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Kresge Foundation’s $5 Million Initiative Supports Transformation of Detroit Neighborhoods

23 Oct 2014, 4:25 am

By Veronica Grecu, Associate Editor

Now that the revitalization effort in Detroit’s financial core is building momentum—the M-1 RAIL Streetcar project broke ground recently as an unprecedented, $140 million venture between privately held businesses, philanthropic organizations and local authorities—solutions are being put on the table to help the city’s communities and neighborhoods rise from blight and desolation.

Kresge Foundation logo

Kresge Foundation logo

This week the Kresge Foundation of Troy, MI, launched a new initiative that aims to fund various programs created by Detroit-based non-profits over the next three years. The $5 million “Kresge Innovative Projects: Detroit” initiative focuses on 10 projects that are ready to start and can actively transform their neighborhoods within 18 months. According to the Kresge Foundation, each of these target-projects will receive between $50,000 and $150,000, while up to ten smaller grants will be awarded to organizations that are in the planning stages but look promising enough.

During the first year the Kresger initiative will invest up to $1.5 million in a pilot program, for which the first round of applications is due by December, 2, with grant recipients being announced in March next year. This pilot program will expand over the following two years, the non-profit organization announced.

“We want to expand our pool of nonprofit partners, particularly those working at the grass roots, by recognizing and amplifying that energy and enthusiasm,” said Rip Rapson, Kresge’s president and chief executive officer.

In order to be eligible for a grant opportunity, applicants’ proposals must focus on vacant land transformations, development or redevelopment options for public and/or open space, renewal of Detroit’s water, waste, transportation and communication systems, as well as stabilizing the city’s neighborhoods. The proposals must also be led by Detroit-based non-profit organizations, take place within city limits and comply with the Detroit Future City strategic framework. Furthermore, applicants reaching out for a Kresge grant will have to demonstrate their projects’ transformative impact on the envisaged neighborhoods.


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MSU Announces Year-Long Renovations for Munn Ice Arena

9 Oct 2014, 6:52 pm

By Veronica Grecu, Associate Editor

As the 2014-2015 NHL season kicked off this week, hockey enthusiasts in the Michigan area have one more reason to be happy. Michigan State University (MSU) announced renovation plans for its ice hockey arena in East Lansing.

Munn Ice Arena renovation

“As Munn Ice Arena approaches its 40th anniversary, we’re excited to announce the upcoming improvements that will significantly enhance both the fan and student-athlete experience immediately,” said MSU Director of Athletics Mark Hollis in a statement introducing the year-long renovations. “Our goal is for Munn Ice Arena to represent a tribute to Michigan State’s rich hockey past and a commitment to its future,” he added.

Located at 509 Birch Road on MSU’s campus, the Clarence l. Munn Ice Arena opened on September 25, 1974 as a $3.5 million replacement for the outdated Demonstration Hall which currently serves as a drill hall for the Reserve Officers’ Training Corps and rehearsal space and equipment storage for the university’s marching band. The 6,470-seat Munn Ice Arena, which was designed by Grand Rapids-based Daverman Associates, has already undergone various improvements over the past two years. According to Spartan Athletics’ official website, from 2012 through August of this year MSU has invested over $6.5 million in the building’s HVAC systems, ice sheet, dasher boards, sound system and LED lighting.

The newly announced renovations over the upcoming year are the latest addition of a complete building renovation program which is funded privately through MSU athletics and donations. The list of upgrades includes: improved theatrical lighting; new high-definition video boards; LED ribbon boards; chairback seating; new concourse décor; dressing room décor.

Granger Construction of Lansing will likely continue to serve as MSU’s contractor of choice for the upcoming renovations at the Munn Ice Arena.

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Rendering via the Spartan Fund


IKEA’s Only Michigan Facility Plans 44,000 Sq. Ft. Expansion

3 Oct 2014, 4:41 am

 By Veronica Grecu, Associate Editor

IKEA logo

It has been eight years since IKEA opened its first Michigan store. Now the Swedish furniture retailer wants to consolidate its presence in the Greater Detroit area by expanding the 311,000-square-foot retail facility in Canton Township.

IKEA has hired Clark Construction Company of Lansingthe same building contractor that managed the construction of IKEA Canton in 2006—to tear down a 30,145-square-foot building sitting next to its store at 41640 Ford Road off I-275 at Haggerty Road. Earlier this year Michigan Construction News reported that the demolished facility, a former ABC Warehouse store, is owned by IKEA which has been using it for temporary storage.

