This is installment number 20 in the “A City on the Rise” series on Detroit. If you aren’t convinced yet that Detroit is on its way back, just look at the media, because they seem to be very convinced.
Yes, you have your occasional story on bad news in Detroit, the typical crime, the Jane Bashara murder case, car accidents, etc. That happens in almost every city, although Detroit does seem to have more crime than the average city. Regardless, the media, local and national, have taken notice that Detroit has something.
The Detroit Free Press and Detroit News have taken more of an interest in their own city as well. It’s not that they haven’t before, but because there is so much going on in the city that is becoming news once again.
For example, when it was announced this past weekend by both the News and Free Press that the former Packard Motor Car Plant was planning to be torn down, they took it steps further than just the story. Some did follow ups with how the owner plans on paying for the demolition, history of the plant, and pictures, of the plant then and now.
But the News and the Free Press aren’t just the only ones taking notice. The Huffington Post opened its Detroit bureau this past November in the Corktown neighborhood. They are located at 2051 Rosa Parks Blvd. It is a part of the HuffPost Local division, which includes New York, Chicago, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Denver, Washington DC, and Miami.
They may be a liberal website/news source, but they seem to have views from all sides, with local news, national news, and opinions/blogs about Detroit.
Another source of news that has decided to set up shop in Detroit is the Curbed website. You have probably never heard of it, but it focuses on real estate, development, neighborhoods, and sales and rental prices. They have also set up shop in Corktown, in the same building that the HuffPost Detroit is set up in.
They are also in the same category with other cities having their own website. Aside from the Curbed National page, there is also a Curbed Boston, New York, Hamptons, Philadelphia, Washington DC, Atlanta, Chicago, Los Angeles, San Francisco, and Seattle. Those are all big cities and you can freelance for Curbed Detroit and blog for the HuffPost Detroit.
There is another media outlet that has been taking notice in a different way. ESPN has launched an ESPN Detroit radio station on the AM Dial. You can listen to them on 1090 AM with national programming like Mike & Mike in the Morning and the Doug Gottlieb Show. They plan on having local programming on by the end of the spring/early summer. To have another sports radio station in the city competing with 97.1 The Ticket FM shows that the city of Detroit wants and needs another sports talk station.
You can contact Curbed Detroit at Detroit@curbed.com, HuffPost Detroit at email@example.com, or contact ESPN 1090 Detroit at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Detroit: A City on the Rise
Russell Industrial Center
There are people out there who view Detroit as a rundown, dangerous city. We have old factories here in the city, many of which have been abandoned and torn down. One of the most famous buildings is the old Packard Motor Car Company Plant. That, unfortunately is very rundown and falling apart. There is some good news though. The Russell Industrial Center (RIC) is one of those manufacturing buildings that have been saved.
The RIC is located at 1600 Clay Street, bordering I-75 to the west, and just due north of I-94. The Center was built in 1915, for John William Murray, and was completed in 1925. It was designed by Albert Khan, one of the most famous architects of Detroit. Murray wanted to use the building for auto-body manufacturing for the growing business. The building struggled to stay afloat even before it was completed. Business was suffering throughout its history, with Murray’s company merging many times. Murray sold the building in 1970 to Leona Helmsley, followed by another sale in 1981 to Dyson-Kissner-Moran Corp. (DKM), and another in 1991 to Wintor-Swan, a printing company. Finally, in 1998 the building became vacant after a tornado and flooding damaged it. In 2003, Dennis Kefallinos bought the building and renovated it, hoping it would become lofts and studio space.
Kefallinos’ bet paid off. He renovated the seven-building complex for $1 million. The complex now has more than one million square feet of space for studios and lofts for artists, creative professionals, and businesses. According to the building’s website, www.ricdetroit.org, “…studios range in size from 1000 to 7000 square feet each. Of the 2.2 million square feet, 650,000 are in use, with another 500,000 available for use. Infrastructure work is planned for another million square feet of space.”
When the building first opened up, it wasn’t called the Russell Industrial Center. It was the J.W. Manufacturing Company. The company merged in 1924 with three others to form the Murray Body Corporation. From then, until the late 1960s and 1970s when printing became the main use for the buildings, the Murray Body Company was one of the main manufacturers for Ford and Mercury. The company also produced parts for Packard, Lincoln, Chrysler, Plymouth, Dodge, and many other non-famous companies. In the last year of production it produced parts for Hudson-Jet and Aero Willys.
When the printing companies took over in the 1960s, over 130 companies occupied the building complex and printed. This is when Detroit was known as the printing capital of the Midwest for a short time.
