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International Academy ranked no. 18 high school in the nation

Bloomfield Hills' International Academy has consistently ranked among the country's best in recent years, but hasn't rested on its laurels. It's still the best high school in Michigan, and is in the country's top 20, according to U.S. News & World Report.

See the rankings here.

Metro Detroit ranks 14th nationally in percentage job growth

In a good comeback story, Metro Detroit is no. 14 in the country in terms of percentage job growth from 2011 to 2012, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

More here.


Post-industrial? Detroit needs a new word

Detroit's economy is facing forward. Now it just needs some new verbiage.

Excerpt:

"Former heavy manufacturing hubs around the Great Lakes like Pittsburgh, Detroit, Cleveland, and Milwaukee often get roped together under the heading of "post-industrial" (when, that is, we're not otherwise identifying them by their prevalence of rust). The term poses at least two problems, though: Industry still exists in many of these places, and the very notion of defining them by their relationship to the past can hamstring us from planning more thoughtfully for their future.

"You've got the 'post-war,' you've got 'post-modern,' you've got 'post-9/11,'" says Paul Kapp, an associate professor in the school of architecture at the University of Illinois and an editor of the book SynergiCity: Reinventing the Postindustrial City. He was speaking Sunday at the annual meeting of the American Planning Association (hosted in what's often considered the post-industrial city of Chicago). "You get to a point," Kapp says, "where you've got to say, 'When does post-something end and you do something new?' I think with 'post-industrial,' we're at that opportunity now. I think it's now time to come up with a new term."

More here.

Food Tripping mobile app scouts out local, fresh food

A new app with some entertainment industry pros behind it can point you to the berries and kale.

Excerpt:

"A new mobile app will let organic- and health-food nuts scour where to buy nourishment that fits their diet regimen. It also lists microbreweries...

SHFT.com is a mobile app development founded by film producer Peter Glazer and “Entourage” television star Adrian Grenier. Ford was one of the founding partners of that company - launched in 2009 - whose stated goal is educating people about healthy food options."

More here.

Champions of the New Economy event set for May 8

An opportunity to mix and mingle with top business minds at a strolling dinner presents itself at the 2013 Champions of the New Economy on Wednesday, May 8 from 6-9 p.m. at Quicken Loans, JA Finance Park, 577 E. Larned St., in Detroit.

A couple of the luminaries include Joseph L. Welch, chairman, president & CEO of ITC Holdings Corp. and Matt Mosher, founder & CEO of hiredMYway.com.

Click here for more information, and register by May 3.


Garage Mahals rising in Metro Detroit

It's the latest way to run with the Joneses after parking your car. In Metro Detroit and the rest of the nation, garages are becoming hangouts, even watering holes.

Excerpt:

"Once seen as a catchall space to store bicycles, trash cans and lawn tools, garages are being rediscovered as the ideal place—who knew?—to park cars. Increasingly, many of these spaces are also becoming more lavish—loaded with high-end finishes and man toys, such as flat-screen TVs, underground car lifts and welding equipment.

"People are beginning to see that garages can be as cool as the rest of the rooms in the house," says Lou DesRosiers, president of DesRosiers Architects in Bloomfield Hills, Mich., who has seen a 15% to 20% uptick in garage projects in the past five years...

Even garages used for entertaining are designed around the car: the vehicle might be parked on an electronic turntable and surrounded by a bar and seating area. "People love to have their cars on display," Mr. DesRosiers says. "When they have parties, they bring the parties out to the garage."

More here.

At the Detroit Zoo, a smaller green footprint

This spring and summer, green at the Detroit Zoo will go above and beyond vegetation, alligators, and tropical parrots. Its big green project, energy-efficient building rehabs, solar and electric golf carts, and ditching the disposable plastic water bottles.

Excerpt:

"The Detroit Zoo has joined a handful of its peers nationally that are implementing green operational practices ranging from intense energy savings programs to green education.

It plans to invest about $4 million total in sustainable projects as part of a seven-year "greenprint" strategic plan during that time and in return to see zero waste going to landfills and a 25 percent reduction in the zoo's energy usage by 2020, COO Gerry VanAcker said."

