Saturday, December 13, 2008

Olympia Development to Bring New Parking Opportunities to Downtown Detroit

The Downtown Development Authority has approved $2.5 million in state-funded grants to demolish several buildings owned by the Ilitch family. The funds are part of a pre-Super Bowl state allocation targeting Detroit’s most dilapidated structures. Unfortunately, four of the buildings shown below appear to be structurally sound. From various reports, the only building that is in danger of collapse is the Fine Arts/Adams Theater Building.

Taxpayers are once again being forced to foot the bill to demolish more of Mike Ilitch's dilapidated properties. Paved parking lots will replace the buildings. The only saving grace is that in an agreement with the Historic District Commission, the facade of the Fine Arts/Adams Theater building will be saved at an estimated cost of $500,000to to Olympia Development. It hasn't been specified whether or not the Adams Theater Auditorium itself will face the wrecking ball or what will go behind the facade.

479-481 West Columbia

Ancient Egyptian Arabic Order of Noble Mythic Shrine 2203-2211 Cass Ave

145 Elizabeth Street

Elizabeth Street Lofts 2030 West Grand River Ave

The Fine Arts/Adams Theater Building

Thursday, November 27, 2008


There is a mystery on Woodward right now. A few weeks back the one story building next door to the Broderick Tower on Woodward was reduced to rubble. The question remains did it collapse or was it demolished?

Here are a few shots of the building from September, 2004 when part of roof caved in.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Lafayette Towers

Lafayette Towers, originally uploaded by A Dubs.

Friday, October 03, 2008

Cadillac Centre Project Next To Tank?

The New York-based developers of the $150-million Cadillac Centre have failed to meet certain pre-development milestones according to the Detroit Economic Growth Corporation. The Northern Group Inc. was to have submitted a site review, title clearance and environmental review of the site to DEGC by July 7. In light of that failure, Northern Group. asked permission to offer a modified plan for the site near Campus Martius. That request was rejected by the quasi-public arm of the city.

This does not mean that the project is dead, the project could be renegotiated, but that is highly unlikely. The project was announced in January, just prior to the release of the text messages that brought down former Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick. Skeptics, at the time, proclaimed that the Cadillac Centre was just another one of the Mayor's pie in the sky projects that would never come to fruition. It appears as though those skeptics may have been right.

Wednesday, October 01, 2008

@Water Lofts Fail

Detroit developer Dwight Belyue's proposed 480-unit luxury condominium project, @Water Lofts, has been canceled. Detroit Economic Development Corp. has pulled the plug on a $119 million housing development. Belyuet was unable to meet deadlines in his agreement with the city.

Dave Bing's Watermark project continues to advertise and market its units at this time, but it remains to be seen whether or not that development will come to fruition.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

The Troll Under The Bridge

Matty Moroun has grabbed parts of two City of Detroit Parks near the Ambassador Bridge and he’s banned photography from what remains of the publicly-owned park.

Joel On The Road has the scoop!

and his follow-up.

Posting about the Softball Game

*UPDATE* WDIV announced on the 11pm news on Thursday that the Mayor said Matty has no right to have fences at Riverside Park.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Catching Up With Ike

Catching Up With Ike, originally uploaded by A Dubs.

Thursday, September 04, 2008

Ford Auditorium to be Demolished Next Month?

In tonight's farewell speech former Mayor Kilpatrick announced that the city has finalized plans on a new riverfront amphitheater in Hart Plaza and that the Ford Auditorium will be demolished next month.

*Demolition Progress*

*Ford Auditorium Today*

Sunday, August 31, 2008

Belle Isle Aquarium

Belle Isle Aquarium, originally uploaded by A Dubs.


Wednesday, August 13, 2008


Sharon McPhail has asked Gov. Jennifer Granholm about the possibility of pardoning Kwame Kilpatrick in the criminal case against him in exchange for Kilpatrick agreeing to testify at the removal hearing she will conduct.

First of all the Mayor hasn't yet been convicted of a crime, so how can the Governor offer a pardon? Secondly, what makes Sharon McPhail think that the Mayor's testimony is valuable enough to wave 10-12 felonies.