This building complex has started a new trend in Detroit, urban development. The current tenants of the complex include: the Russell Gallery (Building 3), Art Studios, Stacey Ellis, the co-owner of B. Black Apparel, Madeline Stillwell, artist of Detroit Industrial Projects, Motor City Movie House, Architecture Practice, Woodworking Shop and Hand Crafted Furniture, Antiques, Kitchen and Bath Remodeling, Clothing, Furniture, Sewing, Photography Studios, Import, Export, a Health Food Store, a Performing Arts Studio, a Candle Shop, Custom Signs, Printer, and Helderop Pipe Organs.
The RIC also hosts a couple of events each year. The Russell Bazaar is an indoor marketplace, hosted by the tenants of the building on the first weekend of each month, showcasing art and wares. It brings in many people to look at and purchase what the tenants are selling. For those that want to sell their work, they can rent a booth each month.
Another event is the People’s Art Festival, which is held annually. Last year it was in August. The event is free and open to the public and features different pieces of art, music, merchandise, food, and entertainment. It is sponsored by many local non-profits and business to cover the costs.
What the RIC is doing is taking a former manufacturing plant, something that Detroit has an excess of, and turning it into something the community can use. Go and check out this place, because this is something that Detroit can use to look at and say, “Hey, the Russell Industrial Center is an old re-used manufacturing plant. If they can turn an old building into something plausible, why can’t we do that for the other ones?”
You can check out their website at www.ricdetroit.org. You can also contact their main office at (313) 872-4000 or email at email@example.com. If you would like to contact their webmaster, Nick Polifroni, his email address is firstname.lastname@example.org. You can check out my other articles at www.michiganjournal.org
Welcome back to classes! I hope all of you had a wonderful break and ready to attack another semester here at the University of Michigan-Dearborn. Detroit saw some good and bad news over the course of the break. One of the good stories that came out over break was none other than the North American International Auto Show. It is returning yet again, to Cobo Center, and will be for at least the next five years.
The “NAIAS” has roots that go all the way back to when Detroit first started producing automobiles. The first auto show in Detroit was held in 1907 at Beller’s Beer Garden in Riverside Park, near the Ambassador Bridge. It has been held annually every year in Detroit, except between 1943-1952. The auto show has been held at Cobo Center since 1965, and was renamed the North American International Auto Show in 1989.
The auto show has been a big draw, not only for just car lovers, but for the city of Detroit. It brings in some major media outlets for the press preview, and a boat load of money during the charity preview. This year the press preview ran from January 9-10, the Industry Preview on January 11-12, the Charity Preview on January 13, and the Public Show from January 14-22. During the press preview, the media outlets that apply get in to take pictures and develop stories of what cars are being revealed. The car companies usually reveal production cars they plan on selling in the near future and concept cars, vehicles that they may use toward a future production car. The industry preview is where companies bring in people to take notes on the vehicles, compare them to their, or others, without all of the crowds and some VIP hospitality.
The charity preview is where the city accumulates some funds, privately. The charity preview raises money for local charities. This year the ticket cost was $250 per person, a black tie event, which means dress very classy. The people around you are some of the most prestigious in the Metro Detroit area. From Dan Gilbert, who is the third largest owner of real estate in Detroit, to some famous athletes from the Red Wings or Tigers, are the possible guests. Since 1976, the charity preview has raised $84 million for children’s charities in Metro Detroit. $33 million of that has been raised in the past seven years alone.
The NAIAS rakes in an estimated amount of $500 million by the auto show executives for the area. That beats out the Woodward Dream Cruise, held annually each August by a long shot ($56 million).
Cobo Center, which is one of the largest convention centers in the world, boasts 2,400,000 sq ft. It is located along Jefferson Ave. and Washington Blvd. Its official address is 1 Washington Blvd. It was built in 1960 and named after one of Detroit’s former mayors, Albert E. Cobo. The exhibition space has access to the Lodge Freeway, and is located on the Detroit International Riverfront. It also has access to the Detroit People Mover and the adjacent Joe Louis Arena.
The center is built on the original landing spot of Antoine de la Mothe Cadillac, the Frenchman who found Detroit. The building took four years to complete and $56 million. It opened with approximately 1.4 million square feet. The first ever convention held at Cobo was the Florist Telegraph Delivery. Along with the exhibition space, Cobo Center also opened an arena, named Cobo Arena. It had a capacity of 12,000 seats and was the home of the Detroit Pistons from 1961-1978. The arena has also hosted many concerts, including Kid Rock, The Doors, Kiss, The Rolling Stones, and The Who, among many others.
As the North American International Auto Show began to grow each year, the convention began demanding more space, and threatened to move elsewhere. Luckily, the Detroit Regional Convention Facility Authority (DRCFA), who owns Cobo Center and the NAIAS agreed to a new five year deal, early this month to keep the auto show here for another five years at the very least.
