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How to make Michigan a top-shelf travel destination

The Pure Michigan campaign just released its latest state tourism figures, and there has been a year-over-year upturn in visitation and spending from 2012 to 2013. Tourism had a $1.2 billion economic impact in 2013. In light of this, Free Press columnist Tom Walsh opines on what Michigan should be capitalizing on.

Excerpt:

"Eight years after the brilliant Pure Michigan campaign rescued the state’s tourism brand from irrelevance, it’s now time to ask: How does Michigan step up from middle-of-the-pack to become a truly top-tier destination for travelers?

Think food, farms, wineries and craft beer for starters. And think about appealing to China and Toronto and Britain and Germany.

That’s what more than 1,000 attendees at the annual Pure Michigan Governor’s Conference on Tourism will be talking about in Traverse City, starting today. Prior to the opening reception tonight at the Grand Traverse resort, attendees were offered an optional wine-tasting tour of three nearby wineries. It sold out quickly, at $50 a pop.

"Travelers today are more interested in experiences than things," said Sarah Nicholls, a Michigan State University professor and co-author of the annual Michigan tourism outlook to be presented Monday at the conference." 

More here

And read the Pure Michigan report here

Farmington Hills-based Kybba makes Inc. "Build 100" list

Just out: Inc. magazine's list of companies that have consistently upped their headcounts every year, recession or not. IT and staffing firm Kybba is one of the very few that did so.

Excerpt:

"We began the Build 100 project by collecting  data  on more than 100,000 U.S. midmarket companies (those with 85 to 999 employees). We then looked at how many increased head count in every year from 2007 to 2012. Remarkably, fewer than 1.5 percent of the companies met that standard...We focused on head count rather than revenue because we found that increased hiring is more predictive of future sustained growth, and that’s what this project is all about."

More here.

Wallet Hub says Detroit is tops in nation for home-buying power & industrial variety

Detroit ranked 38th best out of America's 60 largest cities to find a job, beating out heavies like Chicago and New York. While there's plenty of room to keep powering up the job prospects, Detroit took the top spots in the categories of annual home-buying power and most industrial variety. 

Excerpt:

"More than 100 million people have moved within the past five years, according to data from the U.S. Census Bureau, and 48% of unemployed individuals have picked up their roots in search of a job over that timeframe.   This societal mobility stands to be a major asset for job seekers as the economy improves.   In fact, 2014 is expected to be a strong year for hiring, with 27% of employers planning to hire, according to the  National Association for Business Economics, and a projected 8% bump in the number of recent college graduates who land jobs, per the  National Association for Colleges and Employers."

More here.

New office building construction, mixed-use projects on rise in Metro Detroit

After the demise of new developments during the recession, blueprints for major construction projects are getting the green light again throughout the Detroit region. Crain's Detroit has a regional survey of what's in the pipeline.

Excerpt:

"There are 23 proposed industrial construction projects of 100,000 square feet or more in metro Detroit, according to CoStar. 

"Fifteen to 20 percent of our business is now construction money," said Dennis Bernard, founder and president of commercial mortgage broker Southfield-based  Bernard Financial Group Inc.  "It was never that big."

...In addition to new office construction, several major mixed-use projects are also on the horizon, many of them in the city of Detroit.

There is the redevelopment, also by Redico, and the  Magic Plus LLC  investment group of the former  Michigan State Fairgrounds  site at 8 Mile Road and Woodward Avenue, a mixed-use project valued at about $150 million."

More here.

MEDC to showcase Michigan's appeal for entrepreneurs, creatives at SxSW trade show

If you're an entrepreneur or creative, the annual SxSW festival is where it's at. The MEDC and other Michigan universities and organizations will be there in a bid to attract talent to relocate the Great Lakes State.

Excerpt:

"This is a timely and dynamic opportunity to meet and talk face-to-face with entrepreneurs and talented, creative people from around the world and persuade them to locate to Michigan to work and start a business," said Michael Finney, president of MEDC, the state's marketing arm and lead advocate for business development, including fostering tourism, film production, and digital-media projects and overall economic growth...

"Our goal at 'South by Southwest' is to elevate Michigan in the minds of the preeminent players redefining the business prospects derived from the confluence of media, technology, creators and consumer trends," said Finney. "And, of course, the 'Pure Michigan' brand creates a positive impression about quality of life in our state."

More here

Arab Film Festival coming to Arab American National Museum

Sit back and watch films from the Middle East that are rarely seen in the U.S. at the Arab American National Museum and Ann Arbor's Michigan Theatre, March 6-8.

