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Detroit : In the News

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Detroit named to Fodor's Travel "Go List 2014"

Get your out-of-town networks packing! Detroit has broken into the ranks of upscale travel guide Fodor's list of the "top 25 trips we're looking to book right now."

Excerpt:

"Hip, new, culturally and design savvy Detroit is emerging, filled with microbreweries, coffee shops, organic bakeries, guerilla farming, forward-fashion boutiques, and funky cocktail spots. Art is a big draw, as talk continues about whether the world-class Detroit Institute of Arts may have to sell off important works. Check out the many new gallery spaces for more avant-garde work, or the Heidelberg Project, a blocks-long  outdoor  art project where the houses are masterpieces."

More here.

Investors rate Detroit commercial property a "Buy"

Dan Gilbert has been on a well-known Detroit property-buying spree for years now, and of late, other investors are getting in on Detroit's ground floor.

Excerpt:

"Despite a fiscal plight that forced the city to seek Chapter 9 bankruptcy protection five months ago, the real-estate market has been picking up in Detroit's downtown core. Mr. Gilbert has led the charge by buying dozens of properties and moving in 3,800 of his employees from suburban offices and creating another 6,500 jobs downtown since 2010, according to the company.

But lately, other investors have begun buying trophy buildings and starting to develop apartments to meet the rising demand from workers who prefer downtown living. City officials estimate residential occupancy downtown is 97 percent.

The projects show that some real-estate investors are looking beyond the bankruptcy to an eventual rebound in Detroit. They are hoping that property values and rents will rise due to the region's resurgent automotive industry and the expansion of its medical community and nascent technology industry...

In October, Dongdu International, known as DDI, paid a total of $13.6 million for two of Detroit's better-known buildings, including the former home of the Detroit Free Press, now slated for a residential conversion. The Chinese company is now under contract to buy a third, 10-story loft-apartment building for $2.77 million, an attorney representing the company said this week."

More here.

GM's Detroit headquarters' landfill-free status sets green example for nation

Nothing in the waste basket goes to waste at GM's Detroit offices anymore.

Excerpt: 

"General Motors Co.'s downtown Detroit headquarters complex now recycles, reuses or converts all its daily waste to energy, with efforts at the  Renaissance Center  keeping 5 million pounds of trash annually from landfills..."

More here.

U.S. factories humming with activity

The growth in U.S. manufacturing bodes well for Detroit, which has started retooling former auomotive operations into production facilities for unique goods.

Excerpt:

"U.S. factory activity expanded in November for the sixth straight month, signaling stronger demand at home and abroad that could boost growth prospects into next year....

"Ultimately, it's consumer spending" providing the support for increased factory activity, said Bradley Holcomb, chairman of the ISM's manufacturing-survey panel.

That's good news for Detroit-based watch maker Shinola. Founded in 2011, Shinola took the brand of a defunct American shoe-polish maker and set up shop in a building that formerly housed a General Motors research lab. It has hired more than 170 people since its launch and continues to add workers, Chief Executive Steve Bock said."

More here.

Detroit to be site of Acoustic Guitar Project TV pilot

Motown's unsung guitar heroes will be getting a shout-out on a new TV pilot to be filmed locally.

Excerpt:

"Globe-trotting acoustic guitars have been passing through the hands of songwriters from Helsinki to Haiti, Bogota to the Big Apple. Now, Detroit — home to the Motown Sound, modern techno and the Queen of Soul — has its own ax circulating among unsung musicians.

There's a different guitar in each city, but the premise of The Acoustic Guitar Project is the same: Give the guitar to a songwriter for a week, in which he must compose and record a song, and upload the recording and a photo with the guitar. The instrument then is signed and delivered to another artist...

The fifth town on the project's itinerary is more than a pit stop. It's also the site of another project of Adams', a crowd-funded TV pilot about the guitars. Donors contributed $20,000 and picked Detroit as the destination."

