| Follow Us:

Berkley : Development News

79 Berkley Articles | Page: | Show All

Woodward Ave. transformation revealed

Plans to redesign Woodward Avenue between Detroit and Pontiac into a thoroughfare that will be prepared for mass transit as well as welcoming to bikers and walkers are being aired on public access cable channels in Oakland County.

Some of the organizations behind the plan, the Woodward Avenue Action Association, Southeast Michigan Council of Governments and the municipalities that line the avenue, are looking for public feedback as local, county and state officials get behind the Complete Streets plan.

Steven Huber, a spokesperson for Oakland County, says the plan could transform Woodward into a scenic thoroughfare in ways to promote business and usability.

Engineering firm Parsons Brinckerhoff came up with a redesign of the 27-mile stretch of road in a master plan that's believed to be one of the largest of its kind in the nation.

The planning and public feedback are moving at a faster pace as Oakland County and several municipalities work to prepare for the arrival of light rail on Woodward Avenue in Detroit.

The idea is to unite metro Detroit through a major corridor that's easy to travel, to stimulate transit-oriented development, and to create jobs.

Source: Steve Huber, marketing and communications officer, Oakland County
Writer: Kim North Shine

Tasty health food stirs up interest in Berkley's new Republica restaurant

The owners of the new Republica in downtown Berkley are calling their endeavor a food and drink revolution.

The menu is designed for meat lovers, vegetarians, and gluten-free eaters. The idea people behind the menu are a family with a history in restaurants from metro Detroit to Chicago.

The idea is to serve rich, memorable meals that don't leave your stomach feeling rich and fatty afterward and to serve food and drinks grown or made locally, from Michigan farms to nearby bakeries and to focus on healthy, natural food, not processed, not fried.

Craft cocktails and Michigan beers are served from a bar that was one of many major, stylish renovations to the restaurant that was formerly the Berkley Bistro & Cafe. It's located at 1999 Coolidge.

Comments and reviews on Twitter, Facebook and Yelp are showing locals are loving the fresh food like the urban farm sandwich and fresh fruit cocktail drinks from the bar.

Source: City of Berkley
Writer: Kim North Shine

Holy Cannoli's expands to OU campus

The reach of Holy Cannoli's family recipe for sweet-filled Italian pastry is expanding once again.

The downtown Rochester bakery that opened in 2010 first expanded to a second store in Berkley in April, then started selling its goods last week on the campus of Oakland University.

Traditional cannoli and cannoli chips will be sold at the coffee shop inside OU's Human Health Building on Squirrel and Walton roads.

Holy Cannoli's, which come in several flavors, are also on the menu at D'Amato's in downtown Royal Oak, and can be found at Eastern Market on Saturdays and the Bank of Antiques store in Washington Township.

Source: Nicole Franey, co-owner, Holy Cannoli's
Writer: Kim North Shine

FoodTruck Cafe's trucks under one roof concept takes off

The idea of re-creating faux food trucks inside a cafe is taking off in Berkley, where locals are walking and biking to the newest restaurant based on an off-beat idea.

The FoodTruck Cafe, with its three food trucks without wheels, is also drawing destination diners, says Kerry Johnson, who co-owns the business with Jon Glab.

Wherever they come from, they're looking for good food, creative food that's fast and in a fun setting, they say.

The trucks inside the space at 28557 Woodward Ave., which previously was a Coffee Beanery, serve sandwiches, salads, Mexican, coffee, and smoothies.

The Sideshow Sandwich Emporium, Air Stream Espresso and Nacho Ordinary Nacho are the creations of the pair with a background in restaurants and hospitality. Johnson founded the Cupcake Station and Glab owned the Strawberry Moon in Ferndale.

They combined sit-down restaurants with the outdoor feel of food trucks by decorating the cafe with picnic tables inside and outside and plastering the main wall with photographs that look like an outdoor scene of Detroit from the early 1900s.

Writer: Kim North Shine
Source: Kerry Johnson, co-owner, FoodTruck Cafe

Berkley's FoodTruck Cafe bringing food carts indoors

The FoodTruck Cafe is giving customers of rolling restaurants a place to sit down and eat indoors or out.

