Co-working spaces abound in Detroit for entrepreneurs and others

Detroit Department of Alternatives
Detroit Department of Alternatives

Entrepreneurs, artists, techies and others looking for workspace in Detroit now have a one-stop resource to help them search for the perfect place for their endeavor, DEGC’s Detroit Co-Working Space Finder.

We knew many spaces were opening up for entrepreneurs and others here in the city, so we did the research through the web and word-of-mouth and created this directory. Now people looking for space can use the Detroit Co-Working Space Finder to pick the space that best fits their specific business needs.

There are many different workspace options, from shared table space to a desk to a full office and shared conference rooms. Many include wireless, tech support, office supplies and even coffee and snacks.

Several of the co-working sites are linked to specific causes or industries. For example, Department of Alternatives on Washington Boulevard is dedicated to entrepreneurs working full time on alternative, market proven solutions to civic and social issues that affect our community. NextEnergy Center on Burroughs Street serves as a living laboratory for advanced energy technology development and demonstrations. Ponyride on Vermont leases studio space to artists and entrepreneurs who engage the citizens of Detroit in their creative practices.

These co-working spaces offer more than just a place to work, they provide the opportunity to meet and collaborate with a community of people with the same interests.

“OCD is a hackerspace, a place we go to make, experiment, learn and share with an eclectic group of interesting, creative, friendly people,” is how OmnicorpDetroit on East Division describes itself.

Pricing options vary widely. Many spaces offer daily, weekly and monthly rates or a punch card system for regular visits. Some offer special rates for non-profits. Other spaces require people to complete an application for membership.

The Detroit Co-Working Space FInder is available on the DEGC website at www.degc.org  as well as all the spaces listed, and the 54 organizations featured in BizGrid http://www.detroitbizgrid.com/

If a space is not listed, let us know and we’ll add it, because everyone needs to know Detroit is open for businesses of all sizes.

Catherine Frazier
Business Development 

Contractor Spotlight: Mike Farrow – Farrow Group, Inc.

Michael Farrow
Michael Farrow
Photo credit: Farrow Group

Inspired by his father, Michael Farrow founded Farrow Group, Inc. in 1998. As a native Detroiter, he prides himself on being hands-on with every aspect of the company because he loves his city and continues work to make it the dynamic place it once was.

Farrow Group is one of the largest demolition contractors based in Detroit. It maintains a large fleet of specialized machinery ideally suited for today’s complex demolition projects. Farrow’s skilled team is capable of performing very difficult projects efficiently, and can respond to emergencies on short notice.

Tell me about some of your current projects you’re working on?

Very recently we were called by the City of Detroit to do an emergency cleanup and demolition of a burned commercial building. It contained hazardous medical waste allegedly dumped illegally by a local businessman trying to save money at the expense of the environment and surrounding community. We made an initial cleanup at no cost to the City by selling the scrap material from the project. That’s a strong benefit of our “green” expertise and long experience in the demolition industry. We took the same approach as part of the team that demolished the former Tiger Stadium. We are very strong in recycling and in responding to emergency needs.

What do you find most exciting about the changing face of Detroit?

I love Detroit and I am excited about the changes that are taking place. The City of Detroit economy has been hit the hard in the past couple of years, but we know we can have revitalized neighborhood housing, retail centers, schools, and manufacturing plants.  I am excited to have a role to play demolishing all abandoned structures that offer a safe haven for gang members, drug dealers and other criminals. That’s particularly important for members of the community who are constantly reminded of the eyesores and hazardous cautions that plague their city.

By demolishing these structures it leaves the city with a once-in-a-generation opportunity to reinvent affordable housing and attract new businesses. In addition, we are creating a safe and welcoming environment for students, residents and visitors alike. I know this cannot all happen overnight, but it can happen.

How do you want your company to impact Detroit in the long term?

In the long term, Farrow Group has the potential to greater serve the City of Detroit by improving the quality of living for countless individuals, particularly seniors and youth by removing blight and implementing programs and awareness that would create opportunities for them to excel in live.

We are also committed to protecting the public health and environment by reducing the amount of solid waste that goes to the landfills.  That is why we are implementing a program to donate salvageable materials such as windows, doors, hardwood floors, cabinets, and HVAC units to nonprofit organizations. It will keep those items out of landfills.

What is your company culture?

Farrow Group has been blessed with a great group of skilled and dedicated team members who believe in the company’s vision and mission of giving back to the communities in which they live, work, and play.  We take serious the responsibility that comes with being a contractor and leader in the communities we serve.  In addition, we pride ourselves on hiring and training individuals that live in these communities.

That is why the Farrow Group business image and advertisement display the American flag and eagle. The flag represents the spirit and pride we have for country and fellow man and the eagle represents our endless efforts to soar high to achieve our goal of excellence in this industry.

What’s coming up for Farrow Group?

Growth. We are excited about what is happening in our city, state and surrounding communities, yet it is our goal to expand our operations throughout the United States.

Mike Farrow, Farrow Group Inc.

President and CEO

After 5 Social Club Success

After 5 Detroit Social Club
After 5 Detroit Social Club
Photo credit: After 5 Detroit Social Club

After 5 Detroit, which aims to showcase Detroit to young professionals, launched its new Social Club on November 6 at Fountain Bistro with a sold-out crowd of more than 100 people. Since the launch there have been many Social Club gatherings and there are plenty more to come in 2014. Kicking-off January 15, 2014, the Social Club will host events ranging from beer tastings to bowling.

“There is widespread agreement that the City of Detroit and its local business community would benefit greatly if more employees stayed downtown after work to patronize local bars, restaurants and retail establishments. This unique new program aims to make that happen,” said Kerry Doman, founder, After 5 Detroit.