More here.

Detroit watchmaker Shinola makes the big time

Will a Detroit-made Shinola become the new Rolex? Time will tell.

Excerpt:

"Three years ago, in autumn 2010, a small group of businessmen, consisting of watch industry stalwarts from Swiss movement manufacturer Ronda and strategic developers from Dallas-based  Bedrock Brands, came together to discuss the possibility of regenerating the long-defunct U.S. watch industry. What emerged was the Shinola watch factory, which established itself on the fifth floor of Detroit's College for Creative Studies.

According to its CEO, Steve Bock: "We are not doing this out of philanthropy, we chose to come to Detroit for practical business reasons. It is a city of heritage and of global recognition—just look at what has come out of Detroit—the motor industry, World War II manufacturing, and music. Craftsmanship and a first-rate work ethic emanate from the city."

More here.

Anthony Bourdain digs Detroit's underground dining scene

From front-yard BBQ to a kitchen in a firefighters' station, Detroit's underground dining scene is being broadcasted to the nation.

Excerpt:

"Detroit-connected Facebooks went abuzz this weekend when chef and television personality Anthony Bourdain  wrote a love letter to Detroit  in anticipation of the season finale of his show "Anthony Boudain: Parts Unknown",  set in Detroit, which aired Sunday night.

In his Tumblr post Bourdain gushed about his trip to Detroit, saying, "I love Detroit. I think it's beautiful. I think it's one  of the most beautiful cities in America—still."   He also said, "I love Detroit. I love Detroiters. You've got to have a sense of  humor to live in a city so relentlessly fucked. You've got to be  tough—and occasionally even devious. And Detroiters are  funny, tough—and supreme improvisers." As such, the episode's narrative focused on the more DIY and under-the-radar dining experiences in the D."

More here.

Dickinson Wright is tops in U.S. News' "Best Law Firms" 2014 report

The legal eagles at Detroit-based Dickinson Wright PLLC have taken top national and regional awards in a litany of specialties, according to the 2014 rankings in U.S. News. The firm says it has garnered 92 first-tier rankings out of 70 practice areas overall. Within Michigan, it earned first-tier recognition in 67 practice areas.

See the rankings here.


Big Bang Detroit production company gets shout-out from NY Times

A Detroit and Clawson-based producer is getting national notice for its coverage of entrepreneurs around the country. Along with the cofounders of Priceline.com and Angie's List, Detroit's McClure's Pickles has been featured on this nationally-televised show.

Excerpt:

"Gary Bredow has always been curious about how the businesses he patronizes started, whether it’s a local bakery, a pizza place or a hardware store. "I always wondered about how they got their inventory, how they leased the store or where they got the idea in the first place," Mr. Bredow said.

He gets his answers, and more, in "Start Up," a new television "docu-series" he created for PBS that, in its first season, tells the stories of entrepreneurs in eight cities across the United States. Mr. Bredow hosts the series, which was directed by Per Franchell, Mr. Bredow’s partner in a production company,  Big Bang Detroit."

More here.

Ann Arbor to Detroit commuter rail plans move forward

How does commuter rail service with stops in Ann Arbor, Westland, Dearborn and New Center in Detroit sound? Pretty good to us as well.  Semcog gave a presentation of what the new MiTrain line would look like for residents of Dearborn and Dearborn Heights.

Excerpt:

"Officials are looking at providing five round trips a day when service begins in about three years. It will be run as a demonstration for the first two years. After the first two years, officials will evaluate the project and its feasibility.

They have leased 23 bi-level rail cars, rehabilitated them and have been showcasing them in various areas along the proposed line. "

Read the rest here.

Freep Film Festival to make its premiere

The new Freep Film Festival will showcase Detroit and its metros in spring 2014.

