| Follow Us:

Development News

2484 Articles | Page: | Show All

New Farmington bookstore wants to offer all things steampunk

Off the Beaten Path, a bookstore and way more, is moving onto the main drag in downtown Farmington, building on its reputation as a go-to for all things steampunk.

Steampunk is an an emerging and fascinating literary genre and subculture where the Victorian era meets Sci-fi. Steampunkers participate heavily by dressing up, taking on characters and by sharing their own skills and artisan know-how in making clothing and accessories, knitting, crocheting, leather-working and turning out other artwork during Thursday Night Craft Nights at Off the Beaten Path. The same community comes together at festivals, for movie-making, exhibitions and conventions.

Off the Beaten Path's owner, Salathiel Palland, is a steampunker and mother of two. She's moving Off the Beaten Path Bookstore and Emporium less than a mile from her former location down the street on Grand River. While her special event nights, crafting sessions, pop-ups, combat exhibitions, were a major draw for the store that opened in 2010, foot traffic was minimal. The new location in the heart of downtown Farmington should change that, she says.

Th new store at 33314 Grand River will open July 13th. The front half of the store will be a bookstore with new and used selections, including H.G. Wells and Jules Verne. The back half will be a stage, crafting area and emporium, she says.

"Steampunk is very DIY, Do It Yourself. "What I love about having the products in my store is they're not only from Michigan-based artisans, 80 percent of it, clothing and everything, is locally handmade. It's awesome. It's stuff you can't get with your normal mall experience or at your normal store," she says.

"My goal is to have the largest collection of steampunk clothing, accessories, and products in the state…I've i've had people come as far from Ohio, Indiana and Illinois…It's a one-stop shop for the steampunk experience."

Source: Salathiel Palland, Off the Beaten Path
Writer: Kim North Shine

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

$1 million in redevelopment grants coming to Macomb County

The Environmental Protection Agency is sending $1 million Macomb County's way so that local economic development officials can redevelop brownfield property that may be contaminated.

A brownfield is land that can be difficult to redevelop, reuse or expand because of  pollution or perceived pollution. The upside is that brownfields let developers use municipal infrastructure that's already in place and also preserve open space.

“Brownfield sites create special challenges due to the expense involved with environmental cleanup,” says Stephen Cassin, executive director of Macomb County Planning and Economic Development. “These funds will help put some of our vacant properties back into new use while creating investment and new jobs in our key industrial areas.”

Macomb County and one of 240 communities nationwide, and the only county chosen in Michigan, to receive the grant from the EPA's Revolving Loan Fund.

In coming weeks and months, county officials will begin to identify and prioritize sites that have the most redevelopment promise.

Writer: Kim North Shine
Source: Stephen Cassin, executive director, Macomb County Planning and Economic Development

College HUNKS expands moving biz in Madison Heights

The local franchisees of College Hunks Hauling Junk have expanded their business in more than one way.

Dan Ryan and Patrick Lipa have moved the company into a larger space in Madison Heights and also added moving to their services.

Junk hauling has been lucrative for the pair who have seen growth every year since opening in 2009 and are hiring new employees to meet demand. College HUNKS, Honest, Uniformed, Nice, Knowledgable, Students, has 45 locations in the U.S.

The new Madison Heights facility includes pool tables and other amenities for a "work-happy atmosphere," says Jill Vanderpol, a spokeswoman for the company.

Writer: Kim North Shine
Source: Jill Vanderpol, spokeswoman, College Hunks Hauling Junk and Moving

Stone Works opens on Grosse Pointe Woods' Mack Ave.

Stone Works is bringing interior design and masonry work for indoors and outdoors to a storefront in Grosse Pointe Woods.

The store can serve as showroom and planning site for home and commercial projects. Stone Works is scheduled to open mid-June on Mack Avenue in place of a closed Verizon store.

"We've had very vibrant activity along Mack Avenue," says the city's building department director, Gene Tutage.

