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Hamtramck : Development News

33 Hamtramck Articles | Page: | Show All

Revolver restaurant in Hamtramck thrives on revolving chef concept

The owners of revolver saw promise in melding the concept of table d'hôte -- a set, pre-selected menu at a fixed price - with up-and-coming chefs, a belief in using locally sourced food and a desire to build a community around it all. And in just under six months, they are seeing their vision catch on.

Tunde Wey, who with Peter Dalinowski opened revolver at 9737 Joseph Campau in Hamtramck in September, says revolver will be adding to its list of revolving chefs and opening more days for its reservation-only seatings.

Instead of serving dinner only on Fridays and every other Saturday, revolver will also be open every Saturday and some Sundays.

"We want to grow with demand naturally as opposed to trying to force it,"  says Wey, who describes revolver and the chefs he and Dalinowski select to prepare the day's meal as "artisanal fare, handmade, farm-to-table with attention to detail. Typically the food is new American, he says, but guest chefs have also served Japanese sushi and Indonesian food.

"We're open to all kinds of food genres. But we want food that's approachable and comfortable," says Wey, who like Dalinowski is a self-taught chef and entrepreneur.

The pair wanted to go into the restaurant business and do it in a way that it spoke to things they care about: nurturing the cooking community, bringing people who love different food experiences together and operating in a socially responsible way.

"We've gotten tons of requests from chefs recently and we sell out our dinners," Wey says. "There are so many talented chefs and caterers here waiting to be discovered, and so many people out there who want to try their food first."

The restaurant has room for 36 guests per seating, but can go up to 40. Tables -- the four six-tops and one 12-top -- are seated so that guests often make new acquaintances in their dining companions.

"We have people making friends, getting phone numbers," says Wey. "We're hoping to facilitate a marriage one day."

Want to hear more thoughts from Wey on revolver? Check out his November 2013 blog post on Metromode's sister publication, Model D.

Source: Tunde Wey, revolver
Writer: Kim North Shine

Getting Michigan cities redevelopment ready

Just over 35 cities and townships in Michigan are joining a new state program that teaches them how to prepare their communities for redevelopment and attract the kind of development they want.

Of the cities accepted into the first round of training and certification in the Michigan Economic Development Corporation's Redevelopment Ready Communities program, eight are in metro Detroit. Ann Arbor is also on the list.

It, along with Lathrup Village and Novi, will receive a formal Redevelopment Ready Communities evaluation that could lead to certification as a Redevelopment Ready Community. This means they either have outlined or have plans to outline their redevelopment strategies and draw development to fit their community. This designation could also make them eligible for redevelopment grants.

Dearborn, Clawson, Farmington Hills, Hamtramck, Wixom, and White Lake Township will receive best practice training and assistance and could move onto the certification process later.

They all will learn how to creatively re-use space, support and attract economic innovation, and devise devise plans that bring in redevelopment investment and in turn rebuild thriving communities for employees, residents and recreation.

The program was originally launched by the Michigan Suburbs Alliance in 2003, and its success led to the state program.

Writer: Kim North Shine
Source: Kathy Fagan, spokesperson, Michigan Economic Development Corp.

Regional mass transit effort expands to include all of Woodward Ave.

An effort to further study and coordinate mass transit options for the Woodward Avenue corridor from Detroit to Birmingham has expanded to include all of Woodward from the Detroit River to Pontiac.

Originally, the four-month-old group effort that includes the Oakland County Woodward-area suburbs of Ferndale, Pleasant Ridge, Huntington Woods, Royal Oak, Berkley and Birmingham focused on extending a mass transit line that would end at Woodward and 8 Mile to Birmingham. But a $2 million federal transportation grant, a change in design of the Woodward light rail line in Detroit, as well as a push by state and federal officials to create a truly regional rapid mass transit system for southeast Michigan broadened the focus area to include the entire 27-mile stretch of Woodward.

The Michigan Suburbs Alliance, the Southeast Michigan Council of Governments and the Woodward Avenue Action Association are working with the original steering committee and inviting all other communities along the route to join in. There will also be opportunity for public input as the planning process moves along.

