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Techonomy Taps Detroit's Magic on Sept. 16

Excerpt:

When Techonomy’s Chief Program Officer Simone Ross first proposed in late 2011 that we consider doing an entire conference in Detroit, I was a little confused. Detroit? Isn’t Techonomy all about cutting edge, shiny, new, transformative technologies and the things being transformed? Why head to America’s most distressed big city? But Simone convinced me to head there with her before Christmas that year and I, like her, became captivated.

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Retiree finds second act with cooking company, AVC Kitchens

Vazilyn Poinsetta isn’t the stereotypical senior citizen. The Midtown resident retired from a mortgage company a few years ago and decided to do something different. She went back to school and eventually opened her own business.

"I might as well be 70 and get a degree in nutrition instead of waiting around saying woulda, coulda, shoulda," Poinsetta says.

The lifelong Detroiter started classes at Wayne State University soon after retiring. In 2012, she started taking advantage of the entrepreneurial education classes at Blackstone LaunchPad on campus. That inspired her to start AVC Kitchens, which teaches cooking classes in the city.

"They (Blackstone LaunchPad's staff and participants) are just wonderful," Poinsetta says. "I'm not very tech savvy, but I can still ask anyone in the program and they will show me what to do."

AVC Kitchens aims to combine education of cooking and healthy living. Poinsetta hosts cooking classes at Eastern Market and Focus: HOPE, teaching people how to create cost-effective meals with everyday ingredients -- meals that are both affordable and nutritious using ingredients local people can find just about anywhere.

"Not anything that is super expensive," Poinsetta says.

Source: Vazilyn Poinsetta, owner of AVC Kitchens
Writer: Jon Zemke

Read more about Metro Detroit's growing entrepreneurial ecosystem at SEMichiganStartup.com.

City still seeks Brush Park development team, allows for higher densities

The city of Detroit has re-issued a slightly modified request for proposals for a Brush Park development first announced at the beginning of 2014. With that RFP long-expired and the city having not selected a plan, a new RFP was recently announced with a November 14 deadline.

The biggest differences between last January's RFP and the new one are a changes in residential density and land use parameters. While the previous RFP capped residential development in Brush Park at 15 to 35 dwelling units per acre, the revised RFP is allowing for larger developments of up to 60 dwelling units per acre.

According to the release, the City of Detroit's Planning and Development Department believes that, "[I]in order to better achieve the neighborhood scale, walkable, mixed-use vision of the future of Brush Park as set forth by P&DD and the Brush Park Citizens District Council, the current Development Plan is undergoing a major modification in order to allow a greater density of residential (up to 60 D.U./Acre) and a greater mix of uses within Brush Park."

The two parcels of land available in this RFP are the same as before. At approximately 7.5 acres, “Parcel A” is made up of four historic structures and 36 vacant lots bounded by Edmund Place (north), Brush Street (east), Adelaide Street (south), and John R (west). At approximately 0.90 acres, “Parcel B” consists of seven vacant properties and is bounded by Alfred (north), Beaubien Street (east), Division Street (south), and Brush (west).

The historic building at 312 Watson, known as “Parcel C” in January's RFP, is not included in this most recent request.

According to the RFP, the P&DD's new goals for the historic Brush Park neighborhood include creating residential density, promoting adaptive re-use, introducing neighborhood scale retail uses, and limiting surface parking lots.

Source: City of Detroit Planning & Development Department
Writer: MJ Galbraith

Got a development news story to share? Email MJ Galbraith here or send him a tweet @mikegalbraith.

Made in Detroit: Shinola's Quest to Revive American Manufacturing

Excerpt: 

For generations, Detroit was America’s stronghold. It was the country’s hub for auto manufacturing, where good hard work led to reward; a place where the American dream lived and thrived and was woven into the very fabric of the city.

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Women reshaping the face of small business in Detroit

Excerpt:

Stop by a startup event in Detroit’s Techtown, and you’d be forgiven an assumption that Detroit’s economic future is very male and quite white. But don’t be too quick to jump to conclusions: Numbers and stories across Detroit’s neighborhoods tell a different story.

