TO LIVE AND WORK IN DETROIT
There’s been a lot of progress and change in downtown Detroit since we first talked with a panel of die-hard Detroiters a year ago. New businesses and restaurants have joined the momentum, companies have moved hundreds and thousands of their employees to the area, buildings have been purchased and renovated and reopened, and there are new apartments, lofts, condos and more.
We wondered: What does it all mean — for Detroit, for us as a company, and for those of us that work (and live) in Detroit? And what’s next?
Nearly 40 employees from all the News, Free Press, O+E, and the DMP gathered to listen to our panel:
Paul “PJ” Ryder: PJ is the proprietor of PJ’s Lager House in Corktown – home of great food and music. He is a figurehead in the local entertainment scene. The Lager House is THE place to play for up-and-coming local musical acts. Twitter: @pjs_lagerhouse; www.pjslagerhouse.com
Maurice Wiggins: Maurice is the proprietor of the new Hudson Café across Woodward Ave from Compuware. www.hudson-cafe.com
Brianna Fritz: Brianna grew up in the suburbs, attended U-M and recently relocated to the Corktown neighborhood. On most weekdays she rides her bike to her job at Digerati, a cutting edge digital company in the Guardian Building. www.thedigeratiprocess.com
Jeanette Pierce: Jeanette is a native of Detroit and graduate of Aquinas College. The co-founder of Inside Detroit, and a long-time champion of downtown, she is known for her tours and encyclopedic knowledge of the city. Twitter: @JeanettePierce
Emily Doerr: Emily is the founder of the Hostel Detroit on Vermont St. She’s a graduate of Central Michigan University, and has been active with the Corktown Residents Council and Southwest Solutions; she’s also a mentor in the Alternatives for Girls program. Emily currently works for the Michigan Regional Chamber. Twitter: @EmilyDoerr
Brittany Guerriero: Brittany is a Director of Donor Relations, Corporate Sector, at The United Way of Southeast Michigan. She is also responsible for the organization’s “Leadership Next” initiative. Twitter: @UnitedWayBritt
Detroit’s hidden gems (Tell us something new that we don’t know)
- John’s Carpet House in Poletown – Frederick and St. Aubin – where during warm weather you hear the “best blues in Detroit” in an outdoor setting, every Sunday afternoon. They’re trying to work with the city to “get legal,” says Doerr. Link to DetNews.com article.
- Dr. Sushi – new sushi establishment in Corktown. Twitter: @drsushidetroit
- Jazzin’ on Jefferson – an annual festival in the Jefferson-Chalmers neighborhood on the east side. www.jazzinonjefferson.com
- Collaboration of United Way and others on programs to address hunger – Detroit schools garden project, and mobile food pantries with Ford and Gleaners. (Guerriero said 25% of Michigan families can’t afford more than one meal a day)
- A baseball program, cited by Wiggins and started by a former major leaguer living downtown. Fifty Detroit kids were involved this summer, they played a game in March, and the MLB association is planning “big things” for the future.
- Hot Spokes – a downtown/midtown bicycle deliver service, promoted by Ryder for lunches. www.facebook.com/HotSpokes
- The Jazz Loft in Greektown, where “jam” performances led by keyboardist Phil Hale take place late Monday nights. It’s over the Golden Fleece restaurant.
- Detroit City Futbol League – a soccer league with over 20 teams that play around Detroit, with each team representing a Detroit neighborhood. And after each game, trips to different neighborhood bars. Link to DetNews.com article.
- Tashmoo Biergarten – an outdoor European-style beer garden that was launched for a few Sundays last fall in the West Village area, with another version planned for spring. www.tashmoodetroit.com
One last thought about Detroit:
- “You can live in another part of the city – and then come downtown for the energy.” – Doerr
- “There’s no successful city without a strong downtown and city center…As downtown and Midtown get filled up – and we’re seeing that – people can move farther out. They can be pioneers, too, and farmers…” – Pierce
- “I’m not waiting on a mayor, a council or anybody else to change my city. I have enough presence and tenacity to do it myself.” – Wiggins
- “Detroit is big enough to matter in the world – but small enough where you can matter in it.” – Pierce