Happy Friday!

First, a shout out. A place nearby that I think deserves more attention is Kenilworth Cafe. Locally-owned, it’s at John R. and Kenilworth in the city if you haven’t been. Just east of Woodward. I’ve needed a lot of caffeine this week.

Second, let’s jump into it. Today’s issue is focused inside the city of Detroit. It just happened to shake out that way this time.

p.s. No, I don’t have a favorite coffeeshop. Impossible task to choose. I try and spread the love to places with solid product. BTW, if you’re over by Livernois and 7 Mile, try Narrow Way Cafe. They have good smoothies, too.

What to know

» Detroit Bikes has been bought out by Arkansas-based Cardinal Cycling Group. Per a release, they sold the brand name, inventory and production facility based in the city. Founder Zak Pashak will stay on with Cardinal and work on factory management and business development. [Press release]

My two cents: The big thing to note reading the release is “recapitalization.” It takes a lot of money to make things, even more money to make things in America, and then it’s even harder to sell them to a public used to cheap prices. It’s amazing Detroit Bikes have done what they did since 2014.

» A Midtown block on Woodward north of Mack where there was speculation would become a grocery store is now on the market for a cool $7.5 million. The main tenants now are the well-known Union Street restaurant and a liquor store. It’s in a great location across from the Majestic Theatre complex (also up for sale).

My two cents: I’ve been around long enough to know better than to have much hope this will be saved mostly as is and spruced up. I assume at that selling price a buyer is either gonna demo everything or build on top of it to make their money. We don’t have many blocks left from this 1920s era like this and saving the street-level portion would only add value to a development.

Gucci is opening in Detroit

On a previous episode of the podcast (and a bit in this newsletter), I talked about my prediction that we’re going to get a Somerset south-style retailer in downtown Detroit.

We now know for sure the luxury Italian-founded retailer Gucci is opening a store in Detroit.

Crain’s first reports the official news, but are light on specifics.

I have had strong indications it was Gucci when I did that episode, but didn’t have official public relations confirmation.

The story gained more steam after an eagle-eyed listener of our show found fresh job postings in Detroit for new positions and posted them on Reddit.

Now, Gucci didn’t say where the location is, but I think it’s going to be near the Hudson’s site.

There are a lot of  ready-to-move in retail spaces near there. A good candidate to me would be in the old UnderArmour spot. The bones of the building have the right vibe for that brand, but there are other options.

The job postings say the jobs would start on 4/20 — which beyond making some of our audience giggle — gives enough time from now to build out a white-boxed retail space. The article says the summer, so that lines up.

Luxury brands have been sniffing around greater Downtown Detroit in other ways.

There’s a pop-up shop over in an old firehouse in Corktown for luxury brand Bottega Veneta through this month, and they also threw a fashion show in the former Michigan Theater in the fall (Yeah, it’s that one that’s been turned into a parking garage).

Bottega Veneta is owned by the same group that owns Gucci, Kering.

Gucci recently struck a partnership with the well known Detroit vs. Everybody brand and dropped grant cash into local fashion education focused on women and people of color.

Gucci is a draw. People who love Gucci, LOVE Gucci. People will travel for it, especially in a setting with other things to do.

It’s a brand with a halo effect and has become one of the most name-checked brands in Hip-Hop.

Whatever you feel about the brand or luxury goods in general, Gucci will put downtown Detroit on the shopping trip consideration list for many consumers for whom it would not be before.

Building up Bagley and landlords leaving Detroit

One of my favorite recurring guests on the podcast is community-oriented developer Chase Cantrell. This conversation was no exception, as we talked about what he’s doing with a development at Six Mile (McNichols) and Prairie.

The commercial space in the Bagley neighborhood will have a black-owned brewery and more. Plus, there’s a lot happening on the blocks nearby.

We talk about the future of the Detroit Land Bank and why it’d be hard to unwind as some on city council seem to want to.

Plus, Chase shares his analysis on why landlords are selling their portfolios and leaving the city.

It means a lot of homes are coming up for sale, but will there be opportunities for individuals in a regional market with tight supply?

Have a listen on Apple Podcasts or [Podlink]

p.s. - He also penned this interesting piece asking, “When you picture the faces who embody real estate development in Detroit, who do you envision?” Worth a read. [The Dig from Outlier Media]

And that’s it for today. Thanks for reading and listening.

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Have a wonderful weekend and we’ll talk soon,


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