local production company One of Us Films is working on a documentary film that tightens the focus on the potential of smart urbanism around the world. Using the thesis laid out in Detroit Free Press writer John Gallagher’s "Reimagining Detroit," the documentary looks to Detroit’s future, and to the future of cities everywhere.

Check out a clip from director Carrie LeZotte's work in progress here. And while you're in a video-watching mood, check out a preview of another intriguing work in production, Keys to Detroit. We like it, and plan to keep our eyes on both.

Tony Goldman, master investor in urban spaces, zeroes in on Detroit

We're fascinated by developer/urbanist Tony Goldman's entrepreneurial magic touch. His investment strategies stretch from New York City's Upper West Side, downtown to Manhattan's Soho and way, way down to South Beach in Miami. He told Walter Wasacz he wanted to "flood the city with 100,000 artists from all over the world" and make Detroit "the capital of the experimental" in this interview we published in May

Goldman says he's ready to make some moves within the next three months. Right on, Tony. Read on here.

Bizdom chief calls Detroit "entrepreneurial field of dreams"

Dan Izzo zeroes in on a topic near and dear to our hearts: young and hungry thinkers, doers, builders and makers finding opportunities to do business in Detroit 2.0. Some of them have no ties to the city but come ready to plant their vision in this fertile place, says the Training and Launch Chief for downtown's Bizdom U.

The piece first appeared in HuffPost Detroit. Read it here, get inspired.

Cruise ships make new port a travel destination

Some skeptics questioned the logic of Detroit's new Public Dock and Terminal, which opened at a $21.5 million cost this summer on the banks of the Detroit River. According to this new story in the Freep, the new dock is already paying off in an influx of well-heeled tourists. The number of cruise ships planning stops at the Dock in 2012 is 13 -- a massive increase from the two ships who anchored in Detroit in 2011. At least 2,500 luxury tourists bound for the Great Lakes will set foot in the city next year.


"What's terrific about the new dock and Detroit is the proximity to the upper part of the Great Lakes," said Chris Conlin, president of Great Lakes Cruise Company in Ann Arbor, which markets the cruises. "I believe the new port in Detroit is the reason the Yorktown is sailing out of Detroit and not Windsor or Toronto."

Anchors away here!

Xconomy makes the Detroit-Silicon Valley comparison

Locally-based social entrepreneurs are repositioning the nation's geographic emphasis on Silicon Valley, attracting a business incubator at Wayne State, a venture capital fund based out of U of M, and the attention of tech wizards and venture capitalists on the West Coast.

At the Blackstone LaunchPad incubator at Wayne State, a diverse group of student entrepreneurs are being trained in running a business -- but locating those future companies in Metro Detroit is part of the program. And they're inspired by young social entrepreneurs like EnGarde Detroit's Bobby Smith and Veronika Scott of the Empowerment Plan to do more than just pay the bills.

Smith says his long-term goal is to help transform Detroit into the "Silicon Valley of social entrepreneurship. Detroit is the perfect place for it -- Detroit created the middle class. People here are not afraid of hard work," he says.

Read more here.
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