After the long slide into lawless bankruptcy, a renewed infusion of massive non-profit foundation spending and signature gritty spirit continue to fuel change. Detroit’s first solvent year, 2016 heralds determination to continue building financial momentum and metamorphosis. And an affordable cultural habitat underpins Motown’s transformation into a creative ecosystem, shiny, renewed innovation incubator and regional hub.
Rebranding Detroit began with Chrysler’s 2011 Eminem Super Bowl commercial that was the first to advertise Detroit’s return. Concurrently, local hero Kid Rock’s philanthropic efforts were already legend, bestowing millions on city causes, and creating employment with two hip Motown brands: Made-In-Detroit and Badass Beer.
Defining American Luxury With American Quality and dubbed “innovative giant in understanding consumer zeitgeist” (Washington Post – 2014), and “the coolest brand in America” (Adweek), Shinola employs skilled local workers, and produces finely crafted artisanal products: timepieces, bicycles, leather accessories, apparel, pet accessories and gifts. Upcoming new product launches: audiophile headphones and turntables with estimated retail prices from $450 – $650. Next up, eyewear.
Thanks to Shinola, a halo effect in formerly rough Midtown spawned cool new retail: designer home decor, salvage denim stores and farm-to-table restaurants. Motown native John Varvatos proudly opened his 6-story, 4,600 square foot fashion flagship last year, contributing rocker chic to the retail makeover of historic Woodward Avenue. With a small stage for rock concerts, must-have fashion items include $1,8898 leather jackets and Detroit Rock City Kiss $98 t-shirts.
In 2013, Peruvian developer Fernando Palazuelo bet on Motown’s revival, snapping up the gigantic abandoned luxury legacy Packard Plant in foreclosure for only $405,000. He’ll invest an estimated $350 million to create a mix of retail, light industrial, multifamily and senior housing, recreation and art space.
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