DBusiness Daily Update: Construction Begins on Seven-acre Broadway Park West in Ann Arbor, and More

Our roundup of the latest news from metro Detroit and Michigan businesses as well as announcements from government agencies. To share a business or nonprofit story, please send us a message.
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The Broadway Park West project in Ann Arbor will convert nearly seven acres of currently unused industrial land into a public space. // Photo courtesy of Lower Town Riverfront Conservancy
The Broadway Park West project in Ann Arbor will convert nearly seven acres of currently unused industrial land into a public space. // Photo courtesy of Lower Town Riverfront Conservancy

Our roundup of the latest news from metro Detroit and Michigan businesses as well as announcements from government agencies. To share a business or nonprofit story, please send us a message.

Construction Begins on Seven-acre Broadway Park West in Ann Arbor

The Lower Town Riverfront Conservancy has broken ground on Broadway Park West, a transformational project along the Huron River at Broadway Street in Ann Arbor. The project will convert nearly seven acres of currently unused industrial land into what is expected to be a world-class public space.

The finished project will connect miles of pathways, and include an ice-ribbon, a pedestrian bridge to the Argo Cascades, event lawns, and a year-round pavilion for community gatherings and entertainment.

The centerpiece of the park will be the Commons, a two- acre, tree-lined elliptical lawn that will sit adjacent to a 1,200-foot riverfront trail, connecting Broadway Park West to the Washtenaw County’s Border-to-Border trail system. When complete, the project will open riverfront land that has been closed to the public since the 19th century.

DTE Energy gas company operations occupied the site for years, conducting extensive remediation so that it could ultimately be repurposed as a public place. After collaborating for more than seven years, the company sold the property to the Roxbury Group with the intention of this project.

“DTE has been committed to a redevelopment of this site from the start, partnering with the city of Ann Arbor and community members to preserve the urban greenspace bordering the riverfront and creating a world-class public park,” says Jerry Norcia, chairman and CEO of DTE. “This is an exciting example of an adaptive reuse project, which provides important access to the public and serves as a model for the rest of the state. We’re thrilled that this project will serve as a catalyst for continued growth and economic development in this region.”

The public space is the first phase of the larger redevelopment plan for the 14-acre site. Once the public space and related infrastructure improvements are completed, work will begin on the next phase, which will include approximately 100 for sale residences, a boutique hotel, and approximately 20,000 square feet of neighborhood retail. A groundbreaking on these elements of the project is expected in early 2024, after the public space is complete.

Lufthansa Bringing New Boeing 787 Dreamliner to Metro Airport

Lufthansa is bringing its new Boeing 787 Dreamliner aircraft to Detroit’s Metro Airport starting Feb. 13.

The airline will begin service to Detroit Metro, Feb. 13, then on March 26, the aircraft will fly from Frankfurt to Dallas-Fort Worth six times a week and Montréal four times a week, ramping up to daily operations on May 1. Starting in early May, Lufthansa will deploy the Boeing 787-9 daily to Denver, as well as three times per week to Austin, Texas.

The state-of-the-art, long-haul Dreamliner is one of the most fuel-efficient and environmentally friendly long-haul aircraft in the Lufthansa fleet. It consumes 2.5 liters of kerosene per passenger per 100 kilometers flown. That is 30 percent less than aircraft of the preceding generation. Until 2027, the Lufthansa Group will take delivery of a total of 32 Boeing 787-9s.

Wixom’s Rockwell Medical Three-year, Multi-million-dollar Supply Agreement

Rockwell Medical Inc. in Wixom has signed a three-year, multi-million dollar per annum product purchase agreement with the largest nonprofit dialysis provider in the United States.

As part of the agreement, Rockwell Medical will be the preferred supplier of liquid and dry acid and bicarbonate concentrates to this provider’s hemodialysis facilities located throughout the United States.

“We are excited to enter this long-term agreement which includes both supply and purchasing commitments as it will strengthen our revenue base over the next three years,” says Mark Strobeck, president and CEO of Rockwell Medical. “This arrangement is the first of many that we anticipate establishing this year in order to grow our hemodialysis concentrates business and drive Rockwell towards profitability in 2024.