He is being provided an opportunity to defend himself in his own words, if he doesn't want to do that, he doesn't have to. He isn't being compelled to testify. He wouldn't be doing anyone a favor in giving testimony but himself.

Besides, after McPhail accused the Governor of trying to railroad the mayor, i don't think she'll be receptive to anything from the mayor's mouthpiece short of resignation.

Something Stinks!

An administrative hearing for a fired Detroit Fire Department employee Douglas Bayer, who recently sued the city alleging he was retaliated against for information he had about the rumored party at the Manoogian Mansion, was abruptly halted today after his lawyer refused to stop recording the proceeding.

Douglas was allegedly fired for taking heart monitoring cables equipment from an ambulance without authorization. He claims that he returned the cables to the hospital that owned them.

*Excerpts from various media sources*

-An appeal hearing for a fired Detroit Fire Department emergency medical technician was abruptly terminated Wednesday morning after city officials objected to attempts by the former EMT worker's lawyer to tape record the hearing.

-Yatooma said he was tape-recording the hearing because its administrator, Deputy Fire Commissioner Seth Doyle, continuously told a stenographer to go on and off the record when Yatooma addressed the three-member panel.

-Detroit Fire Commissioner Tyrone Scott refused the media access to the hearing saying their presence would be a “disturbance.” (THE FIRST REPORT WAS THAT THEY WERE TOLD THAT THE ROOM WAS FULL)

-Scott then rejected a plea from a lawyer for the Detroit Free Press to open the hearing to the media. Brian Wassom, a lawyer for the Free Press who showed up at fire headquarters, was also prohibited by Scott from making an argument on the record.

-Wassom argued that closing the hearing violated the state open meetings act.

A portion of the Fire Department’s General Rule regarding trial boards says: “Also remember your conduct and involvement is on public display; i.e., the newspaper reporters and authorized observers may be present.”

-Action News contacted city of Detroit spokesperson Denise Tolliver asking why the press could not attend the hearing. Tolliver said they were not allowed to cover it and hung up.

-Before the hearing ended, a union representative for Bayer said he stepped down from the three-member appeals panel "under duress" at the request of city officials.

Bayer chose Wisam Zeineh, the president of his union. But Wednesday morning, city officials said Zeineh should be removed from the panel because he could be a potential witness.

Zeineh said he stepped down under pressure after officials reminded him he is still a city employee.

Today, Bayer’s former partner Fawn Colombatto said she was suspended without pay three weeks ago for being a co-conspirator in taking the equipment.

Something stinks! The Fire Department seems to be making it easier for the city to make another cash pay-out.

Monday, August 11, 2008

Mayoral Wanderlust

What's being overlooked in this latest controversy over the mayors travel is the amount money he has wasted on one-way flights, car rentals, hotel rooms, and gas as Mayor Kilpatrick tools around the country on his quest for solitude.

One can only imagine how much additional money Kilpatrick is soaking the city for by flying out to events and driving home, or has he been flying Suave Air? Steve Wilson should be doing his quarterly audit of the Mayor's credit card statements.

Christine Beatty also traveled to Atlanta this summer on her job search. There should be an investigation to see if the mayor and her were in town at the same time.

Thursday, August 07, 2008

Let the Hearings Begin

Governor Granholm has made it official she WILL be holding a hearing on Mayor Kilpatrick's removal on September 3 in Detroit.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Giving Back to the Community

Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick’s legal defense fund will return $4,500 to two contributors. In one case $1,500 is being returned to Livonia-based Advanced Air Services. The Reason? Company President Ross Bates had been told the money would go to a youth group, not Kilpatrick, whom he does not support. have any other funds been misappropriated?

The remaining $3,000 is being returned to S.A. Restaurants Inc. . S.A. Restaurants is the location of the Penthouse Club in Detroit. In 2001 the location housed another strip club called City Heat. One of its operators, the son of a reputed organized crime figure, was gunned down in the middle of 8 Mile Road.

