DBusiness Daily Update: Dana Acquires Plymouth Township’s Pi Innovo, Hard Rock Hotels Plans Kalamazoo Property, and More

Our roundup of the latest news from metro Detroit and Michigan businesses as well as announcements from government agencies, including updates about the COVID-19 pandemic. To share a business or nonprofit story, please send us a message.
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map of Michigan coronavirus cases by county
Courtesy of Bridge, as of Feb. 27

Our roundup of the latest news from metro Detroit and Michigan businesses as well as announcements from government agencies, including updates about the COVID-19 pandemic. To share a business or nonprofit story, please send us a message.

Dana Acquires Plymouth Township Software and ECU Supplier Pi Innovo
Pi Innovo, a Plymouth Township-based supplier of embedded software solutions and electronic control units for the light vehicle, commercial vehicle, and off-highway markets, has been acquired by Dana Inc. of Ohio. Terms of the transaction were not disclosed. Dana previously held a non-controlling interest in the company.

The acquisition enables Dana to increase its in-house electrodynamics capabilities and electrification product portfolio by adding a library of turn-key electric vehicle application software, vehicle level controllers, and auxiliary controllers.

“Integrating Pi Innovo with Dana’s leading e-propulsion software capabilities will further enhance our ability to provide value for our customers as they continue to accelerate their electric vehicle portfolio development,” says James Kamsickas, chairman and CEO of Dana.

The software and controls expertise of PI Innovo builds on Dana’s capabilities in designing, engineering, and delivering complete vehicle integration for e-propulsion systems.

Hard Rock Hotels Announces Plans for Reverb by Hard Rock in Kalamazoo
Hard Rock Hotels today announced plans for development of a Reverb by Hard Rock hotel in Kalamazoo in west Michigan.

Reverb by Hard Rock is a business casual hotel concept designed to be an energetic cultural hub for connection, creation, and inspiration among music fans, locals, and travelers alike.

The new hotel will feature the brand’s modern, urban design package, traveler-friendly integrated technology, smart rooms, shared spaces designed for collaboration, and will offer programming highlighting local music, food, and entertainment.

Working in partnership with PlazaCorp Realty Advisors and Dora Hotel Co., Reverb by Hard Rock Kalamazoo is expected to be built on the Gibson Mandolin-Guitar Manufacturing Co. site, keeping a keen eye on maintaining the historic parts of the property.

“PlazaCorp has a long history of redeveloping historic places and creating reimagined spaces and this project does just that,” says Andy Wenzel, executive vice president of PlazaCorp Realty Advisors. “Our partnership with Hard Rock connects the deep music history of this site with their appreciation of exciting and creative spaces, historic music events and artifacts. This transformational project provides new jobs and investment in the neighborhood and is made possible by our local, state and federal development partnerships contributing incentive support. We look forward to sharing this redeveloped site with the community and music lovers far and wide.”

This new build and conversion of the original Gibson manufacturing building, which has an anticipated completion date of fall 2023, will include a wide range of amenities for guests to enjoy including a Body Rock Fitness gym, a bar, brewery/restaurant, banquet facility, intimate auditorium, museum, and “signing room” where many historic artists signed contracts with Gibson.

“We are incredibly excited about our partnership with PlazaCorp Realty Advisors and Dora Hotel Co., allowing Reverb to expand to a prime city in Michigan,” says Todd Hricko, senior vice president of Hotel Development at Hard Rock International. “Reverb Kalamazoo is the perfect new location for the Reverb by Hard Rock brand, with several announcements in other major U.S. cities set to be made within the year.”

USA Today Readers Name Detroit Riverwalk as Best Riverwalk in America
USA Today has named the Detroit Riverwalk as the Best Riverwalk in the newspaper’s 2021 10Best Readers’ Choice Awards contest.

“The Detroit Riverfront is a very special place for our city and we are honored by this recognition,” says Matt Cullen, board chairman of the Detroit Riverfront Conservancy. “We have a tremendous year ahead and will continue to set the bar even higher as we finish up the East Riverfront and move to the west.”

