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Transit-oriented plan for west Dearborn wins $10K PlacePlan grant

A transit-oriented development in west downtown Dearborn is getting a $10,000 show of support from the Michigan Municipal League, which selected five projects statewide for their promise of completing developments that create a sense of place and, in turn, economic vitality.

The project, known as TOD, has been in the planning and design stages since 2012. It would serve as a focal point for the community, be a multi-modal connector for local and regional commuter needs, and also a link between local attractions and points of interest. The design calls for a pedestrian-oriented, mixed-use, livable district adjacent to several key sites in Dearborn, chief among them the John D. Dingell Transit Center, which opened in December 2014.

In addition to being a transportation facilitator, the development will support a complementary downtown redevelopment project.

The site boundaries include Michigan Avenue to the north; the Rouge River, Norfolk Southern Railroad, and The Henry Ford to the east; Ford Motor Company to the south; and Oakwood Avenue to the west.

The $10,000 PlacePlan grant will give the city funding to help design an extension of West Village Drive into the TOD area as a “living street,” which uniquely accommodates pedestrian movement and vehicle circulation.

The project also carries out a much larger vision locally, regionally, and beyond.

"Upon its creation, the TOD site will be used by Dearborn as a space for both planned and spontaneous year-round activities. It will connect multiple assets and make them accessible by foot, bicycle, or transit, therein reducing transportation expenses and making the region more affordable and sustainable," says a statement from the Michigan Municipal League. "The creation of a transit-oriented development in this significantly auto-centric community could be a best-practice model for future development of livable, sustainable neighborhoods elsewhere around the state and nation."

Source: Michigan Municipal League
Writer: Kim North Shine

Ford House renovations to restore historical elements, enhance visitor experience

Numerous renovations are underway at the Edsel and Eleanor Ford House in Grosse Pointe Shores in accordance with the Ford family's wishes to care for the environment.

Changes to the estate include major electrical upgrades and a new stormwater management system. The upgrades are the start of a series of improvements that will ensure the estate's historical integrity and enhance the visitor experience.

The family estate-turned-attraction offers public tours of the Albert Kahn-designed home and its grounds. It also serves as a venue for concerts and other special events.

The addition of a bridge to Bird Island, a peninsula created by the Fords and landscape architect Jens Jensen, is the only upgrade to the estate that will be visible to visitors. A piece of land was removed to to allow the water between the cove and the lake to move freely.

The bridge will let visitors step into the seclusion of the island and also learn about the surrounding bioswale.

The public is invited to visit the bridge at a free preview on July 8.

“We invite people to enjoy the estate just as the Fords did,” said Kathleen Mullins, president and CEO of the Ford House. “For our visitors, and for the future of the estate, we are enriching their opportunity to be part of the natural environment when they visit. And, we want to use the work we are doing as a means for understanding and learning about good stewardship. As they see the flow of water that is being naturally cleaned before entering the Cove they will understand how initiatives like this contribute to the health of our waterways. We invite our visitors to explore and discover this extraordinary estate, to spend time, to ask questions, and to take away ideas for how they might become involved with environmental initiatives in southeast Michigan.”

Source: Joe Ferlito, Franco Public Relations Group
Writer: Kim North Shine

New $12M ballpark could be home run for Macomb County

A 4,000-seat ballpark is under construction in the city of Utica in Macomb County.

The field will be home to the United Shore Professional Baseball League's three professional teams, which will be made up of "overlooked young players, mostly with college experience, who haven't made it into the major league farm system," says Andrew Appleby, chairman and CEO of General Sports and Entertainment, the ballpark's developer.

"It will be a highly competitive and entertaining style of baseball," he says.

For Utica and Macomb County, the $12-million ballpark, which is located at the northeast corner of Auburn Road and Moscona Drive and will be named Jimmy John's Field, could be an economic home run.

"For the city of Utica, this ballpark will prove to be transformative. For the county of Macomb, it is an economic, quality-of-life, and recreational asset," says Macomb County Executive Mark Hackel. "For the region it will prove to be a destination location."

Besides seating for 4,000 spectators, the field will have a grandstand, five dugout suites, five penthouse suites, 12 private patio siutes, a grass berm, and four picnic areas.

The Utica Downtown Development Authority is leasing the land, a former household waste disposal site and brownfield redevelopment project.

In addition to baseball games, the field will host concerts, movie night, community events, and college and high school sporting events.

Construction is expected to take 12 months from this week's groundbreaking and be complete in time for opening day in June 2016.

Source: John Cwikla, spokesperson, Macomb County
Writer: Kim North Shine

Scott Shuptrine Interiors moves into new Grosse Pointe location

A large, long-vacant spot in Grosse Pointe will soon be occupied by Scott Shuptrine Interiors.

The luxury home goods store is opening this week at 17145 Kercheval Ave. in Grosse Pointe's Village shopping district.

The space was previously a Borders bookstore that has now been divided into several new businesses.

Scott Shuptrine is the only home goods store in the Village other than a bed and bath store and a gift shop. At the opposite end of the block is a Calico fabric and upholstery store.