“Hemodialysis concentrates is Rockwell’s core focus and competency. Given the disruptions that other suppliers have experienced recently, we are determined now more than ever to become the global leader in this market.”

Rockwell is the second largest supplier of hemodialysis concentrates products to dialysis clinics in the United States. It is one of only two suppliers that has the manufacturing scalability and transportation infrastructure to service the more than 7,500 dialysis clinics in the United States along with select international markets.

Little Caesars Love Kitchen Partners with NFL for Pro Bowl and Super Bowl

Detroit-based Little Caesars Pizza, the official pizza sponsor of the NFL, is building on the pizza chain’s history of philanthropy through a charitable giving partnership with the NFL. The Little Caesars Love Kitchen, a restaurant on wheels, will be visiting the Las Vegas and Arizona communities to give back to those in need.

The first serving, tied to the upcoming Pro Bowl Games in Las Vegas, will take place today. Partnering with the Boys & Girls Clubs of America, the NFL and the Love Kitchen will be serving pizza meals at the Donald W. Reynolds Boys & Girls Club of Southern Nevada. In addition to pizza, the league and Little Caesars will be providing a monetary donation that will fund special projects for the facility, as well as handing out giveaways and NFL PLAY 60 activities for the youth present at the serving.

Less than a week later, the big rig pizza kitchen will travel to Arizona for a serving leading up to Super Bowl LVII. The Love Kitchen and the NFL will be partnering with U.S.VETS to benefit local homeless and at-risk veterans and their families. This serving will take place at the U.S.VETS– Phoenix new headquarters and will serve the community in which the Super Bowl will take place.

“Little Caesars is always looking for ways support people when they need it and to help make communities stronger,” says David Scrivano, president and CEO of Little Caesars. “The Love Kitchen was created to provide quality meals for people who need them, and we are proud to work together with the NFL to help combat the food insecurity that impacts many of the children and veterans in the communities we’re serving. It is important for us to continually build on our legacy of community service.”

The Pro Bowl Games and Super Bowl servings are a continuation of the Love Kitchen’s support of tentpole NFL events that began in September in Los Angeles.

Blend Platform Helps KeyBank Streamline Mortgage Application Process

KeyBank reports that it is seeing “significant” results in making home buying easier for clients in the face of a competitive market by using a software platform called Blend that digitizes the end-to-end mortgage application process for clients looking to purchase or refinance a home.

According to the bank, Blend is helping close home loans 17 days faster, on average, than before this platform was integrated. This digital enhancement results in faster application processes, putting clients in an “ideal position” to compete in a difficult real estate market.

“The ability to offer streamlined solutions that enable our loan officers and their teams to be more efficient in providing excellent customer service is critical in this environment,” says Dale Baker, president of home lending at KeyBank. “Blend’s mission to bring simplicity is paying off for our teammates who are having a streamlined experience, as it’s also bringing greater transparency to our clients to be instantly in touch with where their closing stands and obtaining it quicker than we’ve ever been able to.”

For more information, visit key.com.

Dearborn, Dearborn Heights Mayors to Speak at Annual Chamber Breakfast

Dearborn Mayor Abdullah H. Hammoud and Dearborn Heights Mayor Bill Bazzi will address local business leaders and the public at the Dearborn Area Chamber of Commerce’s annual A Tale of Our Cities Business Builder Series breakfast from 8-10 a.m. Feb. 7 at the Ford Community & Performance Arts Center in Dearborn.

The event will include a breakfast sponsored by Comcast. Both mayors will give a brief forecast for 2023, followed by a question-and-answer session.

“We are delighted to host our mayors and look forward to our continued work together,” says Jackie Lovejoy, president of the Dearborn Area Chamber. “Our corner of SE Michigan is growing and changing, with more than 5,000 new homeowners annually supporting our local economies and over 65 new businesses in 2022.

“Everyone working together helps shape our region as a great place to live, work and thrive! The infrastructure, programs and the strength of our business community and residents are essential to bring us into the future.”

Space is limited and registration is required for this event. To register, visit here or call 313-584-6100.

