Saturday, February 25, 2006

Windows on the city

The number of people providing relevant information about Detroit never ceases to amaze me.

View from Grinnell Lofts

From MotorCityRocks, a fab site dedicated to the Detroit music scene, to the The World is Coming, Get in the Game, a website featuring one of the most definitive collections of Detroit-related resources and current events out there, the creativity swarming in this midwestern city cannot be denied.

View of downtown from Slow's BBQ

Whether you're curious about what Detroit neighborhoods are really like or want to know more about things to do in the Metro Detroit area, the men and women of Detroit have got you covered.

Some of my newest Detroit reads:
The Urban Flavor weekly e-zine
Why Detroit Works e-newsletter

Enjoy. And keep up the great work, Detroit!

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Wednesday, February 22, 2006

Your free pass to the Detroit Boat Show

**Girl in the D is giving away 4 free tickets to this event!
Read below for information on how you can win them**

Ahoy, Maties!

It's time once again for the annual
Detroit Boat Show, the D's late-winter tradition celebrating all things watercraft.

Photo courtesy Michigan Boating Industries Association

This year's show, the forty-eighth of its kind, features 1000 boats, from fishing boats and luxury power boats to pontoons and personal watercrafts. After a ten-year hiatus from the Detroit Boat Show, sailboats are back, too.

In addition to sizing up all the boats, attendees have the opportunity to partake in a variety of watercraft-related activities and events, including fishing and boating seminars, the 'Catch and Release' at the Huck Fin Trout Pond and much more.

History buffs will enjoy the antique and classic boats on display courtesy of the Michigan Chapter of the Antique and Classic Boat Society (ACBS) and shoppers will revel in the variety of boating-themed gear, accessories, artwork and jewelry being sold by a variety of merchants.

Girl in the D is giving away four free passes to this event! For your chance to win,
send me a quick e-mail with your name*, address*, and a sentence or two about why you love Detroit. If you're the 7th person to e-mail me, you and three friends are going to the boat show this weekend -- for free! (*All information will be kept strictly confidential and will not be used for any purpose other than this giveaway).

What's the catch? There isn't one. Why would anyone give away free tickets to total strangers? Why do I write this blog? Because I want to help spread the Detroit Experience and I want people to spend time in Detroit.

The Detroit Boat Show runs through Sunday, February 26, 2006 at Cobo Hall.

Hours are from 3 - 9 pm on Friday, 11 am - 9 pm on Saturday, and 11 pm - 6 pm on Sunday.

Adult tickets are $11 each on Saturday and Sunday ($10 if you buy them online) and 2-for-1 on weekdays. Children 12 and under are free.

For more information on the Detroit Boat Show, please call 800.224.3008 or visit

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Sunday, February 19, 2006

Detroit's Housing Boom

Detroit has long fought the battle of a declining population, so when the Southeastern Michigan Council of Governments (SEMCOG) recently announced that the Motor City came out on top for new residential developments in Southeastern Michigan in 2005, pro-Detroit backers couldn't be happier.

Lofts like these being constructed at the old Grinnell Brothers Piano Warehouse in Corktown, have taken off in the city

And rightly so.

Although Detroit has come close to being the numbero uno in new housing permits in the last few years - the city had 925 in 2004 and 872 in 2003 - this is the first time Detroit has taken the top spot.

It's also the first time in a long time that the D beat-out metro Detroit's current hotbeds of sprawl, Macomb and Canton. The 2005 permits for these outer ring suburbs came in at 814 and 805, respectively.

In 2004, Macomb Township ended the year with 1086 new housing permits. Canton was a close second at 1067.

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Tuesday, February 14, 2006

Detroit Properties to be featured on HGTV, Fine Living

Ever wonder how Detroit housing measures up to the rest of the country? Here's your chance to find out.

The wildly-successful
"What You Get for the Money" - a cable program that looks at how much home a set amount of money gets in six different parts of the country - shines a spotlight on the D three times during the next week and a half when it compares Detroit homes at the $300,000, $700,000 and $900,000 price levels to similarly-priced homes in other cities.

"What You Get for the Money" episodes featuring Detroit homes will air on HGTV on February 15, and on Fine Living on February 16 and February 23.

Sound interesting? Here's the nitty-gritty:

*On February 15, tune into HGTV at 10:30 pm and follow show host Mike Seagal across the country as he visits Omaha, East Hampton, San Diego, Baltimore, Detroit and Reno to find out just how much house a $900,000 budget affords in varying parts of the U.S. Sabra Sanzotta, Detroit real estate agent and owner of The Loft Warehouse, will present the Motor City's $900,000 property - a mansion in the city's historic Boston-Edison neighborhood. Night owls can tune in at 2:30 for a repeat showing of this episode.

*On February 16 at 8 pm and 11 pm, look for Sanzotta again as she showcases another Detroit property on Fine Living, this time at a lower price point. See how Detroit's $300,000 residence measures up against homes in the same price range located in Portland, Chicago, Philadelphia, Denver and Seattle.

