Dan Gilbert Adds Two Towers to Detroit Real Estate Portfolio.  1001 Woodward, on right Dan Gilbert, Quicken Loans founder and perennial champion of Detroit’s downtown real estate market, recently added two skyscrapers to his collection. The two towers are on Detroit’s Woodward Avenue. He acquired the 1916 Albert Kahn-designed Vinton Building (left) in December and scooper up the 1001 Woodward tower (right), built in 1965, this month. For more insight on the company’s real estate enterprise, which now totals 2.8 million square feet of commercial and residential space in Detroit, read our Q&A with Gilbert’s real estate partner Jim Ketai here.

 

Investing in Detroit’s Future: Kresge Puts Up $150 Million For Ambitious Plan

Midwest
Thursday, February 14, 2013
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detroit_works_01

The Detroit Works Project has received the economic boost it needed to put its Detroit Future City plan into action. Detroit Free Press reported that the Troy-based, Kresge Foundation will give $150 million over the next five years to help accomplish the objectives outlined in the 347-page plan, which focuses on creating economic growth and building infrastructure in Detroit. A technical team led by Toni Griffin, a New York-based urban planner, crafted an extensive list of recommendations such as blue and green infrastructures, job creation, and management of vacant land.

Detroit Light Rail Back On Track With $25 Million Grant

Midwest
Wednesday, February 6, 2013
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What light rail could look like in Detroit. (Courtesy M1 Rail)

What light rail could look like in Detroit. (Courtesy M1 Rail)

Outgoing U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood announced recently that Detroit’s M-1 Rail project, aka the Woodward Light Rail Line, will receive $25 million in federal TIGER funding. The plans for this 3-mile long light rail system along Woodward Avenue will include 11 stops running from the city’s downtown to New Center. According to the Detroit Free Press, $100 million has already been raised of the light rail line’s $140 million price tag. Officials said the first trains could be running by the end of 2015.

View the light rail route map after the jump.

Surprise Cuts Could Devastate Detroit Parks System

Midwest
Friday, February 1, 2013
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a vintage postcard depicting Detroit's belle isle (courtesy catherine of chicago via flickr)

a vintage postcard depicting Detroit’s belle isle (Courtesy catherine of chicago via flickr)

Detroit Mayor Dave Bing announced Friday that the city will close 51 parks. The Detroit Free Press’ Matt Helms has the full list of parks here, including an additional 37 parks that will receive limited maintenance.

The closures are the result of massive cuts to the city’s parks and recreation budget due to the City Council’s rejection this week of a plan to lease Belle Isle to the state. Details of the council’s decision were evidently worked out late Thursday night, so the devastating cuts came as a surprise to many residents. The move recalls closures announced, but avoided, in 2010.

AIA Michigan Needs a New Executive Director.  Detroit, on the water. (Image courtesy Bernt Rostad via Flickr.) AIA Michigan is looking for a new executive director. The 126-year-old, Detroit-based organization needs someone to act as its “ambassador to the broader business and civic community.” Dennis M. King, the search committee chair, is accepting submissions at dmking@hedev.com until the close of business Friday, March 1. More information is available at aiami.com. (Image: Bernt Rostad / Flickr)

 

Detroit’s Belle Isle Could Become a State Park, Save City Millions

Midwest
Monday, January 21, 2013
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Detroit's Belle Isle park. (Courtesy Liza Lagman Sperl via Flickr)

Detroit’s Belle Isle park. (Courtesy Liza Lagman Sperl via Flickr)

The Detroit Free-Press is reporting Belle Isle could become a state park. A public hearing is expected Thursday, and city council could vote on the plan as soon as January 29.

Belle Isle is a 985-acre island in the middle of the Detroit River originally designed by Frederick Law Olmsted. While details are still being negotiated, it appears the plan could save the City of Detroit $8 million per year in operating costs. Though Detroit would still own the land, the Michigan Department of Natural Resources would operate the island as a state park, charging motorists an $11 entry fee. Bicyclists and pedestrians would still get free access.

The potential deal comes on the heels of some good news for Motor City urbanists. In addition to filling out the gaps in the city’s riverwalk, Detroit is moving forward with its M-1 Rail plan, as well as an ongoing $300 million renovation of its Cobo convention center.

Architecture Students Build a Pavilion to Engage Detroit’s Empty Space

Dean's List, Midwest
Friday, November 30, 2012
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Empty Pavilion installation in Detroit.