Excerpt:

"Detroit may be ailing, but a new film festival there intends to give it a good dose of positive attention.  The Freep Film Festival,  presented by the Detroit Free Press and the Detroit Media Partnership, which manages the newspaper’s business operations, will screen around a dozen documentaries in four days, all of which focus on Detroit and its surrounding regions.

Themes range from the city’s industrial wastelands to Michigan’s abundance of new craft breweries to the city’s music history, from Motown to the birth of techno pop raves...

The festival also intends to get community leaders and urban planners involved, with a series of post-film discussions with filmmakers."

More here.

LiveWorkDetroit! career event to be held at Ford Field on Oct. 19

If you're looking to kick off a new career or a new reason to move to Detroit, come to Ford Field this Sat. Oct. 19.

Excerpt:

"LiveWorkDetroit! is an MEDC initiative designed to connect Michigan’s college graduates to Detroit job opportunities and promote the city of Detroit as a preferred post-graduation talent destination...

Participating students will have the opportunity to network with a wide range of Detroit employers, seasoned professionals and peers already working in sectors of Detroit’s emerging economy. The event will include a keynote address by Moosejaw President and CEO Eoin Comerford, panel discussion with some of Detroit’s young leaders, and a tour of Ford Field. Participants will also learn about Detroit’s high-tech startups, medical researchers, fashion trendsetters, restaurants, museums, and affordable places to live."

For more details and to register, click here.

Detroit-based Chalkfly makes national list of "Best Young Companies to Work For"

Chalk it up to giving customers and employees what they want. Chalkfly, a start-up e-commerce office- and school-supply company in Detroit that returns 5% of sales back to teachers, is one of 15 companies nationwide that garnered a new award.

Excerpt:

"What sets ‘Best Young Companies to Work for' apart from the countless other listings out there is that there were no self-nominations," said Peter Cappelli, Wharton professor of management and director of the Center for Human Resources.

The companies were nominated by industry leaders and peers, partners, customers or other professionals who witnessed their success in building a place where everyone wants to work."

More here.

Amtrak, state on board with higher speeds, Wi-Fi on Michigan trains

High-speed, wifi, and bike storage to boot are coming to Michigan 's trains.

Excerpt:

"Amtrak and the state of Michigan plan to invest millions of dollars over the coming years to improve service on the state's three passenger train lines, resulting in quicker trips and more amenities for  travelers.

Upgraded tracks between Kalamazoo and Dearborn will allow trains to travel up to 110 mph in that area...

Most passenger trains through Michigan travel at a top speed of 80 mph, so the track improvements between Kalamazoo and Dearborn will be  noticeable.

To draw passengers, Amtrak opened up space for bicycle storage on its Blue Water line. Packing a bike costs a passenger an extra $10. The  Michigan Department of Transportation  also will spend about $1 million to bring Wi-Fi to the three lines by  January."

More here

Is that England? No, it's Detroit!

The nationally-televised new PBS program, Genealogy Roadshow, made a stop in Detroit, and let's just say the producer liked what he saw.

Excerpt:

"...Here's producer  Stuart Krasnow's  take on Motown:

"Having never been to Detroit, I did not know what to expect when arriving to shoot an episode for the new PBS series, Genealogy Roadshow. In a word…Wow!

"My first impression was how beautiful the architecture is, both old and new. The sun was shining, and the towers downtown were gleaming, and somewhere amidst the bad press and the images the media likes to show, I had forgotten that Detroit was on the water and that Canada was visible on the other side...

"The next morning, we shot on location in Indian Village. The estate we filmed at was magnificent. The neighborhood was filled with kids on bikes, skateboarders, people jogging or walking their dogs. No one complained about our large production imprint and everyone I met pretty much wanted us to let the world know how great Detroit is. No one I met seemed like they ever wanted to live anywhere else. I sent a photo to a friend and said 'guess where I am.' 'England???' my friend texted back, thinking I had snuck out of town. 'Nope, Detroit'.

"My friend texted back a single word answer: 'Wow!'"

More here.
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