Mark Wallace, president and CEO of the Detroit Riverfront Conservancy, says, “Every great city has a place where the entire community comes together. Detroiters love their riverfront, and we are incredibly proud to be recognized and celebrated on a national level.”

Nominees for USA Today 10Best Readers’ Choice Awards were selected by10Best editors along with a panel of urban planning experts. There were 20 riverwalks across the country in the competition. Among the riverwalks making the top 10 list were the Chicago Riverwalk, Charles River Esplanade (Boston), San Antonio River Walk, Wilmington Riverwalk, and Smale Riverfront Park (Cincinnati) and others.

The Detroit Riverfront attracts 3.5 million visitors annually and has remained open every day during the COVID-19 pandemic. Since last March, use of the Detroit Riverwalk has increased 20 percent and Dequindre Cut usage has increased by 40 percent. The Detroit Riverfront Conservancy has invested more than $200 million in the revitalization of the Detroit Riverfront, which in turn has generated more than $2 billion in public and private investment.

Clout Shop 313 Now Open at Laurel Park Place in Livonia
Clout Shop 313, a Detroit-based urban apparel brand, has opened a store at Laurel Park Place in Livonia.

Established in 2016, the Clout Shop 313 offerings extend from its signature heavyweight hoodies to trending caps.

“We celebrated the grand opening of Clout Shop 313 on Feb. 13, and we’re excited to see them already building their brand in Laurel Park Place,” says Dan Irvin, general manager of Laurel Park Place. “Shoppers are loving checking out the latest styles offered right here at our center.”

Laurel Park Place is a 574,368-square-foot regional shopping destination located off I-275 and west Six Mile Road. It features more than 75 stores and eateries, as well as a food court and a children’s play area.

For more information, visit here.

YMCA’s Day of Giving is March 2
On Tuesday, March 2, thousands of YMCA members and friends from across the nation will make contributions to support the YMCA’s community impact work.

In metro Detroit 100 percent of the YMCA’s corporate board and more than 90 percent of its full-time staff contribute to the Make Everyday Better campaign, which raises more than $1 million annually to provide, health and wellness services to metro Detroit children and families.

Despite the YMCA being closed for more than months in 2020 due to COVID-19, the YMCA of Metropolitan Detroit provided the following essential services to the community:

  • Served nearly 11,000 children in Macomb, Oakland, and Wayne counties with child care, Y Day Camp, SportPort (supervised youth sport sampling), Girls on the Run, Y Arts, and Y Learning Centers.
  • Distributed more than 217,000 meals to children and young adults with special needs, including delivering fresh food baskets to 100 families and 40 seniors for Thanksgiving. These baskets fed nearly 600 people. Each basket provided families a week of food during the holiday.
  • Promoted voter registration and participation to 50,000 YMCA members and program participants.
  • Adopted 80 families for the holiday season.

For more information and to donate, visit here.

Five Detroit Civil Rights Sites Listed in the National Register of Historic Places
Five Detroit sites associated with the civil rights movement and African American experience in the 20th century have been recognized by the National Park Service.

Nominated by Michigan’s State Historic Preservation Office (SHPO), these five sites join nearly 2,000 others in the state that have been listed in the National Register of Historic Places since 1966.

“These places are associated with both the struggles and successes of the African American community in Detroit during the volatile mid-20th century,” says Martha MacFarlane-Faes, historic preservation officer for the state of Michigan. “The Civil Rights Movement sought to demand equality for African Americans in the North as much as in the South. By listing these sites, the National Register recognizes Detroit’s significant role in the growth of the movement. They embody the wide range of issues the Black community encountered as it worked toward empowerment during this period.”