MyMichigan Health Partners to Enhance Specialty Pharmacy Services

MyMichigan Health, a nonprofit health system based in Midland, is partnering with specialty pharmacy accelerator Shields Health Solutions of Massachusetts help to meet the needs of patients with complex, chronic conditions with access to specialized pharmacy services designed to lower costs, expand treatment options, and enhance medication management.

Initially, Shields serve MyMichigan Health’s neurology and oncology patients, with plans to expand to additional disease states over the next six months.

The support services offered by Shields will involve specialty pharmacy coordinators who will work with patients at on-site in clinics, offices, and pharmacies, among other locations, to assist in filling their prescriptions with MyMichigan. In addition, the coordinators will assist patients and families with a multitude of tasks, including health insurance prior authorizations or securing financial assistance.

The program will be based out of the MyMichigan Medical Center Mt. Pleasant Pharmacy. The program will complement MyMichigan’s already existing pharmacy services, which include employee mail order, Meds to Beds, and other outpatient prescriptions.

“By partnering with Shields, our health system is positioned to deliver more consistent positive results with patient populations that require the highest level of expertise and care,” says Bryan Cross, CEO of MyMichigan Health. “We are pleased to join a network of the foremost experts in the health system specialty pharmacy industry and look forward to working with Shields.”

New ‘Unpack Your Financial Baggage’ Podcast Now Available

The latest episode of the “Unpack Your Financial Baggage” podcast featuring Lou Melone, managing member of Melone Private Wealth, and R.J. King, editor of DBusiness magazine, DBusiness Daily News, Tech and Mobility News, Detroit 500, and Michigan Makers, is available for listening.

The new episode reviews the details in portfolio construction, asset allocation, strategies behind taking withdrawals, portfolios in bear markets, and historic returns regarding investments such as stocks and bonds.

To begin the process of building a portfolio, the podcast explains that the first thing to determine is what you’re trying to accomplish, the timeframe you must accomplish it, and the resources to achieve your goals. Next, a financial planner can develop an investment strategy which is a plan for reaching your goals. The final task is to design a portfolio using long-term historical returns, to get you where you need to go.

“This podcast reviews the anxiety behind portfolio construction, a new and more technologically driven way to define risk tolerance, mistakes often made building a portfolio and addresses many myths people may believe regarding investment strategy,” King says.

Listeners will hear that a proper way to build a portfolio may be described as goals/needs-based planning. Melone says to visually think of it as buckets to place your dollars into, based on your goals/needs and their time frame. There are three buckets in which to place money. Investment success for many is based on three principles: Mindset, Patience, and Discipline. The buckets (goals/needs-based planning) are used, as a guide to temper the emotional mind which can face many behavioral risks.

“The approach this podcast takes in explaining how to build a portfolio is goal-focused and planning-driven, rather than being based on some attempt to outguess the economy or the markets,” Melone says. “I’m convinced that successful investing involves constantly acting toward your goals, and unsuccessful investing is based on reacting to whatever the markets are doing at the moment or abandoning the plan for immediate gratification.”

Visit here to listen to the podcast.

Next episode of “Unpack Your Financial Baggage” focuses on the younger generations and their view on wealth management featuring Branden Carney.

Lawrence Tech Partners with EGLE on RESTART Program to Benefit Environment

Lawrence Technological University in Southfield and the Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy (EGLE) have partnered to launch the RESTART Program @ LTU.

RESTART stands for Retired Engineers, Scientists, Technicians, Administrators, Researchers, and Teachers. The program was established in the Natural Resources and Environmental Protection Act in 1994 as the Retired Engineers Technical Assistance Program (RETAP).

Under EGLE’s guidance, RESTART offers free onsite energy efficiency and sustainability technical assistance and assessments to small and medium-sized commercial businesses headquartered in Michigan with 500 or fewer employees, and public entities including K-12 schools, municipalities, and not-for-profits. The program is now accepting applications.

Supported through a $2.86 million RETAP contract, RESTART also will advance EGLE’s energy, sustainability, and climate programs.

The university is recruiting retired professionals to add to a RESTART talent pool expected to number about 20 at any given time.

“Michigan’s retired professionals bring tremendous skill sets to the table,” says Elizabeth Browne, director of EGLE’s Materials Management Division. “We’re eager to see the state’s businesses and public organizations benefit from their experience and expertise.”

