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Bamboo Detroit

1442 Brush Street
Detroit, Michigan 48226

Mike Ferlito

By Amanda Lewan
April 11, 2014

When we talk about rebuilding Detroit, much of that talk focuses on the physical healing and redevelopment of blighted land. There are construction and development companies all around metro Detroit helping the city, but one in particular has recently turned to creating opportunities for small businesses and community spaces.
Mike Ferlito of the Ferlito Group is an energetic new leader for construction and development in Detroit. He’s not just one to talk about change and helping businesses; he makes things happen for them.
Mike first started working in the industry when he joined his family’s company after graduating from Northwood University in 2010. His father, Tony Ferlito, founded Ferlito Construction in 1980. Their company has redeveloped several projects in Detroit, including the Kales Building.
Most recently, Mike has successfully led two new developments opening, Bamboo Detroit and Anytime Fitness downtown.  
"We saw a need to help the business community downtown," says Mike. "We really felt the business community could come together and gain a lot from a space like Bamboo Detroit."
Mike co-founded the co-working space Bamboo Detroit in August 2013 with a team of other local entrepreneurs. His family renovated the historic Mannequin Building on Brush Street over a decade ago, but the second floor had always remained empty. Now, nine months later, the co-working space has over 40 members sharing workspace on the second floor. Bamboo Detroit also hosts a large monthly startup event called Fifty Founders, bringing together people from all over metro Detroit to learn from other experienced entrepreneurs.
At the last event, a startup’s family member was brought nearly to tears exclaiming her excitement to see such energy and events taking place downtown again. Mike says the co-working space is an example of why they love to do work in Detroit – because of the community.
"We encourage anyone and everybody that wants to start a business in the city of Detroit to come down here and open," says Mike. "There’s a community of people willing to help you. We see that at Bamboo Detroit."
Earlier this year, Mike officially opened Anytime Fitness downtown inside the historic Security Trust Lofts. Again, Mike saw another opportunity to bring a business to the city that could benefit other professionals, opening a 24/7 gym.
He’s so bull-headed about Detroit that he also just moved The Ferlito Group’s headquarters downtown this year, too.
"I’m passionate about rebuilding a city that’s been to hell and back. We’re on the ground floor now. It’s the perfect time to invest, to start a business, and to move a business here," says Mike.
Mike currently helps manage both of these businesses while finishing his MBA at Wayne State University and continuing to move new redevelopment projects forward.
At Bamboo Detroit, there’s a phrase their startup community uses to describe being an entrepreneur. They say that Detroit is a place for "doers", a place to take action and create change.
Mike is an example of a "doer," having launched these two new businesses this past year. His passion and bold enthusiasm is contagious. And, as Mike says, a part of this passion really stems from wanting to be involved in helping the city. "On the development side of it, we lead projects that are going to enhance the city of Detroit," he says. "We are helping bring products and services for the renaissance currently happening. We want to be a part of the reform. We are here to stay."

All photos by Doug Coombe. 

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