The expansion project is set for completion by summer 2015 and it will add nearly 44,000 square feet of space to its only furniture store in the state of Michigan. Serving around 2 million clients each year, the IKEA Canton store has grown to be the preferred destination for shoppers in southeast Michigan, other nearby states and even Canada. The store’s full product selection will remain available onsite during construction and build-out of the additional space, IKEA announced.

“The store’s success created the need to extend the store’s Self-Serve Furniture Area so it can hold more products and improve our customer shopping experience. We appreciate the Township’s continuing support of IKEA, and our customer’s patience as we begin this project,” said Matt Hunsicker, IKEA Canton store manager.

Observer & Eccentric reports that IKEA also plans a $250,000 donation to improve traffic on Ford Road and potentially add new jobs at the Canton store, which currently employs 300 people.

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Construction Starts at WSU’s $68 Million Medical Office Building in Midtown

24 Sep 2014, 7:30 pm

By Veronica Grecu, Associate Editor

A new medical office building is now under construction in Midtown Detroit, one of the city’s busiest areas in terms of real estate and construction.

Wayne State University Physician Group Building - 3750 Woodward Avenue, Detroit

Wayne State University Physician Group Building – 3750 Woodward Avenue, Detroit

Wayne State University, Midtown Project LLC and The Ferchill Group, a real estate development company based in Cleveland, recently broke ground on a five-story facility that will house WSU’s Practice Group (WSUPG)—the largest physician practice group in southeast Michigan, with more than 2,000 affiliated physicians in over 160 locations. Described as a “multispecialty medical facility,” the new building will centralize services from other WSUPG clinics in Detroit while also contributing to the revitalization effort in the Midtown neighborhood.

The new facility will be located at 3750-3800 Woodward Avenue and will replace the outdated Professional Plaza, a mid-rise building owned by Midtown Project LLC and whose tenant for more than 12 years has been WSUPG. Containing 153,000 square feet of medical office space, the $68 million project was designed by Neumann/Smith Architecture, with financing provided by Fifth Third Bank and T.H. Marsh Construction of Royal Oak serving as contractor.

The new medical office building will be just steps from the future Martin Luther King, Jr. stop on the M-1 Rail Line which, according to a recent story by Multi-Housing News Online, broke ground this summer as an unprecedented, $140 million public transit project led and funded by private businesses and philanthropic organizations in partnership with local, state and federal governments.

The medical offices will become fully operational by late 2016 and will feature modern sloping glass, aluminum sunscreens and a roof terrace on the third floor. According to WSUPG, the project will also include a four-story parking structure with around 650 spaces that will be built on the adjacent lot, as well as ground-level retail and restaurant space.


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Rendering credits: Neumann/Smith Architecture

GM Snags Former Campbell Ewald Office Building in $2 Million Deal

19 Sep 2014, 12:45 am

By Veronica Grecu, Associate Editor

Lowell Campbell Ewald building - Warren, Mi.

Lowell Campbell Ewald building – Warren, Mi.

General Motors’ sprawling Tech Center in suburban Detroit is preparing to expand with a new building right across the street in Warren, on Van Dyke Avenue.

The former headquarters of Lowe Campbell Ewald—the advertising and marketing communications agency now based in downtown Detroit in the former J.L. Hudson building at Ford Field—was recently acquired by the automaker. While the sales price hasn’t been disclosed by the two parties, The Detroit News reports that GM paid around $2 million for the 10-story office structure.

Located at 30400 Van Dyke Avenue north of East 12 Mile Road, the former Campbell Ewald building includes 150,000 square feet of office space and more than 800 surface parking spots. According to the news source, GM is still in the process of putting together a renovation plan for the Campbell Ewald building, which will eventually serve as additional office space for the company’s tech center employees and visitors.

With this new acquisition, GM is one step closer to consolidating its operations at the Warren Tech Center. In June this year the automaker announced it will invest $130 million to create an enterprise data center in Warren as part of the $2 billion investment that the company had planned for 17 facilities in eight states. The move included renovations at a former administrative building, as well as adding 25 high-tech jobs.

GM’s Tech Center in Warren spans around 25 buildings on more than 330 acres of land bounded by 12 Mile Road, Mound and Chicago Roads and Van Dyke Avenue. The center already employs 19,000 people here, with up to 1,750 new jobs expected to be added in the newly purchased Campbell Ewald building and elsewhere across the Tech Center.

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Image via Google Street View

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