Winter at Valade Park in Detroit Celebrates the Motown Sound this Weekend

The Detroit Riverfront Conservancy is inviting Detroiters from near and far to come to Robert C. Valade Park this weekend to celebrate Motown Love.

Highlights of the Feb. 3-5 festivities include a local vendor market, a Detroit Pistons takeover with Hooper, live music, DJ and dance performances, an open mic, and a Funk Night with Frank Raines.

The free event is part of the Detroit Riverfront Conservancy’s Winter at Valade celebration, which is presented by Friends of Robert C. Valade Park and features family-friendly programming every weekend through Feb. 26.

Presented by Bedrock, Motown Love is open Feb. 3 from 4-9 p.m., Feb. 4 from noon-9 p.m., and Feb. 5 from noon-7 p.m. Valade Park is located at 2670 East Atwater along the East Riverfront in downtown Detroit.

For more information, visit here.

Detroit Pistons to Host HBCU and NPHC Night Saturday at Little Caesars Arena

The Detroit Pistons will host HBCU and NPHC (Historically Black Colleges and Universities and National Pan Hellenic Council) Night presented by Verizon this Saturday at Little Caesars Arena against the Phoenix Suns.

HBCU and NPHC Night will bring “The Yard” to Little Caesars Arena, celebrating and bringing awareness to these impactful communities. Fans in attendance will engage in various activations tied back to HBCUs and the NPHC experience, including a pre-game stroll off on the concourse and on the court featuring Wayne State NPHC and a special halftime performance featuring the Marching Marauders from Central State University.

Other activities include D’wayne Edwards, co-founder and president of Pensole Lewis College of Business and Design as the Rev Up special guest and a pre-anthem rendition of “Lift Every Voice and Sing” by Alpha Kappa Alpha member Chiara Clayton, who also will sing the National Anthem.

The Pistons are also hosting a post-game panel discussion featuring Pistons HBCU alums and NPHC Members for guests who purchase a group ticket here or here.

Throughout February, the Pistons will celebrate Black history and culture, while inspiring and providing opportunities for Detroit youth through arts, education, and basketball. The organization aims to bridge divides while demonstrating the importance of equality, diversity, inclusion, respect, and teamwork at each of the month’s activities.

Michigan Science Center Creates Young Professionals Advisory Council

The Michigan Science Center (Mi-Sci) has created a Young Professionals Advisory Council (YPAC) to assist in identifying improved methods for reaching younger audiences, ranging from teens to young adults and new professionals.

“I believe that it’s critically important for us to welcome new ideas and be open to creative ways to connect,” says Christian Greer, president and CEO of the Michigan Science Center. “YPAC has been able to quickly plug into our process and generate new program and event concepts for adults looking for cool things to do downtown.”

The members of the Mi-Sci YPAC include:

  • Ashley M. Williams (Detroit)
  • Ian Robinson (Franklin)
  • Jennifer Orletski-Dehne (Royal Oak)
  • Jose Luis Flores (Detroit)
  • Katelyn Davis (Wyandotte)
  • LC Howland (Detroit)
  • Marjace Miles (Dearborn)
  • Tom Van Heeke (Ann Arbor)

As one of its first orders of business, Mi-Sci’s YPAC group created a refreshed version of the organization’s “After Dark” programming, which relaunched last October with a Halloween themed After Dark event. These events will happen quarterly at the Science Center and kick off in 2023 with a special “Un-Valentine’s Day” event Feb. 10.

For the Un-Valentine’s Day Event, guests are encouraged to come as if dressed for a “first date” and they will have access to all Mi-Sci’s Museum galleries and theater experiences, including Level Up, a unique hands-on, digital and analog gaming exhibit.

DJ Todd Everett will spin global grooves, there will be a special-edition Taylor Swift laser show, and Lacy’s Mobile Beverage Cart will return stocked with specially crafted cocktails, beer, and wine.

All guests must be 21 or older and present their ID for entry into the event. There also will be a special lecture titled “Why Sales Reps Are More Important Than Ever, Even In The Age Of The Algorithm” by Aarom Ahuvia from the University of Michigan-Dearborn College of Business. Ahuvia is a professor of marketing, and his talk will connect marketing, customer decision making, and the role of social relationships in the decisions we make.