On another note,the defense fund's IRS filing noted that Donald Davis, president of First Independence National Bank, donated $50,000. He claims that he has only donated $25,000 and has no further involvement in the fund. Kilpatrick wants First Independence to be an investment manager for his proposed stimulus bond sale. Davis also stands to make $4.5 million over 5 years by leasing computer software to the city through another company he runs if a separate contract is approved.

Is this an example of shoddy bookkeeping by the defense fund or are they trying to shield $25,000 worth of contributions from other sources? Will all of this sloppy accounting draw the attention of the IRS? We can only hope.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Is the Well Running Dry?

Today's Detroit Free Press is reporting that almost all of the $185,600 raised since Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick’s legal defense fund was formed in April has been spent.

Click here to see the filings with the IRS. It contains the list of contributers as well expenditures.

Sunday, July 13, 2008


The 100th running the Gold Cup has been postponed until 2009 due to high winds. During the first elimination heat for the Unlimited Hydroplane Class, Mike Allen in the flipped his boat. No further completion took place.

Sunday, July 06, 2008

Homer, Michigan

I made a visit to Homer Michigan this past spring to attend a book signing. Homer's High School baseball team set a national record for consecutive wins at 75. This one stoplight town is near Marshall.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

State Establishes Web Page to Host Documents on Removal Proceedings

Kilpatrick Clan Involved in Belle Isle Land Grab

Mayor Kilpatrick's aunt State Rep. Marsha Cheeks and his cousin Patricia Peoples are spearheading a plan to privatize a swath land on Belle Isle's north shore to build a Maritime Academy.

This charter school would be a residential high school open to past-risk students across the state. Under the plan, land from the Detroit Boat Club to Inselruhe Rd. would be used for a multi-acre complex of classrooms, dormitories, gymnasium, pool and other facilities. A parking lot would be created in the interior of the island for hundreds of cars, paving over additional green space.

The plan calls for the Detroit/Wayne County Port Authority to help finance construction by issuing bonds for the school. The foundation already has received a $160,000 grant from the state to help develop the complex, which would open in 2010.

The cookie the mayor's family is giving us is a restored Boat House that would be used as marina and restaurant as an additional source of money for the school. As an added bonus, the school's gymnasium, swimming pool and other facilities could be open to the public during the summer and the dormitories might be used as rooms for visitors during the Grand Prix or other events.

We have already lost 10 acres of green space to the Grand Prix paddock. How much more development can the Belle Isle take? Would this project open Belle Isle to more development in the future? Should public parkland be given to a private entity? If you oppose this development please let the Detroit City Council know your feelings. Also, contact the Friends of Belle Isle and lend your support.

8109 East Jefferson
Detroit, MI 48214
Phone: (313) 331-7760 Fax: (313) 331-1500

Saturday, June 07, 2008

Watermark Treading Water *UPDATE*

Dave Bing's $60 million condominium project recently received a $700,000 loan from the city's Economic Development Corporation. The development is struggling due to the downturn in the housing market. Lenders have imposed a 65% pre-sale requirement on the 112 unit project before releasing construction funds. To date Watermark has only sold 22 units, with another 12 units in the pipeline.


Plans have been revised by Dave Bing for his Watermark condominium project. In the new plan a row of homes facing Atwater have been eliminated because they failed attract any buyers. The number of penthouse units have been increased in the nine story tower and the number of town houses have been decreased in number, but increased in size.

The new Watermark will contain 98 units instead of 112. It is hoped that these changes will help the development meet the sales benchmark established by the banks. Bing must pre-sell two-thirds of the units before the banks will release construction money.

Friday, May 30, 2008

The Maddness of King Kwame

First Mayor Kilpatrick claimed that the City Council violated the city charter by asking Governor Granholm to remove him from office without first submitting the resolution to him for his approval or veto. Then, he went on to veto the resolution after council's attorney William Goodman had already delivered the request to the Governor. Now, in his latest act of lunacy, the mayor has vetoed the city council's earmark of $250,000 to pay for lawyer fees to oust him.

