Changes coming to Oakland Mall; NFL Draft to Detroit; and cobbler
Plus Royal Oak's Main Art Theatre may be demolished; development speculation and more
Hey friends! It’s Jer. It’s Tuesday and I’m here to share what to know and where to go around Metro Detroit.
A quick housekeeping thing. If I have an opinion or analysis I’m adding, I’ll add italics to it. I want to keep this quick but also add a lot of value when you want to go deeper on a story.
What to know…
» 🏈 The NFL Draft is coming to Detroit in 2024. It’ll be held in downtown Detroit, anchored by Campus Martius on one end and Hart Plaza on the other. There also will be a three-day festival. But to me, it’s not just about the football — it’s a huge economic deal.
The draft drew a TV audience north of 6.1 million people in the U.S. last year; and the festivities are expected to draw at least what Cleveland did during the pandemic of 160,000.
For comparison, Nashville drew 600,000 people to their event.
The local economic impact could exceed $100 million, says the Detroit Sports Commission.
We discuss it, HBO Hard Knocks coming to Detroit, and the latest in Detroit City FC news on the Monday podcast with Fletcher Sharpe. [Daily Detroit]
» 🛍 There are big plans for Oakland Mall. Nationally (and locally) the whole “indoor mall” thing has been on the decline lately, but Oakland just off of I-75 and 14 Mile is more than 90% occupied. Architecturally, it is dated. But the new owner is looking not only to do a design refresh but add to the property and turn it into an “anti-mall.”
Mario Kiezi is the new owner and used to hang out at the mall as a kid. At 31, he has his hands in investment projects around town and in Ohio — including the now-for-sale building on Woodward that housed Union Street restaurant for years.
But back to Oakland Mall, which will get a new (yet to be determined) name.
Kiezi says he wants to bring in a “hipster culture” and a farmers market
Signed new tenants like Hobby Lobby and a Longhorn Steakhouse
Promotion and talent would focus on TikTok, including being more welcome to families
New art and murals
Focus on price points that are “not intimidating”
Might take the roof off on portions and plant trees
Focusing on it being the “densest area” in Metro Detroit and central location
He’s also looking for your input on his TikTok. Whatever you think of his ideas, I appreciate the energy to do something. I wonder if he’s someone who would be interesting to get on the podcast?
» 🛣 $4.8 billion is to be spent on Michigan’s bridges, regional airports, roads, mass transit, and water infrastructure. Here’s a sampling of the spending:
$1.3 billion in wastewater, stormwater and drinking water projects
$317m for roads and bridges
$200m for local parks and $250m for state parks
$98m for airports
$66m for public transportation
$66m for pump station back-up generators.
$46m for revenue sharing to local governments that saw their population shrink
» At East Warren and Kensington in Detroit, construction on “The Ribbon” will begin this summer and is expected to wrap up in 2024. Don’t sleep on this part of town. [Urbanize Detroit]
» Four air quality violations in less than one year. That’s the situation at the Mack Avenue Stellantis Plant on Detroit’s east side. [Bloomberg]
» GMC Electric Hummer reservations hit 65,000 units. Production is starting at Factory Zero in Detroit and Hamtramck. General Motors claims a 95% conversion rate on the truck that’s selling for more than $110,000. [CNBC]
» The historic Main Art Theatre in downtown Royal Oak could be demolished for a five-story mixed-use building. Built in 1941, it is beloved by many — but it’s also in one of Metro Detroit’s most in demand communities. The proposal goes before the RO planning department April 12. [Crain’s] [WXYZ]
» Is an Apple Store on the way to downtown Detroit? Our Friday co-host Devon believes one is on what he’s hearing. I’m a little more skeptical at this point. We discuss that and progress on the Book Depository project in Corktown on the podcast. [Daily Detroit]
» Moving to the suburbs: There was white flight — then, black flight — but now it’s Latinx families that are moving out of the city of Detroit. They’re apparently headed to downriver communities. [Outlier]
My two cents: On the podcast we’ve laid out some common-sense reforms from a number of political viewpoints, focused on keeping residents. Here’s one [Daily Detroit] and, with apologies to DJ Khalid, another one: [Daily Detroit]
Where to go…
» 🍑 The Peach Cobbler Factory is coming with multiple locations in Metro Detroit. They include downtown Detroit, Royal Oak, Birmingham, Troy and Southfield. Summer 2022 is the target opening for the downtown Detroit spot at Randolph and Gratiot. They are owned by a black-owned franchise group. [Restaurant News] [Peach Cobbler Factory Facebook]
Bonus historical context: The Breitmeyer-Tobin building this will be in was built in in 1906. It has a long history of serving black lawyers and professionals, even when the core of the city was overtly hostile to the concept. [Historic Detroit]
» 🇬🇷 The Detroit Greek Independence Day Parade is back for a 20th year. Rain or shine, April 10. [Facebook]
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Until next time — remember that you are somebody and I’ll see you around Detroit.
p.s. - As of this writing, we’re 49 shows away from 1,000 episodes of the Daily Detroit podcast. Reply back if you’re interested in doing something fun to celebrate (thinking outdoors on a patio as it’ll be warm enough).