The Detroit Pistons announced hip-hop icon and Detroit-native Big Sean will become the organization’s Creative Director of Innovation. In this role, Big Sean will provide creative counsel and strategic guidance on a variety of Pistons off-the-court initiatives, including team merchandise design, in-game experience, co-branded community, and social responsibility activation, and more.
To kick off the partnership, Big Sean has added his Don Life logo to the Pistons practice jersey. Photos of the jerseys are attached.
“Sean is an accomplished artist, philanthropist and entrepreneur. Having spent time with him and his family I know how deeply he cares about the city of Detroit,” said Pistons Owner Tom Gores. “We share a common desire to use the power of sports and entertainment to improve our community and make a positive impact on people’s lives. I’m excited to see what we can do working together.”
Central to the partnership, the Pistons and the Sean Anderson Foundation will work together and engage Detroiters through future community initiatives and programming. The six-time Grammy nominee will also curate music for Pistons in-game entertainment, including halftime performances and DJ playlists. Additionally, Big Sean will participate in creative sessions and spearhead collaborations with the Pistons design team to launch custom merchandise line extensions.
“It’s a dream come true and a real honor to get to work with the iconic Detroit Pistons,” said Big Sean. “I grew up in the city, which naturally made me a fan of the Bad Boys. I would later have a Grant Hill poster on my wall and then, against all odds, would watch the ’04 Pistons go on to win the Championship, inspiring the whole city of Detroit. I look forward to creatively finding new ways to contribute to their legacy and continue their dedication to the community through sports, art, and, of course, music.”
Detroit Pistons Chief Business Officer Mike Zavodsky lauded the addition of Big Sean and sees the partnership as a natural fit for the Pistons and their newly launched D-Up brand campaign.
“Big Sean embodies everything the Pistons organization and our D-Up campaign is about – creativity, hard work, and the people of Detroit,” said Zavodsky. “Big Sean and the Pistons are both a part of the fabric of Detroit, and we look forward to this partnership reflecting the culture of the city we both call home.”
WithLittle Caesars Arenanow open and all four major sports teams in the heart of downtown, it’s an exciting time to be a Detroit sports fan. In fact, it’s been 38 years since theDetroit Pistonshave played in The D. Visitnba.com/pistonsfor ticket information.
The Detroit Red Wings walked the red carpet to open this season at their brand new home in The District Detroit, Little Caesars Arena. Wings fans are hopeful this renewed energy will carry them to another shot at the playoffs. For the full schedule, visit redwings.nhl.com.
Explore bars, shops and beautiful ice sculptures Jan. 12-14 at the Plymouth Ice Festival, the largest, free ice festival in Michigan. Dedicated to the art of ice carving, this event in downtown Plymouth also features live music and fun for the whole family. Visit plymouthicefestival.com for more information.
In the Motor City, there’s nothing quite like the North American International Auto Show. This spectacular show of innovation takes visitors to the future of the auto industry. Don’t miss this world-class event at Cobo Center Jan. 20-28. For more information, visit naias.com.
Things heat up outside at the Meridian Winter Blast Jan. 26-28 with family fun and more than 50 live music acts. Dance to the beat on your feet – or on your ice skates – in Detroit’s beloved Campus Martius Park. A 30-foot high winter slide whisks riders through a pitch-black tunnel at speeds of up to 20-mph. Visit winterblast.com for event details.
Nothing beats the cold, dark days of winter like barbeque, beer and live music. Every restaurant becomes a venue during the Ferndale Blues & Music Festival at the end of January each year. For dates, details and the full festival lineup, visit ferndalebluesfestival.org.
Enjoy ice-skating, ice carving, sledding and more at the Aqua Freeze Festival in St. Clair ShoresFeb. 17-18. This year there will also be pony rides and a petting zoo, with a theme of Once Upon a Time. Visit scsaquafreezefest.com for all the details.