The cafe is opening June 24 in Berkley with three food trucks re-created inside the cafe: the Sideshow Sandwich Emporium, Nacho Ordinary Nacho and Airstream Espresso. The cafe is taking shape inside a closed Coffee Beanery at 28557 Woodward Ave.

FoodTruck Cafe will be open from 6 a.m. to 10 p.m. and serve breakfast, including Airstream Espresso Illy coffee. Lunch and dinner feature the conundrum bacon sandwich with its applewood smoked bacon, avocado, tater tots, tomatoes, onion and mayo from Sideshow Sandwich, or Nacho Ordinary Nacho's barbecue pork nachos with pulled pork, Bermuda onions, Monterey Jack cheese, cole slaw and a dollop of crema de Sriracha sauce.

The founder, Kerry Johnson, wants "to bring street food indoors." There will also be outdoor seating, and the vibe inside and out will be casual with picnic tables and twinkly lights.

Writer: Kim North Shine
Source: Kerry Johnson, owner, FoodTruck Cafe

Oakland County opens business center for entrepreneurs

Oakland County is trying to make starting a business or taking it to the next level easier for entrepreneurs by offering free, walk-in business counseling.

The One Stop Shop Business Center at the Oakland County Executive Office building, 2100 Pontiac Lake Road, in Waterford will open May 9 and offer regular walk-in hours after that. The hours for May 9 are 9:30-noon and 1:30-4:30. The business center is on the first floor of Building 41W.

“We usually operate on an appointment-only basis but many entrepreneurs walk into our One Stop Shop with questions on how to get started with their business idea,” says Greg Doyle, supervisor of the One Stop Shop Business Center. “By designating special walk-in days, we hope to reach more entrepreneurs and help them understand their next steps as well as present the resources we can make available to them. Our aim is to get them started quickly in a way that makes the most sense to their unique situation.”

Counselors at the business center can answer specific questions, suggest planning tools and give direction on where to go to solve problems or achieve goals. All sessions are confidential. The counselors have expertise in business development, community planning, financing and market research.

Writer: Kim North Shine
Source: Greg Doyle, supervisor, One Stop Shop Business Center

Holy expansion: Rochester-based Holy Cannoli's adds Berkley shop

The fifth-generation recipe for Holy Cannoli's cream-filled pastries has caught on so much that the downtown Rochester business has opened a second location in Berkley.

The new store is at 2752 Coolidge Highway. The first, which opened about a year ago, is at 415 South Main St. in Rochester. The business has been in the making since at least 2010, when owners Nicole Franey, her mother Cathy Schulte and grandmother Sharon Beheler decided to sell to friends, to their friends' friends, and at festivals and farmers markets, and then make the jump from family service to anonymous consumers.

Franey calls the expansion "an anniversary gift to ouselves."

Holy Cannoli's cannolis come filled with traditional creams and specialties such as key lime, pistachio, Michigan cherry, cookies and cream, and revolving choices. The creams are piped in after customers order.

Holy Cannoli's is also known for baked goods like its cassata cake.

Although it's moved into retail spaces, Holy Cannoli's hasn't abandoned farmer's markets. Every Saturday, Eastern Market shoppers will find Holy Cannoli's at Shed #5 in Eastern Market.

Writer: Kim North Shine
Source: Nicole Franey, co-owner, Holy Cannoli's

Come talk about Rapid transit along the Woodward Corridor

As regional transit authority legislation moves through Lansing, plans are going forward to bring rapid transit to the 27-mile stretch of the Woodward Avenue Corridor from Jefferson Avenue in Detroit to downtown Pontiac.

Several meetings will be hosted by the Woodward Avenue Action Association, the Michigan Suburbs Alliance and the Southeast Michigan Council of Governments and are part of an "alternative analysis, the first step in the process of developing a transit system," says Richard Murphy, programs director Michigan Suburbs Alliance.

The meetings, especially the comments from attendees, will be folded in with technical data, cost and other considerations, he says, as decisions about the exact route, the technology to be used, the station locations as well as connections to the M-1 Rail Streetcar project, high speed rail service and Complete Streets are wrapped into an overall plan.

"We’ll be talking about the purpose and need for the project…What is it that we need transit to do on Woodward and laying out the roadmap for the rest of the work. Over the course of 2013, we’ll have
additional meetings around major steps in the process," Murphy says.