The grant comes from the Federal Transportation Administration and pays for what's known as an Alternative Analysis, a required part of any mass transit development. It comes after the state legislature passed a bill to create an RTA, a Regional Transportation Authority that would cover Wayne, Oakland, Macomb, and Washtenaw counties and coordinate local bus systems and oversee creation of a rapid transit network. SEMCOG will manage the grant and work to ensure that any plans to come out of the broader effort coordinate with all other work underway in the region.

The larger focus comes as mass transit planners and proponents in Detroit have changed plans for a Woodward light rail line to a downtown circulator system.

Heather Carmona, executive director of the Woodward Avenue Action Association, says the effort goes beyond transit. “We’re working with the cities to make Woodward work for everyone who travels along it, and at connecting all transportation modes to economic development opportunities.”

Richard Murphy, transportation director at the Michigan Suburbs Alliance, says in a statement announcing the new, broader approach: “Detroit and the Oakland County suburbs recognize that better transit on Woodward will spur economic development both north and south of Eight Mile—but they need a regional transit authority to build and run the system. Governor (Rick) Snyder has proposed that the RTA work towards a rapid transit network including Woodward Avenue, and this alternatives analysis will let them move quickly towards that goal."

Source: Carmine Palombo, director of transportation planning, Southeast Michigan Council of Governments and Lori Elia Miller, marketing and communications manager, Woodward Avenue Action Association
Writer: Kim North Shine

Pontiac receives $463K energy efficient retrofit grant

The Clean Energy Coalition will be funneling $4.4 million in grant money to seven distressed Michigan cities for clean energy programs, including Pontiac, Hamtramck, and Highland Park.

The cities will be receiving funds through the Michigan Public Service Commission's Cities of Promise program. Each city will receive $463,000 for installation of renewable energy technology and establishment of a revolving energy fund to pay for the energy management support and future investments.

Joshua Brugeman, a division manager with the CEC, says the initial money helps distressed cities overcome two key hurdles: lack of capital for the investments, and no budget to pay a staff person to manage them. "We provide them with that initial seed capital to improve their buildings from an energy perspective, establishing an ongoing program and revolving energy fund, to turn that initial seed capital into future investments," he says.

The city of Pontiac is at the stage of conducting energy audits, focusing on the city hall and Phoenix Center parking garage. "They present a lot of energy savings potential, and a lot of monetary savings potential as well," he says. "Those are attractive to us because we can build a stronger and more robust revolving energy fund."

Although the chosen cities are distressed, it's still important to invest in energy because of the savings and jobs created long-term, says Jenny Oorbeck, also a CEC division manager. And the funded staff person is also important: "You need someone who knows what they're looking at," she says. "We feel like we're doing the right thing for them, helping them put their arms around the data they need to understand and set up a program going forward."

The CEC is still working out the details of what the final projects will be. Also, some cities, including Pontiac and Hamtramck, received federal stimulus money, so the coalition can co-invest with that funding to create a more robust program.

The CEC, a non-profit organization that works with both public and private partners for smart energy strategies, has also subcontracted with Planet Footprint to keep tabs on the energy usage and savings for the cities, which will help them make informed decisions about their energy projects.

Other cities receiving funds are Benton Harbor, Flint, Muskegon Heights, and Saginaw. All seven cities are part of the Michigan State Housing Development Authority's Cities of Promise program, a program created in 2006 to help redevelopment in distressed urban cities.

Source: Jenny Oorbeck and Joshua Brugeman, division managers for the Clean Energy Coalition
Writer: Kristin Lukowski

University of Michigan's Five Fellows turn house into public art

Opportunity leads to art in Detroit. In this case, it's a combination of University of Michigan students and Hamtramck's Design99 studio.


Five University of Michigan architecture fellows, through the help of Design99, purchased the house at 13178 Moran from the city's foreclosure auction for $500 and have turned it into their architectural canvas and a piece of public art for the neighborhood.

Inside you'll find a Q-Bert-esque staircase, a space called the "Tingle Room," another staircase leading up to a skylight, a removable nook in the back, and the garage drilled with 1,000 holes and jammed with 1,000 glass tubes. Each would require more than 1,000 words for explanation.

