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Saturday, November 22, 2008

ALOFT HOTEL PLANNED FOR DOWNTOWN BIRMINGHAM

Rumors have been persistent of a W Hotel being built in Birmingham for about a year now, although pessimists weren't buying it. Well, those pessimists were half right. A W Hotel isn't being built. Instead, a "vision of W hotels", ALoft, will be built on Old Woodard in downtown Birmingham, and will be finished in Spring 2010 according to Hotel Interaction, a hotel news website.

Aloft plans to shake up the hotel world by offering guests a different type of hotel stay. Aloft's concept is to create a hotel atmosphere with urban design, technologically accessible, stylish and social. Communal spaces will be outfitted to lure guests out of their rooms to mingle with others. This includes lounges with wi-fi, pool tables, bars, and 24 hour snack stations and state of the art pool and exercise areas.

The individual rooms are, not surprisingly based on the name, loft style with 9 foot high ceilings and huge windows. Each room is a combination high-tech office and entertainment center which features wireless internet and one stop plug & play which gives guests a one stop connectivity solution for a multitude of electronics including PDAs, cell phones, laptops, and mp3 players, all linked to 42" flat panel LCD television screens for viewing.

Aloft Hotels are set to start popping up everywhere, with about one hundred individual Alofts Hotels, open or set to open, internationally.

A lot of hotels are in the process of being restored, built, or planned in the Metro Detroit area, including the historical Fort Shelby and the Greektown Casino Hotel. This is in addition to the newly built, MotorCity Casino Hotel, the MGM Grand Hotel, and the Westin Book-Cadillac. It will be interesting to see, if and how, all of these hotels can make it.

For more information on the planned Birmingham Aloft Hotel, click here.

Detroit Army

Saturday, November 15, 2008

ROYAL OAK DISCUSSES WAYS TO ATTRACT MORE FAMILY ORIENTED RESTAURANTS

Apparently Royal Oak has had just about enough of every restaurant in their downtown being the favorite destination of what seems like every nondescript person in southeast Michigan when they want to get smashed. Royal Oak is taking an idea from Birmingham in hopes of gaining more restaurants which are more focused on food and having a nice meal...but still with alcohol. The answer? A bistro liquor license which would only be awarded to restaurants which have the capacity to only seat up to 65, don't have a bar, and where alcohol can only be served to seated restaurant patrons.

Last year Birmingham awarded one of these "bistro" style liquor licenses after having such a fun experience in the past with a little place called Blue Martini, where all hell would break loose every weekend. I don't know exactly which restaurant the Birmingham bistro liquor license was given to, but I would assume the recipient was Toast, the Ferndale breakfast place turned breakfast/dinner/drinking/wi-fi lounge place in its Birmingham location.

Cafe Muse, which is moving to a larger location in Royal Oak on Washington Ave., has shown interest in the new bistro liquor license. Dave Gillam, Royal Oak city attorney, will make a presentation to the city commission tomorrow. If the commission takes a liking to the idea, they will draft an order to be approved at a later date.

You can find more information on the "bistro" liquor license idea here.

Detroit Army

Friday, November 7, 2008

GREEKTOWN CASINO HOTEL TO BEGIN TAKING RESERVATIONS IN FEBRUARY 2009

Looks like the finished permanent Greektown Casino is beginning to take reservations for its hotel, beginning in February 2009. Officials at the casino state that there has been significant interest in room reservations and that nightly rates will start at just $119 a night, which includes breakfast for two at Bistro 555, a restaurant at the casino complex.

$119 a night is much lower than Greektown's other rivals across town, the Motor City Casino and the MGM. Hopefully this distinction will bode well for Greektown as it seemed to be immensely popular in relation to Motor City and MGM, when all three were temporary and it will be interesting to see how it does now that all three casinos will have permanant facilities. With the economy like it is presently, and news released from "the Big 3," if you can even call them that, who knows how any of these casinos will fare in the near future. I'll keep hoping for the best.

