News – Daily Detroit What To Know And Where To Go In Metro Detroit Tue, 20 Feb 2018 21:26:07 +0000 en-US hourly 1 LISTEN: How Indianapolis Funded Mass Transit, Stayed Alive In Amazon HQ2 Sweepstakes Fri, 16 Feb 2018 11:48:36 +0000

If you listened to our recent episode on Amazon’s snub of Detroit (and you totally should), you’ll recall that the inclusion of Indianapolis among the 20 finalists for its HQ2 project was the topic of some surprise. Well, one of the reasons they made it was their efforts to develop 50 miles of Bus Rapid Transit and other improvements.

So we sent our correspondent Shianne Nocerini down to Indiana’s capital city to talk with Brian Luellen, vice president of public relations for IndyGo, the city’s transit agency, to find out what that city is doing right and compare and contrast our own (mostly failed) efforts here in Detroit.

“There’s been conversation about the need for enhanced transit for central Indiana for decades,” he said. “There was finally some private sector support, which helped catapult the conversation forward.” That might sound familiar to those of you who followed the story of our own mighty QLine.

Have a listen above. Here’s a rundown of the conversation:

7:25 — Luellen discusses how Indianapolis got its transit talks going about 10 years ago, including the Central Indiana Task Force

8:50 — We break down the support from the private sector

9:30 — Luellen discusses the Indy Connect initiative and private sector funding, plus the legislative history, and the 2016 ballot initiative that helped (mostly) fund IndyGo

11:30 — We break down some of the funding specifics, and compare it to local opposition to our own stalled Regional Transit Authority plan

12:47 — Luellen discusses Marion County service improvements, its hub-and-spoke system and how funding agreements in neighboring counties will change things

15:00 — On the public’s response and feedback to IndyGo’s scaled-back plan and how Indianapolis is the fastest-growing city for number of households without vehicles

18:00 — Jer points out that a quarter of Detroit households also don’t own cars and how our policies “institutionalize poverty”

19:40 — How transit “was a big selling point for Amazon in the site selling process”

20:25 — Will Indy’s transit plan actually help its citiizens and deliver on promises to deliver an economic boost? Luellen says Indianapolis is struggling with the “suburbanization of poverty” and the movement of jobs to the exurbs, though its downtown — like Detroit’s — is a vibrant employment cluster.

22:45 — We talk about not letting perfect be the enemy of the good, and the hub-and-spoke system that Indy is using

24:20 — Luellen discusses the long-range vision and $400 million price tag to build out the BRT system, plus the $54 million in annual income tax revenues to help cover operating costs

26:55 — Luellen on the projected economic impact of IndyGo’s transit plans, including plans for a before-and-after survey on the economic impact of the Red Line

29:15 — We bring it back home to talk about transit updates here in Detroit. Jer points out how our QLine — “the streetcar that leaves much to be desired” — pales in comparison to IndyGo’s BRT plans. Shianne discusses how BRT has helped economic development in Cleveland.

Here’s where to find us in Apple Podcasts, and please consider leaving us a review. It’d be so helpful! We’re also on Spotify, Stitcher Radio, and thanks to Podcast Detroit.

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Mackinac Island’s Grand Hotel Named The Best Hotel In Michigan By U.S. News & World Report Thu, 15 Feb 2018 17:56:17 +0000 The Grand Hotel on Mackinac Island has been named the Best Hotel in Michigan by U.S. News & World Report.

This is the second consecutive year that the Grand Hotel has been given this award.

The Grand Hotel has been a Michigan jewel since it opened on July 10, 1887. The 393-room hotel is a National Historic Landmark and has been family owned for three generations.

The hotel was selected based through, according to the publication, an unbiased analysis of awards, guest ratings and expert recommendations.

The Best Hotel in Michigan Award comes on the heels of these three other awards The Knot Best of Weddings Hall of Fame, USA Today 10 Best Readers’ Choice Award for Best Historic Hotel and Condé Nast Travelers’s Top 5 Midwest Resorts.

The Grand Hotel will open for the 2018 season in May.

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Your Networking 5 For The Week Of February 13-19 Wed, 14 Feb 2018 20:27:22 +0000 Greetings all of you go getters!

I hope this week has started off well for you.

