Busy newsletter.

FYI, I have a special request at the end of the newsletter. We need a little bit of help with something for the project.

As always, my analysis is in italics. If this is your first time here, consider signing up for free. We’re funded by our readers and some sponsors. I think it’s important to keep as much local information as free to consume as possible, even though it’s not free to produce.

📰 What to know

» Celebrity Chef Fabio Viviani (of Top Chef fame, and also appears on Good Morning America and the Food Network) is taking over the old Calexico space in downtown Detroit with a yet-to-be named restaurant that will have "various Italian and Mediterranean influences."

According to press materials, The Fabio Viviani brand has partnered with Bloomfield Hills-based Cicero Hospitality Group. The inside will be redone in a "new and modern" buildout that's being done by Norr Architecture.

Bedrock says to stay tuned for more info on the, name, menu and a formal opening date (expected summer of 2023) in the near future.

Listeners have told me about his place in Chicago, Siena Tavern. We don’t know what the concept is going in here in Detroit, but Viviani definitely has a vibe and a lane with his work.

It does have a nice patio, which was the strongest thing in the old Calexico’s favor. The last time I was in the Windy City I walked by on the way to the Museum of Broadcast Communications. But if you’ve been to Siena, I’d love to hear about it.

» James Oliver Coffee has soft-opened their second Detroit retail location in the historic Guardian Building. The grand opening is February 6 and they’ll be open 8a-3p Monday thru Fridays. The flagship is in Corktown at the Lodge and Michigan Avenue.

» The QLINE is doing a park-and-ride test. Wayne State University Lot 12 (next to the Amsterdam station) will be open on weekends for $5 for the day. The test runs Friday-Sunday on the weekends of Feb. 3-5, Feb. 10-12, Feb. 17-19, and Feb. 24-26. The hope is that this helps alleviate weekend parking congestion and encourage use of the free to ride streetcar.

As a large chunk of the QLINE’s funding now comes from tourist dollars, this makes sense. I’m not saying anything new that downtown Detroit tourists aren’t just from around the country, but many coming from the suburbs and the rest of the state. Adding utility is good.

» Motown legend Barrett Strong passed away over the weekend at the age 81. From “Money (That’s what I want)” which was Motown’s first big hit to having a hand in so many albums, Strong didn’t just make hits, he made an impact. I chatted with author and West Grand Blog writer Adam White about Barrett Strong and the international appeal on our podcast.

» Related: The Motown Museum reopens to the public on February 22. [Motown Museum]

I took this pic during a lights festival in 2017 at Beacon Park across the street.

» The historic Grand Army of the Republic (GAR) building has a new owner. It’s Joe Barbat, who’s known around town for his residential buildings that he renamed “Houzes.” The GAR, whose cornerstone was laid in 1899, will convert from offices and event space to just event space up top; and down below, a steakhouse. [Crain’s Detroit] [Freep]

This building is beautiful and credit to the previous owners who cleaned this one up. If you’re interested in the history of this urban castle, check out Historic Detroit. [Historic Detroit]

We discuss this on the podcast episode coming out tomorrow. You can follow on Apple Podcasts or Spotify.

» Detroit City Council will consider a proposal to ban cashless payment for retailers. Council member Angela Calloway plans to introduce her proposal in February. [Axios Detroit]

I shared a story on our show this week about the problems of only accepting credit cards or plastic.