Hear the revving of engines as custom hot rods roll into Cobo Center March 2-4 for Autorama, complete with interactive displays, demonstrations, guest appearances and prizes. Get the details at autorama.com.
One of the most celebrated winter holidays in metro Detroit is Fat Tuesday. Celebrate Packzi Dayon Feb. 12 by indulging in authentic treats from Hamtramck. Don’t be late! Hungry revelers line up in the early morning hours to get their hands on these delicious jelly donuts. Visit hamtramck.us for more information.
The shamrock-studded runners and parade floats will make their way down Michigan Avenue for the annual Corktown St. Patrick’s Day Parade Mar. 11. One of the surest signs spring is approaching, this event has plenty of bagpipes, marching bands and green beer. Visitdetroitstpatricksparade.com for details.
Get your brackets ready as the 2018 NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament comes to The D this year. Head over to Little Caesars Arena March 16-18 to catch the action. For tickets visitolympiaentertainment.com.
Take part in a true Detroit tradition as the Marche du Nain Rouge banishes Detroit’s “harbinger of doom” while celebrating all that is good in the city. Help to liberate its people from the grips of the Nain by joining in the parade on the streets of Midtown/Cass Corridor Mar. 25. Get the story atmarchedunainrouge.com.
Michigan Comedyfest showcases the talents of the LGBT community. This sidesplitting show is hosted by Equality Michigan and takes place at the Ford Community and Performing Arts Center in Dearborn. Visit dearbornfordcenter.com for all the details.
Take in the views of historic Greenfield Village from a Model T when the village reopens April 14. Step back in time inside dozens of historical buildings, homes and laboratories – such as Wright Cycle Co. and Thomas Edison’s laboratory. Take in a game of historic baseball and get lost in this old time treasure. Stroll over to thehenryford.org for more information.
Despite what the weather might suggest, for most Detroiters the first day of spring is Opening Day at Comerica Park (March 29 this year). Arguably, it’s the most fun day of the year downtown as the citywide celebrations and old English D logo wear flood the streets of Detroit. Go to mlb.com/tigersfor ticket information.
Be sure to check out the dozens of new restaurants, breweries, distilleries and coffee shops that have recently opened. Eastern Market Beer Co. has brought new life to not only the facility it’s in, but to the tradition of brewing beer in Eastern Market. The Apparatus Room inside the Detroit Foundation Hotel is a restaurant that is “historic while tastefully modern” as well as delicious. Too cold to go out? Order up UberEats to get the food you want from the Detroit restaurants you love with the help of Uber. For a more on new dining options, check out our recent blog article 6 New and Popular Detroit Restaurants.
Save 20 percent or more on popular Detroit attractions with The D Discount Pass. Current participants include the The Adventure Park at West Bloomfield, Automotive Hall Of Fame, Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History, Ford Piquette Avenue Plant, The Henry Ford, Legoland Discovery Center Michigan, Lucky Strike Entertainment, Michigan Science Center, Motown Museum, Outdoor Adventure Center, Sea Life Michigan Aquarium and Wheelhouse Detroit. The D Discount Pass is accepted at participating venues through December 31, 2018. To take advantage of these offers, go to visitdetroit.com/discount.
Explore the works of the most popular and financially successful painter in mid-19th-century America, Frederic Church. Take a trip to the Detroit Institute of Arts to experience Church: A Painter’s Pilgrimage through Jan. 15. Then experience the story of the Detroit hip-hop scene through D-Cyphered: Portraits by Jenny Risher through Feb. 18. For exhibit details, visit dia.org.