The council should have no problem overriding this veto as it did when the mayor attempted to scuttle the resolution sent forth to the Governor. However, this yet another example of the Mayor's desperate strategy to remain in office: delay, deny, lie, litigate, repeat!

While Kilpatrick continues to exhibit his arrogance and lack of concern for the citizens of Detroit, the city is subjected to further ridicule in this farcical melodrama. The end of this maddness cannot come soon enough.

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Detroit Light Rail Project Has Major Backers

A plan by billionaires Dan Gilbert and Roger Penske to construct a privately funded $103 million light rail loop on Woodward Avenue is being supported by Sen. Majority Leader Mike Bishop and House Speaker Andy Dillon. This could signal bipartisan support from the Legislature, eliminating a potential hurdle for a wider transportation network in metro Detroit.

During a pannel discussion on Mackinac Island today, the House and Senate leaders acknowledged publicly for the first time that Gilbert and Penske were involved in the project. Previously, details had been kept secret about the proposal, especially the identities of its backers.

The Woodward Transit Catalyst Project would be a street-level loop 3.4 miles long along Woodward that would run between Hart Plaza and Grand Boulevard. It would include about a dozen stops at high-traffic areas that include major businesses, theaters, ballparks, museums and hospitals. The line would potentially be the first stage of a larger, regional transit system.

Sunday, May 18, 2008


Rooftops, originally uploaded by A Dubs.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

A Ticking Time Bomb?

Remember when Prosecutor Kim Worthy said that her investigation into Text Message Scandal was ongoing? Well, if the rumors are true, the other shoe is about to drop. John K. Bennett at Detroit Uncovered is suggesting that as many as 20 city employees could be charged in the very near future. Members of the police department as well as a number of city lawyers may soon receive a new perspective on our legal system.

On another note, questions have risen about Monica Conyers recent behavior. Aside for her random outbursts, she was insistent upon the city council reviewing all of the text messages prior to giving any consent to their release. She has also done a 180 in regards to the Mayor and she now appears to be squarely in his corner. Monica was the only council person to attend the recent Pancakes and Politics breakfast and was one of the first guest on the Mayor's new "Real Talk" television show. Ken Cockrel Jr. alluded to her change of heart publicly and has even suggested that the media investigate. Was there something in those test messages that Monica dosen't want the public to know?

It's starting to smell like Monica Conyers might have some skeletons in her closet. Mildred Gaddis has alluded to something tasty involving Monica on her show. So far she has held back. However, on Tuesday morning Mildred mentioned that those wondering what is behind Mrs. Conyers recent behavior could find out in the coming weeks.

Is it a coincidence that these two developments seem to coincide? Is Monica caught up in the current scandal, or has she been digging a separate grave for herself? Only time will tell.

Friday, April 11, 2008

Your City Clowncil at Work!

Way to represent Monica! In the event that Ken Cockrel Jr. has to take up the position of Mayor do we really want this woman running the City Council?

Sunday, March 30, 2008

More Seats

Here's a glimpse at the new temporary bleachers at Comerica Park. In all, around 750 seat were added to the stadium for this season.

Friday, March 21, 2008

Jefferies Projects Now Being Demolished

The 300 unit Jefferies Housing Projects at MLK and the Lodge are coming down. When the demolition work is complete the site will be redeveloped into homes and townhouses as public and affordable housing. It looks like this site can be taken out of consideration for a new Red Wings Arena.

myfoxdetroit has the story.

Thursday, March 06, 2008

Heidelberg Taxi Cab Company

Heidelberg Taxi Cab Company, originally uploaded by A Dubs.

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Placid Waters

Placid Waters, originally uploaded by A Dubs.

Monday, February 25, 2008

More Upscale Condos In a Bad Housing Market

Last year General Motors gave six acres of land just east of the Renaissance Center to the Hines Real Estate in exchange for a cut of the future profits from a development there. They plan on building about 600 luxury condominiums that would sell for roughly $300,000 to $1 million apiece. By late summer or early fall model condos should be available for viewing with the units going on sale shortly afterward.