More here.

Atlantic Cities maps Metro Detroit's creative class

A great, comprehensive article on how the 7.2-square-mile greater downtown Detroit is growing posher by the minute, it seems, and how and why its deindustrialized metros (and certain Detroit neighborhoods) are landing the creative class.

Excerpt:

"Two of the top 10 creative class tracts are in Birmingham; two are in Bloomfield Township, and another is in Bloomfield Hills, home to some of the priciest real estate in the U.S. and the Cranbrook educational community. Designed by Finnish architect  Eliel Saarinen, the architecture critic  Paul Goldberger  called Cranbrook "one of the greatest campuses ever created anywhere in the world." University of Michigan's  Little  points out in an email to me: "Cranbrook graduates have added to the cutting edge design and creative communities of Detroit and the nation for decades."

Another top creative class tract is in nearby Troy, a sprawling middle-class suburb with excellent public schools, and the site of a high-end mall, the Somerset Collection. Two are in Huntington Woods, a leafy neighborhood that boasts such notable amenities as the public golf course  Rackham and the Detroit Zoo. Two more are in the "Grosse Pointes" — Grosse Pointe Farms and Grosse Pointe Park — the communities of choice for many of Detroit's old industrial magnates, whose lakeshores are lined with sprawling Gilded Age mansions."

More here.

Immigrant entrepreneurs ACCESS opportunities

Hopeful immigrant entrepreneurs now have a fallback in the form of a unique model support program for those needing some business survival skills.

Excerpt:

"As lawmakers in Washington work out an overhaul of the immigration system, a Michigan-based social and economic services agency has launched a comprehensive program to help immigrants open or expand businesses.

Dearborn-based ACCESS recently held a graduation ceremony for the inaugural class of its Immigrant Entrepreneur Development Program. It's one of several immigrant- and refugee-focused efforts in the organization's new Growth Center division...

Dijana Bucalo, a former Bosnian refugee who settled in the Detroit enclave of Hamtramck, is a self-described "clothing artist" with a fashion design and costume-making shop in the International Institute of Metropolitan Detroit in the city's Midtown neighborhood. She came to the United States in 1996 after war in her homeland – knowing no English but with experience as a fashion designer.

Still, she took a job far from her preferred field. Bucalo became a real estate agent and said she was successful at it until the housing market tanked a few years ago.

"I should be thankful the economy went bad," she said. "It helped me to think more seriously about my business, my skills and my trade."

More here.

Building for Baby Boomers forum set for Apr. 25

The Baby Boom generation has a significant presence in Metro Detroit. Public transportation and dense, affordable housing will be just a few of the amenities needed to keep Boomers in place during their retirement years. Area scholars and leaders will be discussing these and other options at the "Mayors & Managers Forum: Built for Boomers" to be held at the University of Michigan-Dearborn on Thursday, April 25, from 8:30-11 a.m.

Click here for more information and to register.

Oakland County, Grosse Pointe homes are hot, hot, hot

Homebuyers have crawled out from under the woodwork in Oakland and Wayne counties again. And it looks like sellers who stuck out the weak housing market can finally get out of the basement by getting good prices for their homes.

Excerpt:

"The dearth of move-in ready homes is the result of underwater mortgages causing homeowners to keep their homes off the market, a better economic climate leading to more jobs and people not making as many improvements on their homes since the 2000 recession, said Randy Repicky, branch manager for Johnstone & Johnstone Realtors in Grosse Pointe Farms.

"If you wait until the next day (to make an offer on a home), it won't even be around in many cases. As soon as they hit, you better be on your game for it to work," Repicky said.

Compared to 2011, it took 2 1/2 fewer weeks to sell a home in 2012, going from 127 days to 109 days in the Grosse Pointe communities, according to data provided by Farmington Hills-based Realcomp II Ltd. and others. A $449,000 home Johnstone & Johnstone listed on March 22 sold 18 hours after five showings, Repicky said.

