[Rendering by Project for Public Spaces]

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Roast, Detroit

Michael Symon’s steakhouse makes a big first impression with its gray-and-dark-wood décor—there’s even a 720-pound redwood communal table in the main dining room. But it’s the meat that takes center stage, literally. Every day, a glass-encased charcoal spit showcases a different whole roasted animal, and you’ll find pig ears, beef cheek, and veal sweetbreads on the menu. For purists, there are charcoal-grilled steaks, finished over a cherrywood grill and best paired with a local brew.

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Neumann/Smith Architecture, one of Michigan’s most distinguished design firms specializing in architecture and interior design for corporate, commercial, academic, and recreational facilities, today announced it will open a design studio in downtown Detroit’s Wright Kay Building, located at 1500 Woodward Ave., between Clifford and Farmer.

Neumann/Smith has been front and center in downtown Detroit’s recent revitalization, designing innovative workspaces that have helped to attract new businesses to the city.

The firm has been involved in transforming the M@dison Building at Grand Circus Park into a hub for high-tech entrepreneurial activity and designing renovations to the Chrysler House, One Woodward Avenue Office Tower and the First National Building, located in the city’s growing tech hub. Most recently, it was announced that the firm is designing Campbell Ewald’s new headquarters in the former J.L. Hudson Co. warehouse attached to Ford Field.

“We are excited about opening up a studio space downtown where we can be closer to our clients and the incredible revitalization taking place,” said Joel Smith, AIA, Neumann/Smith partner. “The new Detroit office will provide an opportunity for more face-to-face meetings, foster a closer client experience, and increase our involvement in the community.”

Headquartered in Southfield, the firm plans to move employees into the new design studio by June of this year, encompassing the entire third floor of the Wright Kay Building, which was purchased by Rock Ventures in December of 2011.

“As a creative company, nothing is more inspiring than to work in a city like Detroit, with its rich history of architectural design,” said Firm Principal and Historic Preservation Design Leader, J. Michael Kirk, AIA. “Our employees are looking forward to the opportunity to work in a downtown urban core.”

Bedrock Real Estate Services, Rock Ventures’ full service real estate firm, brokered the lease.

“Neumann/Smith is joining the fast growing list of companies who have a presence in downtown Detroit to leverage the dynamic creative tech hub that is quickly forming, ” said Jim Ketai, managing partner, Bedrock Real Estate Services.

Neumann/Smith hopes to expand its presence in Detroit and expects to hire more employees for its Detroit studio. For more information, visit

This spring, Detroit’s historic Pewabic Pottery is hosting a special exhibit showcasing the new work of Joe Zajac, a renowned talent on Michigan’s ceramic art scene. The exhibit kicks off with an opening reception on Friday, March 29 from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. and runs through Sunday, May 26.

Zajac’s new work features flat, tile-like ceramic pieces with surfaces that evoke the automobile in their perfection of surface, as well as the flash of contemporary jewelry and color-block clothing. Zajac’s beautifully hand-crafted ceramics feature bright colors enhanced by a shiny glaze for a mesmerizing look.

Zajac is one of Michigan’s more accomplished ceramic artists. He received his Master of Fine Arts from Eastern Michigan University and serves as associate department chair and professor of ceramics at Wayne State University. Zajac is a member of the National Council on Education for the Ceramic Arts and has served as president and director of the Michigan Ceramic Art Association.

“Joe Zajac’s handcrafted pieces are striking and a wonderful addition to our exhibition schedule,” said Barbara Sido, executive director of Pewabic Pottery. “It’s especially great to showcase a local artist who has garnered such respect amongst the ceramic community.”

Pewabic Pottery is a non-profit arts and cultural organization and National Historic Landmark which is dedicated to engaging people of all ages in learning experiences with contemporary ceramic art and artists while preserving its historic legacy.

Pewabic is a historic working pottery which is open to the public year- round and offers classes, workshops and tours to children and adults. Pewabic creates giftware, pottery and architectural tile, showcases more than 80 ceramic artists in its galleries, and operates a museum store that features pottery and gift tile made on-site.

Visitors are welcome, free of charge, Monday - Saturday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Sunday from noon to 4 p.m. To learn more about Pewabic Pottery call (313) 626-2000 or visit Pewabic

Pottery is located at 10125 E. Jefferson Ave. in Detroit across the street from Waterworks Park.
Photo: Lundgren Photography

Downtowns: What's Behind America's Most Surprising Real Estate Boom

15 U.S Cities Emerging Downtowns


One of the main factors businesses consider when deciding on where to relocate or expand is the available pool of college-educated workers. And that has cities competing for college-educated young adults. “The American population, contrary to popular opinion, is not very mobile, but there is one very significant exception, what we call ‘the young and the restless,’” explains Lee Fisher, president of CEOs for Cities, a national not-for-profit organization that helps U.S. cities map out economic growth.

And there’s one place this desired demographic, college-educated professionals between the ages of 25 and 34, tends to want to live: tight-knit urban neighborhoods that are close to work and have lots of entertainment and shopping options within an easy walk. In fact this demographic’s population grew 26% from 2000 to 2010 in major cities’ downtowns, or twice as fast as it did in the those cities’ overall metro areas, according to a CEOs for Cities report based on U.S. Census data. That is one of the reasons city planners have been plowing money and resources into revitalizing their core business districts.

“The cities that capture the mobile, college-educated ‘young and restless’ are the ones who are most likely to revitalize their downtowns and accelerate economic progress in their cities,” says Fisher.

Detroit, Mich. 

Detroit has suffered a bad reputation for years now, thanks to its weak economy and mass exodus of residents. "It's a tale of two cities: the one that’s bankrupt and then there’s the one that’s revitalizing its downtown and attracting the 'young and the restless,'" says Lee Fisher of CEOs for Cities.

Detroit's downtown is transforming in large part thanks to billionaire Quicken loans founder Dan Gilbert who has poured millions into redeveloping the area's commercial real estate, relocating many of his businesses to the area.

In 2011, five companies (Quicken Loans, Blue Cross/Blue Shield of Michigan, Compuware, DTE Energy, Strategic Staffing Solutions) pledged more than $4 million to encourage and aid employees in buying, renting or remodeling homes in the area. It's part of a larger initiative to attract 15,000 young professionals downtown by 2015, according to Forbes' Joann Muller.

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