Thursday, January 31, 2008


Detroit has been ranked the number one most miserable city to live in out of the 150 largest metropolitan areas. The ratings were based on 6 factors including, unemployment, personal tax rates, commute times, weather, crime and toxic waste. Also in the top ten is Flint at 3, which means Michigan almost swept the top 3. On the other hand, cities also within the top ten include New York City at 4, Philadelphia at 5, Chicago at 6, Los Angeles at 7, and Charlotte at 9.

Like I said, rankings are stupid. The way I see it, if Detroit is accompanied in the top ten by Charlotte, a supposedly growing city at 9, Los Angeles at 7, Chicago, the self proclaimed jewel of the midwest at 6, and New York City, the self proclaimed greatest city in the world at 4, I'd say we are in good company. Or maybe the reality is that we are miserable. Either way, this ranking system sure isn't an indication of that. The most unfortunate thing about this ranking is that everyone will report that Detroit ranked number 1 for being miserable and that is all people will see. They won't read far enough along to see these other great cities in the U.S. are in the top ten for miserableness as well.

Here's the link, Forbes Miserable Cities Rankings

Detroit Army

Monday, January 28, 2008

Dutch Girl Donuts

My father has told me many times, "Forget Krispy Kreme, Forget Dunkin, the best donuts you'll ever have are at 7 mile and Woodward." Dutch Girl Donuts. Before just recently, I had never been fortunate enough to taste the legend. Luckily, last month I was able to stop at Dutch Girl Donuts. The place looks seedy, and for that matter it is seedy, but in a good way. If you want to watch the girls who work there mix batter to make the donuts you can do so early in the morning, but you'll have to watch through the bulletproof glass. You want to get a donut after dusk?, well you might be asked if you're looking for a good time by the lovely girls who don't work there but who are hanging out on the corner. Like I said, seedy in a good way.

The place looks like there's nothing to it and that it hasn't changed in fifty years. It probably hasn't changed since it opened in 1942, but once you take the first bite of one of their warm, creme filled donuts, you will understand how the legend of this place arose. While I'd like to, its not like I'm stuffing my face with donuts everyday, so its somewhat hard to do a legitimate taste test between the Dutch Girl Donuts and national chains. Even so, I can't imagine that any donut is better than the donut I had from Dutch Girl. You'll have to try these donuts yourself. Take a trip to Dutch Girl Donut and you too will understand why everyone says that these donuts are the best.

Dutch Girl Donuts
19000 Woodward Ave. (Just south of 7 mile.)
Detroit, MI
Detroit Army

Thursday, January 24, 2008


Regarding Kwame...I've decided I have no comment...Officially. If you dont know the story, a link with some information will be provided below. In the mean time, if Kwame is making you crazy, like he is me, here is a quote for your entertainment...

"Some might say, “Kwame is the worst” or “I told you he was a criminal,” however, the Mayor of Detroit has glaring similarities to the best president of my life time. Not only is Kwame Kilpatrick a very impressive and composed public speaker, but he also knows what he can and cannot get away with while holding a political office. Lets not be negative Detroit. Look at what happened to our country during its leader’s “under the table” sexual relations … only positive things to come for Detroit."

Anonymous Contributor
Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick shamed by text messages
Detroit Army

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Quicken Ranked #2 in Fortune Magazine's Best Places to Work

Rankings are stupid. In my world though, rankings are only stupid when they say that Michiganders are fat, that businesses don't feel welcome in the state, that foreign cars are ranked better than American cars, and that Detroit is at the top of the most dangerous cities lists. Rankings are not stupid when they say that Quicken Loans, presently of Livonia and in a few years of Detroit, is the second best company to work for in the United States. Yea, thats right, I only like rankings when they serve my own purposes. Quicken's number two ranking according to Fortune Magazine is great for perceptions regarding working in Michigan. I know some things about Dan Gilbert, but to tell you the truth, I know little about Quicken Loans. I do know that Gilbert plans to move the headquarters to the city of Detroit, that it is a fast growing and well known company, and that it seems to consistently be ranked highly in desirable categories. Quicken has become our darling.

Moreover, the company that Fortune Magazine ranked as the best company to work for in the country is Google. While Google does not have a "main" office in Michigan, it does have an office and large presence in Ann Arbor. Therefore, by my calculations, the two best companies to work for in the country are located in the State of Michigan. Michigan is a great place to work. There is no need to look elsewhere after college. Take that Charlotte...

Quicken Ranked #2 in Fortune Magazine's Best Places to Work
Detroit Army

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Developers to Acquire Detroit's Lafayette Towers

The Northern Group is really grabbing the gusto in this grand city of ours. After announcing their plans for the Cadillac Center a couple weeks ago, they are now announcing that they bought the Lafayette Towers as well. While the Lafayette Towers has been maintained by the Habitat Company, and maintained well, it is interesting to see The Northern Group, a New York based company, buying so much property in Detroit. They now own, the Cadillac Tower, the Penobscot, Lafayette Towers and others.

