City Transformation, News

Your Detroit weekend reading list: 10 of the best stories on the web


What a week in Detroit. It was a whirlwind of developments.

The Emergency Manager showed up for work and surprised many by not cutting the pay of City Council or the Mayor, but he wasn’t the only story. Roger Penske and crew are providing 123 new public safety vehicles which was followed up by a presentation where Dan Gilbert laid out a vision for improvements across downtown.

David-whitney-building-being-redevelopedThere’s obviously still a lot of work ahead. No one is saying that the aforementioned plans are a cure-all. But I did stand on the roof of the garage after the announcement at the City Theater and smiled as a I looked upon Woodward avenue, realizing that in the next few years the volume and frequency of this artery of our region is going to be turned up to a level closer to what it should be.

And so what is your picture this week? Well, another building can be added to the list of “underway projects.” The David Whitney, with a stellar lobby, steps from Comerica Park and across from the recently redone Broderick Tower, is coming back to life through an $82 million dollar project.

So here’s your 10 Detroit stories across the web that make up your weekend reading list. Happy Easter weekend!

Found: A 46-year-old film that shows a crowded Detroit from a chopper

Deadline Detroit: Bill McGraw – “I wrote the column to pass along an interesting film about Detroit that has been lurking on YouTube for nearly two years. I stumbled across it. The film offers an absorbing view of Detroit in July 1967 – from a low-flying helicopter. The city of that era is rarely seen from such an angle.

POLL: Detroit divided on EFM 

Michigan Chronicle: Detroit residents are split on an Emergency Financial Manager. Dive in to these links, data nerds. Fascinating facts: Two thirds of those aged 22 to 30 support the EFM, as well as 57% of Latino American Detroiters. Another interesting one? 70% said they will remain in Detroit, regardless of what the city is going through (second Chronicle link).

Ambitious theater renovation planned inside The Carr Center

CBS Detroit: It’s a transformational project for Detroit. And it’s going to take a lot of work and a heavy investment in the building known as Carr Cultural Arts Center. Oliver Ragsdale, Jr., president of the Carr Center in downtown Detroit, says he hopes to raise enough money to help renovate the Harmonie Park building.

Celebrating as the Ford Mustang approaches 50

Detroit Free Press: Ford is planning one of the longest anniversary parties in history, and everybody who loves the Mustang is invited. The original pony car, creator of the class of affordable performance cars that produced many of the Detroit Three’s greatest vehicles, turns 50 on April 17, 2014.

$279 million renovation to Detroit’s Cobo Center is now in its third phase and on budget

MLive: The $279 million renovation of the Cobo Center remains on budget and should be complete by January 2015, according to an annual progress report released. At March 1, the project is 49 percent finished, with $139 million spent. It has since crossed the halfway point in terms of completion.

Detroit’s Whitney Building to see new life, but developers worry over future preservations

The Detroit News: Renovations of the historic but long-empty David Whitney Building have started. It will become the boutique Aloft Hotel, featuring rental apartments and ground-floor retail in its striking marble and glass atrium. Yet even as Governor Snyder and other economic officials celebrate the revival of the Grand Circus Park skyscraper, many developers wonder just how many other historic structures will see new life. That’s because of the governor’s decision to eliminate the tax credits that most developers relied on to restore historic buildings. The historic tax credit became history itself at the end of 2011.

Where are people under 35 buying their cars?

Christian Science Monitor: The data is clear: folks under 35 aren’t as interested in owning a car as their parents and grandparents were. But that doesn’t mean they’ve given up on cars entirely, and when they do need a set of wheels, they’re spending less time loitering on the lots of Toyota, Honda, and other Japanese brands. In 2012, Japanese automakers lost huge market share among 25-to-34-year-olds, slipping nearly eight points to 42.9%. Where did those young shoppers go for their vehicles? Some went to the Big Three: Detroit’s auto share among that demographic edged upward to 36.8%.

What the Hell is happening in Detroit?

Found Michigan: John Gallagher has just published a new book—Revolution Detroit: Strategies for Urban Reinvention—which is packed full of both candid analysis of Detroit’s ills and big ideas for breathing new life into struggling American cities. Some of the ideas are revolutionary; some might even make you uncomfortable. All of them are thought provoking. And after our “round two” conversation with John earlier this month, we still feel there’s no one who can talk Detroit quite like him.

Fastest-growing cities for tech jobs: Detroit and beyond

CNN Money: Yes, Detroit. Not only is the cost of living relatively low, but the local economy is “starting to recover, and there’s a great local emphasis on STEM education,” says Tom Silver, senior vice president of tech job site Motown’s Woodward Avenue is buzzing with tech startups, as well as bigger companies like Compuware, which moved its headquarters to downtown Detroit from Chicago in 2003 and now invests in new IT companies in the area. Twitter has a brand new Detroit office, too. Last year at this time, Silver notes, “Detroit had about 800 IT job postings on Dice on any given day. Now, it’s about 1,100. The auto industry certainly needs a lot of tech talent, but it’s not just about cars anymore.”

Entrepreneurs Try to Recapture Detroit’s Glory Mr. High is a 52-year-old homeless trombonist known to perch himself on a folding chair at a busy corner in Greektown and hold court with those who pass by. He said he toured in years past with blues stars Johnnie Taylor, Little Milton, and Lucky Peterson, and once did a stint in Europe with Ike Turner. A local paper, the Detroit Metro Times, ran a story in 2010 about how he walked in off the street one night and got a standing ovation at Detroit’s oldest blues bar and a popular venue for Motown stars, the Raven Lounge and Restaurant. “I’ve been told I put smiles on some people’s faces, so that’s a start,” Mr. High said. He said he moved to Detroit while broke that year, and is still broke, but won’t leave because he sees better days ahead and is inspired by the city’s energy. “We’re already at the bottom,” he said, chuckling. “There’s only one way to go, and that’s up.” Many Detroiters believe the city’s future lies not so much in a state-appointed financial manager as in venture capitalists with undying loyalty to Detroit, such as Quicken Loans founder and Chairman Dan Gilbert.

About the Author

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *