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More Links of the Day:

– In a move mystifying just about everyone, Whole Foods is opening a store in a “scruffy” area of downtown Detroit, one of the country’s most depressed cities. The median income is only $28,357. The Wall Street Journal reports (article behind paywall):

Whole Foods is locating in a section of Detroit rebranded Midtown. The neighborhood encompasses some important demographic anchors—Wayne State University, the Detroit Institute of Arts, and the Detroit Medical Center, among others. From that core, and fueled by business investment and economic-development incentives over the past couple of decades, a notable if nascent urban rebirth has taken root. It stretches piecemeal from Midtown to downtown and the river front.


Today, there are many more vacant lots. But there are also more than 800 community gardens using some of that space to grow vegetables and fruit for home use. That also caught Whole Foods’ attention. As did the city’s bustling Eastern Market, one of the oldest and biggest farmers markets in the country. It draws in produce from throughout the region and sells it to supermarkets and restaurants. Up to 40,000 people shop at its Saturday Market. The new Whole Foods plans to buy there as well.

The arrival of Whole Foods is expected to boost property values:

Studies have shown that valued local amenities are attractive to house hunters and add to the belief that an area is up-and-coming. “It’s a chicken-and-egg issue,” says Stuart A. Gabriel, director of UCLA’s Richard S. Ziman Center for Real Estate.


Homebuyers choose neighborhoods because of the low crime rate and good public schools – but an equally big factor is the presence of a brand like Whole Foods, real estate analysts say.


And economists say once one big chain like Whole Foods moves in, other businesses and commercial offices may follow.

A place called Midtown. A busy public market. Community gardens on vacant lots. A riverfront. Economic development incentives.

You see where I’m going with this. So who’s going to take the gamble?

– A Wayne County father is pleading for help for his son, a military veteran with PTSD who is facing serious charges in Wayne County.

– A bizarre off-stage drama is unfolding at Shea’s Theatre in Buffalo. The ushers – many of them elderly – have been told not to sit during many performances.

– An executive penned an editorial in the New York Times called “Why I am Leaving Goldman Sachs.” It has spawned a number of hilarious parodies and tweets. The slam dunk goes to Jason Gay at the Wall Street Journal for “Why I am Leaving the New York Knicks.”

3 Responses to Whole Foods Saves (Detroit’s) Midtown

  1. This move by Whole Foods should not mystify… They have a long history of taking chances on urban areas that are “up and coming.” When we lived in DC, I saw them do this in several neighborhoods. All were REALLY BAD when they moved in. But as an anchor store, they were able the lead the charge. Other businesses followed and housing prices followed… Hummm.. What an idea? 🙂

  2. About the Shea Theater story, it made me curious to know how the Auditorium Theatre handles their volunteers. I know I’ve seen chairs placed in the house right and left front exit areas for volunteer ushers to sit in when the house was full. Can’t say I noticed if volunteers sat in empty house seats

    I work for The Landmark Society – we have a pretty large volunteer contingent for special public events like our house tours. I have heard many times from these volunteers that a big reason they like volunteering for Landmark is that we treat them with respect. Which always made me wonder – who is NOT treating them with respect?

    Volunteers don’t work for free. We just pay them in a different currency than cash – special opportunities, professional courtesy, and recognition of their contribution. Sounds like the Shea director needs a refresher course himself.

  3. Pingback: Midtown Needs Vision » The Rochesterian

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