The nominations to the National Register were prepared as a part of a competitive African American Civil Rights program grant awarded by NPS to the Michigan SHPO. The sites were selected by a 14-person Civil Rights Advisory Committee that included local historians familiar with Detroit’s Black history and staff members from SHPO and City of Detroit Historic Designation Advisory Board. Quinn Evans Architects of Ann Arbor was selected to research and prepare the nominations for each of the five sites along with a context document that more broadly discusses the Civil Rights Movement in Detroit throughout the twentieth century.

The Civil Rights sites in Detroit that were listed in the National Register are:

  • Birwood Wall, located along the alleyway between Birwood Avenue and Mendota Street from Eight Mile Road to Pembroke Avenue.
  • New Bethel Baptist Church, 8430 Linwood St.
  • Rosa L. and Raymond Parks Flat, 3201-3203 Virginia Park St. (private residence).
  • Shrine of the Black Madonna of the Pan African Orthodox Christian Church, 7625 Linwood St.
  • WGPR-TV Studio, 3146 East Jefferson Ave.

To be considered for National Register listing, a property must be at least 50 years old, possess historic integrity, and be significant for its association with important people, events, or architecture/design at the local, state, or national level.

The National Register is the United States federal government’s official list of districts, sites, buildings, structures, and objects deemed worthy of preservation for their historical significance. Properties are nominated for listing by each state’s SHPO, often in partnership with local individuals or community organizations.

For more information about the National Register of Historic Places program in Michigan, and on how to nominate a property, visit here.

For more information about the African American Civil Rights program grant awarded to the Michigan SHPO and for links to the National Register nominations for each of these Civil Rights sites, visit here.

Beaumont and NKFM to Host World Kidney Day Virtual Discussion March 11
Beaumont Hospital, Royal Oak and the National Kidney Foundation of Michigan have teamed up to offer a free, virtual community panel discussion on Thursday, March 11, World Kidney Day, from 11:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m.

The program’s theme is “Living Well with Kidney Disease.” The panel of experts include a Beaumont nephrologist, a dietitian, and a person living with kidney disease. They’ll discuss effective strategies for living with kidney disease, nutrition tips, and COVID-19’s impact on the kidney community.

Dr. Lisa Cohen, chief of nephrology at Beaumont, Royal Oak, urges anyone with diabetes, hypertension, heart disease, obesity, or a family history of kidney disease to participate in the virtual community panel discussion.

“While the pandemic does not allow this to be an in-person forum, the virtual event will provide lots of good information about kidney disease which we hope will be helpful and beneficial to our community,” she says.

To join the virtual event, visit here. To submit questions before March 11, or to receive an email reminder to join the event, email contact@nkfm.org.

Folktellers Kicks Off 2021 Marche Du Nain Rouge Fundraiser
Detroit’s Folktellers today kicked off a month-long virtual fundraiser benefitting the March Du Nain Rouge in lieu of the annual in-person event, cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

For the entire month of March, all profits from the sale of Folktellers Nain Rouge merchandise will go to the Marche, which commemorates Detroit’s legendary troublemaker the Nain Rouge.

To participate, visit here.

Grand Traverse Pie Co. Celebrates Pi Day (3.14)
In honor of Pi Day (March 14), a day noted by math enthusiasts around the world, the Grand Traverse Pie Co. in Traverse City will be celebrating by serving a free slice of Michigan ABC Crumb Pie (Apples, Blueberries, and Cherries) with any purchase.

Grand Traverse Pie Co. says it always features Michigan products in every pie. This year’s free pie slices are made with Montmorency Cherries, Rubel Blueberries, Northern Spy Apples, and Michigan sugar and flour. In fact, about 1.5 million pounds of Michigan apples, blueberries, cherries, sugar, and flour go into Grand Traverse Pie Co.’s pies every year.

Visit here to find out more about Pi Day and locations celebrating this year’s mathematical holiday. Consumers who can’t get to a nearby GT Pie Shop can visit here to have the official Pi Day Michigan ABC Pie shipped to their homes. Pi Day pies must be ordered by March 8 to assure delivery by the weekend.

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