We’ve been pretty busy over here at the Daily Detroit Headquarters, but busy is a good thing right?

There are some great events happening this week so go out there and meet some new people.

Casual Networking for Metro Detroit IT Professionals

You know the deal with the IT in the D Casual Networking socials. There are no agendas, no speeches, and no cover charge. This event is a great way to meet other people who are in the same field as you.

Tell Bob and Dave I said hello.

When: Thursday, February 15 from 5:00 p.m.-9:00 p.m.

Where: Tequila Blue Upstairs at 526 Main Street Royal Oak, Michigan 48067

Detroit Fintech Challenge Kickoff Information Session

The Detroit Fintech Challenge & Pitch Competition will be in April this year. The DFC Competition’s goal is to bring together entreprenuers, coders, and developers to help find solutions to challenges in the financial payment, banking and insurance sectors.

The winner will be eligible to win $50,000 in investment and support services from Kyyba Innovations, as well as mentorship from the organizations network.

The information session will be held this week at TechTown. The information session will go over the details on the competition, goals, rules, eligibility and team formation. You can register for the information session here.

When: Thursday, February 15 from 5:30 p.m.-7:30 p.m.

Where: TechTown 440 Burroughs Street Detroit, MI 48202

Masters Mega Mixer at Synchronous Coworking

This is the first time for the Masters Mega Mixer, so let’s be sure to attend this networking event.

This is a pretty low key event with out speakers and formal addresses. Just bring your business cards and get ready to mingle with other business owners and freelancers.

There is a $10 admission. You can register for the event here.

When: Friday, February 16 from 5:00 p.m.-8:00 p.m.

Where: Synchronous Coworking 100 Riverfront Drive Detroit, MI 48226

Business Parents Network-Connection Meet Up

Juggling parenthood, owning a business and networking can sometimes be difficult. Which is why the Spark Collaborative has started having a monthly networking event at the Detroit Parenting Collective.

Did I mention that it includes childcare? Because it does.

This is a great chance to meet the founders of the Spark Collaborative.

Tickets for the event range between $8 to $19 and are based on if you need childcare and how many children will be coming. You can purchase tickets here.

When: Friday, February 16 from 10:00 a.m.-11:30 a.m.

Where: Detroit Parent Collective 8418 West McNichols Road Detroit, MI 48221

City Detroit: Scale Up

Calling all entrepreuners who are looking to scale up your business. This event is for you.

The Build Institute’s Open City panel will take a deep dive into what it takes and when it is the best time to scale your business.

There will be ample time to network before and after the panel.

Tickets for this networking event are free and you can register here.

When: Monday, February 19 from 6:00 p.m.-8:00 p.m.

Where: Cliff Bell’s 2030 Park Avenue Detroit, MI 48226

–Shameless commerce of a sponsored listing below. Thank them for helping keep the lights on!–

2018 Detroit Policy Conference

The Detroit Policy Conference will focus on creating a culture of civility in Detroit, exploring what it means to be “civil” and the role that communities play in influencing individual behavior.

Programming will also examine role models of civility, Detroiters that have put their differences aside and are working together to put Detroit first to solve issues and create opportunities for all.

Cost: $159.00 for Chamber members; $235.00 for future members

When: March 1, 2018 from 7:30 a.m-4:00 p.m.

Location: Motor City Casino 2901 Grand River Avenue Detroit, MI 48201

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Detroit’s Airbnb Ban Wasn’t A Mistake. It Passed City Council Unanimously And With Direct Questions Fri, 09 Feb 2018 21:06:37 +0000 We are starting to figure out how exactly an ordinance banning Airbnb — and people renting their homes to family friends — came to be on the books in the city of Detroit.

It’s clear the ordinance targeted Airbnb, and it was not a side effect. How do we know?

The council hearing that occurred October 5, 2017 is here, but let’s step through this. The action starts at a bit after two hours in, citing concerns from the Boston Edison neighborhood.

Council member Scott Benson (3rd District) asked specifically if the ordinance would restrict Airbnb, and officials affirmed in a public meeting that this would be correct.

BENSON: “So are we saying that me, at 19000 Pelkey, can’t rent my home on Airbnb?”

