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Southfield announces mixed-use redevelopment plans for Northland Mall

Excerpt: 

Southfield announced several developers have submitted letters of intent to acquire land at the former Northland Mall, which opened in 1954 and closed in 2015. The city also has entered into due diligence agreements with the prospective developers.

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Royal Oak is turning its alleyways into pathways

Downtown Royal Oak is looking to transform five blocks of alleyway into a pedestrian-friendly pathway.

The alley runs behind the buildings on the east side of Main Street. One block, from 2nd to 3rd Street, has already received an aesthetic upgrade, with patterned stamped concrete recently installed. The block connecting 2nd Street and 11 Mile Road is next.

The city has hired the firm Fleis & VandenBrink to draft a master plan to design the alley that connects 3rd and 6th streets, which would add three more blocks to the redeveloped alleyway system.

Royal Oak, which recently joined the Oakland County Main Street program, has applied for "technical assistance" dollars from the county to pay Fleis & VandenBrink. That request is currently under review.

Central Park Development Group, the developer responsible for the Royal Oak City Center project, inspired the program after having initiated the cleanup of the alley that runs adjacent to the eventual structure. The city quickly got on board.

While still making room for deliveries and dumpsters, the alleys will be cleaned up and made attractive to pedestrians. There will be public art and hanging cantina lights.

Sean Kammer, Downtown Manager for the Royal Oak Downtown Development Authority, says that some restaurants are already planning patios for the revamped alleyway.

"The main thing is that we’re giving some much-needed attention to our alleys that are in need of repairs and upgrades. But we’re also taking pedestrian conditions into account," Kammer says.

"The alleyway project will help with walkability and non-motorized connectivity."

The first phase is complete. Now it’s on to the rest.

Kammer is confident that the alleyway project will receive approval from Oakland County. Then comes the design. And then the construction.

"When all is said and done, we will have ornate alleys from 11 Mile to 6th Street," Kammer says.

Got a development news story to share? Email MJ Galbraith here or send him a tweet @mikegalbraith.


Troy's NAI to open manufacturing facility in China

Excerpt

NAI, a Troy-based manufacturer of global connectivity solutions for high-performance systems used in the industrial technology, telecom, and medical industries, announced the opening of a manufacturing facility in Suzhou, China. 

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New patisserie to bring cosmopolitan flavor to Franklin

Holly Kaiser hopes to open her new shop, Madeleine’s French Patisserie, in Franklin by Labor Day if everything goes to plan. Kaiser is busy remodeling the historic barn behind the former Market Basket store at 32654 Franklin Road and wants to bring an international selection of delicacies to the village.

“We will be offering a selection of European pastries, (croissants, pain au chocolate, tarts, and tortes), classic Europeans cookies, gelato, European-style chocolates, and ice cream sodas,” Kaiser says. She also plans to establish a small market within the store for gourmet ingredients, wine, and beer, as well as healthy grab-and-go food and prepped “you cook” meals.

This isn’t Kaiser’s first foray into the culinary arts. Originally starting her career as an architect, Kaiser launched Madeline’s in 2008 as a way to supplement her income when the architecture industry in Detroit went into “cardiac arrest”. Her delicacies proved so popular she’s decided to branch out.

“Franklin was really just a dream,” Kaiser admits. “I never really thought I could get a storefront here, but when I inquired about a completely different space this location was offered as an option. It was just what I envisioned, so I took a leap of faith and here I am.”

Kaiser sees the historic village as the perfect place to cater to a cosmopolitan palette and says she wants to “bring the world to Franklin” through food.

“Very few places exist where people from all over the world live or are living in close proximity,” she explains. Part of her world flavors initiative will be thanks to an online blogger Kaiser has commissioned. Each month her travel writer, “Madeleine Pomeroy” will chronicle cooking adventures in a location overseas, providing new recipes and gifts concepts, and beginning in Paris, France.

With plans for outdoor seating on the covered porch and lawns, Kaiser hopes people will stop by for tea, coffee, and nutritional shakes. It’s quite an alteration for the historic barn she’s chosen to establish her store in. “I chose to change the color completely,” she says, “and fill the site with beautiful landscaping.”

