Silly me. I thought we’d have a slow week before Christmas. Maybe it’s because it is on Sunday?

If you’ve been around a minute, you know the drill. My thoughts and analysis in italics. If you’ve never been here before and want to get more local email notes like this from me, sign up below.

📰 What to know…

» Mortgage mogul Mat Ishbia is reportedly in the final stages of buying the troubled Phoenix Suns, says ESPN. The NBA team has been going through a major shakeup after the revelations about Robert Sarver’s constant racially insensitive remarks and poor treatment of employees. The deal would also include the WNBA’s Phoenix Mercury and cost $4 billion. [ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski]

Ishbia is the President and CEO of Pontiac-based United Wholesale Mortgage — and a Michigan State basketball walk-on. He has been looking for a major sports team to buy for awhile.

Although not announced by the league, Magic Johnson said he called to congratulate Ishbia.

Sports teams are often signs of “making it” among the billionaire class, increase social clout, and I can’t help but think a feather in his cap as the founder of his rival, Rocket Mortgage, owns the Cleveland Cavaliers.

As far as rivalry, let me remind you that often there’s a billboard truck that circles around Campus Martius with UWM branding on it outside of Rocket’s home office.

Teams also provide a handy place to “lose” money. Not saying that would necessarily happen here, but it has happened before, and here’s the link for informational purposes. [ProPublica]

» Founding member of the Velvettes, Bertha Barbee-McNeal, has passed on at the age of 82. The information become public over the weekend, but she died on Thursday, Dec. 15. Barbee-McNeal was battling advanced colon cancer.

She signed onto Motown in 1962, and the Velvettes biggest hits were “Needle in a Haystack” in 1964 and “He Was Really Saying Something.” The group last performed together in July. She spent many of her years focused on education and building up the next generation of female talent.

[Motown Museum] [Metro UK] [Pitchfork] [Detroit News]

I think it’s important to try and interview and document everyone connected to Motown and the Detroit sound of that era that’s left. Sadly, the clock is ticking — but hopefully, some more of these stories can be told and recorded over the next few years.

» Carhartt is expanding at their Dearborn HQ. The premium workwear, outdoor apparel, and footwear manufacturer is adding 125 jobs with the support of a grant from the Michigan Strategic Fund. The total investment will be $4.65 million.

Carhartt plans to hire people in product design, digital marketing, customer care, and operations in response to increased demand. They currently have 644 out of their 5,500 employees in Michigan. [Apply for a job]

It’s surprising how often I run into people who don’t know that Carhartt is Metro Detroit based. If you look at old pictures of what was Tiger Stadium when it was demolished, you can see the old Carhartt factory that was across the street. There’s a giant apartment block being constructed on that spot right now, completely changing the view of Michigan Avenue looking west. [Historic Detroit]

» The Sanders retail location in downtown Wyandotte is permanently closing December 22. Second Nature Brands owns Kar’s Nuts, Second Nature Snacks and Sanders Chocolates and was bought by a private equity firm in April.

The closure of the Biddle Street spot would take it down to three locations, down from 111 in its heyday: Mackinac Island, Rochester, and Clinton Township. With roots back to 1875 in Detroit, the brand is beloved by generations. [News-Herald]

I can’t help but be a bit worried about Sanders future right now. It seems like a bumpy road for the makers of Bumpy cake.

» The high-rise apartments at the Exchange in Detroit’s Greektown should be complete in the summer. A 405-square foot studio apartment will run you $1,725 a month. [Urbanize Detroit]

» The Peterboro in Detroit’s Midtown is set to reopen Dec. 30. It's coming back with a streamlined menu and new cocktail menu after suddenly shuttering in July. Before the temporary closure, it had been open since 2016. [Instagram] [Crain’s Detroit]

» Eastern Market Brewing Co. has blasted through their $1 million crowdfunded investment goal. Due to the high demand, they’re raising the bar to $1.235M by Dec. 31. [EMBC]

I talked to their managing partner, Dayne Bartscht, all about it recently on the podcast. It’s one of my favorite entrepreneurial interviews lately. They’ve got a lot going on at EMBC, Ferndale Project and Lincoln Tap and clearly people want to back it with their dollars.

» More than 265,000 people visited the Belle Isle Aquarium this year. This is the most since it reopened in 2012. [Belle Isle Conservancy]

» More local journalism cuts. 13 people are being asked to take voluntary layoffs at the Detroit Free Press. If volunteers don’t raise their hands, decisions will be made Dec. 27. There are 14 Gannett papers in Michigan, and they’re looking to make 6% cuts across the company as a loss of between $60 and $70 million is projected. [Michigan Advance]

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Thanks to today’s email sponsor! A reminder, they have no impact or say on the stories we cover, but we do appreciate their support.