What helped was an upgrade that started in 1989. That upgrade moved the space to 2.4 million square feet. That was the last time the facility was updated, and 20 years later, was in desperate need of another. It happened, and a brand new $229 million expansion project is in the works. It is scheduled to be completed in January of 2015, in time for the auto show that year. The plan is to demolish the seats in the arena and create a grand ballroom, and building a movable stage for better and more dramatic car reveals. During the NAIAS this year, you won’t notice any upgrades, but that doesn’t mean it’s not happening. A lot of the current renovations are happening out of sight, including making the building more energy friendly and efficient.
One big upgrade is the creation of a three-story atrium facing the riverfront. The DRCFA will be using the riverfront to its advantage, to bring people in, and give the facility a wonderful view. Along with the atrium, a brand new high-tech, digital video grid, across the front of the building’s façade. New parking, a bigger and better food court, and a more open concourse are just a few of the items that are going to be upgraded at Cobo Center.
Finally, a new glass façade will wrap around the building from Washington and Jefferson, to the Detroit River, giving you some amazing views of the river and Windsor, Ontario.
The North American International Auto Show is a Detroit thing, and keeping it at Cobo Center, where it has been held since 1965 is what every Metro Detroiter should want. Heading to the NAIAS and checking out all the cool production and concept cars is a must. Tickets are only $12 for adults, seniors 65 and older $6, children 7-12 $6, and children 6 and under are free. The public show runs until Sunday, January 22 from 9am-10pm with no admittance after 9pm and on Sunday from 9am-7pm, no admittance after 6pm. For more information visit www.naias.com and www.cobocenter.com
Michigan Central Station, mentioned previously in the last article about Corktown, has its own article because of how big it is the history the surrounds it and the news that constantly flow from the owner. It is one of the most iconic structures in the city of Detroit, and with the work surrounding it; the building may be on the rise in the near future.
MCS, as it’s known to many, was built in 1913 and was Detroit’s second railroad depot but the most famous. The first one was on Third and Jefferson streets since 1884. It burned down in late December and the brand new MCS was ready to go. Within a half an hour of the former train station burning down, the trains were already rolling into the new station, cancelling its dedication that was supposed to happen on January 4.
The old depot is located along Michigan Avenue, in the Corktown district, outside of Downtown. The cost of building the Michigan Central Station was $2.5 million ($55 million today). It was the tallest train station in the world and the fourth tallest building in Detroit when it was completed. The building consisted of a three story train depot, and an 18 story office tower.
The train station was in use the most during World War I and World War II. More than two hundred trains left each day during World War I as many saw their loved ones go off to war, some coming back, many not. A few of the famous people that walked through the halls of MCS include: Presidents Herbert Hoover, Harry S. Truman, and Franklin D. Roosevelt, actor Charlie Chaplin and inventor Thomas Edison. Henry Ford began buying up property in the 1920s only to have the Great Depression bring things to a halt.
With no large parking structure, the only problem of the area, ridership began to decline between both World Wars and after World War II. Once urban highways became more prevalent and driving cars and air travel took over, riding the train became third string. In 1956, the owners began looking to sell the building, and did, for $5 million (1/3 of its original cost). The new owners tried to sell in 1963, found no buyers and again tried to sell in 1967. As ridership began decreasing, the maintenance on the building decreased.
The restaurant, arcade shops, and main entrance all closed, along with much of the main waiting room. Only two ticket windows remained for service to passengers. Amtrak bought the station in 1971 and things seemed to turn around for a short time with the main entrance and waiting room re-opening in 1975 followed by a $1.25 million restoration in 1978. Six years later, the station was sold yet again and the final train left the station on January 6, 1988.
Current owner, Manuel “Matty” Mouron bought the station in 1996, because of its proximity to the Ambassador Bridge. Since 1996, Mouron has done nothing with the station, letting it slowly rot and die.
There have been many ideas presented to restore the old station into something new. A couple of the ideas that have been presented include: A trade processing center, convention center and casino, Detroit Police Headquarters, and Michigan State Police Headquarters. Most recently, the station has gone under renovations thanks to the Mouron who finally invested in something. This past summer, renovations started in removal of asbestos, old windows, and the old roof. In place will be a new roof and new windows.
This doesn’t mean that there are companies ready to move in as there is much more work to do on the inside. Mouron brought Quinn Evans Architects in to oversee the restoration and give some quotes on what it would take to renovate the interior. With Corktown seeing massive renovations, the depot may not be far behind.
There are other ideas citizens have put forth thanks to a new website set up by Mouron. Talktothestation.com is open to anyone that has an idea for the station. Although some ideas may not be taken too seriously, the ideas put forth may spur development. Michigan Central Station is one of the most iconic structures of Detroit, especially since 1988 as it has been in ruins. As workers continue to clean up parts of the building, more needs to be done. With the help of those who want to see it rise again, ideas can fuel companies and businesses to put forth money and grants, creating new life for the once largest train depot in the world.
