Development – Daily Detroit What To Know And Where To Go In Metro Detroit Fri, 16 Feb 2018 12:04:15 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Detroit Mayor Says He Won’t Ticket Airbnb Hosts, Will Review Ordinance Fri, 09 Feb 2018 15:30:07 +0000 It looks like the city administration got caught flat-footed yesterday when it became public that an ordinance change in 2017 is resulting in notices being sent to Detroit Airbnb hosts.

If you’re not familiar, Airbnb is an online service that allows people to easily list and rent out a room or a property on a short-term basis.

In a statement sent this morning, Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan says that the ordinance as written appears to ban all homeowners from having even their own friends and relatives stay at their homes if that friend or relative is paying rent.

Here’s the Mayor’s statement in full:

Detroit homeowners have been able to rent out a room in their homes for more than 100 years and we don’t believe the new ordinance was intended to take away that right. The ordinance as written appears to ban all homeowners from having even their own friends and relatives stay at their homes if that friend or relative is paying them rent. The public was never told that was intended.  I have asked the law department to review this question and give BSEED guidance.  

Media reports that enforcement efforts have begun under this ordinance are false. Over the last two years there have been a few enforcement actions that have involved Airbnb properties, but those tickets have arisen from other complaints or violations related to those properties.

Until the law department review is complete, BSEED will not be ticketing homeowners for renting out rooms in their own residence, whether through airbnb or otherwise.  BSEED and the administration will be working with City Council to resolve these issues. 

In response, Airbnb’s Ben Breit said the following:

We applaud the city for doing the right thing and protecting every day people who are sharing their homes to pay the bills. Airbnb has partnered with hundreds of cities to develop commonsense home sharing regulations, and we look forward to collaborating with Detroit leaders moving forward.

Two Cents: It’s good that this looks like it will be resolved. It’s bad that this made it into law — with notices being sent — before anyone picked up on it.. even the Mayor himself.

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NEWS BYTE: Martin Reboot, Project Greenlight, Metro Detroiters Working In Puerto Rico And More Thu, 01 Feb 2018 23:17:06 +0000

Here’s what happening on your Daily Detroit News Byte for February 1, 2018.

  • Greektown goes Project Greenlight
  • Comcast takes over cable & internet services in Highland Park
  • The Belle Isle Grand Prix might not come back to the island
  • A new high-rise near Comerica Park may be in the works
  • The TV show Martin, set in Detroit, may have a reboot after 20 years
  • GDYT is putting young people to work in Detroit this summer –
  • Feature interview: Dave Lingholm from DTE Energy talks about metro Detroiters down in Puerto Rico working to restore power to the American island. We talk to him from Puerto Rico.

Here are some ways you can help Puerto Rico:

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NEWS BYTE: Making Woodward Avenue Better, Pop’n Smoked BBQ Expansion And More Sat, 27 Jan 2018 06:04:28 +0000

This is your Daily Detroit News Byte for Saturday, January 27th.

Here are your stories:

  • MSU is continuing to fall deeper into scandal
  • The Detroit Tigers have switched up their jersey look
  • Comerica Park is going to stay Comerica Park
  • $500,000 Condos coming to New Center
  • The Leland Hotel is getting a renovation
  • Detroit neighborhood business Pop’N’Smoked BBQ is expanding

And for your feature interview, we talk to Karen Mejia of the Woodward Avenue Action Association (WA3) about what they’re up to along this important stretch of Metro Detroit roadway. More on them here:

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If Oakland And Macomb Counties Don’t Want The Benefits Of Mass Transit, Forget’em Wed, 24 Jan 2018 17:24:27 +0000 The ongoing saga of regional transit negotiations is like watching a friend tragically go after dating someone they really, really like – but the person that’s the target of their affection just isn’t interested.

The reality is a four county transit solution isn’t politically workable here. We should accept that and like Indianapolis, an Amazon top 20 city, move on.

One of the things that was surprising on our most recent Daily Detroit Happy Hour podcast was that Indianapolis was a top 20 city when Detroit was not.

So we did some digging.

Rendering of an Indy BRT station.

Indianapolis is underway with improvements including 50 miles of Bus Rapid Transit (across 3 lines!) and a 70 percent increase in short haul bus service. They focused their efforts on Marion County, and although it’s not done, it’s funded. They’re stepping forward.

Meanwhile, Metro Detroit is basically stalled. There are early signs with a FAST bus route that hold promise, and the QLINE putters down Woodward.

