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The Best Detroit Reads Vol 2. – The Bulldog Edition

400 North Main in Royal Oak Hotel Rendering

Here are some of the best of the rest we found this week covering Detroit.

Gettin’ lost in the D
I recently relocated to the Detroit area, and one thing is truly certain… I get lost a lot. Once I let anxiety subside, I started letting the thrill of getting lost be just that–thrilling. Perhaps you’re thinking that this does not make sense; who wants to get lost all the time? Well, I will tell you that I’m actually upset I’m getting disoriented less and less now. Had I not made a wrong turn somewhere on my way to Royal Oak, I would have missed out on John K. King’s Used & Rare Books’ sweet younger brother in Ferndale. Although the downtown store is amazing in its sheer size and unique character, the Ferndale store boasts a smaller, more intimate version with an awesome little “store kitty” to boot!
Source: The Awesome Mitten

$35 million mixed-use, hotel development for downtown Royal Oak moving forward
Royal Oak’s Planning Commission gave “conceptual approval” to a $35 million mixed-use development in a former car dealership in Royal Oak, the Royal Oak Daily Tribune reports. The development would include an eight-floor hotel, an eight-floor apartment building, one three-floor and another five-floor office building, and a parking garage. The Daily Tribune reports that the four-building development would be built on Main Street between University and Pingree avenues, at the site of the former Fresard dealership.
Source: MLive

Gilbert buys Kresge building
Make that one more for Dan Gilbert. The downtown business owner and investor has closed on the purchase of the building that once housed the S.S. Kresge retailer, according to a source familiar with the deal. The 70,000-square-foot building, at 1201 Woodward Ave., was sold by Detroit investor Dennis Kefallinos, who would not comment on the deal. A sale price wasn’t obtained by Crain’s. Gilbert’s communications group declined to comment.
Source: Michigan Chronicle

Start afresh at Packard (The Ren Cen was once a dream, too)
Vision. Then action. Those are the only things that can transform the Packard Plant from modern-day, spectacle ruin to a functional part of the city’s rebirth. History tells us why. Other large-scale Detroit projects had a leader who took profound interest and flexed political muscle on their behalf. They had private investment to make it happen. The coordination of the two — rare enough in a city that’s still struggling with a host of basic development ideas, such as mass transit — is what’s missing from the Packard Plant, perhaps Detroit’s oldest and most culturally significant ruin.
Source: Detroit Free Press

Entrepreneurs make a statement at Opportunity Detroit
Few people recognize the growth that is occurring in Detroit and its surrounding cities. Between the auto industry layoffs and the plethora of decaying buildings, the mainstream media has painted a picture of disaster and despair. Contrary to those reports, there are thousands of individuals working hard to turn Detroit around. Some of them manufacture new televisions — others produce components for new watches. Many of them will help a major automaker complete its IT transformation.
Source: Benzinga

M@dison Building, D:hive, coffee shops dominate start-up news in 2012
Small business news in 2012 wasn’t dominated by individual start-ups as much as it was the places that let them grow. Here are the Top 5 enablers of Detroit’s entrepreneurial ecosystem.
Source: The Detroit News

Ford Motor Co. launches program to support Detroit neighborhoods
Ford Motor Company and its community relations arm, Ford Motor Company Fund (Ford Fund), announced the launch of a major program in Detroit to strengthen neighborhoods and provide support for education, summer jobs programs and other community needs. The $10 million program, called Operation Brighter Future – Detroit, augments Ford Fund’s ongoing community partnerships, as well as support for southeast Michigan nonprofits for community and cultural development, and many other programs. The support has totaled approximately $60 million during the past five years. The centerpiece of the program is the new Ford Resource and Engagement Center. It will be opened at the Mexicantown Mercado building in southwest Detroit.
Source: dBusiness