Writer: Kim North Shine
Source: Gene Tutag, director, Grosse Pointe Woods building department

Local leaders honored at 2nd annual Regional Transit Awards dinner

With southeast Michigan's Regional Transit Authority underway and M1-Rail about to break ground, a crowd of over 150 transit advocates had considerable cause for a buoyant mood as they strolled the stately gardens and ballroom of the Grosse Pointe War Memorial at Transit Riders United's second annual Regional Transit Awards dinner on May 21st.
"Developing a quality regional transit system is a marathon, not a sprint," said Megan Owens, TRU's Executive Director. "It's important to pause and recognize progress, and the people who are making a difference."
The Citizen Activist of the Year Award went to Neil Greenburg, whose Freshwater Railway website depicts a fictional Michigan rail system. Greenberg, a self-taught professional transit cartographer and operations consultant, developed the site to garner support for transit by offering a visual experience of the possibilities. Tools to rally public support are needed now more than ever, according to Greenberg.
"It's too early to say 'Mission Accomplished'," he said.  "We are at the beginning, not the end."
Michele Hodges, who until recently served as Executive Director of the Troy Chamber of Commerce, won the Corporate Transit Champion Award for engaging business, education, and labor leaders in the successful fight against former Troy mayor Janice Daniel's attempt to reject federal funding for the Troy Transit Center.
The Unsung Hero Award went to former legislator Marie Donigan, who worked to establish the RTA and make state laws and funding sources friendlier to transit. Donigan continues her transit advocacy work, recently helping to coordinate a 2-day Metro Detroit Transit Workshop.
Dennis Schornack, Senior Strategic Advisor to Governor Snyder, won Most Effective Public Servant Award for his work shepherding the RTA legislation through the political process.
A Transit Employee of the Year Award went to Detroit Department of Transportation bus driver Michael Childs, who was nominated by a rider for being on-time with a big, welcoming smile every day, despite an increased workload owing to recent cuts in DDOT funding and service.
Ann Arbor Transit Authority's new AirRide program, which now provides daily round-trip service between Ann Arbor and Detroit Metropolitan Airport, won the Exemplary Innovation Award.
The TRU board sprung two surprises: a Transit Opportunities Award for the entire RTA Board, and an Above and Beyond Award for Owens for her work at TRU.
Winners were selected by a panel of 4 judges, including Clark Harder, former legislator and Michigan Public Transit Association Executive Director, Heather Carmona, chief administrative officer of M1 Rail, Sue Zielinsli, managing director of Sustainable Mobility & Accessibility & Research & Transformation at the University of Michigan, and Polly Sedewa, transit activist and past TRU board member.

Writer: Nina Ignaczak 

Royal Oak's Monty's Beef Co. is where the healthier beef is

A beef from the Piedmonte region of Italy and prized there and in the U.S. for its quality is being sold from a new market in Royal Oak.

Monty's Beef Co. opened June 1 at 324 E. Fourth St. in downtown Royal Oak  and specializes in Piedmontese beef from a herd of cattle imported from Italy and raised humanely by a rancher in mid-Michigan.

It is sold at the store, online and by phone to customers -- whether for home use or by restaurants -- looking for cattle raised organically, fed well, not pumped with chemicals and known for producing meat that's as flavorful as prime, aged beef but with less cholesterol and fat.

The owners Jon and Rachel Leemis spent many months researching the beef industry, looking for purer, higher quality beef.

Their Monty's Beef Co. will sell directly or through orders that can be picked up in the store or delivered. Monty's has a Steak of the Month Club and gift packages as well as its regular menu of choice cuts.

In Italy, the Piedmonte breed of cattle graze in the Alps. The beef has been eaten there for centuries and is said to be tastier and healthier and considered superior to North American cattle breeds.

It can be found occasionally on menus in the U.S., but the owners of Monty's Beef Co. hope to make Piedmonte beef a menu staple.

Writer: Kim North Shine
Source: Rachel Leemis, owner, Monty's Beef Co.

JABS Gym brings BoYo to Birmingham

A new gym that combines yoga and boxing into one workout has moved into Birmingham's burgeoning Rail District.

JABS Gym opened last month at 2285 Cole with a boxing ring inside and an intimate workout studio, where BoYo is taught and combines the stretch, strength and inner calming of yoga with the high-impact cardio of boxing.

Besides BoYo, owners Willie "Fortune 500" Fortune, a pro boxer, David Tessler, a yoga expert, and his wife Meagan Tessler offer kickboxing and boot camps with group and individual classes and workouts.