Now open at The Henry Ford Museum of American Innovation, check out The Science Behind Pixar through March 18. Explore the science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) concepts used by the artists and computer scientists who help bring Pixar’s award-winning films to the big screen. For more information, visit thehenryford.org
There are plenty of public shows throughout metro Detroit to keep you busy this winter. Visit the Detroit Marriott at the Renaissance Center March 2-4 for the Motor City Tattoo Expo. Take a swing at Suburban Collection Showplace for the Michigan Golf Show Mar. 9-11. Fishing enthusiasts won’t want to miss the Midwest Fly Fishing Expo March 10-11 at the Macomb Community College Sports & Expo Center. Find the boat you’ve been waiting for (or just imagine it) by visiting the Novi Boat Show March 15-18 at Suburban Collection Showplace. For additional events and expos, check out visitdetroit.com.
Detroit Is a Destination Pumping With a Newfound Energy You Can See, Hear, Touch and Taste
There’s an exciting, almost electric energy moving through metro Detroit. It whips through cyclists who are pedaling their way toward making Detroit one of the most bike-friendly cities in the nation. It eases along the QLine, the city’s new streetcar system that is reviving life up and down the city’s historic Woodward Avenue, from downtown to West Grand Boulevard.
It’s also spreading along that iconic boulevard, where plans are underway for a $50 million expansion of the Motown Museum, the place where music was made that still has people around the world dancing in the streets.
The surge extends throughout the tri-county area, too. In Chesterfield Township, for, example, outdoor retailer Cabela’s opened its first metro Detroit location this past summer. At Great Lakes Crossing Outlets in Oakland County, Round 1 Bowling and Amusement complex is set to open its first Michigan location this fall.
The buzz is even being felt by Hollywood types such as actor Hill Harper, who purchased the Roasting Plant coffeehouse in downtown Detroit and bought a house he is renovating in the city’s historic Boston-Edison neighborhood. “Detroit was the original Silicon Valley,” Harper said, explaining his affection for the city. “It was built on innovation and entrepreneurship. Plus, it has old-school Midwest values, so it offers the best of both worlds.”
Artists and other creative types are also driving Detroit’s newfound cool, Harper said. Detroit-based architect Rainy Hamilton, whose stamp is on a lot of the city’s recently proposed development, agreed, saying he hasn’t seen this kind of creativity and construction in his entire career. “What’s happening here is a real treat for all of us — Detroiters and visitors,” Hamilton noted. “It gives us a ton of things to do. It’s bringing people downtown. Once you get the heart of the city pumping, it’s going to spill out into the neighborhoods.”
Little Caesars Arena courtesy of The District Detroit
This forms the nucleus of what’s been successfully branded The District Detroit — a 50-block multifaceted concentration of places that are making the city a desired place to live, learn, work and play. As its website states: “A world-class sports and entertainment development — 50 blocks, eight theaters, five neighborhoods, four teams — one big win for Detroit.”
The entire area includes long-standing jewels such as The Fillmore Detroit and the Fox Theatre; Little Caesars headquarters, which is being renovated and expanded; and, eventually, nearly 700 new apartments. Additionally, Wayne State University’s Mike Ilitch School of Business is under construction right next door to Little Caesars Arena.
Attraction That Attracts
Even before its doors officially opened, Little Caesars Arena’s first six scheduled acts were nearly sold out, including its celebratory opening concert series in September featuring hometown star Kid Rock and October concerts by Paul McCartney. Tickets to the first McCartney concert sold so quickly, a second was immediately added.
Little Caesars Arena’s design is an attraction in its own right. Spaces and places in the arena are designed to make it bustle every day, not just on game days. A unique covered atrium called The Via offers a street-like vibe with entertainment, shopping and dining. The Piazza has a massive video screen for additional entertainment.
“It really is a gem of a facility,” said Doug Kuiper, vice president of communications at Ilitch Holdings Inc. “We’ll have top-flight entertainers of every kind but also smaller events, more community-oriented events. There are a variety of spaces in and around the arena that lend themselves not just to headline acts but to budding artists and art festivals as well as food-based, craft cocktail and beer events that are such a big thing in our community right now. We really think there will be something for everybody.”