In addition to high-end furniture and accessories, the store will host weekly design classes.

Source: Scott Shuprtine Interiors
Writer: Kim North Shine

A second city-owned movie theater opens in Grosse Pointe Park

The city of Grosse Pointe Park has opened a second movie theater, this one offering more variety to residents who have packed the original theater, which shows mostly family movies, since it opened 12 years ago.

The 70-seat, $750,000 Carol C. Schaap Theater was built next door to the current Okulski Family Theater and was paid for by donations from the local Schaap family and the nonprofit Grosse Pointe Park Foundation to the city.

The movie theaters are opened to residents of all of the Grosse Pointes.

The theaters are located inside Windmill Pointe Park and show a changing selection of first-run or near first-run movies week to week.

In addition to parks that come with pools, marinas, an ice rink, a splash pad, a putting green, workout facilities, gyms, and views of Lake St. Clair, Grosse Pointe Park plans to build an art center. It's all part of moves to attract and retain residents and businesses. A year-old trolley funded by the city and local businesses expanded this year.

Source: City of Grosse Pointe Park
Writer: Kim North Shine

Wok Asian Bistro opens in downtown Northville

Wok Asian Bistro, a new restaurant featuring exhibition cooking, opened this week in downtown Northville.

The restaurant at 144 Mary Alexander Ct. serves create-your-own, wok-cooked meals or specialties such as Thai peanut noodles and edamame lo mein.

The owners want to set the restaurant apart by cooking with premium and organic beef, chicken, Thai-imported shrimp, locally- and house-made Asian sauces, and the top selling soy sauce from Japan prepared by a wok master.

Source: Northville Downtown Development Authority
Writer: Kim North Shine

Durr Group sets up North American HQ in Southfield

The Durr Group, a global mechanical and plant engineering firm with a majority of its business in the auto industry, is relocating its North American headquarters to Southfield.

The operation will move its offices into a renovated former DTE Energy facility located on 14 acres on Northwestern Highway. A nearly 100,000-square-foot newly constructed building will include testing, training, and valuation centers.

The redevelopment, which is located in a brownfield-designated area, will bring an investment of about $40 million to the city along with nearly 500 jobs.

The project comes with tax abatements and will include a re-use that incorporates innovative, cost-effective energy saving technologies,

"The resulting campus will enable increased collaboration, communication, and creativity, benefiting employees and customers alike," says Rochelle Freeman, the city's business development manager.

Source: City of Southfield
Writer: Kim North Shine

MOD Pizza coming to metro Detroit

MOD Pizza (short for Made on Demand) is opening in Livonia June 22.

A second location for the Seattle-based chain known for "super fast" artisanal-style pizza made with organic ingredients in exactly the way customers wish is expected to open in Northville later this summer.

Livonia-based TEAM Schostak Family Restaurants plans to bring 25 MOD Pizza franchises to southeast Michigan in the next five years.

The Livonia location will be located in a 2,600-square-foot space on Middlebelt Road south of I-96.

The Northville store will open in the sprawling Park Place redevelopment at Seven Mile and Haggerty roads.

Besides build-your-own pizzas made from a choice of 30 ingredients and baked in an 800-degree oven in less than three minutes, MODs serve draft beer and handmade milkshakes.

Source: TEAM Schostak Family Restaurants
Writer: Kim North Shine

AMP theater pumps up downtown Milford

Amp in Central Park, a new amphitheater, soon will fill downtown Milford with the sounds of music and other performances.

The $500,000 LaFontaine Family Amphitheater grew out of a community-supported fundraising and support from sponsors including the LaFontaine family, the Rotary Club of Milford, the Huron Valley Chamber of Commerce, and the Milford Downtown Development Authority. Individuals giving in amounts of $10, $20, or $30 also played a significant role in funding the project that is seen as transformative for Miford.

The theater design emphasizes nature, from grass-covered steps to a walkway for spectators to trees and vines that complement the facility's restrooms and stage.

Opening day was last week, coinciding with the start of a summer concert series. For a schedule of concerts, click on Meet Me in Milford's website. The theater is located on Main Street between Huron and Liberty streets.

Source: Franco Public Relations and Milford Downtown Development Authority
Writer: Kim North Shine

Royal Oak bar, O'Toole's, opening in Rochester

O'Toole's Irish American Grill in Royal Oak is opening a restaurant in Rochester.

The second O'Toole's could open by fall after renovations on the 9,000-square-foot former restaurant space it will occupy are complete.

O'Toole's owner, Keith Wadle, is a resident of Rochester Hills.

His new restaurant, which is expected to be a family friendly sports bar, will be located at 139 South Main St.

Source: City of Rochester
Writer: Kim North Shine

Farmington Hills archery range targets residents, visitors looking for new things to do

Farmington Hills is upping the amenities in the city  -- there already is an ice rink and performance stage for the community -- by adding an archery range.