Upcoming meetings are:

Thursday, December 6, 5-7 p.m., Baldwin Public Library, 300 West Merrill Street, Birmingham.
Tuesday, December 11, 4-6 p.m., Detroit Palmer Park Police Station, 12th Precinct, 1441 W. Seven Mile Road.
Wednesday, December 12, 6-8 p.m., Ferndale Public Library, 222 E. Nine Mile Road, Ferndale
Saturday, December 15, 11 a.m.-1 p.m., Bowen Senior Center, 52 Bagley Street, Pontiac.

Writer: Kim North Shine
Source: Richard Murphy, programs director, Michigan Suburbs Alliance

Woodward Ave. communities plan for sustainability amidst growth

The goal of the Woodward Sustainability 5 partnership is to brainstorm and plan for development and economic prosperity while being mindful of how to achieve those things with limited resources and without detrimental impacts on the environment and future generations.

The "5" refers to Berkley, Ferndale, Pleasant Ridge, Royal Oak and Huntington Woods, all cities with Woodward as a common thoroughfare, and is an initiative of the Oakland County Planning & Economic Development department. The partnership is hosting public meetings, one tonight, Oct. 11, from 6-8 p.m. at the Pleasant Ridge Community Center.

It is one of several meetings that will culminate in a plan that will outline ways the communities can "work together and leverage resources for a sustainable future," Steve Huber, marketing and communications officer for the department of economic development and community affairs, says in a statement announcing the meeting.

A description of the initiative says, "the partnership seeks to engage a diverse cross-section of the community, including environmental, business, social services, health, and educational institutions. The goal of the group is to develop a plan which will help the communities work together and leverage shared resources for a sustainable future."

The final plan, which is being paid for with a $25,000 of in-kind services from the county and a $50,000 grand from the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality, should be completed by March 2013.

Writer: Kim North Shine
Source: Steve Huber, marketing and communications officer for Oakland County's Department of Economic Development and Community Affairs.

Educational firm SHW Group nearly doubles Berkley office space

A national educational architectural firm is expanding its space, its menu, and staff in response to growing demand for the metro Detroit office.

SHW Group broke ground Sept. 4 on a 13,480-square-foot addition to its Berkley office at 2338 Coolidge, nearly doubling the size of the building to 28,680 square feet.

The company, which has offices in Austin, Dallas, Baltimore, Charlottsville, Houston, San Antonio and Washington, D.C., opened in Berkley in 2003 and has doubled its personnel since then, including 16 more jobs in the last six months, says Maggie Turner, a spokesperson.

The job creation has come from high demand from educational institutions and also from new areas the company ventured into: mechanical, electrical, and plumbing engineering. As the business has grown, so has staff, including a laid-off automotive engineer who's found a new career.

“In a little less than 10 years, we have experienced great growth, making us the second-largest employer in Berkley,” SHW Group CEO Marjorie Simmons says. “This addition will allow us to continue to provide our clients with the same quality of service and specialized expertise they have come to expect from SHW Group.”

SHW's new office, which is expected to be completed in February, will be built with conservation and environmental protection in mind and according to a plan that meets the standards for silver LEED certification from the U.S. Green Building Council.

Source: Maggie Turner, Sunwest Communications, spokesperson for SHW Group
Writer: Kim North Shine

Berkley-based Shanti Yoga blends yoga with financial advising

Rebecca Bayes has brought together her two passions into one business in downtown Berkley.

It's an unlikely pairing, but Bayes, a longtime financial consultant and yoga practitioner, believes mixing the two fields and helping her financial consultants get in touch with their emotional, spiritual, and physical sides is the next frontier in finance.

She's exploring it through her newly opened Shanti Yoga on Coolidge between Catalpa and 12 Mile roads.

"It's my fantasy," she says. "It's amazing to see it come together."

Shanti, which means peace, opened July 2 in a 1,300-square-foot renovated building that now has offices, meeting rooms, and yoga studio in one.

Bayes, who was a longtime financial consultant for Comerica Bank before going out on her own two years ago, already plans to expand to physical therapy and reiki.

Source: Rebecca Bayes, owner, Shanti Yoga
Writer: Kim North Shine

Landmark Vinsetta Garage to house metro Detroit's next hot restaurant

It's the hottest - maybe most mouth-watering - restaurant news in metro Detroit at the moment: the rebirth and transformation of the iconic Vinsetta Garage on Woodward in Berkley.

