Happy Friday! As we head into another summer weekend, I hope you all are recovering from that brief but harsh storm that rolled through Metro Detroit last night.

⚡️ What to know

» Multiple reports say another round of buyouts have been offered to all Rock Central employees and an unknown number of Rocket Mortgage workers. With higher interest rates and other factors, mortgage demand has dropped off a cliff compared to recent years. Loan volume is off nearly 70% from last year, and experts believe the industry will drop another 20%. [National Mortgage Professional] [Detroit News] [Crain’s]

  • Rocket is down to 18,500 employees from more than 26,000 in August of 2022 (and that’s before this round of cuts)
  • The buyout includes between three and six months of pay, depending on how long someone has been with the company as well as other benefits
  • This is is sure to have an impact on downtown businesses, as Rocket is the largest employer

I’m not surprised, considering the company lost more than $400 million on revenue of $666 million.

» Meanwhile, rival UWM leader Mat Ishbia is building an “enchanted forest” as part of his giant new Bloomfield Township mansion complex. Ishbia is one of the richest people in Michigan, and is demolishing five homes and building himself a new mansion with an amusement park. The house will be 60,000 square feet and the state’s largest occupied house. The Free Press has some wild details, because the private forest isn’t even the beginning. [Detroit Free Press]

» Planted Detroit, a high-tech indoor farm that used hydroponics and LED lights to grow produce year-round, is closing due to investment turbulence and funding constraints. The company, based in Detroit’s Islandview neighborhood, had revenue growth but did not raise the $50 million in capital they were looking for. Operations stop August 4 and more than 40 workers will be laid off. [Detroit Metro Times]

» Ground broke on 29 new affordable apartments are going into Detroit’s North End. The Beauton will have 10 micro-studios, 15 studios, and two one-bedroom and two-bedroom units. The project cost is $7.3 million and is expected to be ready for move-in next summer. [Bridge Detroit]

» The popular Theatre Bizarre is canceled for 2023. Citing a scheduling conflict with another event at the Masonic Temple, the event hopes to return in 2024 after Zombo’s nap. [Official announcement]

🕺 Where to go

» Come to a disco day party at The Congregation and celebrate Beyoncé’s arrival in Detroit! With the Renaissance album as the backdrop, there will be dancing, drinks, and dazzling disco outfits worthy of the Renaissance World tour. Come as you are, or dressed in an outfit worthy of Queen B's Renaissance World Tour. The theme is Disco Summer Renaissance. Saturday, July 22, 12-5p. [Eventbrite]

» The free Concert of Colors returns for a 31st year. All weekend in Midtown they’ll be celebrating diversity with great music and great talks. We did a full preview on the podcast on Tuesday. [Concert of Colors]

» Detroit City FC is home against Monterey Bay on Saturday night. Coming off a thrilling 2-0 win against one of the league’s historically top teams, hopefully the club can carry that momentum into this weekend. They’re also be wearing for the first time their new kits inspired by the flag of the city of Detroit. [Detroit City FC]

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🥖 News bites

» Five new restaurants are coming to the renovated Book Tower in downtown Detroit. According to press materials, Le Suprême and Bar Rotunda will open later this summer and “bring the taste and style of early twentieth-century Paris back to Detroit.”

Here are more photos: [Urbanize Detroit]

  • Le Suprême will offer all-day French fare in the brasserie’s elegant dining room, alfresco, in the restaurant’s bar or within its 12-seat private dining room. Le Suprême’s full-service bar will also offer a curated cocktail program and a selection of over 300 world-class wines and champagne.
  • Bar Rotunda will serve as an all-day cafe and wine bar. Think coffees, pastries, small plates, wine and cocktails offered at breakfast, lunch and dinner. The design and service are inspired by the grand cafés and hotel bars of early twentieth-century Paris.

In the fall, three more are opening.

  • Hiroki-San with izakaya and omakase style dining on the lower level
  • Sakazuki, a casual sake and sando pub with exclusive menu of Japanese libations on the ground level
  • Kamper’s, a 14th-floor rooftop bar with sweeping views of downtown Detroit. The indoor/outdoor cocktail lounge honors the Book Tower’s original architect, Louis Kamper.

The concepts are a partnership between Bedrock and Method Co.

We discuss all of these and more on the Friday edition of the Daily Detroit podcast:

» Longtime downtown Detroit bar Firebird Tavern is expanding with a second location. It’ll be on Rochester Road just south of Long Lake in Troy. They’re spending about $700,000 on the build out that’ll have about 130 seats. Mid-august is the plan for opening. [DBusiness]

» Avenue American Bistro is coming to Dearborn. It’ll be at the publicly-accessible Dearborn Hills Golf Course. This will be the second spot for the popular eatery in Wayne. [Dearborn Instagram]

» I spotted that the Rat Pack Martini and Cigar Lounge is open in downtown Allen Park. It has a pair of private rooms, and the big doors that open out onto the street have a lot of potential. [Instagram]

» We have visual confirmation that a new Taco Bell has opened a new location in Detroit near the border with the Grosse Pointes. It’s also now on the Taco Bell website. Look for it on East Warren where it runs into Mack. It’ll be open ‘til 2a.

» Local chocolatier Bon Bon Bon was named one of the top 10 chocolate shops in the country. You can catch them at their stores in Midtown and Downtown Detroit, Ferndale’s Rust Belt Market, and Ann Arbor — or buy online. [USA Today]

» Congrats to Chef Omar Anani for his win on Chopped! He’ll move on in a mini-tournament representing the North region, and has a chance to win $50k. If you haven’t been to Saffron de Twah, you should. [WXYZ]

📸 New summer vibes for our podcast cover art

Hope you like it. I loved our old cover photo, but development progress has made it kind of obsolete. This one I took myself from Belle Isle. We may update seasonally going forward.

  • Look for us on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, or wherever you download shows.
  • Time is running out for your nominations for the Podcast Awards. We’re in the News and Politics category, up against some national shows. We need your nominations to have a chance — and thank you to those who have already. [Podcast Awards]
  • And if you’d like to financially support what we’re doing, consider buying us a coffee or becoming a member. Everything helps. [BuyMeACoffee] [Patreon]

Have an excellent weekend. Remember that you are somebody — and I’ll see you around Detroit.


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