*On February 23, viewers tuning into Fine Living at 8 pm or 11 pm can get a sneak-peek of what $700,000 will get them in a home. Along with residences with a $700,000 price tag in Portland, Harlem, Omaha, Pittsburgh and Lone Tree, Colorado, Detroit real estate agent Ilene Wolf will showcase a unit at The Lofts at Rivertown, the former Frederick Stearns pharmaceutical lab that was redeveloped into 175 luxury lofts in 2002.

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Monday, February 13, 2006

MEDC Approves Three Brownfield Redevelopment Projects in Detroit

Tax incentives will turn blighted structures into new single-family homes, lofts, apartments and retail space

Michigan Economic Development Corporation (MEDC) acted last week to keep Detroit's Super Bowl momentum going strong when it approved brownfield tax incentives for three proposed projects in the city.

The incentives -- which, together, will bring more than $724,703 to the three projects -- will be used along with private funds to turn blighted, vacant buildings into new residential and mixed-use developments.

Here are the specifics:

*Gratiot McDougall Homes LLC will use its $319,000+ brownfield tax credit along with $3.1 in private funds to redevelop 22 blighted homes near Gratiot and McDougall on the city's east side.

*The development team at University Lofts LLC will use $2.2 million along with its recently-approved $226,811 brownfield tax credit to redevelop the currently-vacant Mortuary Science Building at Wayne State University into 10 new loft-style condos.

*With its $178,892 brownfield tax credit, Vernor/Scotten Partners plans to redevelop two historic buildings in southwest Detroit into 10 apartments with several hundred feet of ground-floor retail space. Vernor/Scotten Partners will use $1.7 million of private funds to make this project a reality.

Created in 1999, the MEDC is Michigan's one-stop resource for businesses seeking to grow within the state. A partnership between state and local communities, the MEDC promotes smart economic growth by developing strategies and providing services to create and retain good jobs and a high quality of life. For more information, please visit

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Friday, February 10, 2006

New CVS Pharmacy open on Woodward Avenue

With 238 stores in the state of Michigan, it was only a matter of time before a CVS showed up in the Central Business District of the D.

Opened on January 29 - just in time for thousands of Super Bowl XL visitors - Downtown Detroit's CVS is located at 1001 Woodward - right across the street from Compuware.

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Sunday, February 05, 2006

The hottest ticket in town

After months of planning and preparation, Super Bowl XL is finally here.

Best of luck to the Steelers and Seahawks - may the best team win.

Tailgate parties start at 9 am, which is also the time that many bars in the city open their doors. Winter Blast is open until 1 pm.

Be safe, have fun and enjoy Super Bowl XL!

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Saturday, February 04, 2006

Residents and visitors having a 'blast' in Detroit

Rain, sleet and snow haven't kept people away from Downtown Detroit's biggest Super Bowl attraction, the Motown Winter Blast.

In fact, the unexpected snowstorm hasn't appeared to have any impact at all on the record numbers of people converging on the festival, located around Campus Martius Park and up Woodward to Grand Circus Park.

This afternoon, local television station WXYZ-Channel 7 reported that Winter Blast attendance on Thursday and Friday had reached the 500,000 mark - a figure that surpasses the 400,000-person-total that was anticipated over the entire 4-day event.

If you haven't had a chance to go to Winter Blast yet, there is still time. The festival is open until 1 am tonight, and from 11 am - 1 pm on Super Bowl Sunday.

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Wednesday, February 01, 2006

Blast Off!

Detroit festival offers great food, music and fun

Tomorrow marks the opening of Detroit's second annual
Motown Winter Blast, a cold-weather extravaganza that promises an extra-large helping of food, music and fun in Downtown Detroit.

Image courtesy

Detroiters and visitors from all over the world have the opportunity to partake in a variety of cold-weather activities, from ice skating at The Rink at Campus Martius Park to plunging down a 200-foot snow-slide.

Other highlights scheduled for this year's Motown Winter Blast include:

Model-T Rides: Ever wonder what riding in one of the first automobiles was like? Here's your chance to find out, as Ford Motor Company offers rides in Henry Ford's crowning achievement.

Model T rides

Concerts: A host of local acts along with some national talent take to the stages at this year's event, providing Blasters with a variety of music designed to enhance the festival experience.

Ice sculpting: It's round two for the General Motors' Ice Garden, a delightful zone featuring some of the world's best ice sculptors. Local and national musicians add flavor to the festivities, which are located on Woodward north of Campus Martius Park.

Shopping: A new addition to this year's festival is the Detroit Marketplace, a hub near Grand Circus Park featuring works and other items for sale by local artists and vendors.

Snow slide

Taste of Detroit: Enjoy cuisine from 22 local restaurants in the Chrysler Jeep Dodge Taste of Detroit zone, located just outside the Hard Rock Cafe, east of Campus Martius Park. After gorging on some of the city's best cuisine, stop by the Montreal High Lights Festival for a real winter treat - roasted marshmallows.

The Motown Winter Blast, located in the heart of Downtown Detroit, kicks off tomorrow at 4 pm. It is free and open to the public. Hours for the event are as follows:

Thursday: 4 pm - midnight

Friday: 11 am - 1 am

Saturday: 11 am - 1 am

Sunday: 10 am - 1 pm

For maps, directions or more information on Detroit's ultimate winter festival, please visit For information from last year's event, click here.

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