RORY BOLGER, PLANNING STAFF: “That is correct. That is a home occupation. There’s currently no licensing scheme that’s in place to allow such a [inaudible].”

BENSON: “So that doesn’t answer my question.”

BOLGER: “You can not.”

BENSON: “So I can not legally utilize Airbnb. So if I go on Airbnb right now, and I will find dozens of units for rent, entire homes, lofts, or even bedrooms. Those are all illegal?

BOLGER: “That is correct.”


Then questioning moves to councilmember Mary Sheffield (District 5).

SHEFFIELD: “Illegal only in the R1-R2, or all over, in every single zoning within the city? Because I know it’s huge in the Boston Edison area, really, like you said, city wide … any zone?”

BOLGER: “If we look at similar uses within the ordinance, Bed and Breakfast Inn itself is first permitted once you get into the R3 zoning district classification. Whether or not something qualifies as a short term rental and it’s also operating as an Airbnb, I think, ends up being a question of rental registration and other things like that. But in R1 and R2, what this is attempting to say is that’s not one of the permitted home occupations that would be allowed.”

The ordinance was later passed in November of 2017 by a vote of 8-0 with councilmember Mary Sheffield being absent. The bill was sponsored by Gabe Leland (District 7), who is the target of an FBI investigation around towing contracts.

For her part, Councilmember Sheffield released a statement, that reads in part:

There was never any intention on behalf of my colleagues or myself to limit Detroiter’s ability to use their homes or property to supplement their income. In fact, we have been assured by the Building Safety Engineering and Environmental Department, which is responsible for enforcement, that there is no “crackdown,” as reported, on Airbnb and none planned. With that said, my colleagues and I will be re-examining the zoning law changes to ensure there aren’t any unintended and inequitable consequences negatively impacting Detroiter’s ability to derive an income from their property.

But as you can see in the hearing above, the question was directly asked, with Sheffield present.

Additionally, here’s a screen shot of a recommendation letter from September 8, 2017 of the pertinent information, obtained by Daily Detroit, that clearly outlines the purpose of the ordinance change from the City Planning Commission.

In the meantime, the Mayor’s office, responsible for enforcing ordinances, is not ticketing while the ordinance is under review, though residents have received notices from the city.

One community advocate says that this points to a larger problem in the city.

“In Detroit, we have a culture of band-aids and temporary fixes. This goes much deeper than Airbnb. Whether we agree that this is bad law, what we’ve uncovered is a culture of miscommunication and inadequate data access,” said Chase L. Cantrell, executive director of Building Community Value who also has been researching the timeline of events. “If we fix this particular ordinance without doing a root cause analysis of the structural issues, we’ll find ourselves here again.”

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21 Photos That’ll Give You Warm Thoughts From The Conservatory On Belle Isle Mon, 05 Feb 2018 18:40:23 +0000 It’s cold out. Like, really cold. As I write this, it’s 15 bone-chilling degrees. But you there is a place for respite.

A place for heat. A place for plants, a place where you could experience a little tropical warmth or desert air. That place is the Anna Scripps Whitcomb Conservatory on Belle Isle.

Since I was a kid I’ve been coming here, but it’s been part of the fabric of the east side for a very long time. The conservatory opened on August 18, 1904. That’s before the first Model T rolled off the assembly line.

It originally had a wooden frame, but that was replaced with steel and aluminum in 1949.

So let’s take a look. If you want to go, it’s open Wednesday through Sunday each week from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Did you know that when a palm gets too tall for the dome, there’s no way to prune it? It has to be cut down. 

Oh, and if you’ve made it this far, here’s a pro tip. The Conservatory has a Voodoo Lily/Devil’s tongue and it will be blooming in late February or early March. If you’ve never heard of the Voodoo Lily is known for its stinky stench, but it has a beautiful bloom.


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Here Are Your 13 Winners For Round 10 Of Motor City Match Thu, 01 Feb 2018 23:19:10 +0000 The Detroit Economic Growth Corporation has announced the 13 winners in Round 10 of its Motor City Match grant program.

The winners were awarded matching grants between $10,000 and $65,000 — totaling $600,000.  

Eight of the 13 businesses approved for Motor City Match are located near other Match businesses, which funders say will aid in creating commercial clusters.

