Orchid Thai, Otus Supply close; Rocket's first public loss; Slotkin makes Senate race cash splash
Plus, the Ohio derailment impacts Metro Detroit, festival updates and more
Hey! Jer here.
First, off, apologies from the last newsletter. I goofed.
There is no February 29 in 2023, but there is a March 1. And that’s what we should have included in the story about the new transit app switchover. My mistake.
With that out of the way, there’s a lot to cover around town so let’s get to it. As always, my thoughts are in italics.
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📰 What to know
» Rocket Companies posted their first quarterly loss since going public. They lost $493 million on $481 million in revenue, as the overall mortgage market has collapsed by half from $4.4 trillion in 2021 to $2.2 trillion in 2022. For the year, the company saw $700 million in net income. [Rocket Companies PR]
» Home prices locally are starting to drop, too — while inventories are rising. There are some interesting regional comparisons, as our average prices are lower than like regions in the country. [Axios]
» Democratic U.S. Representative Elissa Slotkin not only announced her candidacy for U.S. Senate in 2024, but raised $1.2 million in her first day. [Slotkin campaign]
Lt. Gov. Garlin Gilchrist II and State Senator Mallory McMorrow have already said they won’t run.
Other possible names as of this writing include current Michigan Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson and Detroit actor Hill Harper.
Slotkin is a moderate with intelligence policy experience, and Michigan historically loves candidates like that. If Dems want to hold that Michigan seat being vacated by the retirement of Sen. Debbie Stabenow, that’s the safest route.
Anyone going into this race has to know it’s going to be very spendy.
Here’s the other thing — she has the deep policy knowledge to lean into the job, which kind of reminds of me of long-term Michigan Senator Carl Levin (who I interviewed shortly before his passing).
Fun fact: Slotkin’s great-grandfather was a meat magnate and father of the Ballpark hotdog as the founder of Hygrade foods.
» The East Palestine, Ohio derailment impacts Metro Detroit. Here’s the latest.
Republic Industrial and Energy Solutions in Romulus received liquid waste from the train derailment in Ohio in early February — and they face possible penalties for violations of federal hazardous waste law. Michigan’s Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy (EGLE) is also working on an administrative consent order that would involve possible fines and penalties. [Detroit News]
The US Ecology Wayne Disposal Inc. site in Belleville also received hazardous soil from the train derailment. [Detroit News]
Over the weekend, local officials successfully lobbied the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to temporarily halt shipments of the hazardous material from the East Palestine site to Michigan. 15 truckloads of contaminated soil had already been dumped at the Belleville site and an unspecified amount of liquid waste at the Romulus site. [CBS News Detroit] [The Hill] [Free Press] [The Guardian]
🍔 Dining bites
» Orchid Thai in Downtown Detroit closed today after an 18 year run. Owner Amy Lee said it was time for a vacation, and it’s been 11 hours a day, six days a week on Monroe Street. [Metro Times]
This is a spot many people I know really loved, but also I’ve been told they had a bit of a difficult time recovering after the pandemic with decreased foot traffic and supply chain issues — something many establishments faced. Nearly two decades is a heck of a run and the owner has done a lot of philanthropy in the community. Although it’ll be missed, it’s a reminder that your favorite thing won’t be there forever — and to go patronize that restaurant that’s your favorite (but haven’t been to in awhile).
» Otus Supply in Ferndale is done. A note on the venue’s Facebook page tells of the abrupt and immediate closure. It’s a beautiful space, including the Parliament Room that many musicians liked to play in. It won the Freep’s “Best new restaurant” title back in 2017. [Facebook]
This one isn’t too surprising to me for a few reasons. One, it’s a huge space. It’s hard to make music venues work and it’s even harder after the pandemic. And before the pandemic, there were reports of financial issues.
» Avalon is set to open this week inside of Jolly Pumpkin in Detroit’s Midtown. Although a shared space, there will be more seating available than the old location that was mostly filled with baking equipment. It’ll be open seven days a week: 7a-3p Mondays through Saturdays and 8a-3p on Sundays.
If you get in for opening day Wednesday (tomorrow at 8:30a is a cookie cutting ceremony!) there’s 25 cent sea salt chocolate chip cookies with a purchase. [Crain’s Detroit] [Avalon Bakery]
🧑🎤 Festival updates
» Movement announced their 2023 lineup. I’m personally more of a house head than a techno guy, but my highlights for the May 27-29 event include Basement Jaxx, The Godmother of House Stacey Hotwaxx Hale, Eddie Fowlkes, and Maceo Plex. [Full lineup]
» The MoPop music festival is taking a break. They aren’t clear on their reasons or future timeline in a social media post, but the event grew from one a one-day thing in the suburbs to a pretty big deal on the regular Detroit event calendar. [MoPop]
Just speculating here, but a couple things to consider are that the West Riverfront space they operated in before is under reconstruction as a proper park — and work look likes it is coming this year to Hart Plaza.
» Nine historic properties in Metro Detroit were added to the National Register of Historic Places. Here are three interesting stories.
Walbri Hall in Bloomfield Hills was built for Detroit industrialist and Tigers owner Walter O. Briggs. He had a number of homes over the years, including in Detroit’s Corktown and in Boston Edison.
The Orsel and Minnie McGhee House played a role in the Shelley v. Kraemer Supreme Court decision that ruled racially restrictive housing covenants were unenforceable.
The housing project was supposed to be double the capacity, but it was left with the original units to avoid further controversy after the riot in 1943. In case you don’t know, Sojourner Truth lived in Michigan for nearly three decades until her death.
The rest of the properties are:
The Elijah Bull House in Bloomfield Township;
In Detroit, the Luther Burbank School; Marygrove College; Most Worshipful Prince Hall Grand Lodge of Michigan; and William E. Higginbotham Elementary School;
And in Pontiac, the Elmer R. Webster School.
🎙 On the podcast
» On the Monday show, we tried Pepsi Peeps, waxed poetic about Olga’s and a new pickle collaboration and more.
» The Detroit City FC season is just around the corner! On Tuesday Fletcher Sharpe talked about that, why Detroit doesn’t need an MLS team, a bit about the women’s team and the new DCFC away kits.
» On tomorrow’s podcast I talk in-depth with Keith Bradford, the president of Olympia Development about the expansive District Detroit proposal.
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Thanks to Luciano Marcon for his help on the newsletter.
Until next time — Remember that you are somebody, and I’ll see you around Detroit.