“I would like to have people feel like this is a lovely getaway and a wonderful place to bring their family for dessert or pick up a picnic basket for meals on the Village Green.”

Kaiser says the reaction so far from the community has been heart-warming. Upon being given the keys she was simply told “welcome home”, a comment she won’t soon forget. “We hope to be able to join forces with other local shops to drive business to the community and help to bring more awareness of what Franklin has to offer,” she says.
 

Q&A with the owners of downtown Rochester's new artisan market, Bizzy Buzz

Pamela and Ryan Walther have been working on their downtown Rochester storefront for the past seven months, restoring the old Heller’s Jewelry space to its former glory. The couple has finally celebrated the grand opening of their Bizzy Buzz Artisan Market. Locally made clothing, jewelry, and home décor items make up just some of the new store’s inventory. We asked Pamela all about it.

Q: We last talked in March. Any exciting developments since then?

A: There have been a lot of renovations done since March to restore this historical building, the gold leaf on the tin tile ceiling came out spectacular! Our Artisans have helped in adding some special artistic touches to make it unique as well. We have hand-blown glass pendants from Marc Vandenberg Studios and Flower Power, a back-lit homemade slat wall, and a custom designed piece of metal under our 5-thousand-pound bank vault from Metal Artwork by Dion.

We have over 50 very talented local Artists with products in Home Decor, Jewelry, Detroit Centric Novelties, Pet Products, Third Man Records, Michigan cherry products from Traverse City's Benjamin Twiggs, local honey from Hardy Honey Bee Farm, Fashionable wears and much more! We also are very close to getting our liquor license with the plan to offer craft beer and wine. The space is truly an experience in it of itself; that paired with the truly breathtaking art from our Artisans is something you have to come to experience for yourself. There is also a Man Cave section complete with a Royal Rumble pinball machine to keep the guys happy!

Q: Bizzy Buzz had hoped for a spring opening, but grand openings get pushed back all the time. What delayed your opening and how did you overcome it?

A: Our contractor, Jay Noonan with Design Resources, has done a phenomenal job bringing in talented professionals to make this renovation a truly spectacular transformation. Geoff Davis with GP Davis, Inc. was our Jack of all Trades, Master of ALL and did such a quality job on all the detail work. He was our MVP! We lost a few weeks when we found out the roof needed to be replaced, as we thought we could wait a few more years before having to take that under as well. We had to wait on a neighbor to repair their shared wall as water was getting behind their brick and that would void a warranty on our new roof. Our project would have come to a screeching halt if that brick wasn't fixed. Thankfully two weeks later the owner got the wall repaired, and our project could proceed!

Q: Any advice for future entrepreneurs?

A: My advice for future entrepreneurs is to seek out people with the skill sets that you lack, invest in yourself with business classes and seek Him first! I prayed a lot! I knew I couldn't control everything and rather than stressing over those things I couldn't control I asked Him for help. I prayed for the right people to come and help us with the things my husband and I couldn't tackle ourselves and help always showed up! These people were truly Godsends!

Q: How are you feeling now that you're finally open?

A: This has been a ten-month-long full-time job to get this all set up. We started hunting for artists back in October last year. We started our renovation on the store seven months ago and are so happy to see the Artists moving their product in now! It has been a whirlwind of a time getting a whole new business started up, but our faith, the support from our family and friends, and our desire to live our dream has kept us going!

Bizzy Buzz Artisan Market celebrated its Grand Opening on Saturday, July 28. It is located at 409 S. Main St. in downtown Rochester.

Got a development news story to share? Email MJ Galbraith here or send him a tweet@mikegalbraith.


Oakland County Parks and Recreation commission dedicates Independence Oaks safety path

The Oakland County Parks and Recreation Commission and Independence Township officials dedicated a new safety path that connects Independence Oaks County Park and Independence Oaks-North on Wednesday, Aug. 1.

The collaborative project brings more walkability to park visitors and community residents with the addition of a safety path and boardwalks over wetlands. The event was attended by Oakland County Parks and Recreation Commissioners and staff, Independence Township officials and staff, project partners, media and other stakeholders. A brief presentation was followed by a ceremonial ribbon cutting.