The Northern Group's proactive approach to Detroit shows some proof as to why our historically provincial attitude just will not work anymore. The entrepreneurial spirit that once dominated the landscape of Detroit has waned. We need to invite others to continue to invest in our city and state. Homegrown investors and entrepreneurs may be preferred, but as of now, we cannot do this on our own. The old "F you" attitude of Detroit makes us who we are, but we can still be ourselves while welcoming others to join our enthusiasm for Detroit, the metropolitan area, and the entire state of Michigan. I commend you Northern Group, not for helping Detroit, but for letting your actions do the talking. There is money to be made in Southeast Michigan, but you have to make moves to get something in return. While I hear Michiganders gripe about the economy of our state, others such are the Northern Group take a proactive approach.

To put it simply, its refreshing.

Developers to acquire Detroit's Lafayette Towers
Detroit Army

Tuesday, January 8, 2008

Marcus & Millichap 2008 Apartment Report for Detroit

Despite the fact that Detroit moved to the very bottom of the Marcus & Millichap’s National Apartment Index, the subtext of the report is that Detroit has slowed its economic ascent and the turnaround is gaining momentum. Unfortunately, M&M’s view is only from the Owner/Broker side of the apartment industry, and while rents are stabilizing (good for the industry) it is mostly due to a lack of new supply rather than higher demand (not as good for growth). M & M attributes the marginal increase in demand and jobs to a growing health care industry needed to take care of Detroit’s growing elderly population. This is not sustainable and Detroit will need to find a new industry to bring in jobs in order to maintain or increase the demand for apartments in the metro area. There are positives to the area not being developed too quickly, as stabilized rents should entice additional out-of-state investments leading to (hopefully) steady growth.

Aaron Bass
Contributing Writer for and Analyst at Gramercy Capital Corp. in New York City, New York
Detroit Army

Thursday, January 3, 2008

Boston Edison District

Over my December break from law school, I decided to do some driving around the city and take pictures of various areas. Detroit is a big city geographically and I only got so far, but I did manage to take some good pictures in the Boston Edison District. The Boston Edison District is comprised of 30 blocks and 900 homes and which boundaries consist of Boston, Edison, Linwood, and Woodward. Here is how Sarah Klein describes it in a June 2002 article in the MetroTimes.

"The neighborhood was founded at the turn of the century, with the majority of the homes built by the Roaring ’20s. It was originally designed as a sedate residential area, complete with wide boulevards and a variety of homes, ranging from palatial to modest. The neighborhood was once home to Detroit automotive tycoons including Henry and Edsel B. Ford, and wealthy businessmen such as Sebastian Kresge, founder of the S.S. Kresge Company, which became Kmart."

Source: MetroTimes

There are many other very nice neighborhoods in Detroit City, but this one really feels like a neighborhood within a city, just with huge mansions lining the streets, as opposed to say Palmer Woods, which in my opinion feels like a separate entity than the city. It was amazing to see the contrast between the huge mansions, and not only the surrounding areas outside of the neighborhood, but also the boarded up houses within the neighborhood. I am posting some pictures below, as well as posting a flickr link to the entire set.

Link: Historic Boston Edison District in Detroit, Michigan

Above is a prime example of a boarded up house mixed in with the rest. This wouldn't happen in Gross Pointe or Bloomfield Hills. It's something to think about.

Detroit Army

Wednesday, January 2, 2008

Griswold Condo Project Scrapped

With all the economic problems that the state of Michigan is having, its a wonder that so many great things are going on within the city. That being said, unfortunately it has been announced that the Griswold Condominium project downtown has been scrapped. This is extremely disappointing. The condo development was going to be a nice complement to the renovated Book Cadillac. For those who are are not aware, the Griswold was going to be about 8 stories of condos sitting on a top of a parking deck next to the Book Cadillac. The parking deck was to be used for both the Book Cadillac and the Griswold. Apparently, the parking deck is still going to be built and used for the Book Cadillac.

One of the problems with the project and reason for a quicker than usual announcement regarding the cancellation of the project is that if the condominiums were to be built, the parking deck had to be built in a specific way to allow condos to be built on top. Because the parking deck had to be built on time to service the Book Cadillac, either the developers of the Griswold had to be one hundred percent sure that the project would go through for financing purposes. Obviously, the Griswold developers did not received enough commitments for the condos and therefore could not provide assurance that the project would go through. While lack of buyers at the present time most likely was part of the reason the project was scrapped, I believe that the timeline was a more influential factor. I personally believe that if this deadline was not in place, the condo development would still be a go as they would have more time to secure buyers. There is a possibility though that the Griswold could be built in the future. After the parking deck is built, and possibly when the economy is better, the developers of the Griswold could decide to attempt to go through with the project again and just as with any project, if they were then able to secure enough buyers and the financing is in place, the necessary modifications could be made to the parking deck so that the condos could be built.

I seriously hope a faltering economy doesn't stymy any developments in the next couple years. It would really be a shame for a poor economy to rain on our parade. While the cancellation of the Griswold is disappointing, we have many other projects to focus on and look forward to. We will just have to keep on keepin on. If anyone has any other information about the Griswold cancellation, comments would be appreciated. Meanwhile, a link to the Griswold website, along with renderings of what the building would have looked like is posted below.

The Griswold
Detroit Army