U of M takes over development, renames and refocuses Detroit project
Plus, do you remember the Dittrich Furs commercial? + more stories around town
There’s a lot of stuff to talk about around Metro Detroit, but if you want to hear a story of where I feel a little old, scroll on.
As always, my thoughts on headlines are in italics; and if you’ve never been here before, consider signing up for future notes.
📰 What to know
» The University of Michigan is taking over development of their project in downtown Detroit. Now calling it the University of Michigan Center for Innovation, university officials say that they’re taking over development duties to make the space truly to their specifications.
It was going to be handled by the Stephen Ross-owned Related Companies.
U of M is also adding programming, which will increase the reach and utility of the development, moving to a more “mixed use” model.
There will be graduate programs focusing on technology, robotics, sustainability and computer science. Plus, the UMCI plans to provide workforce training, professional development and certificate programs to a wider audience. [University of Michigan]
Two things. One, I like that the programming is widening. That will make the facility far more useful to Detroiters at large.
Two, in that press release there’s a paragraph that raised my eyebrows:
UMCI will benefit from being near the proposed $1.5 billion,10-building mixed-use development Related Companies and Olympia Development have joined forces to develop in The District Detroit near the Fox Theatre and professional sports stadiums.
Near. Not part of.
» Wyandotte’s former city hall (and at one point department store) will be redeveloped. It’ll become a mixed-use property with 35 units of rental housing, retail and restaurant space on the ground floor. [The News Herald] [Crain's Detroit]
» A vacant building in Downtown Detroit will be rehabbed with a new facade and four additional floors. It was a beautiful, Albert Kahn-designed building until the 1970s. Then it was hit with the ugly stick and turned into what looks like a cheap space heater. It’ll now get an deco look, and eight floors of residential. Rendering on the other side of the link. [Urbanize Detroit]
» Investigators from the Veterans Health Administration’s Office of the Medical Inspector discovered a pattern of substandard care and inadequate oversight — leading to patient harm and deaths — at the Detroit John D. Dingell VA Medical Center.
The Detroit News got ahold of a report says that senior leaders tried to conceal poor care by changing external peer reviews and other data — and that subordinates who spoke to investigators feared retaliation if they reported concerns. Investigators also validated a whistleblower’s allegation of “collusion” among senior leaders and a medical provider with “concerning clinical outcomes.” [Detroit News]
» Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan’s State of the City address is tonight, live from the rehabbed Michigan Central Station. You can watch it on Facebook and YouTube.
I’m using Twitter far less nowadays, but I may live tweet some of the points and thoughts.
» A $40M manufacturing, warehouse, and distribution facility will be built on a former unlicensed landfill in Taylor. Developer Ashley Capital says the $40 million project will create 185 jobs. It will receive $3.5 million in incentives from the city of Taylor, and $1.9 from tax capture. [The News Herald]
» Ford filed for a patent for a system that would allow cars to repossess themselves. The patent application does allow for emergencies, like having a heat stroke from disabling the air conditioning. Ford filed for the patent in 2021, but it was only recently published. [Auto Blog]
Who knew technology might make even the repo man obsolete?
🌮 News bites
» Detroit tiki bar Lost River went on indefinite hiatus. The eastside spot on the border of Grosse Pointe Park and Detroit border has been part of a resurgence of the tiki bar genre. Details are light — and it’s not known when they will return. Still open on the weekends is Apartment Disco upstairs. [Lost River's Facebook post]
» Ice cream shop Treat Dreams is opening up a Grosse Pointe Woods location on Mack. Founded in Ferndale, this will make three locations for the quirky ice cream store. [Treat Dreams GP]
Try the Kooky Monster and the Swedish Fish ice creams.
» Red Crown in Grosse Pointe Park is switching up their menu to a Mexican restaurant and a bar program that reflects it. They haven’t given a reopening date, but it’s said to be in “weeks.” [Instagram]
» Dittrich Furs sold its Bloomfield Hills property for $3M, with plans to focus on their store in Detroit’s New Center. The 130 year old retailer is having a consolidation moving sale. Employees will move to the New Center store. [Crain's Detroit]
If you’ve watched TV in Metro Detroit for awhile, or know Detroit culture, you know of the iconic Dittrich fur commercial with the white horse and the lady riding on it. It’s from the early 1980s, but the jingle lasted for many years after it.
It’s been such a thing it got lampooned by the Comedy Central show Detroiters (RIP, best television there ever was IMHO).
Here’s Sam Richardson on Conan O’Brien talking about his love of local ads, and Conan finds the old Dittrich clip.
We have an intern in their early 20s — who even grew up in the area, but was in high school when Detroiters aired — and they had never seen the commercial. Or heard of Dittrich Furs before. It was a moment where I went, “am I a veteran young guy, or a rookie old man?”
Instead of answering my existential crisis, I’m going to ask you about the commercial.
🎙 On the podcast
» Do you listen to our show? If you do, we have a short, six question survey for you. No personally identifiable information, and what we’re trying to learn is why you listen. That’s to help grow the show. [Take the survey here]
» Dearborn Restaurant Week is here! Me and Devon did a live episode from The Great Commoner in West Dearborn previewing the tasty action. We were joined by Sam Abbas, who owns TGC and is a driving force behind Restaurant Week.
» We went in depth on the District Detroit plans. Keith Bradford, president of Olympia Development, joined me to talk about the $1.5 billion proposal and what’s ahead.
» It’s springtime at the Michigan Science Center. There’s fun for kids and adults.
» We take you inside a Chopped victory! Chef Hamissi Mamba of Baobab Fare joined us to talk about his Food Network experience, as well as the importance of Freedom House and the work they’re doing there.
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Until next time, remember that you are somebody — and I’ll see you around Detroit.
Hahaha. I went to high school with the Dittrich’s older son in Bloomfield Hills. Very strange family with some very peculiar habits in the bedroom. Let’s just say my virgin eyes were opened upon spending some time at that house on Quarton Road.