“Trails are the number one reason people visit the Oakland County Parks, and we know that walking, running, biking and other forms of trail usage continue to increase in popularity not only in Oakland County, but across our nation as a whole,” Executive Officer Dan Stencil said. “This safety path project provides an opportunity for park visitors and area residents to expand their recreation inside and outside our park boundaries.

The 1.6-mile trail includes 870 linear feet of 10-foot wide boardwalks through wetland areas and an 8-foot-wide asphalt trail with grass shoulders.

The $1.34 million was funded by $740,000 from the Oakland County Parks and Recreation Commission and $600,000 from Independence Township Safety Path funds.

Independence Township installed two resting stations, at the north and south entrances of Independence Oaks County Park. The north entrance station features a bench, bike rack, bike- fixing station and air pump. The township is installing several more resting stations for its new “Park to Park” trail project that will connect Independence Oaks County Park to Clintonwood Park, Depot Park, Deer Lake Beach Park and Bay Court Park.

Independence Oaks County Park is located at 9501 Sashabaw Road, Clarkston. Independence Oaks-North is located at 10089 Sashabaw Road, Clarkston

For information on other events, visit OaklandCountyParks.com. Join the conversation on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

Oakland County-based aircraft provider celebrates groundbreaking for new headquarters

After taking to the skies for the past 35 years, fractional aircraft provider Corporate Eagle is celebrating a major development on the ground. The company ceremonially broke ground on its new headquarters, having been selected by Oakland County International Airport to lease 5.7 acres of land for the development.

Corporate Eagle was selected following an in-depth RFP process by the Waterford-based airport. The new headquarters will be located at the corner of M59 Highland Road and Patterson Parkway.

Its 5.7 acres will include:

  • 56,000 sq. ft. of hangar space
  • More than 9,000 sq. ft. of business and member VIP facilities
  • More than 8,000 sq. ft. of support facilities
  • 40,000 gallons of jet fuel storage
  • 85,000 sq. ft. of high-load capacity concrete tarmac


Corporate Eagle, a provider of fractional and managed business aviation programs, has 70 full-time employees and a fleet of 14 aircraft. The company was founded in 1982.

According to Corporate Eagle President and CEO Rick Nini, the company has been enjoying a years-long period of extended growth. The new headquarters will accommodate even more anticipated growth.

"We are thrilled to be well on our way with the construction of the new Corporate Eagle headquarters facility," Nini said in a release. "The number one goal of this new headquarters was to enhance the experience for our members significantly, and I assure you, we have accomplished this goal.

"Also, we have added room for larger and more aircraft and greatly improved the site and floor plans for a more convenient and safer flow of our company operations."

The company is currently located in a 58,000 sq. ft. facility less than a quarter mile from its new headquarters.

Got a development news story to share? Email MJ Galbraith here or send him a tweet @mikegalbraith.


After decades of attempts, bicycle and pedestrian trailway opens in Troy

He laughs when he says it, but Kurt Bovensiep can only laugh because it’s true. The city of Troy has been working on developing a bicycle and pedestrian trail system since 1974.

One obstacle after another, from property owner disputes to the Great Recession of 2008, has stymied efforts to develop a trail over the years. But in 2018, the city of Troy can finally say it has the beginnings of its own trails network.

While the grand opening celebration for Troy Trails & Pathways isn’t until Wednesday, Aug. 1, the trail itself is indeed already open. Enthusiasm for the trail was so high, says Bovensiep, that bikers and walkers were on the heels of construction workers as each section of asphalt was poured.

Today, riders can take the 1.3-mile asphalt trail from the Troy Town Center, through P. Terry & Barbara Knight Park, past Wattles Road (where a pedestrian safety island has been installed), and finish at Troy Historic Village. The trail largely takes users off city streets and sidewalks and into the woods.

"People are saying, I can’t believe I’m in the middle of suburban Troy yet feel like I’m in such a natural area," Bovensiep says.