» The Beauton will be a new three-story building in the North End neighborhood of Detroit. When completed, the project at Beaubien and Horton will include 29 units of multifamily housing; a small office space as well as public infrastructure improvements.

Fifteen of the rental units will be set as affordable housing, with rents between 50 and 80 percent of area median income. Tax breaks of nearly $1.5 million will be awarded, and the city of Detroit has approved a Neighborhood Enterprise Zone tax abatement for residents for 15 years.

» The city of Detroit’s new director of government affairs is a familiar face. Prior to being elected to the state senate, Marshall Bullock II served as District 7 and District 5 manager for the Mayor’s Department of Neighborhoods, where he helped address constituent concerns and worked with block clubs. Bullock will begin his new role in January.

Bullock drew one of the hardest cards for an incumbent Democrat after redistricting. Not only did the district get redone to include a bunch of the suburbs (only about 15% of his old district was in the new one), he ran in a primary against Mallory McMorrow. Talented in policy herself, she gained far more national fame and campaign dollars than normal for a state senator for a viral moment where she spoke against hate. If I were a betting man, she’s probably one of the next standard-bearers for her party in a post-Big Gretch era.

» Should Michigan’s bottle return law be canned? A decade ago, there was a 95% redemption rate. Now, it’s down to 75% and retailers are saying it’s not worth it. [Detroit News]

» Detroit City FC’s league, the USL Championship, has announced the season window, team realignments and playoff structure. The 2023 season will have 34 games running from March 11 to October 14. Eight of 12 teams in each conference will make the playoffs. [USL Championship]

Apologies for my comedic mockup of what I see in my mind in March and early April at Keyworth.

There’s a reason I call Keyworth Winterfell at the beginning of the season. The USL Championship starts more than two weeks before Major League Baseball, and every other team in our league is geographically south of us. I’ll just wear another layer, it’ll be fine.

Interesting data…

One of the most difficult things to talk about on the internet is that two things can be true at the same time. Here are two tidbits I found in the same day.

🏡 Once one of Detroit’s most dangerous corners in 1970 as the city set a new record for murders, John R. and Watson in Brush Park is now in the middle of one of Metro Detroit’s highest home value zip codes. Residences steps away from that intersection regularly sell for far more than the average of nearly $408,000. [70s Detroit] [ClickOnDetroit via Zillow data]

🗳 Yet, in a sign of the city of Detroit’s declining electoral clout, ~118,000 fewer votes were cast in 2022 for governor than in 2012 for president. I dug through and found there’s also about 60,000 fewer registered voters in the city than a decade ago.

Yes, they’re different level elections, but there’s no doubt some of those voters moved to the suburbs and contributed to Oakland County flipping blue in that same decade. I’d also argue, at least as far as personal finances, buying in at the right spot during that time could have made you a lot of money in Detroit. So is that a third thing that could be true?

I’ll note Census figures put the city dropping 81,313 people since 2010, but the Mayor’s office has been mounting a legal campaign to challenge those numbers, saying the city was undercounted by 50,000.

🎧 On the podcast

Engineer Randy joined me for a trifecta of topics:

  • We try a number of sour beers from Ferndale Project and rank them against each other. They’re a niche thing, but Randy loves them so I thought we’d give some a spin.
  • He went to Apt. Disco on Detroit’s east side, on the Grosse Pointe Park border and shares his experience so you know before you go.
  • And, we do a bit of “what do you need for your home bar kit” so you can make the best cocktails possible while traveling absolutely nowhere.

Coming attractions: Wednesday’s show is about the upcoming Sandwich Week, where six of Metro Detroit’s best sandwich spots are celebrated with events each day.

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🧹 Housekeeping

» I moderated a panel on “The Changing Role of Media in the Social Age” at a Leadership Detroit get-together, with people far smarter than me.

From left to right is me, Amber Boone from Amber Boone Consulting, Candice Fortman from Outlier Media, and Annalise Frank from Axios Detroit.

They’re all doing interesting and important work.

It wasn’t recorded but one of the big takeaways is how media is made and consumed is changing quickly. How we got here can’t be how we go forward because the old business model is broken (see the above story on layoffs). Whether it’s what we cover, how we make money, all of it.

» We’re doing a slower holiday podcast schedule. Three shows this week, and 2-3 shows next week. Back to normal daily schedule in the new year.

» Thanks to B and Jordan for joining us as members on Patreon. Community support keeps this thing going if you want to chip in.

If a monthly thing isn’t your jam, we have a brand-new wishlist for the show at BuyMeACoffee. Thanks to Geneva and Bob for supporting us there.

Remember that you are somebody, and I’ll see you around Detroit.


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