We will pick back up with Detroit and its rise in January. Have a very Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays, and a safe and Happy New Year!
Feel free to check out my other articles at http://michiganjournal.org/ and http://www.huffingtonpost.com/chris-zadorozny
When you think of areas in Detroit, the two that automatically come to mind are Downtown and Midtown. Corktown is one that is not brought up as much anymore. It is on the edge of Downtown and Mexican town. Its borders are: Interstate 75 to the north, the Lodge freeway to the east (M-10), Bagley and Porter Streets to the south and Rosa Parks Boulevard (12th Street) to the west. Although Rosa Parks Blvd. may have the western border, some still include the Michigan Central Station and other sections still a part of Corktown.
Corktown was first settled in the mid 1800s by Irish farmers who were at the time going through the Potato famine. They moved here and most were from the County Cork, hence the name, “Corktown.” Over half of the residents by 1850 were of Irish descent. Many would serve in the Civil War and as the 20th Century approached, Germans began to move into the area. The district used to be larger, but with the completion of the Lodge freeway and I-75, the district became smaller. Most of Corktown is residential, but the area along Michigan Avenue is mostly commercial.
The area that is on the rise is the commercial area along Michigan Avenue. There are already many businesses along the strip that have been there for awhile and are thriving such as: PJ’s Lager House, Nemo’s Bar, Hoots on the Avenue, the Corktown Tavern, and the Detroit Athletic Company.
There are buildings in the Corktown that have been sitting for a long time, but now are finding new life. Slows BBQ has revitalized an area at one point was super busy, thanks to the Michigan Central Station. Slows BBQ opened in 2005 and has since won many awards, ranking as one of the top BBQ joints in Michigan. It sits right across the street from the MCS and the block that it sits on has helped the buildings take new life.
The building that currently houses Slows BBQ was too small as so much business was coming through, that it moved next door, taking over a former Real Estate Agency Building. O’Conner Real Estate moved two doors down next to Astro Coffee and LJ’s Lounge. O’Connor has been around for more than 40 years and decided to invest in Detroit recently and Astro Coffee just opened up this past summer and LJ’s Lounge in the past year.
One building on the same block is a former Pawn Shop, next to The Sugar House has been empty awhile, but is looking at redevelopment and a new use. As first reported by Curbed Detroit, the former pawn shop was bought by several businessmen, Phil Cooley (owner of Slows BBQ), Toby Barlow (author and local celebrity), Ryan Cooley (Phil’s brother), Meghan Cooley (Ryan’s husband), and Brian Boyle (co-founder of Model D Media).
The plan is to turn the former pawn shop into a restaurant. It has not been said yet what type of restaurant it will be. Above the brand new addition to Slows BBQ, a brand new Bed and Breakfast is almost ready to go and it will be called Honor + Folly. It was so popular, it’s already booked.
Directly across the street from the Slows BBQ block is a former coffee shop, called Mercury Coffee Shop. The former sign still hangs there, and up until recently had paper covering the inside of the windows, which allowed no viewing into the building. That’s pretty normal to not see in abandoned buildings in Detroit but this was different. It looked as if something was going on, and it’s true, the building was being renovated. It may not be like the Broderick Tower, but it’s being turned into another restaurant. It will be called the Mercury Burger Bar and will open in less than two weeks. David Steinke and Dennis Fulton are the owners, which will also serve breakfast.
Another building, a bit farther down, towards the Downtown area, another former pawn shop was just recently bought by Joe Misfud and his partner Bryan Brincat. It is directly next to Nemo’s Bar. The plan is to turn it into an Italian restaurant and be ready by sometime in the next year.
These are just a few of the renovations currently going on in the Corktown area. Michigan Central Station is a whole different beast which we will feature in next week’s article. The revitalization of the Corktown area is giving Detroit something else to be proud of. Although it still has a long way to go, Corktown can be something it never was, a neighborhood with a vital restaurant scene, businesses galore and safe neighborhoods. To check out more information on the Corktown neighborhood, go to Detroit.curbed.com
Feel free to check out my other articles at http://michiganjournal.org/
By Chris Zadorozny
When Detroit was in its golden age, Merchant’s Row was the place to be. Merchant’s Row is now known as the Lower Woodward Historic District. It runs from Grand Circus Park in the north, to Campus Martius Park in the south. It’s not very large, just three blocks long, consisting of 31 commercial buildings.
As mentioned in the second article of this series, when talking about the Somerset CityLoft, the historic district was the largest in the country and the busiest in the 1920’s.