The brown paper covering the windows of the old station is staying on for now, but the kitchen will start turning out its creatively souped-up comfort foods at 4 p.m. today, June 1, owner Curt Catallo says. It's good prep for expanding to lunch service in a couple of weeks, he says.

Vinsetta Garage, a gas and service station that closed in 2009 but remains an architectural treasure, will go by the same name but turn out award-winning, burgers, mac & cheese and other dishes that can be described as home cooking meets every man's gourmet.

"We'll leave the paper on the windows and the sign off for a few days, so we can get our sea legs (so to speak)," Catallo writes in an email to metromode.

It's the latest venture from the people who brought metro Detroit the restaurant of the year in 2011, the Clarkston Union Bar & Kitchen, and Union Woodshop, which it calls a big-time small-town barbecue joint, also in Clarkston.

With Vinsetta Garage's opening and plans to turn a fire hall in Fenton into another restaurant - it's awaiting the OK of city officials there - the owners are on the verge of creating a mini-restaurant empire that, according to food critics, is taking metro Detroit - and Michigan's - restaurant options up more than a notch.

It's not only good food news, to many, but a sign of economic promise as a team of "70 or so very passionate individuals" will staff Vinsetta, including at least four full-time jobs.  More hirings are happening now to cover the lunch service, he says.

While Vinsetta is eating up the attention at the moment, the Clarkston Union and Union Woodshop, Food Network favorites, are used to being under the heat lamp. A recent episode was filmed with Kid Rock and host Food Network host Guy Fieri.

According to Facebook and a June 1 story in Crain's Detroit Business, the restaurant opening has been much anticipated and private events leading up to opening day are creating suspense.

"Been waiting for so long. Happy to hear it's almost time," says one post. "I'm only in town until Monday morning. Hook me up!" pleads another.

The food, the work of chef Aaron Cozadd, may be the highlight, but the interior design and decor, both the work of Catallo's wife Ann Stevenson, and renovation decisions such as converting the old gas pumps out front into electric car chargers is sure to lead to table talk.

"As groovy as it was to work through the preservation," Catallo writes. "We're ready to start running the joint and bringing people back to the garage once again."

Source: Curt Catallo, owner Vinsetta Garage and Facebook pages of Vinsetta Garage and Clarkston Union Bar & Kitchen
Writer: Kim North Shine

Regional mass transit effort expands to include all of Woodward Ave.

An effort to further study and coordinate mass transit options for the Woodward Avenue corridor from Detroit to Birmingham has expanded to include all of Woodward from the Detroit River to Pontiac.

Originally, the four-month-old group effort that includes the Oakland County Woodward-area suburbs of Ferndale, Pleasant Ridge, Huntington Woods, Royal Oak, Berkley and Birmingham focused on extending a mass transit line that would end at Woodward and 8 Mile to Birmingham. But a $2 million federal transportation grant, a change in design of the Woodward light rail line in Detroit, as well as a push by state and federal officials to create a truly regional rapid mass transit system for southeast Michigan broadened the focus area to include the entire 27-mile stretch of Woodward.

The Michigan Suburbs Alliance, the Southeast Michigan Council of Governments and the Woodward Avenue Action Association are working with the original steering committee and inviting all other communities along the route to join in. There will also be opportunity for public input as the planning process moves along.

The grant comes from the Federal Transportation Administration and pays for what's known as an Alternative Analysis, a required part of any mass transit development. It comes after the state legislature passed a bill to create an RTA, a Regional Transportation Authority that would cover Wayne, Oakland, Macomb, and Washtenaw counties and coordinate local bus systems and oversee creation of a rapid transit network. SEMCOG will manage the grant and work to ensure that any plans to come out of the broader effort coordinate with all other work underway in the region.

The larger focus comes as mass transit planners and proponents in Detroit have changed plans for a Woodward light rail line to a downtown circulator system.

Heather Carmona, executive director of the Woodward Avenue Action Association, says the effort goes beyond transit. “We’re working with the cities to make Woodward work for everyone who travels along it, and at connecting all transportation modes to economic development opportunities.”