Visitors enter the new arena on the main level, eliminating the need to navigate lots of stairs. Wide, comfy seats have cupholders. Sight lines are superior.
The state-of-the-art business school next door blends like an extension of the arena. Opening in 2018, it will offer teaching, learning and sharing space not just for its students but for businesspeople in and outside of Detroit as well.
The District Detroit represents a dream come true for Marian Ilitch and her husband, the late Mike Ilitch, arguably Detroit’s comeback pioneers. Their vision of a walkable, attractive community in the heart of the city is now being overseen by their son, Christopher Ilitch, president and CEO of Ilitch Holdings.
Also helping transform the city’s core into a downright fun place to live and work is real estate mogul and businessman Dan Gilbert. He is scheduled to break ground this December on what will be Detroit’s tallest building — a proposed 52-story skyscraper on the site of the former J.L. Hudson department store. It’ll include housing, retail and space for artistic and cultural experiences.
Other Gilbert-infused projects reviving the city’s landscape include 28Grand, an eight-story complex of 218 fully furnished micro-lofts that are set to begin leasing in 2017. The 130-room Shinola Hotel, built in conjunction with luxury goods maker Shinola, is slated to open on Woodward Avenue in fall 2018.
“This is a perfect time to come and see just how far the city has evolved,” said Eric Larson, chief executive officer of the Downtown Detroit Partnership. “In many ways, we’ve been blessed with a very, very strong civic, philanthropic, business and artistic community that has really allowed the city a second chance. We have had a real sea change. Detroiters — those who work and live here — have this gritty determination, and there was no option but for us to move forward.”
On a more literal note, Detroit’s two newest modes of transportation are helping to move people forward—and back—so they can enjoy a great deal of the new retail, housing, restaurants, sports and entertainment facilities and workplaces in Detroit.
First, there is the QLine, a streetcar system that began running from downtown to West Grand Boulevard this past spring and quickly proved its value as an easy, attractive and economical way to connect people to shops, restaurants, work, cultural attractions and more along the 3-mile-plus stretch. It costs $3 for a daily pass or $1.50 for a three-hour pass. Monthly and yearly passes are also available.
Qline by Bill Bowen
“It’s great for everyone, but especially visitors who then don’t have to figure out how to navigate through traffic or where to park,” said Sommer Woods, vice president of external relations for the QLine. “It’s a great way for people to explore what’s happening in the downtown corridor. And it helps people connect to other parts of the city.”
Louis and Donna Gormely, of metro Detroit suburb Grosse Pointe Woods, along with their two children, were among a steady stream of passengers who enjoyed free rides during the opening weeks of the QLine. Gormely, a season ticket holder with the Red Wings, said he was super happy about the development in The District Detroit and throughout the city. “I think it’s fabulous,” he said. “It has brought a lot of jobs to Detroit, along with new places to enjoy.”
MoGo, the city’s first public bike share system, also launched to great fanfare in the spring. It offers 430 red-orange bikes that people can rent from 40 kiosks (with more stations coming) in several sections of the city. The primary cost option is $8 for a daily pass that’ll give you an unlimited number of 30-minute trips.
“MoGo is for all,” said Lisa Nuszkowski, MoGo’s executive director. “The transit rider looking for better connections, the resident seeking more flexibility and convenience in their daily travels, the employee who needs to run an errand at lunch or head to a meeting, the student who needs an affordable form of transportation, and the visitor looking to explore the city.”