The intersection of State Street and Woodward Avenue was the biggest (most congested) pedestrian crossing in 1925.
We’re going to dig deep and find out what really was there and what is being done to revitalize what was the best shopping district in the city.
Merchant’s Row flagship stores were the J.L. Hudson Department Store, Vernor’s Soda Fountain, Sanders Confectionery, the S.S. Kresge Company, and Kern’s Department Store. The J.L. Hudson Building, which is now just an empty lot, was the tallest department store in the world.
It was 33 stories high and had 2.2 million square feet of retail space. It was where every Detroiter went to shop Downtown. The building was demolished in October of 1998 and the lot has been empty since. The only thing that exists is an underground parking structure.
For 13 years, nothing has been talked about for the site until recently. Dan Gilbert, mentioned a couple of articles ago, is looking into the site and has requested a longer tax break for it. It currently has a tax break until 2017.
If Gilbert gets his way, which has happened frequently with the purchase of many buildings downtown, it will become a space that will hopefully get used again. His tentative plan for the site, or so the rumors go as of now, is that it would be a mixed use building of retail, office space, restaurants, and residencies. There is no firm plan in place to start building, but at least there is speculation for the former Hudson’s site.
The Kern’s Building was directly next to Hudson’s and the Compuware Building now sits on the site. Kern’s was another department store in Downtown Detroit, not as popular as Hudson’s but there was something that made it stand out from the others: its clock. The big saying back then was, “Meet me under the Kern’s clock,” as it was so busy that if you were under the clock, people knew where to find you.
Vernor’s was the pop of city. It has been around since 1866 and had a flagship store on the corner of Woodward Avenue and Clifford Street. Detroit is still known for Vernor’s but the flagship store on Woodward no longer exists. Tall-EZ Shoes now sits in the original spot where the drug store was. Sanders Confectionery was the ice cream of the city like Vernor’s was the pop of the city. Sanders original confectionery was right across the street from the Kern’s Building. Sanders now only has a handful of stores left in the Metro-Detroit area, but is working on building their once successful empire back up. A parking structure now is built on where the former flagship store was.
Finally, the Kresge Flagship store was located across the street from the Hudson’s store. Kresge is now known as Kmart, but back then was yet another department store that Detroiters shopped.
The original headquarters was located in Grand Circus Park, but the department store was in the small little corner of the world that was the busiest in 1925. The building is not what it once was, but it’s on its’ way. The former flagship store for Kresge now has a restaurant and a few shops.
Somerset CityLoft is also helping to revitalize the area. It was a bunch of shops from Somerset Mall in Troy, making mini-stores out of a couple ground level floors just off of Clifford Street on Woodward Avenue. It started something great, only one weekend a month from June-October. It looks as if the mini-stores succeeded as they will come back for the Christmas rush. They will be open December 1, 2, and 3 from 11am-7pm.
There are still many empty buildings in the former Merchant’s Row, but with the revitalization of the area, they probably won’t sit empty for long. Dan Gilbert and Somerset are leading the charge for the area. Don’t be surprised if this area once again becomes the heart of Downtown.
Feel free to check out my other articles at http://michiganjournal.org/
Written by Chris Zadorozny
Detroit was a growing city, the fastest, in fact during the Roaring Twenties. As Detroit grew and became one of the largest in the country, the city needed something to solidify it as one the best cities in the country too.
America’s Thanksgiving Parade, as it is now known, was the answer. The parade, which began as the “J.L. Hudson Thanksgiving Day Parade,” brought in people from all around the Metro Detroit area from 1924 until 1979, when the J.L. Hudson Company could no longer put forth money to make a profit.
It was then that the Detroit Renaissance Foundation took over the parade for four years, before transferring it to the newly formed Michigan Thanksgiving Parade Foundation in 1983. Finally, The Parade Company took over in 1990 and has since held the rights to the parade, re-naming it America’s Thanksgiving Parade.
Since 1924, the parade has grown larger with each year. In its first year, the parade only had four bands, 10 floats, and a small number of people dressed up in large heads. Today, it draws over one million people downtown. It is the second oldest parade in the country, tied with the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade in New York City, and just behind the 6abc Dunkin’ Donuts Thanksgiving Day Parade in Philadelphia.
During World War II, in 1943 and 1944, the parade came to a halt to help the war effort. In 1942, the last year before they stopped the parade, the balloons, floats, and anything rubber had signs on them stating, “I’m on my way to the Rubber Salvage.” All of the giant animals and other balloons were sliced up behind the Hudson’s Building after the parade and went directly into the war effort.
When the parade returned in 1945, over 200,000 people came out to witness the first parade in three years and they were rewarded with over 600 characters, eight bands, and 75 clowns, including Donald Duck, the Toy Soldiers, and the Wizard of Oz.