This is just the beginning for Troy Trails & Pathways. While no specific plans have been announced, Bovensiep hopes to connect the trail to a larger network of trails, making it a viable alternative transportation route. The goal is to connect to the Clinton River Trail, either through Auburn Hills or Rochester Hills, which itself is planned to connect to the statewide Iron Belle Trail system.

The Troy city council has appropriated $750,000 for the trail for each of the next three years.

A grand opening celebration is planned for Troy Trails & Pathways for Wednesday, Aug. 1, with updates available online.

Got a development news story to share? Email MJ Galbraith here or send him a tweet @mikegalbraith.


Green Lantern Pizza to expand with new locations in Rochester Hills and Berkley

First opened in Madison Heights in 1955, the award-winning Green Lantern Pizzeria & Lounge has steadily built its reputation as one of the best pizza joints in the region. And while it still calls Madison Heights home, the restaurant has since opened four additional locations throughout Oakland and Macomb counties.

Get ready for two more.

Green Lantern is prepping a new carry out- and delivery-only location to open in Rochester Hills. The new store will be located at the intersection of Walton and Livernois.

John Spreitzer, a descendant of the original owners of what has always been a family business, says that the Rochester Hills location is about two to three weeks away from opening. A fire suppression system and "city stuff" is all that remains on the to-do list.

In the community of Berkley, a full-service Green Lantern restaurant and bar is planned to take over the now-shuttered Sila Italian Dining & Pizza restaurant on Twelve Mile Road. Expect an early 2019 opening, Spreitzer says.

"Berkley feels like a perfect fit for our style. It has an older feel; it feels similar to Madison Heights," he says. "With replacing Sila, we have big shoes to fill in the community.

"We’ve been watching that building for fifteen years and we jumped at the opening."

Fans of Sila can take comfort in the fact that Spreitzer is considering the possibility of adding some of that restaurant’s more popular and signature dishes to the Green Lantern Berkley location.

Spreitzer says that the company will probably stop adding new locations once the Berkley restaurant is opened--at least for a while. But that doesn’t mean that Green Lantern is done growing. He says that the family could soon begin franchising the brand.

"We’re a pretty small company. It’s just my brother and I running things. But in the past twenty years it’s been snowballing into a faster process of growth," Spreitzer says. "We just keep learning things as we go along. It’s been pretty organic."

Got a development news story to share? Email MJ Galbraith here or send him a tweet @mikegalbraith.


Boutique for pets and the people that love them celebrates ribbon-cutting in downtown Milford

Downtown Milford is going to the dogs. But it’s a good thing. Especially for Bub’s & Betty’s, the new pet boutique that celebrated its grand opening with a ribbon cutting ceremony on Thursday, July 19, with the Huron Valley Chamber of Commerce.

Bub’s & Betty’s is currently open for business, operating under a soft open since April 26, 2018.

Bub’s & Betty’s sells clothing for people and their pets. Co-owner Caitlin Erickson started her line of pet-themed clothing in January 2017. What began as a passion project soon turned into an online-only shop. Business was so brisk, she says, that the storefront was the next logical step.

Becoming an entrepreneur has always been a goal for Erickson. "I spent my 20s figuring out what I wanted to do. And now it feels like I’m living my dream," Erickson says. "I live in downtown Milford. I get to walk to work. I’m familiar with the community.

"Milford is a dog town."

Erickson’s signature line of pet-themed clothing includes t-shirts with sayings like "My dog is my BFF" and "I’d love to but my dog said no." Dog Mom and Dog Dad baseball caps are some of her biggest sellers, she says.

Erickson started Bub’s & Betty’s as a creative outlet following the death of her grandmother, Betty. Bub is the name of her dog, who, she admits, she treats as if he were her own child. She co-owns the business with family members Michele Erickson, Devin Erickson, and Cristen Wisniewski.

In addition to the pet-themed clothing, Bub’s & Betty’s carries pillows, totes, and coffee mugs, and pet items like leashes, collars, and healthy, all-natural treats for dogs and cats. Many of the items are made in Michigan.

"Everything is just colorful, unique, and tailored to people that love to show love for their pets," she says.

Bub’s & Betty’s is located at 411 N. Main St. in downtown Milford.