Tickets are available for purchase here.

Lighthouse Planning to Redevelop its Pontiac Headquarters

Lighthouse, a Pontiac-based nonprofit dedicated to building equitable communities that alleviate poverty, is pursuing plans to redevelop its headquarters at 46156 Woodward Ave. in Pontiac into the Lighthouse Central Campus — a centralized base of operations, and a “one-stop shop” for Oakland County residents in need.

Pending site plan approval, construction for the estimated $20 million project could begin in 2024 and be complete by 2025.

The campus spans two blocks between Woodward Avenue and Center Street, bordered by Cottage Street to the north and Park Place to the south. It incorporates several properties Lighthouse already owns and includes several key elements designed to address the community’s most pressing needs. Plans include:

A Housing Opportunity Center, with short-term interim housing in apartments and private quarters, along with meals, community building, case manager support and more. The safe, private environment will permanently increase Lighthouse’s short-term shelter capacity from 30 to 150 beds, to serve an estimated 600 people each year in a more dignified way.

A Social Supermarket, where residents can shop free of charge for the food and other essential items they need, while connecting with a social worker who can help them access additional stabilization services. This will replace Lighthouse’s small pantry in Pontiac and enable expanded distribution to serve more satellite locations in Clarkston, Southfield, Royal Oak, and Ferndale.

Multiple Community Spaces, where guests can gather to eat and connect, and community/congregation partners can host activities, provide support, and create opportunities for volunteer engagement. Spaces include: a dining center featuring a multi-use dining area and commercial kitchen, administration headquarters, and an indoor-outdoor community event space and terrace. A cafe concept also is in development to support a range of uses for the venue.

An Economic Opportunity Center, where those in need can connect to social workers, access computers, receive financial and employment coaching, and more. This will help an estimated 1,500 people per year.

“The Lighthouse Campus is a truly game changing opportunity for us to provide a long-term, sustainable response to the poverty and inequity impacting thousands of people in our community,” says Ryan Hertz, CEO of Lighthouse. “Poverty is a real — and growing — problem in Oakland County. This campus will help us better address the lack of affordable housing, public transportation, and support services that threaten the health and vitality of our entire community and local economy.”

Super Bowl Sibling Rivals Travis and Jason Kelce Team with Ann Arbors RealTruck on Giveaway 

Brothers Travis and Jason Kelce, competing on opposite teams in the Super Bowl on Feb. 12 and investors in Ann Arbor’s RealTruck Inc., will reward one fan with $10,000 in truck products via a social media giveaway on Instagram.

“The Trucket List series showcases our superstar investors finding real heroes in each of their communities — hardworking people with awe-inspiring lives devoted to helping others. It’s a heartwarming, emotional look at people who make the world a better place to live and the amazing trucks that help them do it,” says Tony Ambroza, chief growth officer at RealTruck.

To enter the Big Game Trucket List Giveaway, brand enthusiasts must:

  • Follow @RealTruck on Instagram.
  • Like a RealTruck $10K Giveaway post.
  • Share a Trucket List dream — like hunting in the Rockies or rock crawling in Moab — in the comment thread.
  • Giveaway ends at 11:59 p.m. eastern on Feb, 12. The winner will be randomly selected and contacted via direct message on Instagram.

The contest is an extension of RealTruck’s The Trucket List, an initiative celebrating unsung hometown heroes like Kansas City’s Craig Cummings, a firefighter who spends his free time mentoring at-risk youth in Kansas City.

RealTruck made dreams come true for three inspirational individuals, creating a series of episodes now streaming on realtruck.com as well as for subscribers of MotorTrend+, MotorTrend’s on-demand platform.

RealTruck created its athlete advisory team in 2022, in partnership with Patricof Co., a highly differentiated investment and advisory platform, leveraging the unique relevance of world-class professional athletes to source the most attractive alternative investment opportunities and drive superior returns.

“The Big Game Trucket List Giveaway allows us to continue fulfilling dreams just in time for spring and off-roading season,” says Ambroza.