Greektown Casino Rolls The Dice

Detroit Army

Thursday, November 6, 2008

BRUSH PARK VILLAGE NORTH

Brush Park Village North is a spectacular development from HipCityDetroit on the North end of Brush Park. Some of the buildings are already complete, and there are many more to be developed based on demand. I was able to get a tour of one of the finished units, called the "Asher" layout, within the development. The interior was stunning. At first glance, the "Asher" model, at 1,712 sq.ft., and listed at $294,9000, seems a little bit pricey, and a little bit small, but once you step inside you become aware that the 1,792 sq.ft. feels like twice that size and that no expense was spared.

As you walk up the stairs heading toward the front door you find yourself in a serene setting. Yet, it's impossible not to notice downtown Detroit looming to the West along with Ford Field and Comerica Park right down the street. Brush Park has as much promise as any area in the entire city and it's easy to see why. Living in Brush Park gives you the best of both worlds. It allows you to live in a neighborhood setting while also having the luxury of walking to the downtown of a major metropolitan city or stroll over to Ford Field on Sunday to watch the Lions. Although at the present moment, credit is hard to come by and the job market is less than robust, once this economic malaise passes, I believe Brush Park will grow exponentially and will continue to grow for the future. It offers too much for it not to.

When you walk into the unit, the sitting area is to your left. With hardwood floors, and a fireplace, it makes for a cozy place to hang out. Heading up the stairs and to the right is the dining area which over looks the sitting area down below. Behind it is the kitchen, which has a large serving window which looks over the dining area. The kitchen has dark stained hardwood floors, tiled walls, wood cabinets, granite counter tops, and top notch appliances. Adding to the allure of the dining room space is a glass sliding door which leads to a balcony where you can look out into the neighborhood.

Heading upstairs, there is a guest bedroom on your left and a guest bathroom in the hallway. At the end of the hallway is the master bedroom. The master bedroom is spacious and has a classic bay window. The master bedroom has two closets and an attached full bathroom.

From the upstairs, there is an even higher level which has some great perks. There is a small mini bar and a sliding glass door which leads to a luxurious and spacious rooftop terrace. The terrace space does not figure into the square footage of the place, but it adds an element to the home which is hard to put a price on. The views form up top are exceptional as the Rennaisance Center towers over Ford Field and Comerica Park, which lay in the forefront.

Last, but certainly not least, is the basement. Unfortunately, I forgot to snap some photos of this cozy spot downstairs, but it is the ultimate chill spot. This is where you put the big screen TV. This is where you put a mini bar. This is where you put your leather couches and sip on a drink while watching football on a lazy Sunday. The room is a great touch to an already amazing home.

These homes carry a price tag, but they are without a doubt, some of the nicest places you will find and in an area which has unlimited potential. Based on the interior of the "Asher" unit, I'm sure the other layouts are just as nice and there are several different layouts to choose from depending on what type of living situation you are looking for. You would be hard pressed to find a place so close to the downtown of a major city and for these prices in almost any other city in the country. This is Detroit though, and places such as this one, in neighborhoods like Brush Park, is what makes this city special.

Below are a selection of photos from the "Asher" townhome in Brush Park Village North. You can see the entire Flickr set here.


Hip City Detroit
Asher Floorplan

Detroit Army

Monday, November 3, 2008

DETROITARMY.COM RECOGNIZED AS "UP AND COMING" BLOG IN METRO DETROIT

Outside.in, a website which tracks blogs and news feeds in almost 12,0000 towns and neighborhoods around the country, has recognized DetroitArmy.com as an "up and coming" blog in the Detroit area as they explore top cities and choose top blogs within those cities. The rankings were based on variables such as number of posts, location of posts, links from other sites in each specific community, and feedback from members of Outside.in.

I'd like to thank all of you who support DetroitArmy.com, but more importantly I want to show appreciation for all of you who support the Detroit region. It does not go unnoticed.

The link to the Outside.in awards for Detroit can be found here

Detroit Army