Got a development news story to share? Email MJ Galbraith here or send him a tweet @mikegalbraith.


Many changes coming to the Southfield campus of Lawrence Tech

As reported last week, Lawrence Technological University is planning to open a 6,300 sq. ft. space for its business and manufacturing accelerator the LTU Collaboratory. The new space is scheduled for a spring 2019 opening.

That development, however, is just one of many upgrades planned for the private university’s Southfield campus.

According to LTU University Architect Joe Veryser, the university "always tries to minimize impact and inconvenience to our students--thus, we try to do all our major renovation work between mid-May and mid-August."

There are several changes currently underway or scheduled for Lawrence Tech:

  • LTU’s fourth residence hall will open this August, introducing housing for 300 more students on the Southfield campus
  • The South Residence Hall is currently undergoing a $2 million renovation
  • The Real Food on Campus cafeteria is expanding to accommodate the influx of on-campus residents, with renovations overtaking the LTU bookstore
  • The bookstore moves to the second floor of the Buell Management Building, pushing LTU’s Marketing and Public Affairs and University Advancement offices to 21311 Civic Center Dr. across campus. That building will be renamed the University Services Building, also adding LTU’s IT department to its list of tenants
  • Current tenants of the soon-to-be-renamed University Services Building include the offices of Marketing and Public Affairs and Advancement, Campus Facilities, Human Resources, and eLearning Services
  • New medical laboratories are being added to the Science Building, which are scheduled to be completed by summer 2019
College sports fans will be especially interested to learn that the inaugural season of Lawrence Tech’s football season kicks off on Saturday, Sept. 1, at LTU’s athletic field. The stadium has received a $1 million expansion to add seating and lighting for fans of the first-ever Lawrence Tech Blue Devils football team.

Click here to learn more about the LTU Collaboratory expansion.

Got a development news story to share? Email MJ Galbraith here or send him a tweet @mikegalbraith.

Hummus-based shakes among unique offerings from fast-casual Mediterranean coming to Auburn Hills

A New York City-based chain of healthy Mediterranean fast casual restaurants is set to make its Michigan debut in Auburn Hills this fall. Michigan entrepreneur Chirag Modi is bringing The Hummus & Pita Co. to the Great Lakes Crossing Outlets food court. It has an expected opening date of October 2018.

It’s the first Midwest location for the expanding franchise. With three locations in New York City, the company is also planning locations in Danbury, CT; Denver, CO; Bell Works, NJ; and Los Angeles, CA.

The brand launched in 2011 and touts its fresh and healthy Mediterranean cuisine as an alternative to other fast-casual Mediterranean concepts. The menu items are made from scratch and on site, its pita and laffa breads are freshly-baked, and its meats are cooked in a traditional taboon oven. The Hummus & Pita Co. also carries a wide range of vegetarian dishes.

Perhaps what sets the company apart most from other Mediterranean restaurants will be its dessert hummus dishes and hummus shakes.

Chirag Modi is the operator bringing The Hummus & Pita Co. to Metro Detroit. Modi counts 17 years of pharmacy ownership among his business qualifications. He looks to carry that success over and into the restaurant industry.

Got a development news story to share? Email MJ Galbraith here or send him a tweet @mikegalbraith.


Spotify opened regional office in downtown Birmingham

Excerpt: 

Spotify, the digital music streaming service with locations worldwide, has opened a regional sales office in downtown Birmingham. 

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Downtown South Lyon is going retro as it gets a new look

Excerpt: 

A touch of old-school architecture is going a long way toward bringing an appealing new look to downtown South Lyon.

Fueled by the investment and imagination of property owner Ron Borgman, plus the creative strategy of Downtown Development Authority director Bob Donahue, a pair of adjacent businesses on North Lafayette are undergoing eye-catching facade makeovers that will pull the exteriors back to their original forms.

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New housing permits in May keep 2018 on-track to second-best year since 2006

Excerpt

May helped push the year-to-date total of new housing permits to 2,028, maintaining the second-best start to a year since 2006, according to residential permit data compiled by the Home Builders Association of Southeastern Michigan.

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