Sponsors for the After 5 Social Club include Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan, Meridian Health Plan, City of Detroit Downtown Development Authority, Detroit Economic Growth Corporation, Downtown Detroit Partnership, General Motors and the GM Renaissance Center.

“The After 5 Social Club is a program with which Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan and its team members are pleased to participate. Downtown Detroit has wonderful venues in which to work, live and play and After 5 Social Club is a great networking program to continue to expose those venues and opportunities,” said Tricia Keith, senior vice president, corporate secretary and services, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan.

To learn more about After 5 Detroit and attend upcoming Social Club events visit after5detroit.com.

Tiffini D. Smith
Communications Director

Former Councilman Ken Cockrel will lead Detroit Future City Implementation Office

Kenneth Cockrel, Jr.
Kenneth Cockrel, Jr.

Ken Cockrel has stepped out of his role as Detroit City Council member and into a new role as executive director of the Detroit Future City Implementation Office. Detroit Future City is an initiative to implement creative ideas to transform the city in a coordinated way through a well-researched strategic framework. Launched in early 2013, DFC has 36 pilot projects underway to address neighborhood stabilization, create new “green” infrastructure from underutilized land, and remove blighted structures by “deconstruction” rather than demolition.

“Detroit is at a pivotal moment in its history and the Detroit Future City Strategic Framework presents us with an exciting opportunity to rethink, reshape and rebuild our city,” said Cockrel. “I am honored to be able to continue serving the residents and neighborhoods of Detroit as we work with our partners to improve the quality of life in Detroit by carrying-out the recommendations of the Strategic Framework.”

With his experience as Council President and Mayor, Cockrel is uniquely qualified to work with all the stakeholders and collaborators that are using Detroit Future City to inform their efforts to revitalize Detroit.

As Cockrel takes on his new responsibilities leading the Implementation Office, Dan Kinkead will serve as Director of Projects; Heidi Alcock will serve as Director of Operations; and Carrie Lewand-Monroe will serve as Director of Policy. The Office has several dozen potential projects in planning stages aside from those already in progress. It also seated a steering committee of community, business, government, non-profit and foundation stakeholders to guide its work. Detroit Economic Growth Association remains the fiduciary for the Office, administering foundation support for its work.

For more information about the initiative, visit DetroitFutureCity.com.

Malik Goodwin
Vice President, Project Management 

Major Milestones of 2013

New Center Stamping
New Center Stamping

2013 was a remarkable year for economic development in the city of Detroit — all the more remarkable because municipal government filed for bankruptcy in July. Developments in federal court, however, did not stop important progress on DEGC projects that demonstrate strength in a number of important areas: a vibrant Downtown, rebounding retail development, saving and adding manufacturing jobs, revitalized neighborhood businesses, and implementation of a broad strategic framework for future development. Here are a few examples.

Manufacturing

General Motors is investing $105 million to upgrade its Detroit-Hamtramck Assembly Plant that builds Chevy Volts and Malibus. The French automotive supplier Faurecia has invested in the joint venture firm, Detroit Manufacturing Systems, which operates a plant in the Gateway Industrial Center. New Center Stamping is adding jobs as it installs a high-efficiency production line. Sakthi Automotive and Hyundai Mobis are manufacturing automotive components under the same roof in Southwest Detroit. These developments demonstrate that Detroit still has the talent and infrastructure for advanced manufacturing; it also shows the city’s attractiveness to investments from overseas.

Riverfront Residential

Rivertown Phase One is a $55 million dollar mixed use development of 300 apartments and retail storefronts next to the Detroit RiverWalk, Dequindre Greenway and Milliken State Park. It is the first major residential project that specifically takes advantage of those recreational attractions. In doing so, it embodies the vision of the East Riverfront master plan.

Grocery Shopping

Yes, there are excellent choices for grocery shopping in the city. Meijer opened its first ever store in Detroit at Gateway Marketplace, a $62 million shopping center on Detroit’s northern boundary. Whole Foods Market opened its first Detroit store in Midtown, and a number of Detroit’s strong independent grocers have invested in major store improvements. These represent important new choices for Detroit grocery shoppers, especially because they are taking places in neighborhoods around the city. There is still significant work to be done, but 2013 was a huge leap forward.

Fashion

The re-awakening of the Avenue of Fashion along Livernois is well underway thanks to a strong collaboration from community partners, anchor institutions, and a mix of funding support from local and state government and foundations. As permanent and pop-up businesses are opening and artists are creating unique installations, a strong sense of place is returning to this iconic district. And it’s another sign of redevelopment beyond Downtown.

Bicycling and Walking

Biking, running and walking have become hugely popular in Detroit, and DEGC is supporting that trend as a part of a City-led collaboration that is investing $23 million to create designated bike routes crisscrossing Detroit. As part of that project, construction has already begun on a northern extension of the Dequindre Cut Greenway that will connect it to Eastern Market at Wilkins St.

The Arena District

Much more than a big box for hockey, the $650 million of private and public investment in this key part of Downtown will generate a truly unique urban sports, entertainment, residential, retail and office district. The location within a walkable distance to Comerica Park, Ford Field, Masonic Temple Theater, the Fox Theatre, Michigan Opera Theater, Music Hall, The Fillmore and Gem Theater ensures that the district will be lively 365 days a year.

Each of these represents a significant milestone in its own right. Put them together and it is easy to see how far we have come, and how quickly we are moving ahead. As the pace accelerates, it is good that we have a solid planning framework in place in Detroit Future City. As Ken Cockrel joins the leadership team for the DFC Implementation Office (noted in this newsletter), we are in a strong position for a terrific 2014.

George W. Jackson, Jr.
President and CEO