This announcement comes at a time where many previously planned condo/loft developments in the city are struggling with financing, or have failed. The Mid-Med lofts in Midtown are being converted to commercial uses after the units failed to sell. The Griswold luxury condominium project was scrapped. In total, this cost the Detroit Downtown Development Authority close to $1.5 million. The city and its partner had to pay half the cost for structural steel and precast concrete molds that they had previously ordered for the project as well as paying for the structure to be reinforced in order for the condominiums to be built on top.

Two other project in the immediate vicinity of the GM's riverfront development have been delayed and may never come to light. Dave Bing's $60 million Watermark Detroit recently received a nine month extension on its development agreement deadline for providing the Detroit Economic Growth Corp. proof of its financing commitments. Banks are now insisting that more than 60 percent of the 112 residential units be pre-sold before the project continues. The @water lofts (dead link), which was due to break ground last summer is faced with similar funding problems. The developers have been forced to find additional investors after banks increased the required level of pre-sales to more than 60 percent as well.

Hines plans to complete the project in phases. Where the money is coming from will be a determining factor in whether or not this project comes to fruition as planned. Something will be built upon these parcels eventually.The question is what and when?

Sunday, February 24, 2008

Detroit's Corktown

Over the years the fortunes of Detroit's oldest neighborhood have mirrored that of the city proper. In many ways the story of Corktown is the story of Detroit. Detroit's Corktown from Arcadia Publishing examines the fabric that has held this neighborhood together through its many ups and downs.

The story of Corktown begins in the 1830's when the Cass and Woodbridge families began to sell off their ribbon farms west of downtown for development. This area was quickly filled by the hundreds of Irish immigrants newly arriving in the city. Authors Armando Delicato & Julio Demerly devote the early pages of the book to the cultural and religions institutions that the Irish established in the area.

With a few exceptions, Corktown has always been a working class neighborhood and this is reflected in its housing stock. The neighborhood's housing stock has evolved from Shotgun Houses to Greek Revivial and later Gothic Revival gradually becoming more stylish. There are a shortage monumental residences that exist in other neighborhoods. However, Corktown has been one of the most successful neighborhoods in preserving its architectural heritage inspite the coming of freeways and numerous urban renewal projects. The book successfully captures the essence of the community providing numerous photos of area homes.

Urban renewal and redevelopment was the prevailing theme in Detroit during the middle part of the last century. Corktown's residential nature proved to be an obstacle to the city's plans. Converting the neighborhood to light industrial was seen as a necessity in order to retain manufacturing synergy with downtown. Two freeways were built cutting through huge swaths of Corktown, dividing it and isolating it from the rest of the city. Other sections were raised to make way for industrial parks, may of which now sit empty. The rise of the automobile precipitated a steep decline in rail travel which ultimatatly lead to the demolition of one of Corktowns train station and the famous abandonment of another.

Despite of all of this destruction in the name of progress, Corktown has managed to hang on. Residents fought the destruction of their neighborhood and manage to contain the devastation. Corktown is no longer an ethnic enclave, but it has managed to attract new residents and businesses to begin to fill the void left by the loss of train Stations and Tiger Stadium. Later pages are dedicated to the new pioneers as well as those institution that have held firm, surviving though many decades of turmoil.

Detroit's Corktown provides valuable insight into history and character of one of Detroit's most colorful neighborhoods. Considerable space is devoted to historic photographs of the district and its people. The photos are supported by chapter introductions and lengthy, informative captions. As an introduction to one of Detroit's cultural gems, the book serves as a valuable resource.

Photos reprinted with permission from Detroit's Corktown, by Armando Delicato & Julio Demerly. Available from the publisher online at or by calling (888) 313-2665.

Friday, February 15, 2008

Downtown Historic Movie Palace Tour Part 5

The Gem Theater opened as the Little Theatre in 1928. It was built for the Detroit woman's group "The Twentieth Century Club" as an addition to their Century Club facility which was constructed in 1903. After being opened for just one year, the theater was leased to Motion Picture Guild to show the first foreign films in Detroit. In 1959 the theater became the Vanguard Playhouse and hosted repertory theater. By 1967 the theater returned to being a movie house showing adult films until it closed in 1978.