It’s obvious that children are the main audience of a parade, and in 1948, the Rotary, Board of Education, and Legal Division of the Detroit Street Railroad combined to bring over 650 handicapped children in 20 buses to the parade. For the kids, Santa is the main attraction and seeing him brings a smile on every kid’s face.
For Hudson’s, it was important to be the biggest name out there to market the Toyland, which was located on the twelfth floor of the building. In 1958, Hudson’s began a contest for students to design floats for the parade and the winning design actually had their float built, which still continues today. The first ever winner of the float design was 10 year old Carol Kulesza.
The parade has also been broadcast live nationally on television, first in 1948 locally, then on NBC in 1952. As the parade became more nationally known, CBS wanted to broadcast it live but Hudson’s had a contract with ABC. CBS did air it even though it was threatened with a lawsuit in 1959. The national coverage ceased to exist in 1988, but resumed back in 1999.
One other aspect of the parade is the Turkey Trot, a 10k (6.2 mile) race before the parade starting usually around 7:30 or 8:00 am. This year it starts at 7:45 am, for its 29th year. There is also a 5k (3.1 mile) race and a one-mile fun run. Last year it drew over 17,000 runners and they welcome all ages. There is a costume contest and when registering, you receive a number bib, timing bib, and a pullover with the logo. This year, officials are expecting 20,000 runners, which is their limit.
The current parade route starts at Woodward Ave. and Mack Ave. in the Midtown District and moves south down Woodward Ave. ending at Congress St. This was the first route taken back in 1924 when the parade started. It has had to change courses over the years it has existed, though. It will take the same route this year on Thanksgiving Day, Thursday, November 24. It will step off, as they say, from Mack Ave. and Woodward Ave at 9:05am.
America’s Thanksgiving Parade is a great event to attend and it doesn’t cost a dime. It’s totally free and if you get a good spot early on Woodward Ave., you will be able to see not only the runners run and cheer them on, but you also get to see a great parade. Make sure to dress warm, bring some hot beverages and snacks, a couple chairs and blankets, and you are ready to go.
It is such an historic event, even if you aren’t a kid, the enjoyment of seeing the different floats, bands, and people and the holiday cheer the parade brings won’t disappoint you.
Next week we will look at the buildings in the Lower Woodward Historic District, as well as what is being done to them to revive the area that was once the busiest in the city.
Feel free to check out my other articles at http://michiganjournal.org/
Written by Chris Zadorozny
Detroit, MI, November 17, 2011 Holiday events and market hours. Christmas and New Year’s day fall on Saturday this year. Eastern Market’s “Public Market” will be open Friday December 23rd 7am- 2pm, Saturday December 24th 7am – 12pm and Saturday December 31st 7am – 2pm.
Eastern Market is open for all your holiday shopping needs. Whether it’s fresh food, holiday gifts or a quaint place to enjoy lunch or dinner Eastern Market offers it all. While shopping at Eastern Market please make a donation to one or more of the giving campaigns happening at the Market. Thank you for your support!
2011 – Holiday Events Schedule
Forgotten Harvest Every Saturday November 12th ~ December 24th
Forgotten Harvest is metro Detroit’s only food rescue program. Help feed hungry people in our community by donating fresh fruits and produce. When shopping, please consider those in our communities that will otherwise go without healthy food options! Donation Stations are located in Sheds 3 & 5
Gleaners “Give a Hand for the Holidays” Saturday December 3rd
For more than 33 years, Gleaners Community Food Bank has been nourishing communities by feeding hungry people. You can make a difference. Donate non-perishable food items today. Donation Stations are located in Sheds 3 & 5
Holiday Carolers Performance Saturday December 3rd
No holiday celebration is complete without the stunning sounds of carolers singing in the spirit of the season! Enjoy our local high school choirs as they bring the season to life! Performances in Shed 5 on the landing
Salvation Army Red Kettle Collections & Coats for Kids Drive – Saturday December 10th
The Salvation Army’s Red Kettle & Coats for Kids Campaign. Give a coat, warm a child and feed your soul! Donate a new or slightly used coat and help keep a child warm. Donation stations are located in Sheds 3 & 5
Creative Ice Carving by Roy-Saturday December 10th
Ice sculpturing is the highlight of the day as Roy creates extraordinary carvings from huge blocks of ice. Performances at 10AM between Sheds 3 & 4 and 1PM between Sheds 4 & 5
Toys for Tots Drive-Saturday December 17th
The Marine Corps Reserves “Toys for Tots” partners to collect new unwrapped toys. Deliver a message of hope to less fortunate youngsters! Donation Stations located in the Welcome Center (7am-4pm), Shed 3 (9am-2pm), Shed 5 (10am-1pm)
Santa & Mrs. Claus-Saturday December 17th
Take a photo with Santa & Mrs. Claus for $5.00 per photo; or bring a new, unwrapped toy for the “Toys for Tots Drive” and your photo is free! Santa & Toys for Tots Donation Stations are in Shed 3 & 5
Retail shops and restaurants are independent from the Saturday Public Market and may have different holiday hours. Their contact information can be found on our website www.detroiteasternmarket.com. Please give them a call to determine their hours of operations during the holiday season.