The Riley Archery Range is scheduled to open at Heritage Park June 13 and give visitors to Farmington Hills another reason to come to town.

The range will have eight shooting lanes with distances between 10 and 30 yards. The varying lanes accommodate a wide range of ages and abilities. There will be open shooting times, group reservations, and lessons offered, as well as lanes for rent for camps and birthday parties.

The Riley Archery Range was funded by the Riley Foundation, Panasonic, Safari Club International, ROWE Professional Services, and the Michigan Department of Natural Resources.

Bryan Farmer, deputy director for the city of Farmington Hills Department of Special Services, calls the community archery range "our next, big, interesting, unique venture" and says "it's like no other."

A grand opening celebration is set for July 13, a month after opening day.

Source: Bryan Farmer, deputy director, City of Farmington Hills Department of Special Services
Writer: Kim North Shine

 

New dog bone business builds on downtown Plymouth's dog-friendly

Three Dog Bakery has opened a store in downtown Plymouth, filling a vacant storefront and also building on a dog friendly culture that's taking hold downtown.

The new Three Dog Bakery is located at 422 S. Main Street. The owners renovated the spot for the franchise that bakes fresh dog bones and other treats for pets.

Like many other downtown businesses, dogs are welcome inside Three Dog Bakery.

Business owners see the dog-friendly policies as a way to attract customers who stroll downtown with their pets.

Source: Rochester Downtown Development Authority
Writer: Kim North Shine

 

The Robot Garage, an educational fun spot for kids, to open third location in Grosse Pointe Park

Grosse Pointe Park has a new business coming to town in The Robot Garage.

The location will be the third for the four-year-old, Birmingham-based business that uses Legos and building toys to stoke children's creativity and interest in math, science, and engineering. The facility will host summer camps and serve as an alternative birthday party venue. It will also be a place where kids can play freely.

The newest store is expected to open by July at 15201 Kercheval Ave. in Grosse Pointe Park's business district, which is experiencing a restaurant and retail revival.

Robot Garage owners Sarah and Jonathan Jacobs decided to open the first Robot Garage in Birmingham's Rail District after seeing a shortage of fun science- and math-minded activities available to their daughters, who were regularly attending princess and sports parties. The Jacobs later expanded to a second location in Rochester Hills.

The Grosse Pointe Park store is in a 4,500-square-foot space that will have areas for walk-in building time, camps, and birthday parties. The Robot Garage also staffs math, science, and engineering teachers to guide field trips and competitions.

Source: The Robot Garage
Writer: Kim North Shine

Proposed Royal Oak 'Smart Park' needs funders

The city of Royal Oak is looking to the public to help fund what's being called a "smart park." The plans include an environmentally-friendly gathering space for kids, a center promoting local businesses through information kiosks, a Wi-Fi-connected outdoor work space with charging stations, an event space, a public art area, and more.

But first the city must raise $60,000 from the public through a crowdfunding campaign. The city has until June 16 to raise the money in order for the Michigan Economic Development Corp. to award a matching grant from the Public Spaces Community Places program, which is also supported by the Michigan Municipal League and Patroncity, a crowdfunding site that opens municipal projects up to local residents to support.

The proposed smart park would be located on Center Street in downtown Royal Oak. Check out the funding situation here.

"We are thrilled to move forward on such an incredibly ambitious project—one that will connect Royal Oak in smart new ways," says Jim Ellison, mayor of Royal Oak. "We have done our homework, talking to a variety of experts from 'green' planners to local technology gurus. We believe our smart park concept has potential on so many fronts."

"The Royal Oak Smart Park really exemplifies what Public Spaces Community Places is all about—the community banding together to transform an underutilized plaza into an unique and engaging destination,” says Katherine Czarnecki, community development director at the MEDC.
 
Source: City of Royal Oak
Writer: Kim North Shine

Tattoo lifestyle brand Ink Addict opens store in downtown Ferndale

Ink Addict, an apparel brand that celebrates tattoos and tattoo artistry, has expanded by opening its own retail store in downtown Ferndale.

The new store at 22007 Woodward Ave. opened April 25 and sells Ink Addict's original designs for clothing and accessories in a space that also showcases local art -- also for sale -- and features rotating guest tattoo artists.

Ink Addict, which was started in 2007 by then-college students Nathan Martin and Jim Doyon from a basement in Royal Oak, has become a globally-recognized tattoo lifestyle brand available online and in more than 400 stores in the U.S. and in 25 countries.

The owners moved their production facility to Ferndale in 2013 and decided to renovate the front portion of the 10,000-square-foot space into what the owners are calling Ink Addict's flagship store and home base for connecting tattoo enthusiasts.

“We wanted to make a difference in a struggling economy,” co-owner Jim Doyon says of their decision to start Ink Addict. “For the first couple years, we put everything we made back into the company. We didn't get financial help. We just worked our asses off and believed that one day it would pay off. We surrounded ourselves with some amazing people and are so thankful for all the individuals who have become our family in this journey."

Source: Ferndale Area Chamber of Commerce
Writer: Kim North Shine
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