The winning businesses are located in neighborhoods including the New Center, The Villages, Jefferson-Chalmers, East Riverfront, Livernois Ave., and Downtown.

Let’s take a look at the winning businesses.

Business Awardees:

  • Detroit River Sports – $65,000
  • Cooking with Que – $60,000
  • Mac Galleries – $60,000
  • Shears And Shaving – $55,000
  • Alma Kitchen – $50,000
  • Banner Sign Company – $45,000
  • Grit and Glamour by Pink Pump – $40,000
  • Detroit City Fieldhouse – $40,000
  • Drizzle Dreams – $30,000
  • Pink Poodle Dress Lounge – $25,000
  • Ferne Boutique – $10,000

Building Awardees:

  • 3506 Gratiot, P. Kush & Associates – $60,000
  • 269 Walker, Pembury Holdings – $60,000

Motor City Match has awarded 113 Detroit-based businesses and business owners $5 million in matching grants since it was started in 2015. 

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Your City 5: Things To Do In Detroit For The Weekend Of January 26-28 Wed, 24 Jan 2018 18:49:57 +0000 I have a feeling that downtown Detroit is going to be insane this weekend between the Auto Show, Winter Blast, and the final weekend of the Downtown Detroit Markets.

But a good kind of insane. Go explore Detroit, friends.

Lexus Velodrome Grand Opening Bike Races

The time has come for the first bike races inside the Lexus Velodrome.

The bike races will take place over Friday and Saturday night.

Even if you aren’t a fan of cycling it will still be cool to check out the velodrome. I know I was curious about what was going in that giant white inflatable structure right off of I-75 and Mack Avenue.

The Lexus Velodrome is ran by the Detroit Fitness Foundation which is a non-profit organization that provides community programing for youth and seniors.

Tickets for the races are $10 for general admission. You can purchase them here.

When: Friday and Saturday at 7:30 p.m.

Where: Lexus Velodrome 601 Mack Avenue Detroit, Michigan 48201

Meridian Winter Blast

It’s time again for the Meridian Winter Blast. The three day family friendly event is back again to celebrate all things cool.

Fan favorites like the giant winter slide, kids tent, food track rally, ice garden, and live music will return to the Winter Blast.

You can find the whole schedule of music performances here.

Admission to the Winter Blast is $3 per person and children under the age of 3 are free. The proceeds raised will be donated to Matrix Human Services.

Chemical Bank will be taking non perishable food donations until Friday, January 26. Go to any Chemical Bank Branch to donate three non perishable food items. You will then receive a free voucher to the Winter Blast.

Visitors to the North American International Auto Show (NAIAS) will also be able to get into Winter Blast for free. All you have to do is show your same day NAIAS ticket at any of the entrances.

When: Friday from 4:00 p.m.-11:00 p.m., Saturday from 11:00 a.m.-11:00 p.m., and Sunday 11:00 p.m.-8:00 p.m.

Where: Campus Martius

Don’t forget that this is also the last weekend for the Downtown Detroit Winter Market. So go get your shopping on.

Two Trains Runnin’ at Cinema Detroit

If you are a fan of the blues then I highly suggest checking out Two Trains Runnin’ at Cinema Detroit this weekend.

The documentary looks at what happened when a group of men head down to Mississippi in the summer of 1964 to look for blues musicians Son House and Skip James.

Tickets for the film are $8 per person.

There are multiple screenings on Friday, Saturday and Sunday for Two Trains Running. 

Where: Cinema Detroit is located at 4126 Third Street Detroit, MI 48201

3rd Annual Titties For Pitties Benefit Gala for Pretties For Pitties 

If your vin diagram has dogs and burlesque then have I got a match for you.

This Saturday night is the 3rd annual Titties For Pitties Benefit for Pretties For Pitties.

Kitten Von Mitten will be the Emcee for the evening. Come out and see Leena Allure, Magenta Demure, Endora Emerald, Sophia Von Stardust, Wednesday Wilhelm , Dish Delish, Kitty Hawkk & Eris,Sophia Von Stardust, and Miss Holly Hock perform. 

There will be a 50/50 raffle and raffle baskets from places like Motor City Creations.

Tickets for the event $20 per person. You can purchase them online here. This should go without saying, but this is for those over the age of 18.