Empty Pavilion installation in Detroit.

Detroit’s stark unemployment and population loss have spurred plenty of ideas for redevelopment, from new manufacturing to urban agriculture. A recently unveiled piece of public art meditates on one thing the city has in excess: empty space.

Continue reading after the jump.

Foxconn Said to Be Considering Investment in American Manufacturing

International
Thursday, November 15, 2012
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A Foxconn factory in Shenzhen, China. (yandulangzi在线/Google)

A Foxconn factory in Shenzhen, China. (yandulangzi在线/Google)

Much has been made of the decline of American industry and, more recently, the rise of small-scale urban industry, but one of the largest international manufacturers, Taiwan-based Foxconn, could change the industrial scene completely if it decides to build factories in the United States. The Guardian reports that Foxconn is considering Detroit and Los Angeles for potential outposts thanks to rising costs overseas, but the company infamous for manufacturing Apple products among others at its 800,000-worker-strong Chinese facilities would have to adapt to radically different American ways of working.

Continue reading after the jump.

Event> DLECTRICITY Lights Up Detroit

Midwest
Friday, October 5, 2012
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DLECTRICITY begins today and runs through Saturday. (Courtesy DLECTRICITY.)

DLECTRICITY begins today and runs through Saturday. (Courtesy DLECTRICITY.)

Not long after the Detroit Design Festival, Detroit’s design enthusiasts have another event to celebrate: DLECTRICITY begins today and runs through Saturday.

The “contemporary light art festival” features 35 local, national, and international artists who will illuminate historic structures in Midtown Detroit. Buildings including the Detroit Institute of Arts, the Michigan Science Center, and the Detroit Public Library will become canvases for 3D video mapping, laser displays, and light sculptures.

Click here for a full schedule and map of the events.

Hotel Made from Shipping Containers Planned for Detroit’s Eastern Market

Midwest
Thursday, September 6, 2012
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Collision Works would be a boutique hotel made from shipping containers in Detroit's Eastern Market area. (Courtesy Detroit Collaborative Design Center.)

Collision Works would be a boutique hotel made from shipping containers in Detroit’s Eastern Market area. (Courtesy Detroit Collaborative Design Center.)

Following the many interesting developments in Detroit these days, one gets a sense that the city’s post-industrial landscape is fertile ground for innovative design. A boutique hotel made of shipping containers seems to back up that trend.

Collision Works, as the project is called, touts the structural merits of shipping containers. “Shipping containers are considerably more durable than standard construction, can cost less, and most importantly are about 30 percent faster to build,” writes project founder Shel Kimen.

Continue reading after the jump.

Detroit Riverfront Design Competition Nets Libeskind as Judge

Midwest
Thursday, August 9, 2012
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A pool in Daniel Libeskind's Westside retail center collapsed (Mike Bischoff/Flickr)

Daniel Libeskind’s Westside retail center. (Mike Bischoff/Flickr)

Starchitect Daniel Libeskind will help judge this year’s Detroit by Design competition to design public spaces along the Detroit River. AIA’s Detroit Chapter is a sponsor of the competition, which will focus on the area between Cobo Hall and the Renaissance Center, and between Jefferson Avenue and the Detroit River. The site includes an entrance to the tunnel to Canada, the Port Authority Building, and Hart Plaza—a 14-acre space at the heart of downtown.

Submissions are open through November 30. If Libeskind and the other jurors like your design, you could win $5,000 and a trip to the Motor City.

View the competition site after the jump.

Detroit’s Lafayette Towers Skirt Auction Block, For Now

Midwest
Friday, July 27, 2012
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Detroit stalled HUD's planned auction of the Mies towers. (COURTESY GEHAD HADIDI VIA FLICKR.)

Detroit stalled HUD’s planned auction of the Mies towers. (Courtesy GEHAD HADIDI/FLICKR.)

It looks like Mies van der Rohe’s Lafayette Towers in Detroit may avoid the auction block a little longer. The Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) foreclosed on the high-rise apartment buildings in February, and HUD had planned to put them up for auction this month (albeit with a litany of multi-million-dollar renovations required of the lucky winner).

Detroit exercised its first right of refusal on that course of action, wary of the iconic towers falling into the wrong hands. New York-based Northern Group bought the buildings in 2008 for $16 million in cash, but stopped making payments on its loans by 2010. The towers were transferred to HUD soon after. Now the city’s group for planning and facilities is seeking a private owner to bring the buildings back from disrepair.

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