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Inside Detroit's G.A.R. Building: Watch as renovations bring historic structure to life

Excerpt:

To those driving southeast on Grand River Avenue toward downtown Detroit, the Grand Army of the Republic Building looks tiny against the backdrop of taller Detroit office buildings and structures erected or redeveloped in recent years.

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Dan Gilbert: Detroit neighborhoods need to thrive or 'you're not going to have a thriving downtown'

Excerpt:

He's the man with the billion dollar vision and big plans for Detroit.

But Dan Gilbert rarely sits down with the media to talk about the future of the city.

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New downtown WXYZ news studio

Excerpt:

Sixty-six years after WXYZ-TV Channel 7 flickered to life on TV sets across southeast Michigan from its first Woodward Avenue studio in Detroit, the station is expanding its operations with a new, highly visible studio in the heart of downtown. The glass-enclosed, outward-facing studio will be located inside the ground-floor lobby of Chase Tower at 611 Woodward Avenue.

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I Heard It Through the Grapevine: Motown's Prospects Are Looking Up

Excerpt:

However improbable it might have seemed twenty, five, or even two years ago, Detroit could well be on the verge of a major turnaround that could make it one of the biggest success stories in urban America over the next decade.  Yes, that goes against conventional wisdom:  The standard narrative for Detroit has been about a bankrupt, vacant, decaying, post-industrial wasteland; an environmental, social and economic disaster.  Detroit has been the quintessential “shrinking city,” the poster child for everything that has gone wrong with the post-industrial Midwest.

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Detroit artist Gilda Snowden dies at 60 was 'generous with everybody'

Excerpt:

Gilda Snowden, a prominent Detroit artist and much-loved professor at the College for Creative Studies for 31 years, died unexpectedly Tuesday morning of heart failure. She was 60.

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Detroit Food Academy is raising funds to support young food entrepreneurs



A non-profit organization that partners with Detroit high schools, the Detroit Food Academy is in the midst of a $12,500 Patronicity crowdfunding campaign to raise money to fund its operations. 

According to Detroit Food Academy's Patronicity campaign page:

"The Academy is a 25-week program during the school year. Participants graduate with a polished values-based food product, a certificate in food entrepreneurship, a network of potential employers, and an opportunity to enter our summer employment program.

Small Batch Entrepreneurship Camp is a 6-week summer program that puts Academy graduates in the driver's seat of their food business. They are paid a stipend and employed 25 hours per week to launch, operate, and perfect their triple-bottom-line food business at farmers' markets and retail outlets across the City. The summer culminates in the 'Summer Finale Event’, where DFA’s young leaders pitch their businesses and leadership stories for a chance to win endorsements from the DFA Mentorship Board, scholarships, internship opportunities, and the addition of their handcrafted product to our emerging line, Small Batch Detroit."


Money donated to DFA will support these programs.

Jason Hall organizes a movement

Excerpt:

It takes heart to live in Detroit. Locals are quick to acknowledge their city’s challenges, and Jason Hall was no different. “I was feeling a bit beaten down by this city,” he says. But everything changed when a friend suggested he do the simplest thing: Take a bike ride to clear his head. “I got out and started to see Detroit in a different way,” he says. “On the ground level, you see the potential that exists. The city’s wide open for new ideas.”

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UIX invites urban innovators to exchange ideas in Detroit

Excerpt:

What’s next for your city?

This is the question Urban Innovation Exchange (UIX) will be asking at its first national convening Sept.  24-26 in Detroit, bringing together innovators from cities across the U.S. to share catalytic small-scale projects that are transforming neighborhoods.

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Gardeners transform site of former Detroit school

Excerpt: 

A blighted Detroit neighborhood once stripped by scrappers has been beautified thanks to some dedicated gardeners.

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5 years bring occupants or hope to 31 vacant downtown Detroit buildings

Excerpt:

In August 2009, there were 48 big empty buildings downtown. Walk through the city’s central business district today and it’s hard to believe there were that many just five years ago.

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