Who would of thought just a few years ago that Capitol Park, a section of downtown that’s been moribund for a long time, would have so much investment, let alone a locally-produced bike shop?
But it is, in fact, happening. Yesterday you could hear the din of equipment from the various buildings that are under restoration work around the triangle that used to be home to Michigan’s capitol building. The newest addition, Detroit Bikes, will be on the ground floor of The Albert, a recently renovated building. The company makes bicycles here in a 50,000 square foot factory in Detroit that are aimed for the commuter market.
For years Capitol Park served as a bus turnaround, and even before that it’s not like the park – with Griswold street running through it – was the belle of the downtown ball.
However the new home of Detroit Bikes 1216 (as the store is called) is in one of the most “city” looking areas we have in downtown Detroit. Most of the building stock is from an attractive era. The fact that buildings are being snapped up and rehabbed by various investors, including Dan Gilbert, shows that the area is on the precipice of changing gears.
But what about the bikes themselves? Three speeds, a streamlined design, with thin and smooth tires on large wheels is what you get with one of these. They run $699 currently on their website.
The design of the storefront is a throwback to the Detroit of yesteryear with Metzger’s Bicycle Shop, one of Detroit’s historic retailers, as its inspiration. 1216 Griswold has been restored to reveal stone columns, ornate crown moldings, and the fixtures planned aims to give it a vintage feel.
“We can’t wait for people to see it,” said Zak Pashak, Detroit Bikes president and founder. “Detroit Bikes 1216 is beautiful and evokes the city’s rich cycling history.”
Detroit Bikes 1216 opens this Friday on May 8 at 11 a.m., with an all-day celebration highlighting their bicycles as well as American made accessories and products by other local outfits like Woodward Throwbacks and Better Life Bags.