Excerpt:

"The schedule includes When I Saw You, written and directed by Palestinian filmmaker Annemarie Jacir. The coming-of-age story set in 1967 in a Jordanian refugee camps has won awards at festivals in Berlin, Cairo and Amiens, France."

More here.

The Henry Ford Museum featured in Conde Nast Traveler

On Condé Nast Traveler's must-see list: The Henry Ford Museum and Greenfield Village, where the homes, factories, and inventions of many of America's earliest entrepreneurs have found a second life.

Excerpt:

"Nowhere does heritage Americana—the defining design aesthetic of the past decade—come more compellingly to life than at the Henry Ford Museum  and Greenfield Village in Dearborn, Michigan. Just west of Detroit, the sprawling 178-acre compound, founded in 1929 by its namesake industrialist, functions not so much as a car museum as it does a chronicle of American innovation."

More here.

New $148M manufacturing research institute to open in Canton this spring

A heavy investment in terms of dollars and jobs has been made in a new high-tech lightweight metals research facility.

Excerpt:

"The $148-million high-tech manufacturing research institute announced Saturday by the White House is expected to bring 10,000 jobs to the Midwest and is to open this spring in Canton, the University of Michigan announced Sunday.

The American Lightweight Materials Manufacturing Innovation Institute will be led by U-M, Ohio-based manufacturing technology nonprofit EWI and Ohio State University.

More than 50 other companies, universities and nonprofits across the U.S. will be involved in the public-private partnership to be headquartered in Canton, with key support in Columbus, Ohio."

More here.

Monroe ranks 3rd on CNN Money list of nation's most affordable small cities

The quaint downriver community of Monroe has made a quality-of-life list worth perusing.

Excerpt:

"Located about midway between Detroit and Toledo, Ohio, Monroe had a vibrant auto supply industry. One famous brand named for the town is Monroe Shocks & Struts, which has retail locations all over the country. Its parent company, Tenneco, is still headquartered in town."

More here.

Metro Detroit home sale prices up 38% year-over-year

Heading into the spring buying season, home sale prices are blooming in the tri-county area.

Excerpt:

"January marked the 11th straight month that metro Detroit median home sales prices rose by double-digits, climbing 38 percent year-over year to $110,000 according to Realcomp."

More here.

Alaska Airlines becomes second new airline at DTW in last year

Now business and leisure travelers have more reasons to go to and from Metro Detroit. And, more people land jobs when new airlines come into town.

Excerpt:

"This week, Seattle-based  Alaska Airlines  announced it will become the second new carrier to add service this year at Detroit Metro, with a nonstop daily flight between Detroit and Seattle starting Sept. 4. New York-based  JetBlue Airways Corp.  announced in October that it will offer three flights a day from Detroit to Boston starting March 10.

Other new flights have been announced recently. Denver-based  Frontier Airlines  will offer a flight from Detroit to Wilmington, Del., starting April 29, and Delta will offer a second daily flight to London starting June 1."

More here

Detroit's John K. King Used and Rare Books one of world's best bookstores

Its million-plus selection of books is enough to fill a factory, which Detroit's John K. King Books does. The choices are voluminous enough to land it on Business Insider's list of the world'd best bookstores.

Excerpt:

"Cardboard signs, musty paperback aromas, and a hand-scrawled map out of a Wes Anderson panic attack are your only tour guides as you lose track of time and the person you came with," writes Megan Cytron  at Trazzler.

More here

Nominations Open for 2014 Regional Transit Awards

From now through February 28, the public has a voice in the shape of mass transit to come. Transportation Riders United is seeking award nominations for area individuals who have been dedicated to making southeast Michigan's regional transit system a reality.

Award categories include:
Transit Employee of the Year
Corporate Transit Champion Award
Exemplary Innovation Award
Under 30 Breakthrough Transit Champion
Unsung Hero Award
Forward Motion Award for Most Effective Public Service

Make your nominations here until February 28.

Take heart, Detroit! City ranks 4th best city for singles in the country

Take heart, Detroit! Right in time for V-Day, Nerd Wallet.com releases its list of the nation's best cities for singles.

Excerpt:

"Detroit's place on this list is boosted by the highest percentage of unmarried residents among the cities examined—with 77.9 percent of folks not having a ring on it. Motown's cost of a date is the second-lowest of all cities, and although the local economy isn't great, things seem to be improving—the unemployment rate has fallen over the last couple months."

More here

Detroit public transit: What fantasy looks like

Check out what visionaries over at Wired magazine think Detroit's transit system oughtta be.

See the map here.
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