When: Saturday, January 27 at 7:00 p.m.

Where: El Club 4114 Vernor Highway Detroit, Michigan 48209

The Great Button Swap

Button, button, who’s got the button?

This Sunday the Peacock Room flagship store and William + Bonnie will be holding The Great Button Swap in the Fisher Building’s Arcade.

Do you have a button collection? It seems so old fashioned but there is something special about finding a pretty button.

One of my favorite memories growing up was going through my grandmother’s button jar. She would let me pick out my favorite buttons and then we would sew them on different things.

So this is how the button swap will work:

Bring your buttons and sewing notions to the Fisher Building. There will be tables, chairs, and sorting trays available.

Then go around to other peoples button collections and then trade and swap items with other collectors. There is to be no money exchanged during this event.

Sarah Ayers, the owner of William + Bonnie will be on hand with her sewing machine and will be offering instant sewing services at $2 a button.

When: Sunday, February 28 from 11:00 a.m.-4:00 p.m.

Where: The Fisher Building 3011 W. Grand Boulevard Detroit, Michigan 48202


Motor City Soul Stomp 

Yo, you know the deal.

Go show our friends at the Motor City Soul Club some love this Saturday night at the Marble Bar.

There is no cover and the music is awesome, so there is no reason you shouldn’t be there.

When: Saturday, January 27 from 10:00 p.m.-2:00 a.m.

Where: The Marble Bar 1501 Holden Street Detroit, Michigan 48208

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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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Time To Dust Off Those Dancing Shoes Because Ferndale’s Boogie Fever Is Coming Back Sat, 20 Jan 2018 22:46:16 +0000 It looks like the owners of Ferndale’s Twisted Tavern want to turn back time and go back to the 70’s and 80’s dance club concept.

People have missed the club so much that Boogie Fever Cafe and Disco will be reopening on the evening of Saturday, January 20.

“After Boogie Fever closed its doors and we opened Twisted Tavern, people still talked about Boogie Fever,” said Mark McConnell, owner of Boogie Fever. “ The nightclub was open for 15 years and was a big part of people’s lives.”

Most of the things that people loved about Boogie Fever will remain the same; like the light up dance floor and mannequin sitting on the half moon above the bar.

There will be some new additions, like a cafe in the front part of the club that will offer seasonal dishes. Guests will be able to grab a bite to eat before dancing the night away.

The club will also have live music on Friday nights starting in February. Friday Night Live will feature some of metro Detroit’s best cover party bands like Fifty Amp, Fuse, Atomic Radio, Phoenix Theory and Rockstar.

Doors open on Friday and Saturday nights at 9:00 p.m. and there is a $5 cover. You can reserve a table by calling 248-541-1600.

Boogie Fever Cafe and Disco is located at 22901 Woodward Avenue Ferndale, MI 48220

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A Look In The Mirror: 5 Smart People On Detroit’s Amazon HQ2 Disappointment Sat, 20 Jan 2018 00:39:59 +0000

Detroit’s failure to make the list of 20 finalists for Amazon’s $5 billion HQ2 project and its 50,000 jobs has been the talk of the town. Especially after the all-hands-on-deck effort to produce a joint Detroit-Windsor bid that had many people believing the Motor City, once considered strictly a longshot, had a serious chance.

In our latest episode, we talk to five local experts from a variety of backgrounds for their perspectives on what the failure says about our region and where we go from here.

  • Justin Robinson, vice president of business attraction with the Detroit Regional Chamber, who was part of the team that helped put together the HQ2 proposal
  • John Mogk, a law professor at Wayne State University and expert on urban policy and economic development
  • Kurt Metzger, a longtime population demographer who is currently mayor of Pleasant Ridge
  • Tom Lawrence, founder and CEO of Lawrence Technology Systems and host of a popular tech vlog and YouTube channel
  • And Nuri Gocay, a co-host of the IT in the D podcast and technology veteran who has worked for companies including Google and Expedia in cities around the world.

Our experts differ on their reactions — Robinson and Mogk were surprised we were left off the list, while Gocay and Lawrence, less so. But they all raised interesting points about Detroit’s image and quality of life, our technology scene, and shortcomings around transit and education.

Find on Apple Podcasts:

Google Play:


And thanks to Podcast Detroit:

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