» Indian grocery store chain Patel Brothers is opening a location in Canton. The nationwide chain currently has four locations in Michigan: Ann Arbor, Troy, Farmington Hills, and Garden City. [Freep]

» Metropolis Cycles is opening a location in Ferndale this spring. It’ll be in a former corner market, and is in addition to their Corktown location. [Metropolis Cycles]

» A former motel in Inkster has been renovated and will become affordable apartment units this spring. A local couple lead an investment firm that bought the condemned building in 2021. Rent is planned to be in the $700/month range. [ClickOnDetroit]

» The Mr. Fresh stores in Allen Park and Taylor are for sale. Third generation owner Andree Johnson Loukinen has decided to sell due to health reasons. Wayne Creamery owner Henry J. Johnson and his son Robert opened Mr. Fresh opened them 1965, and they have an iconic mid-century look. The stores became popular for their curbside pickup and Michigan-made groceries. [News Herald]

I’m obsessed with small, unique buildings. It’s not in the budget, but I saw this metal castle online that is free if you take it and put it on your own land. If I had the dollars, I’d grab it and stick it somewhere to be our new podcast studio and local media HQ. And 20x20 is the perfect size! [CheapOldHouses]

» Will you watch the USFL’s Michigan Panthers now they’re at Ford Field? Fletcher Sharpe went to their opening press event and has thoughts.

» Flagstar Bank is closing much of its direct-to-consumer mortgage division. It laid off hundreds of employees in several states without notice. The Troy-based bank made the decision less than two months after being acquired by New York Community Bancorp. [Housing Wire] [Freep]

» Local author Karen Dybis’s book titled “Detroit Style Pizza: A Doughtown History” is available for pre-order. How did this Motor City delicacy transform from a singular kitchen in Detroit to an international sensation? You’re going to have to read it to find out. [Bookshop.org] [Amazon]

I’m including this as 1) She’s been on the podcast a few times and is a great guest and 2) Her previous Detroit-inspired books are all on my shelf for a reason. They’re fun, intriguing reads.

» The Michigan Science Center is nominated for the top science museum in the country, but they need your votes. [10Best]

» DTE and Walker-Miller are partnering on a new academy for Detroiters to get jobs making home improvements for energy efficiency. The need is great. Nearly 40,000 owner- and renter-occupied households lack adequate housing conditions in Detroit, according to the University of Michigan’s 2021 Detroit Metro Area Community Study. [Detroit News]

» The Southeast Michigan Construction Academy (SEMCA) will open a new trade school in Westland in the fall of 2023. The new 25,000 square foot skilled trades school is to be the first location to be developed with state funds. [Fox2Detroit]

So about that thing I mentioned at the top of the email. Where we kinda need your help.

When we started our podcast more than 1100 episodes (and a number of years) ago, we operated out of the podcast studio of a friend.

It was cramped and noisy — but fun and memorable. And a great way to meet people. The pandemic and the passing on of one of the owners of the place put an end to that operation.

Anyway, we want to have a small space in 2023 to build out what we’re doing beyond a “virtual, distributed” team. The show is better in person. It’s easier to do video. And making connections is great.

We’re finally ready to get back to our roots and try and shake off the last three years.

But, a new challenge. In the that time, prices have skyrocketed and availability shrunk in the city proper.

We could find what we’re looking for — easy access, near where people and some interesting amenities are, and the price and size we need (we’re thinking like 300-600 square feet) in the suburbs pretty easy. There are options in budget we could take tomorrow that hit all the boxes except — they aren’t in the city of Detroit.

And you know where our heart is.

We have a listener who is our realtor (and helping out gratis, so thank you!), and was very honest that there’s just not much availability that’s not tens of thousands of square feet right now in Detroit, and/or doesn’t require tons of buildout.

So part of the stories we’ve been sharing about rising prices and limited spaces, we realize, also hits home.

There are audio studios around the region, sure. But from experience, we really need a space we control because although the finished show is 20-25 minutes a day, we’re pretty intense on the usage and schedules.

We also want to have classes, throw small events, collaborate with other creators, have our own show branding, all of that. We hit our production schedule out of the house now. This is about growth.

So I turn to you for connections and creativity. If you have access to something and it could be interesting, get in touch at dailydetroit@gmail.com. It would be most appreciated.

And we’re done for today. Thanks to Luciano Marcon for his help on this one, and thanks for reading.

Remember that you are somebody, and we’ll talk this weekend.


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