The theater was completely restored and reopened in 1991 to host a series of hit musical and comedic productions. On November 10, 1997 The Century Club and Gem Theater were moved about a half mile from their original location to make way for the construction of Comerica Park. Thus, the theater had to be preserved for a second time. This time, the Century Club was restored as well. Many architectural features from the demolished Downtown YWCA were salvaged to facilitate the building's restoration. Pewabic tile from the pool, stained glass panels from the chapel, leaded glass doors, chandeliers, fireplaces and cornices were all seamlessly incorporated.

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Med-Med Rethink

After marketing the Mid-Med Lofts redevelopment for two years with no sales the developer has decided to market the property as office space instead. 13 units had been presold but non of the purchases have been finalized. This will make it easier to convert the building to commercial as only two of the 38 units had been built-out for residential use.

Sorry, I had to repost this

Thursday, January 10, 2008

A New Contender?

There has been much speculation over where the Detroit Red Wings will build their new arena if they decide not to renovate the Joe Louis Arena. The leading contenders are Foxtown on the swath of parking lots behind the Fox Theater and the land the city has recovered from the failed Motown Center project West of Woodward and North of I-75.

Foxtown Site

Motown Center Site

The latest rumor suggest that a new arena will be built at Grand River and the Lodge on the site of the closed East Jefferies housing projects. The rationale being that traffic from Red Wings games and other events would spill over to the Ilitch owned Motor City Casino. This would solidify a second Ilitch controlled entertainment district bridging the gap between the Motor City Casino and the Masonic Temple which Olympia Entertainment is now booking.

Jefferies East (part of Foxtown North?)

Sunday, January 06, 2008

HUGE Campus Martius News

The Mayor Kilpatrick is set to announce the details to a $150-million residential, retail and entertainment center for Downtown Detroit on Wednesday. The mixed use "Cadillac Centre" development will be built on the long vacant Monroe block at Campus Martius. Financing is lined up with ground breaking set for the fall of 2009.

The New York property firm Northern Group Inc. will build and own the property. The company already owns the Penobscot, the First National building and Cadillac Tower.

The plans call for 2 24 story apartment towers connected by a 12 story entertainment center containing a movie theater, restaurants, stores and a health club. The design will be cutting-edge. If the renderings are any indication, the curvy edged modernistic complex will be the most daring architecture the area has seen in decades. Detroit will either have a new signature building or be the butt of further jokes. Only time will tell.

Cadillac Centre Project Details:
  • 84 apartments,
  • 30,000-square-foot market
  • 100,000 + square feet of major retail space
  • 14,400 square-foot health club
  • 40,000-square-foot public park with water features,
  • 25,000 + square feet for boutiques and specialty shops
  • 800 parking spaces.

**UPDATE 10-3-08**

Thursday, January 03, 2008

Quicken wants to know what you think.

Quicken has posted a question on Yahoo answers asking where it should build its new headquarters.

The choices are the Hudson's site and the Statler site.

You can vote here.

Tuesday, January 01, 2008

Cass Corridor Setback

James Wickenheiser, a prominent developer in Brush Park, has reneged on his deal to buy the Harbor Light Center and several neighboring properties in the lower Cass Corridor from the Salvation Army for $3 million. Part of the deal, completed in 2005 with Wickenheiser's Detroit Urban Living, included providing insurance and securing for the Louis Kamper designed building.

Wickenheiser failed to provide security, allowing the building to be scrapped of its fixtures, window frames, and copper. According to lawsuit filed against Wickenheiser, the resulting damaged has left the building at half of its original value.

The Salvation Army is trying to get rid of the property and will not try to salvage it for its own purposes. This may put the building at risk if the Detroit Red Wings decide to build a new Hockey Arena on property currently owned by the city of North of I-75 and West of Woodward. The Harbor Light Center began life in 1925 as the Park Avenue Hotel and was one of three residential hotels designed and developed by Louis Kamper and Lew W. Tuller.