With a goal of fulfilling the ever growing need for technical professionals in downtown Detroit, Grand Circus — a tech-training institute located on three floors of the Broderick Tower — will open Friday with public tours of its collaborative work and event space.
“We want people to get a sense of who we are,” says Bradley Hoos, co-founder of Grand Circus, which offers 5,000 square feet of space and includes such tenants as Automation Alley. “We see ourselves as the connective tissue of the Detroit tech community.”
Training sessions at the new facility are designed for those pursuing one of four paths: becoming a web developer, a mobile developer, launching and growing a business, or learning the tech basics (which include using WordPress and formatting code). Examples of upcoming sessions include a 3-to-4-hour seminar, The Origins of the Internet, and a more intensive 10-week course, Build an Android App.
“There’s definitely something for different skill sets,” says Hoos, adding that registration for the sessions is now open. “We’ve seen positive engagement from individual entrepreneurs and businesses alike. We’ve been really pleased with the response we’ve had so far.”
Grand Circus investors include Detroit Venture Partners, a local venture capital firm that seeks to generate enough jobs to fill 1 million square feet of downtown office space in the next 10 years. Located in the neighboring Madison Building, Detroit Venture Partners are working with Choremonster, a suite of web and mobile applications that encourages children complete their chores by offering an incentives/rewards, and the Detroit-based cloud software company, Rule.
As far as Grand Circus goes, they’re “here to help further grow the tech eco system in Detroit,” Hoos says. “There’s so much exciting stuff happening, and we’re going to help accelerate that growth. Once you come downtown, that energy is infectious — in a good way.”
In addition to Grand Circus, the Broderick Tower includes 125 apartments along with a new restaurant, beer garden, and wine bar expected to open soon. The building is one of the most identifiable structures in the central business district, given its eastern façade is adorned with a mural of whales created by marine artist Robert Wyland.
In other downtown business news, Detroit-based Rockbridge Growth Equity, one of the family of companies under Quicken Loans which invests in financial, consumer-direct marketing, and the sports, media, and entertainment industries, has acquired Bethesda, Maryland-based RapidAdvance, a leading provider of small business loans. While Rockbridge has been adding employees to its Detroit operations, there are no plans to move workers from RapidAdvance to the central business district, says Carolyn Artman, senior PR manager for Rockbridge.
Also, Bill Hults, the investor who tried to acquire the Packard Plant, failed to conclude a deal on Friday and now the 40-acre industrial site will go up for auction by Wayne County.