Hey! Thanks for opening this note. I hope you found joy in whatever way is close to your heart over the holiday week— and if not joy, at least a nap. Naps bring me joy.

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On to the stories.

Images via the Ilitch News Hub. This mostly residential development would go on a parking lot between Comerica Park and the Fox Theatre at 2250 Woodward.

» A new set of renderings for the vision of the District Detroit are out from The Related Companies (Stephen Ross) and Olympia Development (Ilitch family).

I’m torn on this.

One, I know half the audience loves a good, detailed architectural rendering. I’ve seen some shiny quarters, like the Eddystone — that if not led up to with a promise of whole neighborhoods would be impressive alone.

The other half will gladly remind me that there have been proposals that mostly didn’t happen for this area since at least 1994. No one can or should blame the public for skepticism at this point.

So this all could come together and we will see gleaming towers on Woodward and Cass avenues. Or parts of it. Or we could be left with the current sadness quo — a sea of landscaped, well-lit parking lots and unmet potential after a series of demolitions over the years.

Sure, there’s a lot of traffic on game days. But part of the point of putting stadiums in cities is to have the rest of the picture. Vibrant residential, retail and more anchored by those big draws. Going to Wrigley Field in Chicago, I saw what that could look like.

So what is different this time? I think it could be the additional involvement of the University of Michigan and billionaire Stephen Ross.

Anything U of M puts their stamp on has a high probability of getting done because they have the talent and resources. Miami Dolphins owner (and Detroit-born) Stephen Ross has the deep pockets and experience building larger scale projects like Hudson Yards in New York City to do it.

It’s a question of the will, the deal and the details. That’s still a big gap to cross.

The current proposal in Detroit includes 1.2 million square feet of commercial office, 146,000 square feet of retail, 467 hotel rooms, and 865 mixed-income residential units in the next five years. Here’s a map.

All of this information was shared as the community benefits process is starting on the $1.5 billion set of projects.

That benefits process happens when people want incentives. The developers are looking to get the same kind of deal that Dan Gilbert’s Bedrock got for the tower on the Hudson’s site — “Transformational Brownfield” — that allows developers to not have to pay sales tax on equipment and materials as well as capture various taxes from the residents and workers they attract to pay off the project and (they say) end up making a net contribution to state and city coffers.

That’s a point plenty of people will debate.

There’s more questions than answers at this point. But for now, let’s walk through some of these renderings — and then I want to know your thoughts. And of course, I plan on discussing it more on the Friday podcast.

This could be a commercial office building at 2200 Woodward with first floor retail.

2300 Woodward, proposed as mixed-used development that includes first floor retail with office space. It would be on the site of what’s currently a parking lot.

2305 Woodward could be yet another office building. This is shown on the site that is currently Hockeytown Cafe. It also could go on Cass Avenue just north of I-75, according to provided information.

408 Temple, or the old American Hotel. Mixed-use building with first floor retail and residential space.  On a personal note, I hope the Temple Bar across the street persists through all of this.

This is the long-vacant Loyal Order of Moose Lodge would become part of the Detroit Center for Innovation (DCI).

A residential tower would also be built as part of the DCI.

It’s also notable that they’d turn the offices above the Fox Theater into a hotel. Makes sense considering the new Little Caesars HQ building next door, and the brand power of the Fox.

There’s another community benefits meeting on December 6. In order to vote on the project, you need to live in the immediate area. Here’s more info with the city of Detroit.

The goal from the proposal is to get approvals in the first quarter of next year so work can begin sometime in 2023.

How do you feel about all this so far?

» Throwbacks Home opened in Detroit’s Capitol Park. The 1,500 square foot showroom and retail space in the former Lovers Only burger spot is a project of the dynamic duo of Kyle Dubay and Bo Shepherd behind Woodward Throwbacks.

They’ve been building a mini-empire of reclaimed furniture and high design since 2016, and Throwbacks Home helps publicly branch them out into the design space (though they’ve been getting recognized for that in their industry for years).

I chatted with Kyle at the soft opening for the podcast this week and got the whole story. Have a listen here:

» The new Apt. Disco opens this weekend. Located above Lost River Tiki Bar on Mack, this space serves Amaro cocktails, embraces music videos and, well, disco music. [Instagram]

Which according to my Spotify Wrapped, is one of my vibes — from Tom Jones to Elton John to Daft Punk.

Engineer Randy Walker got himself into the soft opening night to check it out. We’ll talk about it on the show, but if you’re going this weekend before we get that episode up, he recommends the Venice 1984 cocktail.

That’s gin (I know, but give it a whirl, gin can be a great drink palette to paint on), apricot liquor, amaro di angostura, cardamom bitters and simple syrup.

» The city of Detroit has announced an updated timeline for their new animal care and control facility. Originally targeted to open this upcoming spring, in press materials the city says that a change in contractor and design modifications pushed the project back more than six months. Now the goal is by the end of 2023 for opening.

When work is complete at Ferry and Russell, space would nearly double for Detroit Animal Care and Control to 30,000 square feet with a new veterinary clinic.

One last thing I need your feedback on so I can focus my time on what is useful to you:

My writing app tells me this is where I need to end it so it doesn’t get cut off in your email app. So thanks for reading, and I’ll write again soon.


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