Richard Murphy, transportation director at the Michigan Suburbs Alliance, says in a statement announcing the new, broader approach: “Detroit and the Oakland County suburbs recognize that better transit on Woodward will spur economic development both north and south of Eight Mile—but they need a regional transit authority to build and run the system. Governor (Rick) Snyder has proposed that the RTA work towards a rapid transit network including Woodward Avenue, and this alternatives analysis will let them move quickly towards that goal."

Source: Carmine Palombo, director of transportation planning, Southeast Michigan Council of Governments and Lori Elia Miller, marketing and communications manager, Woodward Avenue Action Association
Writer: Kim North Shine

Five Woodward Ave. communities partner on sustainability planning

Five southern Oakland County communities that share Woodward Avenue as their connector are partnering on a project to research how they might work together as one to save money, share services and care for the environment, among other goals.

Berkley, Ferndale, Pleasant Ridge, Royal Oak and Huntington Woods are participating in the collaboration with Oakland County called the South Oakland Multi-Community Sustainability Partnership.

"I applaud these Woodward 5 communities for undertaking this partnership," Oakland County Executive L. Brooks Patterson says in a statement. "With limited economic resources at our disposal, it is more important than ever that communities find innovative ways to collaborate."

Community groups, environmental groups, businesses, social service providers, health and educational institutions will be involved in the partnership as members work to identify meaningful changes to be made by the cities as a whole.

The goal is to devise a plan to work together and leverage shared resources for a sustainable future. Sustainability refers to the ability of communities to thrive without diminishing the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.

Oakland County Planning & Economic Development Services will provide $25,000 of in-kind services to match a $50,000 grant from the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality.

This is the second collaboration of its kind for the county, says Bret Rasegan, planning supervisor for Oakland County.

The cities of Rochester Hills, Auburn Hills, and Rochester make up the Tri-City Sustainability Partnership, which formed in January 2011 and may influence the latest partnership.

It has already identified potential changes, Rasegan says, and is working on designing ways to measure success. He says the five-city partnership became a part of the program because of its history of collaboration.

Source: Bret Rasegan, planning supervisor, Oakland County
Writer: Kim North Shine

How metro Detroit municipalities tried to create the downtown experience

The word downtown was tossed around a lot in 2011. Everybody has one or is working on creating one as they pursue the newfound love of things urban. Downtown Development Authorities, Chambers of Commerce, Main Street programs had Main Streets - and their equivalents - throughout metro Detroit putting money into makeovers and facelifts in 2011 as city leaders saw promise in creating places that preserve history, have varied businesses and invite walking, biking, strolling.

The changes were big and small. Together should convey: You want to come here. Decorative, energy-efficient street lights, attractive, theme-appropriate benches, trash-receptacles, pedestrian-safe sidewalks and crosswalks, art installations, benches, historic preservation projects, special events, facade grants, kiosks to direct visitors, even phone apps to get them around town - all wrapped in business recruitment and PR.

Cities with the most real downtowns: Rochester, Ferndale, Royal Oak, Mount Clemens, Dearborn, Plymouth, Northville. The up-and-comers: Auburn Hills, Clarkston, Berkley, Novi, Wyandotte.

Downtown Rochester $1 million streetscape re-do is on
http://www.metromodemedia.com/devnews/0818rochesterredo0221.aspx

Downtown Lake Orion gets $2 million streetscape, new microbrewery
http://www.metromodemedia.com/devnews/0922lakeorion0225.aspx

Mount Clemens invests more than $250K in way-finding signs
http://www.metromodemedia.com/devnews/0915wayfinders0224.aspx

Wyandotte DDA's business improvement grants paying off
http://www.metromodemedia.com/devnews/0526plymouthnightlife0211.aspx

Nightlife builds in downtown Plymouth
http://www.metromodemedia.com/devnews/0526plymouthnightlife0211.aspx

Ice rink cometh to Auburn Hills heating up plans for downtown
http://www.metromodemedia.com/devnews/icerink0192.aspx

Graduate housing, downtown parking and retail complex coming to Auburn Hills
http://www.metromodemedia.com/devnews/1201ahhousing0234.aspx

Main Street Oakland recognizes top downtown projects
http://www.metromodemedia.com/devnews/0310mainstreetoakawards0200.aspx


By Kim North Shine
79 Berkley Articles | Page: | Show All
Share this page
0
Email
Print
Signup for Email Alerts