Multi-Media Company to Revamp Vacant School in Highland Park for New HQ


Rochester-based Modern Tribe Communications Inc. a, multi-media company, plans to invest $3 million to buy and renovate a vacant school in Highland Park and reopen the facility next spring as its headquarters with solar panels and an urban farm.

Juan Shannon, president and CEO of Modern Tribe, says the 42,000-square-foot school, located at 181 E. Buena Vista, has been abandoned for more than 20 years.

“We’re going to do a green rehab of the entire building,” Shannon says. “There will be solar panels and wind turbines that will be part of the building. Then we’ll also have blue infrastructure that will capture the rain water and snow melt to go back in and irrigate the urban farm.”

Shannon says he is working with Green Garage, a sustainable co-working space in Detroit’s Midtown district, to conduct workshops at the new headquarters on renewable energy. He says he plans to eventually have a restaurant with live entertainment in the new building.

Shannon plans to create a full-service space for shooting and producing movies. He also plans on expand the company, which currently has five full-time employees, to 75 (full-time and contract) over the next few years.

“(When Modern Tribe Communications made its first film) we had five full-time employees but we ramped up to 100 people just to do this movie,” Shannon says. “(Other film companies) employ a ton of people year round. It made sense to me that instead of contracting these people, if we were doing continuous broadcasts, then we would need a full staff to do that.”​

Modern Tribe Communications, founded in 1997, has an independent label with clients that include the rapper Sunny Cartel and Gabe Gonzalez, the drummer from P-Funk.