What did Indy do? They kept it simple. Yes, the goal is to spread to more counties. But they got started with their transit. And we should do the same.

We’ve tried time after time after time after time. County Executives Mark Hackel in Macomb and L. Brooks Patterson in Oakland have been less than good faith negotiators around the topic. It’s spineless to negotiate a deal, push hard for drastic changes, get those changes, and then not publicly back the deal.

We need to be honest with ourselves and realize that with their competency and ability to push things through, if Hackel and Patterson were actually invested in mass transit it would have already been done. Supporters of transit in those counties need to remember this is a representative democracy and their leadership DOES speak for them, and if they don’t like it, they should work to make them pay where it counts — at the ballot box.

If Wayne and Washtenaw counties make their own backbone transit system happen, the businesses will move. The people will move, and new people will move in.

When it comes to talent and retention, Metro Detroit didn’t make the cut in the Amazon bid. Even outside of the Amazon bid, anyone who is honest about the conversation knows we don’t make the cut.

A transit system connecting the two most dynamic areas of the region will bring more people and more investment.

The world has changed in the last 25 years. One of the reasons why Midtown (and greater downtown) in Detroit is so hot is because it’s the closest thing that Metro Detroit has to a true urban area.

Those neighborhoods are attracting huge amounts of investment, in part, because they’re not like most of Metro Detroit. We’ve interviewed developers who have stopped almost all new development in the suburbs because of these changing demographics and tastes, focusing on cities.

Even if we connected the city of Detroit with places like Dearborn and Grosse Pointe and Canton and Wyandotte and Ypsilanti and Ann Arbor, that’s a good thing. Maybe if it’s connected with proper Bus Rapid Transit or Light Rail, you’ll see places like Highland Park come alive.

No, a two-county system isn’t going to connect everything it should, but it will connect more than we have. It’s a step forward, and sometimes you have to walk before you run.

And when this plan is successful, the rest will fall into place. When the suburban detractors, worried about hyper-low taxes and others coming into their cities see their property values drop, and drop hard, they’ll change their tune. There’s a reason Royal Oak is looking at their own city bus system. Their leadership has to know what’s around the corner and that they could get left behind.

But we can’t afford to wait another four or eight years. Detroit’s moment is now. We have to back up our ideas with dollars.

We also have the opportunity to it better than anyone else, using our unique skills.

Ford and GM say they’re a mobility companies now. They’d both be served by a Wayne/Washtenaw transit deal. What if they got involved  to remake the future of transit and mobility that sets them up for future success and benefit our citizens?

What if Dan Gilbert played hardball and decided that he’s going to incentivize his new employees to live inside the new transit zone?

Maybe that’s an out of the box idea, but I’ll take that over our leaders who seem permanently unable to come to agreement like some buddy film featuring Walter Matthau and Jack Lemmon.

I’ll leave it to your imagination to pick who’s Walter and who’s Jack on this issue.

We seem to have no problem spending millions on economic incentives on a regular basis in Detroit and in Michigan. And we seem to clearly have the votes, vision and will in Wayne and Washtenaw Counties.

The time for talking is over. Get it done with people who get it, and ignore the people who don’t.

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Auto Supplier Flex-N-Gate Will Hire 400+ Employees, Focus On Detroit Residents Tue, 23 Jan 2018 17:22:25 +0000 The largest investment by an auto supplier in the City of Detroit in over 20 years is well underway.

Auto supplier Flex-N-Gate Detroit will soon be hiring over 400 employees. The positions will range from hourly workers to management.

Flex-N-Gate owner Shad Khan has committed to hiring Detroit residents first.

The company will be partnering with Detroit Works to help Detroiters get the training they need.

Courses at Detroit Works are expected to start in February and will run through December 2018. Training will be available for over 300 Detroit residents throughout the year. You can find out more information about the training and employment here.

Construction on the 480,000 square foot, $160 million facility is more than halfway complete. This build-up in hiring employees is to prepare for the opening of the Flex-N-Gate facility in October.

The facility will supply auto parts to Ford Motor Company once it opens.

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NEWS BYTE: School Funding Changes To Benefit Charters, Royal Oak City Buses, Belle Isle Draft Plans & Attracting Mobility Companies Fri, 19 Jan 2018 21:44:09 +0000

Here’s your Daily Detroit News Byte for Friday, January 19.

On the docket today:

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Royal Oak Is Looking At Starting Their Own City Bus Service. Is This A Good Idea? Wed, 17 Jan 2018 16:02:11 +0000 There is currently a task force studying whether or not Royal Oak should create it’s own bus system.