There is also a weigh room and workout equipment.

The opening is filling out the Rail District, a mixed use development just east of downtown Birmingham off Maple Road, where there are townhouses, successful retailers and service-oriented businesses such as the Robot Garage and Goldfish Swim School and soon-to-open restaurants such as Griffin Claw Brewing Co.

Writer: Kim North Shine
Source: Meagan Tessler, co-owner, JABS Gym

Coffee and juice bar moves into downtown Northville

A man with a name that's pretty close to perfect for his line of work is opening a coffeehouse and smoothie bar in downtown Northville.

Johnny Coffey is the man behind Northville Roast, which opened last month at 133 W. Main, Suite 222, on the downtown square.

He is hoping to make a success of the storefront that's been home to other coffee shops by mixing it up with fresh-roasted beans and adding twists such as bringing in musicians and serving smoothies and fresh juices.

Northville Roast celebrated the opening at Northville's Memorial Day parade and, as Coffey says, "We are so excited to be re-launching your much anticipated hometown coffee shop."

Writer: Kim North Shine
Source: Johnny Coffey, owner, Northville Roast

Oakland Comm. College completes $6.3 million renovation

Oakland Community College  has completed a $6.34 million restoration and renovation of its Student Center on the Farmington Hills campus.

Besides making repairs to prevent years of leaks in the building, the renovations entailed new ceilings and lights and an overhaul of the campus bookstore. New study spaces were created, as was a new office for the Student LIFE programs.

A new theater and performance hall with a separate entrance were added to the building.

"We now have an ideal gathering space for our students, one that is inviting, promotes fellowship and has good study spaces," says OCC President Jacqueline Shadko.

The new student center also has display areas for students art work and graphic designs.

"It is our firm belief that an attractive campus environment not only enhances, but positively fosters the quality of the quality of the education experience for our students," Chancellor Timothy Meyer says in a statement. "Maintaining and improving our facilities would not be possible were it not for the confidence and support shown to OCC by the citizens of Oakland County, who have voted three times over the past 18 years in favor of providing OCC with the additional millage funds that make these types of projects possible.”

Writer: Kim North Shine
Source: Selvia Hines, marketing and communication, Oakland Community College

Michigan-based MJR building $16M theater in Troy

Oak Park-based MJR Digital Cinemas is opening its next theater in Troy, creating jobs and drawing an estimated 800,000 visitors annually to the spot that will also introduce a new concept in movie-watching.

The MJR Troy Grand Digital Cinema 16 will be located at the corner of Maple and Livernois roads and house 16 screens and 3,200 seats.

Ground will be broken on the 74,000-square-foot facility in September, and  opening day is expected by late April 2014.

The $16-million project will also dedicate one of its theaters to the MJR Epic Experience, a new concept that focuses on designing a theater around extra comfort and a higher level of customer service. The 460-seat theater will have a larger screen and larger, overstuffed leather seats with more space between seats. The Epic Experience Theater will also come with the MJR Studio Bar & Lounge.

“Troy has great demographics and is the perfect community in which to build a brand new and truly state of the art facility,” MJR CEO and founder Michael Mihalich says.
The Troy Grand will be MJR's ninth theater in southeast Michigan.

“The city of Troy is so proud to partner with MJR in transforming the Maple Road-Livernois corner into a first-class entertainment destination,” Mayor Dane Slater says.

Writer: Kim North Shine
Source: Cindy Stewart, city of Troy; Dane Slater, Troy mayor; Michael Mihalich, CEO, MJR Theaters

Is "community solar" next frontier in alternative energy?

Research into ways of opening up opportunities to ordinary citizens and businesses interested in building solar energy generators is underway, thanks to a grant from the Michigan Economic Development Corporation.

Think of it as the community garden of alternative energy. It lets shareholders or investors participate in a shared generation or renewable energy site in exchange for some benefit based on their investment, possibly savings on utility costs or profit. The concept is not a new one in cities such as Seattle and other parts of the Northwest.

