PRNewswire

Greektown Casino-Hotel officials announced today that market share increased from January 2009 to February 2009 by nearly one percent and represents the first market share increase for the property since September 2008.

Greektown Casino also showed positive year-over-year February revenue numbers, with an increase of 1.89 percent, in relation to February 2008.

February 2009 revenue is the highest for the company since it filed for Bankruptcy in May 2008. In addition, the company is also exceeding internal financial projections and expected hotel occupancy rates.

"Our numbers are positive compared to last year and that represents a great new beginning for Greektown. The market share increase from last month to this month indicates signs of a positive trend. The Fine Point Group was selected to turn this property around, and while we are a long way from being out of the woods, we are excited about the new momentum and are looking forward to continued progress," said Randall A. Fine, Managing Director of The Fine Point Group and soon to be Chief Executive Officer of Greektown Casino-Hotel pending regulatory approvals.

In recent weeks, Greektown Casino-Hotel embarked on a new marketing program including hotel incentives for players, a starting room rate of just $99, several casino promotions with chances to win a "life changing" amount of money such as "Spin to Win $1 Million" and "Sure Win Hot Seat."

"While the revenue numbers look great, anyone can grow the topline if they lose focus on profitability. At Greektown, we are also exceeding all of our internal profitability projections and goals - by 30 percent in January and 80 percent in February. The new hotel tower is doing great as well, with 60 percent weekday and 80 to 100 percent occupancy on weekends. We're pushing an aggressive marketing campaign and we've begun to see positive numbers as a result. We are going to show the people of Detroit that no one will work harder for their business," said Fine.

Located at 555 E. Lafayette Avenue in Detroit's Greektown Entertainment District, Greektown Casino-Hotel opened on Nov. 10, 2000.

Greektown Casino-Hotel offers such amenities as their all-new International Buffet, the Eclipz Lounge and a VIP lounge for players.

Greektown Casino-Hotel opened its new 400-room hotel tower February 2009.

For reservations and group events, call 877-GCH-5554 or visit http://www.greektowncasino.com/.

A NON-MOTORIZED PLAN FOR THE MOTOR CITY

Dorian Moore
In a previous post I talked about the need for cities to look at their situations as-is.

This leads to uncovering opportunities that exploit a city’s “uniqueness."

The City of the Past thrived on communal interaction out of necessity.

The City of the Present has an emphasis on private space aided and abetted by personal electronics.

The City of the Opportunity embraces adaptive reuse of place and space as a primary “organizing” theme.

Urban areas are uniquely equipped to provide this type of experience because of the concentration of the built “infrastructure” of buildings, open space, and landmarks, which create an environment of intense energy.

Understanding the roles that all three of the above elements play will be important in dealing with nature as a desirable amenity within the city will be paramount to counteract the rapid suburbanization of our country in the latter half of the 20th century. To ease the now inbred misunderstanding of the virtue of density among American citizens, natural elements must coexist with, but not dominate, the urban realm.

The Non-Motorized Urban Transportation Masterplan for Detroit is an example of opportunistic thinking in action. When you think of it what better place for this than the city that is known for the auto and yet 30% of its populace doesn’t own one?

I. DETROIT: THE URBAN CONDITION

The trials and tribulations of Detroit have been well documented:

-population loss to below 1 million after peaking at 2 million in the 1950s
-racial polarization
-economic disinvestment leading to physical devastation

The intrigue of Detroit stems from the fact that it is “shrinking” yet this shrinking is just the thing that is providing it with unparalleled opportunities for [re]development. The urban condition has become much more than the “hole in the donut”. It is a tattered tapestry. Thing that makes any tapestry, though, is the quality of the connections.

Detroit has (de)veloped into a series of destinations that are disconnected. Currently, “The City” (i.e.,government) and designers are searching for ways to link these pieces utilizing unique functions. We can understand how this situation is being reversed by looking at the city in relation to how it is [re]forming itself.

The following three areas, if successfully handled, could hold the answer for the rebirth of the city:

“Creative Economies”
Green development principles provide opportunities to rethink the way urban space works as well as how the urban economy flows.

“Opportunity-based Redevelopment”
Adaptive reuse of buildings and sites becomes a change agent by providing the opportunity to inject new functions into existing areas, creating catalysts for change.

“Transitions of Activity”
These areas are of primary concern. They hold the key to urban restructuring in many post-industrial cities. Detroit is specifically rethinking its core with “gaming” facilities as well as grass roots appropriation of public space. This approach fills needs on both ends of the socio-economic spectrum, but it does not help to “heal” the city overall. It represents both hope and despair.
II. TAKING ADVANTAGE OF UNDERUTIZED ROADS AND PARK SYSTEMS

Interestingly, though, Detroit has embarked on an endeavor that can fulfill this goal: a master plan for a Non-Motorized Path System for the entire city. 139 square miles of walking trails, greenways, and bicycle paths that will be used to provide connectivity between the numerous disparate nodes within the city. This plan, once implemented will provide non-car dependant mobility options for citizens of the “Motor City."

This is crucial in a city where more than half the population depends on public transportation that consists only of buses. I have been fortunate to be one the urban design consultants on this unique initiative5. This initiative takes advantage of the “opportunity” that underutilized streets, parks, districts, and rights-of-way provide. It attempts to stitch together the tattered tapestry.

III. THE PROCESS FOR THE NON-MOTORIZED PLAN

A. Design Team planning process

a. Destination Analysis
b. Route Analysis
c. Infrastructure Inventory
d. Intra-city connectivity

B. Public Involvement process

The process of realizing the Non-Motorized Path system involved community input at multiple levels. The design team conducted workshops in communities on all sides of the city. The team also worked closely with the Parks and Recreation department and the Department of Streets and Roads. The overwhelming vacancy in the city became a positive for realizing the project. The openness fostered creativity in planning as well as responding to residents needs.