It's not just Grosse Pointe, however, where buying a home is becoming more like the Kentucky Derby than an Olympic dressage event.

Homes sold last year in Bloomfield Hills and Bloomfield Township more than a month faster than they did in 2011, and two weeks faster in Ann Arbor."

More here.

The Oakland Press has also picked up on the hot housing market.

Dental franchises are winning, tooth and nail, in Metro Detroit

Smile! It may not be long before you can visit your dentist's office no matter where you are in the country.

Excerpt:

"Great Expressions Dental Centers, founded in Michigan and headquartered in Bloomfield Hills, is an impressive growth story, with about $275 million in annual revenue and a spot on Inc. magazine's list of America's fastest-growing private companies. About 600 of the firm's 2,300 employees, including dentists and hygienists, are in Michigan...

For Beckman, the goal at Great Expressions is to keep growing annual revenue to about $500 million, mostly by acquisition. He has about 15 company-built stores, including a new location in Midtown Detroit.

And why build there? "I wanted a location here as soon as I heard Whole Foods was coming to the area," Beckman said, referring to the market slated to open in June. "We want to be part of what's going on here in Detroit."

More here.

What Detroit can learn from Denver's transit development

With the creation of Detroit's new regional transit authority, it seems the train is finally leaving the station. Now, Detroit should look to cities like Denver, which has seen significant real estate and residential development around its train lines.

Excerpt:

"While Denver still remains a relatively low density city that relies heavily on the automobile and highway transportation, there has nevertheless been a clear change in regional policy that is encouraging more transit and higher-density transit-oriented development and that change in policy is having a recognizable impact on Denver’s land use and urban form.

Denver's recent success is encouraging for all U.S. metros, largely because the city followed a typical path in the 20th century. During a period of intense sprawl and transit failure, between 1950 and 1990, the city's population density shrank from 4,741 people per square mile to 3,309. Since reversing course in the mid-'90s, however, density is back around 4,000 people per square mile...

All told, Denver has created some 18,000 residential units, 5.3 million square feet of retail, and 5.4 million square feet of office space within a half mile of transit station, Ratner and Goetz report."

More here.

Detroit and Grand Rapids should join economic forces, leaders say

Here's a thoughtful piece on why Detroit and Grand Rapids, cities that developed very different business climates over the decades, should work together on economic expansion projects.

Excerpt:

"In a post-recession Michigan, business leaders from Grand Rapids and Detroit realize they must cooperate like never before to survive and grow. Together, they're providing money to fledgling start-ups, helping each other with sister initiatives to recruit and retain young talent, infusing respective city cores with new development and retail, and recognizing they are stronger if East and West are both thriving.

This developing east-west harmony is crucial to the state's economic future, said Chris Rizik, CEO of the $100-million Renaissance Venture Capital Fund created by Business Leaders for Michigan.

"We can no longer be looking at Michigan as silos," he said. "When we've got Detroit seemingly not in sync with Grand Rapids, we look like a smaller, less cohesive state, and we look less attractive to companies looking to be here and to talent looking to be here."

More here.

Detroit-style adds new pizzazz to pizzas nationwide

Since its pies have started making "Best of..." lists around the country, and its pizzaiolos have been winning national competitions, Detroit is the new hip when it comes to pizza.

Excerpt:

"Say it with us: "Detroit-style pizza."

Every day, people come into Jeff Smokevitch's stylish Brown Dog Saloon in Telluride, Colo., look at his menu and ask, "What's Detroit pizza? It's like Chicago, right?"

No, it isn't.

Neither is it like New York, New Haven, California, Neapolitan or Sicilian pizza. It's distinctly Detroit-style, and Brown Dog customers -- who had never heard of Detroit-style pizza two and a half years ago -- now devour it...

Unlike New York's thin, wide, floppy pizzas and Chicago's burly deep-dish ones, Detroit's thick, square pies -- first made at Buddy's Rendezvous in Detroit in 1946 -- have never managed to make a dent in the national consciousness.

Think it sounds farfetched? They and other experts said they believe it's only a matter of time."

More here.
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