Explore the cool, newish places to shop in and near Detroit
ArtLoft, Bird Bee, Bonobos, Boro Resale, Cass Collective, The Collective, Détroit is the New Black, House of Pure Vin, Nike Community Store, North End Collective, Third Man Records, Under Armour, Warby Parker, Yama, Zarkpa’s Purses and Accessories in Detroit • Amazon Pop-Up, Merit Goodness and Vans Outlet at Great Lakes Crossing Outlets in Auburn Hills • Cabela’s in Chesterfield Township • Macy’s Backstage inside Macy’s stores at Fairlane Town Center in Dearborn, Oakland Mall in Troy and Lakeside Mall in Sterling Heights • Shinola Store at the Somerset Collection in Troy • American Girl (temporary store through Jan. 28, 2018) at Twelve Oaks Mall in Novi
More That’s New To See and Do In and Around The D
Beacon Park, DTE Energy’s new 1.5 acre green oasis at Grand River and Cass Avenue — near The District Detroit — opened this summer. The park offers daily activities, including concerts and sporting events and, next spring, a Belgian-style cafe with the city’s only living roof — meaning it’ll have greenery growing year-round as well as seating when weather permits.
Beacon Park by Downtown Detroit Partnership
The Velodrome complex, at I-75 and Mack Avenue, will offer a multipurpose sports and recreation facility, including a state-of-the-art velodrome for world-class bicycle racing and training; three fields for different sports; a track for running, walking and skating; space for fitness classes; and a cafe. Activities here are expected to attract people from all over the world, said Dale Hughes, executive director of the Detroit Fitness Foundation, which plans to open the center this fall. The facility is slated to host the 2017 U.S. Cycling Madison Track National Championships on Oct. 19-21.
The Corner Ballpark, on the site of Old Tiger Stadium, is set to open this fall. It will be the new home field of Detroit PAL (Police Athletic League). “The corner of Michigan and Trumbull has a 100-year history of legendary ball playing,” said Tim Richey, executive director of Detroit PAL. “The restored field will offer visitors a chance to be a part of history and at the same time witness future generations of players.” Visitors to the field will be able to play ball, run the bases or simply watch games from the bleachers.
Elton Park will be a mix of renovated and new homes and trendy shops on 4.5 acres in Corktown, in the area around Trumbull and Elizabeth Street. “We’re going to make this a walkable, intimate neighborhood,” said Tysen McCarthy, vice president of Soave Real Estate, of the project still under construction. “Visitors are going to want to come see a new section of Detroit that is thriving, located in an area that already has a reputation as a destination.”
The Detroit riverfront continues to evolve as an exciting place to walk, run, bike or simply relax near sparkling waters. Among the newest projects is Portal View, an interactive computer and artifacts housed in a revamped shipping container in front of the Detroit/Wayne County Port Authority. It allows people to learn maritime history of the riverfront and to follow the ships navigating the river and Great Lakes in real time.
“We have had a real sea change. Detroiters — those who work and live here — have this gritty determination, and there was no option but for us to move forward.” — Eric Larson, Downtown Detroit Partnership
New Places to Stay In and Around The D
With all the new metro Detroit attractions, people need places to stay when visiting. In recent hotel headlines, the hipster hotel Trumbull & Porter in Corktown has been garnering attention, along with the transformation of a downtown firehouse into the 100-room Detroit Foundation Hotel. By maintaining architectural features such as its signature red doors and incorporating handcrafted and artistic elements, it preserves a historic feel in a classy-comfy, modern space. The hotel’s Apparatus Room restaurant, located in what was the apparatus room of the firehouse, is run by Michigan native and two-star Michelin chef Thomas Lents.
Detroit Foundation Hotel by Michelle & Chris Gerard
The Siren Hotel, in the historic Wurlitzer Building, is scheduled to open its 106-room property this fall. Soon after, in 2018, travelers can experience the 110-room Element Detroit Hotel in the Metropolitan Building, the West Elm Hotel from furniture and home decor retailer West Elm in Midtown and the 130-room Shinola Hotel, a joint venture of Bedrock and goods maker Shinola.
Not surprisingly, The District Detroit also has plans for its own on-site hotel. Details on the name and the official grand opening are still under wraps, but rumors continue to surface that it will be in 2019
Photo: Google— #VisitDetroit
Nika Card has been a master stylist in Detroit for 20+ years. She is committed to continuing education and the importance of creativity and innovation. She offers a range of techniques in cutting, weaving and styling.