C. Guidelines

a. Bike Lanes
b. Trailways
c. Greenways

IV. IMPLEMENTATION OF THE PLAN

A. Recommendations
B. Educating the Public
C. Encouraging usage
D. Enforcing rules of engagement

V. CONCLUSION

Towards a Better Community
A new urban environment is created by combining the traditional planning of urban areas with new technologies and aesthetics. The buildings respect the scale of the pedestrian and also provide interesting and engaging storefronts to make for a pleasurable experience. The area contains a healthy mix of housing, shopping, entertainment, and office functions. Again, this a traditional model for healthy urban development realized in a decidedly contemporary aesthetic. True urban space is created. Older, primarily industrial, American cities which typically have large areas of urban blight must embrace this concept of creating healing environments from the decay. Creating multi-functioning environments within the gaping holes in the existing fabric is an area where the city of the future can make the largest stride towards completely recapturing the spirit of community. A key element in doing this will be a connecting system that embraces, rather than fights, the existing paradigm.
http://nicolena10.blogspot.com/

It's such a breath of fresh air to read an article that sheds some positive light on Detroit. Every time I do, I make sure to share it with as many people as possible because we're all drowning in a sea of negativity on a daily basis.

Jeff Barr from the Kalamazoo Gazette shows some love for Detroit in his recent article about a Motown weekend getaway. In one article, Jeff sums up the message various organizations in southeast Michigan are trying to get across to the rest of the world, and sadly the majority of Michigan: Detroit truly has a lot to offer.

Jeff and his wife drove the two hours east from the K-zoo to Detroit - the "big-time city that often gets a big-time bad rap." The couple discovered just how fun and exciting Detroit can be, and I thank Jeff for putting his weekend into words to share this experience with the many skeptics.

Jeff highlights a variety of Detroit locations, including the Ren Cen Marriott, 42 Degrees North and Volt in the Ren Cen, the Fox Theater and of course, American Coney Island.

The entire weekend Jeff and his wife were in Detroit, they encountered not one of Detroit's typical stereotypes (you know, drug deals on every street corner and the constant ear-splitting sound of gun shots). They simply had a great vacation that didn't require the typical expenditures or travel hassle that accompanies many trips.

Take a few minutes to read the entire article. We all need a reminder that there are many reasons why we choose to live, work and play in Detroit.

Biggby Coffee Rules Social Media

http://www.yaffetidbitsblog.com/

You don't have to be a big company to be big in social media. Sure, large companies like Ford and GM have directors of social media on staff, but smaller companies who commit to it can make a big impact, too.

In fact, they just may be able to do it better. Such is the case with Biggby Coffee, a coffee chain of around 150 shops based out of East Lansing, Michigan.

Their whole vibe is an anti-Starbucks, fun and friendly vibe. And they're big into creating engagement with both their customers and their employees.

I'd seen Biggby Coffee shops going up around town here and decided to check them out online. Right away, they engage you when you land on the homepage. You can customize it with your own name and your choice of 5 backgrounds. There's also a trivia game you can play. But, the real engagement occurs when you enter the B Happy Lounge.

Near the top of the page, their logo keeps opening and shutting with CEO Biggby Bob popping his head out and inviting you into the lounge. Once there, you have a number of things to do and links to all their social networks: Facebook, Twitter, Biggby Bob's Blog, a YouTube channel, Flickr and LinkedIn.

The first place I went was an area in the lounge that invites customers to upload a picture to enter into Biggby's "Let's Travel The World Together" photo contest. All you have to do is take a picture of anything anywhere as long as it has a Biggby cup in the shot.

There are monthly and yearly winners, It's perfect to engage the rabid fan who's going to enter, but also to engage the casual fan who just enjoys viewing the photos - each a consumer generated subtle ad for Biggby.

The CEO, Biggby Bob writes the ongoing commentary for the Twitter account and uses it very effectively. It's the right mix of personal, business and fun tweets. He keeps up a pretty steady stream and was pretty quick to reply when I sent him a tweet - something you'd never get from a big company CEO. Plus, they do a good job of combining customer engagement with promotion.
On different days, they do a Spot Bob promotion, where Biggby Bob sends out tweets that he will be at a certain store during a set time frame. If you spot him and come up and talk to him, he'll buy your drink. I think that's a brilliant use of social media. It drives customers to your store for a free trial and a chance to chat with a CEO. But it's done in a non-selling way, one that is acceptable in a social media setting. Plus, the company gets ongoing, instant feedback from its customers during these chats.

Their YouTube channel is a way to connect with both the customer base and the employees. Much of the videos there are interviews Biggby Bob did with his hand held camera in different stores with the winners of their barista competition.

Fans can nominate their favorite barista for the honor on Biggby's Facebook fan pageand see their winning barista talk on the YouTube channel. And when you become a fan on Facebook, a day or so later you get a friend invitation from Biggby Bob, generating yet another connection to me, the customer. Bob often records random videos of stuff on his travels from store to store and posts them on the Facebook sites.

With all this and many other things they're doing, Biggby shows that by being committed to it, you can create a strong, multi-channel social media campaign that connects and engages your fans in so many ways, no matter what your size. And they carry that vibe into the store experience, too. My visits so far have found the same commitment to engaging their customers on the employee level, in person, as they do on a corporate level online. They brew a pretty darn good cup of coffee, too.


To find the Biggby in your backyard, click here.
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