Yes, you read that right.

Royal Oak Mayor Michael Fournier has appointed a seven person task force to see if Royal Oak should create a stand alone bus service.

According to an article on the Daily Tribune there will be a public meeting on Wednesday, January 17 to discuss the transportation needs of Royal Oak residents.

When I first read this my eye twitch returned.

Do we not already have a suburban bus service? I mean, SMART does stand for Suburban Mobility Authority for Regional Transportation, right? As opposed to duplicating service, why wouldn’t, if they’re willing to pay for it, enhanced service be created as opposed to a whole new organization?

The main argument is that transit riders who live at 13 Mile and Main Street would be better served by this smaller  Royal Oak-only service instead of SMART.

I understand that not everyone lives right next to a bus line and sometimes you have to walk a few blocks to get to a bus stop. And sometimes you need to transfer to a different bus line. This is the way public transportation works.

The proposed bus service could between $2 million and $6.6 million to operate yearly. The yearly budget would depend on the number of buses needed and the frequency of each bus, and the buses would be smaller than the usual bus.

This standalone bus service is still a long way from actually becoming a reality. Royal Oak officials won’t decide about starting up the service and putting a millage request out to voters until after the task force comes back with their findings.

I know that the metro Detroit public transportation system leaves much to be desired, but they’re working on it. The recent addition of the FAST Service is a good step.

I personally think that creating a separate service for Royal Oak would be a disservice to not only to the residents of Royal Oak but to the entire region. We as a region don’t need yet another agency, we need communication and figuring out how to make transit work better as a whole.

The public meeting will take place on Wednesday, January 17 at 7:00 p.m at the Salter Community Center, 1545 E. Lincoln Avenue.

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New City Club Apartments Promise “Sexy Bathrooms,” Gourmet Market, Pet Shop, & Restaurant Thu, 11 Jan 2018 22:36:26 +0000 In place of the historic Statler Hotel will be a development that will have “sexy bathrooms.”

I’m not exactly sure what that means, but one can only imagine.

Today was the official ground breaking for the new City Club Apartment – Central Business District Detroit mixed-use apartment building.

City Club Apartments LLC is the developer and owner of the new apartment building.

The new development will be built on the former site of the historic Statler Hotel that was demolished in 2005. The site has been untouched until September of 2017 when work began on the site.

I would wax poetic about the history of the Statler Hotel, but I think that Historic Detroit does a pretty awesome job of that already.

The development will feature 288 apartments and penthouses. Some of the apartments will be furnished for short term tenants.

As with much of the new development going on in Detroit there will be 20% affordable apartments. That affordable development is aimed at middle-class tenants, as determined by the regional median household income.

There will be a mix of apartments, duplexes, and penthouses, and townhouses. They will range between studio and will go up to three bedrooms.

The penthouses will have rooftop terraces so residents can grow fruits and vegetables.

“Why can’t an apartment community combine great design, green sustainability, pet friendly, with special bathrooms, kitchens and closets,” said City Club Apartments Chairman and CEO Johnathan Holtzman. “Why can’t you have rooftop terraces that have a vegetable garden.”

You might be wondering how much one of these apartments will be to rent. Unfortunately there is currently no word on what some of the rents might be. The prices should be release when pre-leasing starts.

But if you look at the Ann Arbor City Club Apartments those apartments start at $1780 a month and can get up to $2,700.

I’ll let you get over the sticker shock.

The project has received $70 million in financing. Including $1 million in brownfield financing.

The building is being financed by Huntington Bank, Bank of Ann Arbor and Comerica Bank. It is the first high rise, mixed-use building in the Central Business District to use conventional financing.

Let’s take a look at all of the amenities that will be included in this development.

So I keep mentioning sexy bathrooms, and I’m sure you are wondering why.

There have been multiple mentions of these “sexy bathrooms” in the press kit as well as in the interview we did with Holtzman.

“Think about early in your dating career, did you ever take a bubble bath with candles and wine glasses in a beautiful bathtub?” asked Holtzman. “This is where somebody lives. For too long apartment buildings have been boring but boutique hotels are exciting.”

Ann Arbor City Club Apartment Floor Plan

The “sexy bathroom” is even mentioned in the floor plans of the Ann Arbor City Club Apartments, a development that the company did in downtown Ann Arbor. 

Residents will have a 24 hour concierge, an indoor/outdoor pool and hot tub that will be connected to a private park, an outdoor movie theater, 24 hour fitness center, 24 hour conference and business center and social programs to encourage resident engagement.

