PODCAST: A Retractable Roof For Ford Field? Clutch And Throttle Motorcycle Shop Opening In Detroit & More

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Friends, we have returned from a quick weekend getaway — Jer went up to Mackinac Island, while Sven drove down to Columbus, Ohio for a Courtney Barnett show — and are back with a fresh new show. And it’s our first one recorded in the new Podcast Detroit studio inside the Detroit Shipping Company, which had its soft open on Friday and remains, uh, softly open?

In today’s show, we discuss:

  • Ford Field’s future retractable roof?
  • The future of the Belle Isle Grand Prix
  • Detroit misses out on hosting the NCAA Final Four
  • The Gordie Howe International Bridge groundbreaking
  • Detroit’s skyrocketing housing prices
  • The Detroit Institute of Bagel’s bagels
  • A new production by “Hamilton” playwright Lin-Manuel Miranda comes to Detroit
  • And Jer has a chat on the show with Brad Touchette, owner of Detroit’s new motorcycle accessory shop, Clutch and Throttle.

Ford Field might get a new retractable roof to help its bid to lure a Major League Soccer franchise. That’s what Street & Smith’s SportsBusiness Daily reports, and various other outlets have confirmed.

What’s behind this? The billionaire duo of Tom Gores and Dan Gilbert have been aiming to bring a Major League Soccer team to Detroit. Together with Lions owner Martha Firestone Ford, they’re pitching Ford Field as the home stadium starting with the 2022 season.

But MLS prefers that new franchises play in an outdoor, purpose-built stadium — and Ford Field ticks neither box. The league has said that abandoning plans for a new stadium built on the former Wayne County Jail site hurt the group’s bid.

In an interview with WJR, Lions President Ron Wood said that he hasn’t seen the final numbers but the cost would be “significant,” and that we’d know in the next couple weeks if this is going to happen.

It’s also not clear who would pay for a retractable roof — and whether taxpayers would be asked to foot the bill. Some experts peg the cost of adding a retractable roof in the hundreds of millions of dollars.

The Detroit Grand Prix is proposing to give more money to the state as part of its pitch to continue to stage the race on Belle Isle.

Grand Prix organizers presented their proposal during a Belle Isle Park Advisory Committee on Friday that drew a reported 200 opponents and supporters of the annual event.

Organizers are seeking a new three-year contract with an optional two-year extension. They also propose to increase the annual fee the event pays to the Michigan Department of Natural Resources to $300,000, from $200,000, plus an annual contribution toward a project to be determined by the DNR. And they say they’d shorten the time spent setting up and tearing down the race infrastructure.

Opponents object to the noise and disruption to the island park, but some supporters say the race has benefited the city and Belle Isle. Organizers say they have no other Plan B locations to stage the race.

The DNR will review the application and is accepting public comments through Aug. 2 at DNR-GrandPrixProposal@Michigan.gov. A tentative decision on the proposal is expected that same day.

Gov. Rick Snyder and elected officials from Michigan and Canada will appear at a groundbreaking ceremony Tuesday for the Gordie Howe International Bridge. The ceremony in Delray is the latest sign that work on the new Detroit-Windsor span is proceeding toward full-scale construction starting later this year.

As we reported here previously, the Moroun family have recently appealed to President Trump for help blocking the project with an ad falsely claiming that the bridge will use only Canadian and imported steel. The Morouns own the nearby Ambassador Bridge and have spent years fighting against the new public bridge.

Officials are targeting a completion date in 2022 or 2023.

Home prices are rising in metro Detroit — and they’re skyrocketing in the city of Detroit.

According to a report by Realcomp, purchase prices in the Detroit region are up almost 5 percent from last year when the median sales price of a home or condominium was around $195,000.

Now in the city of Detroit? The median sale price is up 41% from a year ago, to $38,500 in June.

Reports suggest that most transactions are cash sales from outside investors or new residents moving in, often from other regions of the country.

Supply is so short in the city and region that 90 percent of buyers are paying above asking price and waving things that are otherwise smart to do before a purchase, such as a home inspection.

In the city, the hottest neighborhoods are starting to shift to outside of downtown. They include Bagley, University District, East English Village, and Sherwood Forest. The core of the city still sees high demand but there is almost no ready-to-move-in supply.

Detroit has missed out on hosting the NCAA Basketball Final Four. Although we were one of seven finalists to host the prestigious Final Four in 2023, 2024, 2025 and 2026, we came up empty-handed.

Houston, Phoenix, San Antonio and Indianapolis were picked as the host cities.

via Detroit Institute of Bagels FB page

New Yorkers tend to think that they are the only people who can have good bagels. But Thrillist has just named Detroit Institute of Bagels as one of the best places to get a bagel outside of New York City.

The list features 11 bagel shops across the country that quote “may represent the best of the best, it only proves that great bagels don’t depend on water, tradition, or location..”

The Corktown bagel shop opened in the fall of 2013 after operating out of the kitchen of one of the founders. It has grown a passionate local following for its bagels, sandwiches, and schmears.


“In The Heights” is the first musical written by Lin-Manuel Miranda of “Hamilton” fame. This week, you’ll have a chance to see it right here in Detroit.

The Detroit Actor’s Theatre Company will be performing the Tony Award-winning show this week at New Center Park, across the street from the Fisher Building. There will be five performances of the musical starting on Wednesday, July 18 through Sunday, July 22.

“In the Heights” takes place over three days in the Washington Heights neighborhood of New York City. The musical shows the struggles of the Hispanic people who live in the neighborhood, and what happens when someone in the neighborhood wins the lottery.

Daily Detroit’s Shianne Nocerini spoke with Eric Swanson, the executive director of the Detroit Actor’s Theatre company, about designing a streetscape set in the middle of a city park, on today’s show.

This is the final production in the theatre company’s “Create For Action” series. This show will address the issues of immigration, race, ethnicity and the gentrification of an inner-city neighborhood.

Along with the theme of the show the theatre company will be collecting donations for the Detroit Hispanic Development Corporation.

Gates open at 7 p.m. and the show starts at 8. Feel free to bring lawn chairs and blankets to sit on.

The performances are free to attend thanks to sponsorships from the Kresge Foundation and Midtown Detroit Inc.  There will be concessions for purchase before the show.

You you can find more information about the show on the Detroit Actor’s Theatre Company’s Facebook page.


via Clutch and Throttle

For today’s interview, Jer spoke with Brad Touchette, owner of a new, 2,000 square-foot motorcycle accessory, service and repair shop called Clutch & Throttle. Brad stopped by the Podcast Detroit Shipping Company studio to talk about it and their grand opening party.

Lastly, a couple fun links to Detroit-related material we thought you’d enjoy:

The New Yorker has a nifty new video on Detroit as part of its “Then and Now” video series. It presents past and present images of downtown Detroit streetscapes and automobile assembly lines.

And the Detroit Free Press has a neat photo gallery of Belle Isle back in the 70s and 80s.

Thanks for reading our email newsletter and listening to our show. We’ll see you tomorrow.

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