Hey, Jer here. If this is your first time here, welcome! My analysis on stories is in italics.

⚡️ What to know

» Greektown is getting $20 million from the state of Michigan to redo their streetscape. The redesign aims to prioritize people walking, enhance safety, offer program flexibility, and celebrate the cultural heritage of Greektown.

When done, it’ll be the largest shared streetscape in Downtown Detroit.

Auto traffic wouldn’t completely go away, but the design will be far easier to make it a fully pedestrian plaza when officials want to.

The project will span four blocks from Randolph Street to the I-375 Service Drive and will feature a curbless design, making it easier and safer for pedestrians to navigate the area.

Monroe street will have a centered driving lane, expanded pedestrian walkways, and space for outdoor cafes.

We discussed it on the Wednesday edition of the podcast.

» There’s a bunch of other stuff getting state grants, too. Some highlights I selected:

  • $12m for Midtown to get going on a long-talked about re-imagination, including helping find funding to rehab the underground parking garage of the DIA.
  • $8m financial lifeline for the auto show
  • $5m for Michigan State University’s rehab of the Fisher Building
  • $4m each for the Charles Wright Museum of African-American History and the Detroit Historical Museum to keep them afloat as they look to get a millage together for Wayne and Oakland counties
  • $1m in money to help with flooding in the Jefferson Chalmers neighborhood

…and a lot more. [Axios Detroit] [Crain’s Detroit Business]

» Windsor, Ontario is getting an electric vehicle battery plant after all. Construction will resume following an agreement with Canadian officials for $15 billion in tax breaks. The deal will reportedly create thousands of jobs and solidify Canada's position in the global vehicle supply chain. The company also unveiled its STLA Medium electric vehicle platform on the same day, as automakers jump into the EV pool. [CBC]

There is an open question on both sides of the Detroit River whether all of these incentives for electric battery plants are worth it; but officials are clearly full speed ahead on it.

Speaking of pools, if you want to check out another newsletter I find valuable on climate, check out “Everybody in the pool” from former Make Me Smart and Marketplace host Molly Wood. There’s also a companion podcast.

» Fewer young people are getting drivers licenses and the cost of owning a car is going up and up. Just 56% of teens are getting licenses. The average car payment is now over $730 a month, and 1/5th of buyers are paying more than $1,000 a month. [Bridge Michigan] [Freep]

Then add in insurance, as the savings from the reform passed a few years ago seems to be receding for many. One vocal and recent Detroit ex-pat shared his insurance bill in Michigan vs. his new state of Massachusetts.

I get the arguments about “having the most coverage,” but at what point does this just become wholly unaffordable? Especially for people starting their careers?

By listener demand, I’ll be doing a guide on going carless or one-car in Metro Detroit based on my personal previous experience because a lot of people are looking to save money.

Which leads me to this state commission from Gov. Whitmer on keeping young people in Michigan. Only one so far is under the age of 40. And most of the list is a who’s who of the politically connected. Some of that is of course are to be expected — but there needs to be more than a couple younger people.

One name I want to see (although a bit older), or at least I hope they’ve asked? Dug Song. I’ve seen his presentations in person and he knows the challenge ahead.

» That said, it’s not all doom and gloom. Metro Detroit was recently listed by Forbes as the fifth best region in America for remote workers. We scored very high because of our food establishments, arts and entertainment, (comparatively) low housing cost and middle-of-the-pack scores in other areas. Top spot went to Miami, Florida. [Forbes]

» An investigative series has exposed serious problems at the Detroit Housing Commission (DHC). They include failed property inspections, high vacancy rates, and delays in payments to landlords. Despite acknowledging these issues, agencies and individuals responsible for oversight have aren’t committing to reforms, leaving vulnerable residents in terrible living conditions. [Outlier]

For all the talk I see in press releases about affordable housing in this town, I think this is where some work really needs to be done.

» The city of Hazel Park has sold their Viking Arena to Black Bear Sports Group for $2.9 million. They’re the largest owner-operator of ice rinks in America. Their plan is to expand community programming and make it a hub for hockey tournaments and showcases. [BBSG]

» Kimberly Andrews Espy, Ph.D., has been elected as the 13th president of Wayne State University. She’s  the first woman to hold the position. According to press materials, Espy brings a lot of experience to the role — including promoting student success, diversity, and community engagement at the University of Texas at San Antonio. [Wayne State]

🌯 News bites

» Bucharest Grill opened a Southfield location this week. It’s on Northwestern Highway, just north of 12 mile.

I remember their first shawarma spot out of the window of the now-defunct Park Bar in downtown Detroit. So many good memories of that spot. I loved the circular bar they had because they’re easier to talk with people. I don’t know if there are any left in town? Let me know.

On the Friday podcast me and Mr. Friday Devon O’Reilly went out to lunch and talked about all the new stuff.

» Detroit 75 Kitchen is opening another location at Oakland Mall in Troy. Opening this month, it’s gonna be in the old Sears Auto Center over there. The Southwest Detroit spot is known for fast casual subs, egg rolls and more.

They’re popular on Instagram, with 164,000 followers — a lot for a single-location restaurant. Instagram matters in the food world, especially in a region like ours where people have to make an active choice and get in their cars and go to places.

» Completion of the Detroit Food Commons in the North End of Detroit will be delayed into next year. Supply chain issues will push the opening to the first or second quarter of 2024. [Facebook] [DBCFSN]

» Above is a map of community markets in the city of Detroit to check out. If you want the full list, here’s their [pdf].

» Friday is National Dive Bar day. What’s your favorite? I still miss Tom’s Tavern. Slanted floors, plywood walls and all. The photo above is from 2018.

👋 Can I ask a favor…

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Thanks! Until next time, remember that you are somebody — and I’ll see you around Detroit.


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