DBusiness Daily Update: Detroit Approves Grand Prix’s Move to Downtown in 2023, 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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Detroit City Council has approved the Detroit Grand Prix’s proposed move to the central business district from Belle Isle, pictured above in 2021, beginning in 2023. // Photo by Tim Keenan
Detroit City Council has approved the Detroit Grand Prix’s proposed move to the central business district from Belle Isle, pictured above in 2021, beginning in 2023. // Photo by Tim Keenan

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.

City Approves Grand Prix’s Move to Downtown Streets from Belle Isle for 2023

The Detroit City Council on Wednesday approved the Detroit Grand Prix’s proposed move to the central business district from Belle Isle Park for the 2023 race weekend.

“The positive reaction and the excitement that we have seen from the community about the Grand Prix coming back downtown reinforces our belief that the relocation will provide a significant benefit to the city, its residents, and our local businesses for the future,” said a statement released by the Grand Prix.

“We thank Mayor (Mike) Duggan, the City of Detroit team, Council President Brenda Jones, and everyone on the Detroit City Council for their input and support throughout this process,” the statement continued.

The 2022 Detroit Grand Prix will take place as planned June 3-4 on Belle Isle. In 2023, the race will be contested on a course that includes the Detroit riverfront and other downtown streets in a much different configuration than was used when the race was previously run downtown.

The first Detroit Grand Prix in 1982 was a Formula 1 race run on downtown. IndyCar replaced F1 as the race’s main attraction in 1989, and moved the race to Belle Isle in 1992.

Penske Automotive’s CarShop Expands to Arizona

Penske Automotive Group Inc. in Bloomfield Township has opened its eighth U.S.-based CarShop location and 23rd worldwide in Scottsdale, Ariz., part of the Phoenix metropolitan area.

The new, 45,000-square-foot facility is located at the Scottsdale AutoShow on the Salt River Pima-Maricopa Indian Community. Shoppers can select from hundreds of cars in inventory or choose from CarShop’s thousands of makes and models across the country, available for home delivery with a five-day, 500-mile money-back guarantee.

The dealership features a modern indoor area where shoppers can buy hassle-free from CarShop’s no-pressure sales team, as well as a fully equipped service center staffed with ASE-certified technicians trained to care for all makes and models, regardless of where the vehicles were purchased.

“We are certain that our new Scottsdale location will become a trusted destination for car shoppers looking for an easy, fair, and dependable place to purchase quality vehicles,” says Roger Penske, chair and CEO of Penske Automotive. “With our well-established reputation, competitive warranties, enjoyable shopping experience, and top vehicle selection, our customers can be confident in their purchase from CarShop.”

The new location has created 50 jobs in the local community, with several positions still available to be filled.

Consumers Energy Commits to Powering 1M EVs in Michigan by 2030

Jackson-based Consumers Energy states it is committed to powering 1 million electric vehicles in Michigan by 2030. The goal, the company says, would put Michigan in the driver’s seat for the next generation of clean, zero-emissions vehicles and support the auto industry’s goal to have electric vehicles be 50 percent of new sales by 2030.

“Consumers Energy is committed to Michigan’s EV transformation, and all the road signs show an all-electric automotive future is moving closer to becoming a reality,” says Lauren Youngdahl Snyder, vice president of customer experience at Consumers Energy.

Youngdahl Snyder says Consumers Energy is gearing up to support 1 million EVs in just the communities where it provides electricity, which means most of Michigan’s Lower Peninsula, excluding the Detroit area which is dominated by DTE Energy.

Today, there are about 12,000 registered EVs in Consumers Energy’s territory.

Airbnb to Crack Down on New Year’s Eve Parties in Detroit

Airbnb has announced its plan today to help prevent unauthorized parties over the New Year’s Eve weekend.

The plan entails a block on certain one-night reservations during New Year’s Eve of entire home listings in Detroit, and expanding to other parts of the world, from Canada to France to Australia. These defenses go into effect today for guests without a history of positive reviews, complementing the other party prevention systems and Airbnb’s ongoing party ban.

Last year, Airbnb piloted a similar initiative over New Year’s Eve and estimates that these efforts achieved their objectives of reducing disruptive parties. In Detroit, more than 700 were deterred by the company’s various anti-party defenses from booking entire home listings last holiday season. The company also applied a similar system in the U.S. most recently this past weekend for Halloween.

Lansing’s BitLyft Raises 1M to Supercharge Cybersecurity Mission

Lansing-based BitLyft Cybersecurity has closed its first seed round of funding resulting in a $1 million infusion of capital that will allow the company to expand its mission to deliver automated and optimized cybersecurity solutions to small and midsize organizations.

After its founding in 2016, BitLyft quickly pivoted from a focus on managed security services to software when it developed BitLyft AIR, an automation and optimization platform designed to reduce labor intensive tasks, optimize SIEM (security information and event management), and provide more immediate value to clients.

BitLyft says it is now primed to build on that platform to fully realize the transition to a software company with a service-first approach.

“This is a different type of seed funding in that we have already built a successful business model based on providing tangible value to our clients,” says Jason Miller, founder and CEO of BitLyft. “We’re not just hoping to develop a product that market research tells us people will buy—they’re already buying it, using it, and giving us real-time feedback on how to shape the roadmap moving forward.”

BitLyft says it will leverage the funds to make the next generation of their AIR platform more accessible and valuable to a market that is both resource-constrained and under increasing pressure to demonstrate a strong security posture to customers and stakeholders. By providing greater visibility and insight into their entire digital world, the platform will also allow management to be better equipped to make more informed business decisions, not just as they relate to IT and security, but across their entire organization.

“Automating and optimizing key security tasks gives organizations access to tools they can implement without the need for large security or IT teams,” says Miller. “This isn’t just software with support, it’s service-focused technology that gives companies the ability to respond quickly to today’s threats.”

Marathon Refinery Plants 150 Trees in Southwest Detroit

Volunteers from Marathon Petroleum Corp.’s Detroit Refinery planted 150 trees in the Oakwood Heights neighborhood next to their southwest Detroit facility.

This tree planting program is one of many environmental stewardship efforts the Detroit Refinery has conducted in recent years. Marathon has invested $350 million in environmental and safety improvements at the Detroit Refinery and reviews and improves health and safety processes on an on-going basis.

Marathon says its facility improvements over the last 20 years have led to an 80 percent reduction in emissions, including 10 percent in the past five years.

The company also is partnering with the Wildlife Habitat Council, an organization that focuses on helping to restore biodiversity to urban areas, for the restoration and sustainability of greenspace in 48217, specifically in the Oakwood Heights and Boynton neighborhoods. The development of these green spaces will create a buffer zone around industrial facilities and I-75 in the neighborhood to improve the environment and air-quality in Southwest Detroit.

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