Our regular Saturday Market will resume its normal hours beginning on Saturday January 7, 2012, 5AM – 5PM. We invite everyone to avoid the long lines at the mall and do their holiday shopping at Eastern Market.”
Detroit Eastern Market – History
Since 1891, Detroit’s Eastern Market has been home to an amazing community of farmers, merchants, food lovers and residents. Eastern Market is a year-round Saturday public market attracting 10,000 in December through March and from 30,000 to 40,000 per day April through November. Detroit Eastern Market encompasses a wholesale market with 40 to 50 vendors in mid-June to November, 80 small-scale processors and distributors around the market, 15 restaurants and over 40 small retail related businesses.
Eastern Market is a tradition passed on from generation to generation. Detroit Eastern Market is the largest historic public market district in the United States. Every Saturday, Michigan’s largest and most colorful market is host to more than 150 farmers and vendors from Michigan, Ohio, and Canada offering a cornucopia of fruits, vegetables, breads, baked goods, jellies, jams, honey, apple cider, cheeses, spices, herbs, plants and flowers.
Eastern Market Corporation – Mission
To run a successful market on a daily basis, imagine, fund and implement a series of capital improvements to the market. To serve as an official economic development organizer as well as strengthen the market for the Eastern Market district; and work with a number of collaborators and partners to strengthen the regional food systems in southeast Michigan.
Eastern Market-Detroit is located between Gratiot and Mack, bordered by St. Aubin and the I-75 service drive — just northeast of downtown Detroit. The Market is open on Saturdays from 5:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m. For more information, contact 313-833-9300 or visit the website at www.detroiteasternmarket.com.
The rise of Detroit starts with food and with the recent talk of the cuisine Downtown, we look to one of the biggest “food wars” in the city itself. Lafayette Coney Island and American Coney Island are the two restaurants that compete for best Coney dog in town.
For those that don’t know what a Coney dog is, it can be defined as, a hot dog inside a steamed bun topped with chili, onions, and mustard. The original Coney Island, Todoroff’s, was named after the Coney Island amusement park in New York, and opened in Jackson, Michigan in 1914. Later, in 1917 American Coney Island opened in Detroit between Michigan Ave., Griswold St., and Lafayette St. American is home of the original Coney Dog in Detroit as stated by their website.
Lafayette Coney Island split from American Coney Island a couple of years later after the brothers that formed the original American Coney Island couldn’t agree on some ingredients going into the recipes for the chili. Gust Keros stayed with American while Bill Keros formed Lafayette, which sits directly next door to American.
It’s not very often you have restaurants that are competing for business owned by the same family but still feuding to this day. Both restaurants are still family owned and have a different approach to what ingredients go into their chili.
To start, American Coney Island has a more sit down, dining like setting with tables, chairs, and waiters. The inside is covered with red, white, and blue with lots of pictures of Detroit’s history. Many celebrities have come into the restaurant and have signed pictures dedicating them to the restaurant and how delicious their Coney dogs are.
Lafayette Coney Island has a diner type setting with a long bar and a long table in the middle. The inside is rather small, fitting only about fifty people, and almost every seat will be full all night when events are happening in the city. Lafayette too has signed pictures of celebrities and awards for winning food contests. The one thing that sticks out in Lafayette over American is the pictures of the crew with the Stanley Cup that the Red Wings won a few years back.
The menus are a big difference in both restaurants too. Obviously, the big ticket items on both menus are the Coney dogs. American has more of a sit-down restaurant feel as previously stated and it shows in their menu. They also serve Greek salad, gyro sandwiches, Buffalo wings, and a chicken pita sandwich, among a few others.
Lafayette’s menu is simple; their famous Coney dog, French fries, chili, and a few other items. It’s a very small menu but the flavor is in the food to make up for it. Lafayette also serves beer at a cheaper price, than the beer available next door at American. In the summertime, both restaurants will have one of their workers outside to try to “recruit” you to come and eat in their restaurant. It’s a great rivalry between two restaurants that can go back almost 100 years. It’s up to you to choose which one you prefer.
