Hey, it’s Jer. Good to see you. Let’s do this thing, sharing what to know and where to go around Metro Detroit.

What to know

» Don’t post and drive: A bill with wide bipartisan support that passed the state House would ban filming a video, sending email, posting or checking social media and more while driving. The goal is to reduce distracted driving. Basically, it’d say you can’t use your mobile device unless it is hand-free, except to pick a phone number, use GPS, or make an emergency call. [Fox 2 News] [Detroit News]

» Ford hits pause on custom Maverick orders until the summer. Go figure, you make something affordable and seems practical and people want it. There were more than 100,000 reservations for the pickup truck that starts around $20,000. Dealers will still be able to place orders and you might be able to find one there, but consumers will have to wait until the 2023 for a custom. [Edmunds]

» It’s Michigan’s 185th birthday today! Did you know that Detroit was the original capitol? That’s why that triangle-shaped park in downtown Detroit is named Capitol Park. The statehouse (a former courthouse) used to be in the middle of it. There’s a governor buried in the park, too. Stevens T. Mason. [Historic Detroit]

» In a press event Tuesday, city of Detroit officials revealed that residential property values in the city of Detroit are up — on average — a whopping 31% this year.

This is after reviewing nearly 15,000 qualifying transactions, showing 203 of 208 neighborhoods saw increases.

Residents will see property tax increases, but they will be capped at 3% due to state law that sets the increase consumer price index (CPI) or five percent, whichever is lower.

But if ownership has changed? The property will pop up to the full State Equalized Value. So keep an eye on that if you bought a home in the city in the last year. What the previous owner paid will not be what you pay.

More reading: [ClickOnDetroit] [Crains]

Context matters: Also in the media materials was the stat that the city’s residential real estate has risen to a collective $4.8 billion. That’s close to 2012 levels.

For comparison, in 2019 the suburb of Sterling Heights value was $4.2 billion; and Livonia, $4.1 billion.

Both of those have increased since that data point I could find, and have far fewer people and a lot less land.

I don’t share that to be down on the city. It frankly shows the possible upside and why investors with cash to play with are so interested. If the city got anywhere close to the true potential value here, there would be gigantic possible gains. [Data source: MLIVE]

» $824 million in incentives were awarded Tuesday by the Michigan Strategic Fund Board to General Motors. Most of the money will go to a pair of battery facilities in Lansing and Orion Township in northern Oakland County.

We’re told the project will create 4,000 jobs and keep another 1,000 working. Officials were hot to get a win after losing Ford’s new $11 billion battery facilities to Tennessee and Kentucky. Leaders are taking victory laps on both sides of the aisle. [Associated Press] [Twitter] [TikTok]

» Yes, but: Critics say the giant bags of money handed out as incentives aren’t worth it, on this and other projects. Instead, the money should be spent on things like education, quality of life improvements or lower taxes instead of going to large corporations.

John Mozena from the Center from Economic Accountability joined the podcast Tuesday to lay out his case that incentives are really about making people think politicians brought the jobs, and the companies would have done what they did anyway. [Listen on Podlink]

» 19 Affordable apartments are ready in a former Catholic school in the Banglatown neighborhood of Detroit. The $7.2 million project transformed the built in 1926 Transfiguration school into units available to those making less than half of the area median income. No residents will pay more than 30% of their income in rent. [Urbanize Detroit]

BTW, I toured this place when the project was first announced. I wish more old schools would be turned into residential, or studios, or something other than being torn down.

» Part of the iconic Masonic Temple in Midtown Detroit is up for sale. The 64,000 square foot East Tower can be yours for a cool $9 million. It’s sat vacant for about 20 years, and would be a really interesting project. To be clear, it doesn’t include the well-known performance venues. [Detroit News]

» A former Value Village in Detroit’s North End is up for sale for $1.8 million. They’re calling it the “Woodward Tabernacle.” The 1920s building a few blocks north of Grand Boulevard on Woodward has 29,000 square feet of space. It is a beautiful example of what Terracotta can look like on a structure. [LoopNet]

🍕 Tasty bits

» Sugar Factory American Brasserie is coming to downtown Detroit. It looks like it’s going in the old Hard Rock Detroit space near Campus Martius.

Bedrock says there will be 233 seats in the restaurant, as well as a candy store. It’s also meant to be family- and event-friendly.

With an interior that’s designed to for Instagram, it also has a thick menu.

If you’ve ever wanted a “Flaming HOT Cheetos Burger,” or a set of sliders in with rainbow-colored buns (and a complimentary rubber duck to take home), well, now you can have it.

But what about dessert? Having not been to one (and there are a bunch of locations), I can only share what I’m told. They have a “King Kong Sundae” made of 24 scoops of ice cream covered with sprinkles, gummy bears, caramel sauce, fudge sauce and giant whirly pops.

And the drinks are served in goblets that look like fishbowls.

It’ll be open in late spring. I’ll check it out. At the very least, I’m always in for an included rubber duck. [Sugar Factory]

» Popular Chicago-based Italian beef chain Portillo’s may open a second local spot, this time in Livonia. It would be near the Costco at Middlebelt and I-96. Municipal approvals still need to happen. [Hometown Life]

» Detroit will have a “Top Chef” entrant for season 19 of the show. West Village restaurant Marrow co-owner and chef Sarah Welch will compete in the Houston edition airing on Bravo starting March 3. Welch will be the third Detroit-area entrant to the show in recent history. [Detroit News] [Eater Detroit] [Marrow Detroit]

» Smith and Co. is reopening, per their Instagram, on February 10. In an old welding supply company building on Selden near Cass in Midtown Detroit, it’s located near some other local culinary heavyweights.

Yes, it’s a place where before the pandemic they served a $15 grilled cheese and a $17 Wagyu burger. [Instagram] [Smith and Co.]

» Who should get credit as the originator of Detroit-style pizza? Writer (and previous guest of the podcast) Karen Dybis has begun the journey to answer that question. [The Dig / Outlier Media]

Sharpe on the new ⚽️ signings

» Detroit City FC has made four big player signings: Matt Lewis, Brad Dunwell, Nate Steinwascher and Devon Amoo-Mensah. Soccer journalist Fletcher Sharpe breaks them down with me on the podcast, and we talk about what to expect as the countdown to the 2022 season begins. [Podlink]

» Here’s Fletcher’s positional chart of the starting eleven (with ten spots filled as of this writing) [@SaintFDW Twitter]

A programming note: I think Detroit City FC is our most exciting pro sports team. And personally, I want to spread our wings a bit.

Led by Fletcher with an assist from me, we’ll be covering Detroit City FC all season. We did it last year on the podcast and social media, but you’ll see some of it here. We’re even drawing up plans to go to some road games.

Don’t worry. This won’t become a sports newsletter. We’re focusing on Le Rouge. Just like we do one episode a week on the big show, we’ll do a section here when appropriate.

There are a bunch of places to get your 5,000th Matt Stafford hot take. But I think we can (and listeners of the podcast will know all last season we already did) add something on the soccer pitch.

May I ask you two questions?

Real quick, I could use your help. I love writing these and it seems lots of people like getting them. Far more than I expected, honestly. But I don’t want to waste your time. Instead of doing a big questionnaire, I’ve designed a two question survey for your input and I need you to be honest with the answers.

And we’re done for today! Thanks for reading. If you really like what we’re doing, would you consider buying me a coffee?

Or if you can’t or don’t want to, think about sharing it with a friend.

New subscribers are always awesome.

Take care of each other, keep warm, and I’ll see you around Detroit.


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