Hey, it’s Jer.

Along with the city’s residential property values, rents are going up for both residential and commercial spaces. The latest example on the commercial side is Michigan & Trumbull pizza.

Michigan & Trumbull opened three years ago in Corktown on Elizabeth, steps away from the iconic corner that used to be home to Tiger Stadium. They’ve gotten a ton of attention and praise for their pizza, making a splash in a crowded segment.

Now they’re looking for a space to move into for July of this year as they couldn’t come to an agreement with their landlord.

Michigan & Trumbull says they want to keep their prices as steady as they can while paying their workers a livable wage and continue to do charity work.

A laudable choice; but, that means you have to keep costs down between rent, taxes, and more to thrive.

Prices in the area near Michigan Central Station are rising. Not only is the potential for more foot traffic and residents thanks to what Ford is doing; but the supply of actual spaces to go into is low. Many of the buildings have been demolished.

Drive down the streets north of I-75. There are some wonderful homes and sprouts of new activity, but the area that was a full neighborhood now stands mostly vacant.

I enjoy the neighborhood but is an example of how the city has an issue of tons of vacancy; but little that’s usable without giant investment and some real risk. Or is held by speculators.

In a conversation last week with a realtor friend, I learned one of the reasons the city of Detroit is more expensive now is that there is not a chain of occupancy where a property is making money and getting improvements over time.

In Detroit, we’ve demolished a lot of buildings and we have to build new on most everything. Even the older stuff, you’re often putting all new guts in if it’s been vacant for decades.

That build is expensive, and those upfront costs mean that you have to charge way more (unless there are massive subsidies).

Due to demolition and freeway expansion, the area has gone from mostly homes and tree cover to… not that.

With Michigan Central re-opening this year blocks away, those negotiating a lease now are probably going to have to spend more to be in Corktown and nearby. These kinds of deals are often multiple years long, and that’s potentially leaving money on the table for the owner if the area does indeed pick up as predicted.

I hope Michigan & Trumbull finds a great location. Wherever it goes I’ll be sure to pick up more pizza. I think what you’ll see going forward are more higher-margin businesses that can eat the bigger costs, or those that own their building holding out.

I personally think the prices and lack of availability are gonna put a huge hit on city’s food and creative community going forward, and I’ve already personally seen signs more of that stuff is hitting the suburbs.

We already see it. Black-owned businesses are making a big splash in Royal Oak. Hispanic businesses are moving to Lincoln Park and downriver.

There’s plenty of office space downtown. But that’s in huge chunks, and not really suitable for either of the above tasks.

I do think we’ll see more new construction and new rehab projects near Michigan Central in the near future as there are people who want to be there.

You’re going to see higher margin businesses go in, or it’ll sit empty.

If there’s anything I’ve learned, one of the few constants is change.

Would love to know your thoughts, dailydetroit - at - gmail - dot - com. Let’s get into the rest of the stories.

📰 What to know in Metro Detroit

🍔 Dine + Drink

» Wahlburgers in Detroit’s Greektown is done. The location is also scrubbed from the company’s website. Opened in 2016 with celebrity fanfare as it’s tied to the famous Wahlberg family, the product itself seemed to fall flat with locals. [Sound off on our FB page here]

We discuss it on this episode of the podcast, too.

» Ferndale dive bar Warrilow’s is for sale. Shianne waxed poetic on the podcast about her favorite dishes from there as she went regularly. Here’s the listing in case you’re interested. Fun fact? In 1968 it was one of the original bars to be approved to sell liquor after the City of Ferndale lifted the restriction for only beer and wine sales. It opened in 1955. [Listing]

» Praise for local restaurants as the 2023 Restaurant and Chef Awards semifinalists for the James Beard Awards have been announced. Many metropolitan Detroit chefs and restaurants have been nominated for these prestigious categories. The winners will be celebrated at an awards ceremony on June 5 in Chicago.  [James Beard award winners]

» It’s confirmed that Calexico is closed for good in downtown Detroit. We first reported this here and on our podcast. The sign came down this weekend. Thanks to an eagle-eyed listener for the photo.

🏗 Development

» Bedrock provided an update on Instagram of their building on the former site of the Hudson’s department store. The photo depicts the domed skylight, allowing sunlight to peak inside. [Bedrock's Instagram post]

Does this project have an official name yet? I feel like one of the state’s tallest buildings should get a name.

» How do you build a high-rise from the top down? My conversation with LIFTBuild — they’re behind the Exchange in Greektown — gets into just that.

» A new program in Southwest Detroit aims to encourage converting vacant second-story space into apartments with $10,000 grants. The Second-Floor Residential Grant Program aims to convert vacant, second-floor space above commercial spaces into affordable apartment units in Southwest Detroit. Property owners can apply now until 5 p.m. March 31. Anticipated rental rates for these apartments are $780-$1,250, making them affordable to residents earning between 50 and 80 percent of area median income. [City of Detroit]

» 71 Units of affordable housing were unveiled. Marwood + Marsten in Detroit’s North End is for those who make between $19,200 and $51,200 if you’re a family of two. Here are the press materials. [City of Detroit]

If you want to take a video tour, I posted my trip our Instagram:

🗓 Upcoming events

» Attention lovers! Blitzen’s on Bagley will transform into Vixen’s on Bagley through February. The pop-up bar in Detroit’s Southwest neighborhood will feature seasonal drinks such as Cupid’s Cosmo (vodka, orange liqueur, fresh lime, cranberry) and Randy Alexander (spiced rum, creme de cacao, egg cream). [WXYZ]

» The 5K Paczki run is back in Hamtramck for a 12th year. Runners will be awarded with paczek and beer at completion of the certified 5K course on February 18. The race celebrates Hamtramck’s rich immigrant tradition, and includes polka music from the Misty Blues and dancing after the race. [Tour De Troit]

» Royal Oak’s Winter Blast has been rescheduled from the weekend of February 3 - 5 to February 17 - 19. The decision was made so that vendors and attendees can better enjoy the Winter Blast with less frigid temperatures. For more information, check out Winter Blast’s website: [Winter Blast]

🏛 Local government

» More than $407,000 is missing from the Detroit Public Library. Fingers are pointing between the library and the city governments and it’s not even clear who discovered the fraud. Detroit’s inspector general is considering an investigation. [Outlier Media]

» Westland has a new mayor. Westland’s City Council appointed Michael Londeau as interim mayor by a 5-2 vote, beating other nominees Councilman James Godbout and former police chief Emery Price.

Their longest-serving (and most recent) mayor, Bill Wild, vacated his position for a job in the private sector soon after re-election. Londeau has been on the council since 2017, having recently been council president pro-tem of the western Wayne County community of nearly 85,000 people. [Arab American News]

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Thanks to Luciano Marcon for his help on this newsletter, as well as Randy, Fletcher, Shianne and Devon on the podcast.

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


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