"We've collaborated but we have five different projects throughout the house," says Ellie Abrons, one of the fellows.

Read the rest of the story here.

Popps Packing live-work-gallery space lands in Hamtramck

More creativity continues to sprout from Hamtramck.


Artists Faina Lerman and Graem Whyte purchased a former packing plant on the north end of Hamtramck. They have renovated it into their home and studio space as well as an occasional gallery. This past Saturday, as part of Art Detroit Now, Popps Packing held its grand opening with a showcase of several Hamtramck artists.

Whyte launched This Week in Art at Motor City Brewing Works in 2004. He said the couple, while not exactly dreaming of opening a gallery one day, saw an opportunity and ran with it. "We're going to play it by ear," he says. "We'll probably host quarterly open houses and see what happens."

Read the rest of the story here.

Hamtramck seeks developer to rehab 30 for-sale homes

Hamtramck is turning the negative of its vacant, foreclosed, and sometimes blighted homes into a positive by pushing for their rehabilitation as the most efficient and cost-effective way of dealing with the problem.


The City of Hamtramck is seeking a qualified developer to rehabilitate 30 homes in the city that will then be sold to qualified buyers. These 30 units will be applied to the requirements of the lawsuit Garret, et al vs. City of Hamtramck, which came about when the development of I-75 displaced residents, primarily African-Americans, from Hamtramck. The case was settled in 1981; of the original 153 housing units called for, just 39 remain after this batch of 30.

The city is currently reviewing responses to the request for proposals recently issued for 35 units of rental housing. Thirteen foreclosed homes with 20 units of housing have recently been acquired from Wayne County. The rental project will have first dibs on these houses, says Jason Friedmann, Hamtramck's community and economic development director, but any remaining could be considered for this development. Otherwise, the developer will be responsible for site identification, although research on many of the city's foreclosed and vacant properties is available.

Rehab, rather than new construction, is being pursued to fulfill the terms of the lawsuit for one reason: cost. "We were building new homes and it was costing too much," says Freidmann. "We can offer a much more affordable home this way."

Read the rest of the story here.

Wayne County racks up $26M in neighborhood stabilization funds

The words green demolition would seem mutually exclusive at first glance, but Wayne County will take a stab at making them a reality this year.

It is preparing to start a pilot program that calls for the deconstruction and recycling of abandoned homes instead of the normal process of bulldozing them and dumping what's left into a landfill or the Detroit incinerator. The new program trains people how to deconstruct these homes to their foundations, recycling the details, metal, and wood everywhere from scrap yards to architectural warehouses. The foundations will then be dug up and recycled.

"We hope to hit the ground running within 60 days," says Jill Ferrari, senior executive project manager for Wayne County, who is overseeing the program and supervising its use of federal neighborhood stabilization funds.

The county has been awarded $25.9 million to buy, rehab and demolish foreclosed structures. It recently received the first $3.9 million from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.

Source: Jill Ferrari, senior executive project manager for Wayne County
Writer: Jon Zemke

New energy infuses Hamtramck Trail with new life

The end of Detroit's Dequindre Cut is about to become the Hamtramck Trail.


There is renewed life in the creation of the Hamtramck Trail, which will eventually connect the Dequindre Cut to downtown Hamtramck, Veteran's Memorial Park, and up Gallagher beyond the city limits.

The non-profit Preserve Our Parks received $96,000 from the Community Foundation for Southeast Michigan's Greenways Initiative back in 2006 to spearhead the development of bike and pedestrian amenities in Hamtramck. The funds were used to plan a trail network and develop construction drawings. The group lost a bit of steam in the last couple of years, but now, new members are working with existing ones to reinvigorate efforts and raise money for construction.

Read the rest of the story here.

People's Community Services adds library to Hamtramck community center

People's Community Services has built a library at its Hamtramck community center aimed at keeping kids busy while their parents are waiting for various service appointments at the facility. The library is patterned after a similar amenity the organization built a few years back at its Delray center in Southwest Detroit.

While the first library was funded by Daimler Chrysler, this one was funded by Aramark, the international food service corporation. They first held a book drive and then, with City Year as a partner, painted the entire community center and stained, assembled and installed shelves and organized the 3,000 books. Approximately 170 total volunteers contributed time to the project.

