The Vibe in Paradise Valley: La Casa Cigar

Ismail Houmani

Five developers with strong Detroit roots recently received approval from the Downtown Development Authority of the City of Detroit to redevelop nine properties in the Paradise Valley Cultural & Entertainment District. The project will feature commercial and retail space, residential units, restaurants, entertainment venues and a boutique hotel, all scheduled to be built in the next three years.

Each developer has a great story to tell, and this is the third in a series that will run in this newsletter. La Casa Properties, LLC, led by Ismail Houmani, principal, will make improvements to 1402 Randolph as a cigar lounge, store and apartments.

“While exciting news of the ​Paradise Valley redevelopment came down the news wire, La Casa Cigar Inspired Music Lounge ​had​ been kindly often​ referred to as an ‘old-timer on the block.’ It all started in 2009, when led by my love for a city, I followed my dream to create a luxury cigar brand, lounge, and live music destination in Detroit. At the time, few individuals were looking to develop retail and/or entertainment attractions in the city, ​and especially within Paradise Valley.

“In spite of that, I felt a ​deep connection with the history of that area and knew that Paradise Valley was exactly the right place for my dream to become a reality. During renovation, it was of the utmost importance for me to preserve as much of the architectural details of the building as possible. In creating La Casa, I was guided by the belief that it was my duty to continue to restore and revive the area by offering rich cultural and entertainment options in a luxury setting.

“Today, ​as one of Detroit’s favorite destinations on most city tours, La Casa continues to support and bring in Detroit-based talent for its live music entertainment a minimum of four nights each week. Showcasing local talent is a differentiator for our establishment: from soul to jazz to R&B, La Casa offers free-of-charge entertainment.

“For many decades, Detroit was one of the centers of tobacco manufacturing in America and tobacco was Detroit’s leading industry, ranking first among all businesses in the number of factories and the number of employees. Understanding this history, I also hoped to make Detroit prominent once again in the cigar sector. In 2011, La Casa launched a Detroit-themed cigar line called “20 Minutes in Detroit.” To promote the city, the various sizes of the cigars were named after prominent city streets: Woodward, Randolph, Madison, Congress, Fisher, Mack, Harmonie Park, Grand River, Jefferson, Grand Circus Park, Campus Martius, and 8 Mile. This line quickly became a favorite of Detroiters ​and visitors alike.

“With the acquisition of the 1502 Randolph property and announcement of 2016 Paradise Valley’s redevelopment, I would like to extend my warm welcome to all the newcomers. My staff and I are looking forward to being a part of building a strong business community along with new passionate neighbors and continuing to preserve ​Paradise Valley’s vast cultural heritage.”

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