“Renewable energy resources, such as community solar, offer many potential community, economic, environmental, national security, and societal benefits for the state,” MEDC President and CEO Michael A. Finney says in an announcement of the grant. “Through this study, we can identify ways to make community solar a growing solution for locally-owned clean energy.”

The $33,304 grant to the Great Lakes Renewable Energy Association will be used to perform a Community Solar PV Garden Feasibility Study that will help the MEDC's Renewable Energy Demonstration Program determine what the barriers are to forming community solar projects.

Barriers include high up-front costs and lack of optimal places to install solar gardens.

Writer: Kim North Shine
Source: Kathy Fagan, spokesperson, Michigan Economic Development Corporation

Hamlin Corner mega sports bar opening in Royal Oak

Hamlin's Pubs, a metro Detroit restaurant and sports bar chain, is opening what it describes as a sophisticated sports bar with live entertainment on the ground floor of the Wooodward North Lofts in Royal Oak.

Hamlin Corner, named after its corner spot in the loft and retail development, opens May 23 in the renovated 6,700-square-foot space at 386 N. Main near 11 Mile Road, a location that's been disappointedly vacant for six years.

Besides a redone interior with rich colors and dark woods, there will be sidewalk seating with restaurant windows opening to the patio. The restaurant capacity is about 300 customers, and a DJ stand and dance floor are part of the design by the owners who have years of experience in restaurants.

The menu will be "locally inspired," manager Anthony Mancini says, and offer burgers, sandwiches, soups, heartier entrees and specials like mussels and 50 beers on tap. It'll also give the ambitious Woodward North Lofts project more life and activity.

Giancarlo DeAngelis, majority owner of Hungry Howie's pizza restaurants, and Anthony Mancini co-own Hamlin Corner. Mancini will be the operating manager, continuing the growth of Hamlin Pubs, which has six other locations: Lake Orion, Rochester Hills, Troy, Clarkston, Chesterfield and two in Shelby Township.

Writer: Kim North Shine
Source: Anthony Mancini, owner/manager, Hamlin Pub Royal Oak

Car Condo proposal in Pontiac could restart vacant GM property

A vacant brownfield in Pontiac where General Motors once operated could be the site of an auto-related business trend -- car condos. Basically storage sites and gathering places for car lovers, car condos not only provide a place to safely keep a car but also to service it.

The proposal for M1 Concourse calls for a complex of four to six buildings, each one with 14-16 garages that can be tricked out by owners. Other possibilities for the 89.5-acre property include entertainment aspects such as an amphitheater and restaurants for visitors who bring may come for car shows or special events.

The initial part of the plan to re-use the site at Woodward Avenue and South Boulevard has been OK'd by city officials but still has other approvals to clear as developers work to re-use the property.

At an announcement of the project Wednesday, city and county officials expressed support for the M1 Concourse and RACER Trust.

RACER, Revitalizing Auto Communities Environmental Response Trust, was created by a U.S. Bankruptcy Court settlement to help clean up and redevelop former General Motors properties in 14 states.

The car condo concept has taken off in other cities around the country, especially developments known for high-priced cars kept by deep-pocketed owners who want a club of like-minded car lovers.

Woodward Warehouse, a much smaller version of what the M1 Concourse could be, opened last summer in Royal Oak not far from the avenue that carries the Woodward Dream Cruise. It is finding a market in storage, detailing, rebuilding, event hosting and member socializing.

Writer: Kim North Shine
Source: Bill Callen, RACER Trust

Downtown Northville has a new bridge to Main Street

An elevated walkway that connects downtown Northville's Main Street to a parking area is done, later than expected, but to the excitement of city and DDA officials who see it as a way to make the central business district more accessible and attractive.

The nearly $800,000 project, the Comerica Community Connection, is a pedestrian bridge styled with an historic downtown feel that connects the Marquis parking lot to Main Street near Comerica Bank and keeps downtown visitors from cutting through businesses or having to go around the block.

The walkway, which was first planned about five years ago, is one of several improvements for downtown and was spearheaded by the Northville Downtown Development Authority.

There are also street scape enhancements, new downtown signage and electric car charging stations done or on their way.

Writer: Kim North Shine
Source: Northville Downtown Development Authority
2484 Articles | Page: | Show All
Share this page
Signup for Email Alerts