As for the four legged residents of the building there will be a bark park.

There will be a gourmet market, pet store and restaurant with al fresco seating on the ground floor.

Those interested in living in the City Club Apartment – CBD Detroit can start to pre-lease in the beginning of May.

The development is estimated to be move in ready by the winter of 2018. The remainder of the development will be complete by 2019.

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Plans Become Clearer For Big Boy Site By Belle Isle Wed, 20 Dec 2017 15:45:31 +0000 When you look across the Detroit River from Belle Isle, you’re going to see a new building that may be as many as ten stories tall come the summer of 2020. That’s the plan according to The Platform, a development group that’s behind some iconic projects as of late, including a renovation of the Fisher Building.

Earlier this year we brought you word that the Big Boy at Grand Boulevard and Jefferson at the foot of the Belle Isle (properly called MacArthur) Bridge was purchased and closed. That’s where this new project is going.

The $50 million plan calls for:

  • A multi-family residential development
  • 11,000 square feet of ground-floor retail with on-site parking
  • 240 apartments, with 20% of them set aside for affordable housing

“Our vision for this major residential development is one that is both transformational and contextually sensitive,” said Dietrich Knoer, president and CEO of The Platform. “We look forward to engaging with our neighbors and community stakeholders about future programming and what they’d like to see come to Islandview.”

The location has some of the best potential in the city. Across Jefferson is Gabriel Richard Park, and the plan is to connect the Belle Isle Bridge to the Riverwalk so you could bike downtown very easily. There are also protected bike lanes going in on Jefferson. Not to mention, Belle Isle is just across the bridge and there are various improvements going on there.

Ground is expected to be broken on the Islandview project in the fourth quarter of 2018 with opening set for mid-2020.

As we’ve previously shared, that same development company The Platform also controls five contiguous parcels just north of the site on East Grand Boulevard and plans to use some of the buildings mixed-income residential properties.

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Hispanics Outpace National Average For Home Ownership In Metro Detroit, African Americans Lag Behind Tue, 12 Dec 2017 21:08:01 +0000 When it comes to minorities and home ownership, new data out shows that there are significant disparities between different racial groups around what is usually the largest asset a person or family has — owning a home.

The data, culled from U.S. Census data and other sources and compiled by the real estate site Abodo, paint a very interesting picture.

It’s one of the most clear numbers that illustrates wealth inequality. Nationally, 63% of Americans own homes.

Whites in America have the highest rate of home ownership. This plays out locally as well. 78% of the white population owns home here in Metro Detroit, compared to a national average of 71.3%.

When you dig deeper, more details start to emerge.

One is that Hispanic home ownership far outpaces the national average in Metro Detroit. Nearly 59.7% of Hispanics own a home in Metro Detroit. That’s far above the 45.6% nationally.

African Americans haven’t fared so well. Only 40% — nearly the half of of whites — own their own home. That’s also slightly below the national average of 41%. Both nationally and locally, the wealth gap is large between African Americans and the rest of the country.

The percentage of Asian home owners (57.4%) is also slightly behind the national average (58.5%), but closer to the white average.

“When analyzed specifically by the largest minority groups in the country, the breakdown of home owners is very interesting in Detroit. Clearly, all across the country, including Detroit, home ownership among minorities is far behind the home ownership rates of white people,” said Sam Radbill of Abodo.

When minorities do own homes, there are still differences. The median value of a minority-owned home in Detroit is $90,000 while for the region as a whole it is $142,700.

The number of minority renters of all races is also high in Detroit.

“When it comes to minority home ownership in Detroit, the metro area ranks No. 76 among all cities in the U.S. In Detroit, 44.7% of minorities own homes, while the other 55.3% are renters,” said Radbill.

Don’t Forget Detroit’s Hispanic Community

It’s often ignored by mainstream media, but at least in the city of Detroit, the one population group that grew during some of Detroit’s most challenging times were Hispanics.

History & Context Matters

It’s important to acknowledge the Detroit area as a whole has a long history of segregationist housing policies. From Grosse Pointe’s point system that enforced racial and religious restrictions; to subdivision deeds with racist covenants that only stopped being enforced a couple decades ago; to the impact of Federal policy where white veterans after World War II received home loans while minorities did not. The after effects of these actions and divisions have had real impact for generations.

We even have a wall that was built to keep black and white neighborhoods apart so that financing could happen for new suburban homes.

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