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BELFOR Property Restoration will be the naming rights partner of the BELFOR Training Center (Red Wings practice facility), which will also be the home to the Little Caesars AAA Hockey club. Established by Mike and Marian Ilitch in 1968, the Little Caesars Amateur Hockey program celebrates its 50th anniversary season in 2017-18 and has provided opportunities for tens of thousands of youngsters to play the great game of hockey over the years. Hundreds have gone on to play in the National Hockey League, universities and top junior leagues throughout North America.
The partnership also includes exterior signage on the entrance to the Training Center and branding throughout the space. In addition, BELFOR Property Restoration will have an in-ice logo at Little Caesars Arena main center ice.
Birmingham-based BELFOR Property Restoration’s global headquarters has been providing clients 24/7 disaster recovery and emergency property restoration services for more than 70 years. The Little Caesars Arena Landmark sponsorship reflects BELFOR Property Restoration’s continuing commitment to the city in which it was founded.
BELFOR Property Restoration works with insurance companies to get customers back up and running as quickly and efficiently as possible when a home or business suffers from manmade or natural disasters caused by elements such as fire, water, mold or storm damage.
“We are delighted to have BELFOR Property Restoration as a long-term partner,” said Tom Wilson, president and CEO of Olympia Entertainment. “It’s a familiar, family-owned and Detroit-based company success story, much like the Ilitch family and Ilitch companies. We’re proud to have a company so committed to the city associated with Little Caesars Arena.”
“We’re proud to build on our existing relationship with the Ilitch family and Olympia Entertainment through our landmark sponsorship,” said Sheldon Yellen, BELFOR Property Restoration CEO. “Little Caesars Arena is going to be one of the finest arenas in the world, right here in our own backyard. This is a great opportunity to connect with the fans, residents and businesses in Detroit to support the Detroit Red Wings, and the unbelievable entertainment that will come as a result of this amazing building.”
Home to the Detroit Red Wings, Detroit Pistons and other sports and entertainment events, concerts, family shows and community functions, the new Little Caesars Arena will feature a dramatic arena bowl, proximity to the action and great sight lines. Rich with the tradition of the Original Six™ Detroit Red Wings, the Detroit Pistons and Detroit’s incredible musical heritage, Little Caesars Arena will also feature state-of-the-art technology and fan amenities.
Mike and Marian Ilitch, the founders of Little Caesars Pizza, began sponsorship of amateur hockey in 1968. The Little Caesars AAA Program celebrates its 50th anniversary this season, honoring 72 State Championships, 14 National titles and more than 100 players who have gone on to play in the NHL, along with hundreds in the NCAA, OHL and top junior leagues throughout North America. The Little Caesars Amateur Hockey League was created in 1978 to increase the level of competitive play and provide more opportunities for metro Detroit youth hockey players. Today, the league consists of more than 600 travel and house teams competing for trophies at a variety of levels.
BELFOR Property Restoration, globally strong yet locally focused, is the premier worldwide disaster restoration company serving 31 countries with more than 300 offices employing 7,400 full-time experienced restoration specialists. Based in Birmingham, MI, BELFOR Property Restoration takes great pride in helping clients return to normal operations after property damage by providing the most extensive network of personnel, equipment, resources and innovative strategies. From water and flood restoration services, fire and smoke recovery, structural damage repair and clean-up to the recovery and restoration of equipment and vital documents, BELFOR Property Restoration has a rapid and proven response in “Restoring More Than Property” for homes, businesses and communities affected by disaster.
For more information, please visit www.belfor.com; “Like” BELFOR Property Restoration on facebook.com/belforgroup; or “follow” @BELFORGroup on Twitter and Instagram. Immediate assistance is available 24/7 on our National Emergency Hotline: 800-800-BELFOR.
(Images courtesy of Instagram— District Detroit & Detroit Red Wings)
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