The only similarity that you will find in the restaurants is that both use the same hot dog from the same company. You will find the difference in the chili and the onions so it is now up to you to choose determine the fate of Detroit’s great food war. As Detroit rises, the food will be at the forefront and this is where it all started. Next week we will talk about one of Detroit’s greatest traditions: the Thanksgiving Day Parade.
Feel free to check out my other articles at http://michiganjournal.org/
Written by Chris Zadorozny
This week we will switch the topic from the the growing entertainment industry in Detroit and focus in on one man and what he is doing to reinvigorate a city that needs help. In this piece, we will talk about what he has done for the city, his background, and his plans for the future.
Dan Gilbert is the current founder, chairman, and CEO of Quicken Loans, an online mortgage company based in the Compuware Building, downtown in the heart of the city. He was born in the city itself and earned his bachelor’s from Michigan State University as well as a Juris Doctor (first professional doctorate) from Wayne State University Law School. He is also a member of the Michigan State Bar Association.
He founded Rock Financial in 1985 and it grew into one of the largest independent mortgage lenders in the country. In 2000, Intuit Inc. bought out Rock Financial and turned it into Quicken Loans. Gilbert bought the company back along with a group of private investors in 2002 from Intuit Inc. and its affiliated companies and has since remained its CEO.
When becoming CEO, he became the majority owner of the Cleveland Cavaliers basketball team in 2005. He still embraces the team to this day even during the current NBA lockout. He also owns the Lake Erie Monsters, a professional hockey team in the American Hockey League, one step below the NHL level. They are the farm team of the Colorado Avalanche.
Gilbert knows how to make money and realized that Detroit can be a place for people to live, work, and play. In August of 2010, he moved 1,700 of his workers in Quicken Loans from Livonia to Detroit at the Compuware Building. Five months later, he announced the purchase of the Madison Theatre Building, directly next to the Broderick Tower in Grand Circus Park. This past April he also purchased the Chase Tower, one block south of the Compuware Building, and Two Detroit Center, a parking structure two blocks away.
This past September he finished his money spending with the purchases of the Dime Building, three blocks south of the Compuware Building, and the First National Building, one block south. He also owns rights to the old Hudson’s Building site, right next door to the Compuware Building. Once everyone moves into the Chase Tower and Madison Theatre Building, Quicken Loans will employ over 4,000 workers in Downtown Detroit.
The building he resides in currently is the Compuware Building. It was built in 2000 and finished in 2003. It’s a mix of office space, restaurant, and retail. Restaurants include; Hard Rock Café, Texas de Brazil (Steakhouse), and a Jimmy Johns, to name a few. The Compuware Building sits in the heart of Downtown Detroit at Campus Martius Park, and it and will be key to the revitalization of Detroit as more and more companies move downtown.
In fact, two companies just moved into the Madison Theatre Building in the past week. Skidmore Studio, a graphic design company, and Detroit Labs, a technology firm that creates applications for the iPhone, iPad, and Android moved in this past week.
Skidmore moved from Royal Oak, while Detroit Labs moved from the Compuware Building. Detroit Labs was able to move from the Compuware Building because of Detroit Venture Partners, a venture capitalist firm founded by Gilbert to help early stage technology companies in the city. It currently has only 15 employees.
Dan Gilbert is one of the best people to help reinvigorate the city of Detroit and he has done so already with the moving of his employees, purchasing buildings to bring tenants in and looking toward the future with the old Hudson’s site. Because he owns development rights on the site of the old Hudson’s Building, he is looking to seek a tax extension from the city. The current tax breaks run until 2017 and with the possibility of extending the tax breaks for another 15 years, it could mean something big, both for the city’s business district and quite possibly the skyline.
The old J.L. Hudson’s Building was built in 1911 and continued to grow towards the finished product presented in 1946. It was the tallest department/retail building in the world, and the second largest department store building (in rooms) in the United States, second only to Macy’s in New York City. It also holds the record for the tallest and largest building to have a controlled implosion. It was imploded on October 24, 1998. The site is now an empty lot with a parking structure underground, although the parking structure is built so that a building can be built on top with steel girders sticking out of the ground.
There is speculation that an urban Target or H&M store would be built on the site along with other retail, office space, and a residential portion as well. By seeking a tax extension on this “Renaissance Zone” which is exempt from city taxes, utility taxes, city and county property taxes, and state and business income taxes, it is very likely that Gilbert has a plan to do something with this site. We do not have any idea what his plans are but the purchase of the other buildings in downtown, he seems to have plans for those as well.
Dan Gilbert is a driving force behind bringing business and retail into the city of Detroit and he’s only 49 years old. Gilbert is young and will continue to help the city of Detroit and downtown improve. In next week’s article we will look at one of the oldest and best eateries in the city, and their rivalry.
Feel free to check out my other articles at http://michiganjournal.org/
Written by Chris Zadorozny