New Corvette among more than 50 previews scheduled for Detroit Auto Show
From the all-new C7 Chevrolet Corvette to the next-generation Mercedes-Benz E-Class, theDetroit Auto Show is hoping to deliver something new for everyone when it opens its doors next month. Formally known as the 2013 North American International Auto Show, the event has developed a reputation as the most important car show in the U.S. and one of the five must-see shows worldwide. And it intends to maintain that status with an estimated 53 to 56 new products scheduled to debut on the floor of newly expanded Detroit’s Cobo Center.
Source: The Detroit Bureau

White picket fence program is expanded
Mayor Dave Bing has announced the City of Detroit is expanding its “White Picket Fence Program”.  The initiative allows property owners to buy vacant city-owned lots next to their property for only $200.  The program was rolled out in Southwest Detroit earlier this year.  It is now being expanded to Detroit’s North End community. So far more than 100 lots have been purchased under the program.  Residents who purchase lots also receive a $200 gift card for the purchase of supplies to fence and beautify the lots. Detroit Local Initiatives Support Corporation (LISC), Urban Neighborhood Initiatives, and Charter One have partnered with the City on the project.
Source: Detroit 2020

Secret Santa in Detroit, random acts of kindness
Santa was spotted in Detroit, Michigan handing out cash to unsuspecting shoppers. In a very generous random act of kindness, the secret Santa couple brightened the day for dozens of strangers as they handed out $100 bills. According to The Detroit Free Press, the couple, who wish to remain anonymous, stated that the gifting has become an annual tradition. For the past four years the couple, who are former residents of Detroit, have returned to the area to hand out between $10,000 and $15,000 cash. The secret Santas, escorted by The Lincoln Park Police Department, spent most of the day spreading cheer. The couple says that they were both raised in middle-class families but have been blessed financially, and they want to share it with others.
Source: The Inquisitor

Wayne County unveils command center, new technology to optimize winter driving
Wayne County officials unveiled a state-of-the-art command center that will help commuters be more aware of slick conditions on the roads this winter. The command center, which was completed in the spring, is the final piece of a triad of integrated technologies implemented by the Wayne County Roads Division.
Source: Trenton-Grosse Ile Patch

Brand winners and losers of 2012
While brand is primarily a result of the quality of a company’s products, brand advertising (i.e. ads about brands rather than products) can alter people’s perception of a company and its products. At its best, brand advertising turns brand weaknesses into strengths. At its worst, it simply reinforces negative perceptions. Best for Brand Advertising: Chrysler (“Imported fromDetroit”). It’s been decades since Chrysler was “cool,” if indeed it ever was. As far as brand image goes, the company is probably more famous for almost going bankrupt than for any of the products that it’s made. Chrysler’s “Imported from Detroit” series of ads are therefore all the more impressive, because they not only improve Chrysler’s image, but even the battered city where its corporate headquarters are located.
Source: Inc.

EDC awards money to Compuware, Liberal Arts Gallery to fund upgrades
The Economic Development Corp. of Detroit has awarded thousands of dollars in grant money to two Detroit businesses, including Compuware Corp. The Detroit-based software company will receive $13,827 in funds from the SmartBuildings Detroit Energy Conservation Program to upgrade the lighting in its parking structure near Campus Martius, the EDC said in a release.
Source: The Detroit News

Camaro coming to Michigan plant
General Motors Co.’s popular muscle car, the Camaro, is racing toward Lansing. The Detroitcarmaker said it will move production of the retro sports car from Oshawa, Canada, to the Lansing Grand River assembly plant. GM officials said in a statement the company decided to move production because of lower capital investment and better production.
Source: Battle Creek Enquirer

MEDC plan boasts ‘New Michigan’
In the wake of business tax reforms and the historic right-to-work law passed last week, the state’s top economic development agency is planning to mount a major marketing campaign touting a “New Michigan” that is more competitive and less beholden to bad ol’ ways. The campaign, likely to focus on prominent national media outlets and publications consumed by CEOs and business decision-makers, is expected to argue that a new and different Michigan brimming with opportunity is emerging from the Lost Decade of confrontation and denial, job losses and declining per-capita income. It is basically ‘Michigan is open for business.
Source: The Detroit News

 

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