PCS executive director Tom Cervenak estimates that the value of the work and the books at more than $20,000 and says that the library is already extremely popular with his clients.

PCS' Hamtramck site is located at 8625 Jos. Campau and is open Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m.

Source: Tom Cervenak, PCS
Writer: Kelli B. Kavanaugh

New world coffeehouse adds to Hamtramck's main drag

A new "world coffeehouse" has opened on Joseph Campau in Hamtramck, bringing art, music, tapas and an extensive wine list to the city.


Jeremy Richter, THC's general manager, says that Duby has worked to create "a really exquisite place for local Detroit artists." Coffee, teas, a Spanish tapas menu, numerous tap beers, an in-house martini menu and a premium wine selection are among the offerings.

Music will range from local DJs to jazz to blues, art will be on display. Richter says the sound system is "quite ridiculously good -- it's really sharp."

THC's style is elegant, with rich-toned mahogany wood, low lights and upscale service. "We're 100% custom," says [general manager Jeremy] Richter. "A lot of people come in here and we get a 'wow factor' through the roof."

Read the entire article here.

New greenways coordinator to boost Detroit's trail efforts

With eight trail networks under development across the city, Detroit cyclists and pedestrians have just netted an advocate in Todd Scott, the new Detroit greenways coordinator at the Michigan Trails and Greenways Alliance.


"Todd’s skilled advocacy, wealth of knowledge about non-motorized transportation and recreation, and understanding of and enthusiasm for the revitalization of Detroit are key ingredients that he brings to this project," stated Nancy Krupiarz, executive director of MTGA.

Scott is currently acclimating himself to the various greenways projects on the table, including the Midtown Loop, Corktown-Mexicantown Greenlink and Connor Creek Greenway. "The greenways in Detroit have so much variety in terms of where groups are at," says Scott. "I'm finding that there are similar challenges and different challenges."

Read the entire article here.

Detroit attracts unique small businesses

Retail is lacking in many ways in Detroit, but the Model D series D-Biz aims to showcase the unique independent businesses that make the city the unique place that it is.


Part of the reason we wanted to start this series was to highlight businesses that are not new but still deliver important services to Detroiters. The city's small businesses are a big part of what make Detroit's neighborhoods liveable, but they don't often get media attention.

Read the entire article here.

Meetings set for development of regional transit plan

Improving regional transit, it's one of those phrases everyone likes to say but few seem to want to put the hard work into doing.

Until recently. Maybe it's those $4 a gallon gasoline projections.

Within the last few years regional leaders have worked to streamline and integrate rival transit authorities, establish commuter rail lines and propose light rail lines. But putting all of these pieces of the transit puzzle together is arguably the most important aspect of improving overall regional transit, which is exactly what Metro Detroit's Regional Transportation Coordinating Council (what's left of DARTA) is trying to do.

The council, led by transit czar John Hertel, will host regional transit planning open houses in the tri-county area in early April. Hertel's group is developing a regional transit plan for Metro Detroit as a basis for applying for federal funds (the mother's milk of mass transit initiatives) and is hosting the meetings to get public input on developing this vision.

The first meeting will be held on April 8 in downtown Detroit at the SEMCOG Conference Room in the Buhl Building, 535 Griswold. That will be followed by meetings in Oakland County (April 9) and Macomb County (April 10).

The Oakland County meeting will be held in the Oakland County Board of Commissioners Auditorium, 1200 North Telegraph Road, in Pontiac. The Macomb County meeting will be at 15 Main in Mt. Clemens.

For information, contact the Regional Transportation Coordinating Council at drmt2006@sbcglobal.net or at (313) 393-3333.

Source: Megan Owens, executive director of the Transportation Riders United and John Swatosh, deputy director of the Regional Transportation Coordinating Council
Writer: Jon Zemke

Check out 16 of Detroit's sweetest developments

Model D takes a full-court press on Detroit's 16 most exciting developments.

From the Detroit RiverWalk to Hamtramck's new home for the Hatch arts collaborative to galleries and housing and retail, take a swoop over what's happening in Detroit.

Read the article here.
33 Hamtramck Articles | Page: | Show All
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