East Warren Avenue coming alive following infusion of City, Strategic Neighborhood Fund investment
- Officials, business owners & community members cut ribbon on new streetscape and three, new Motor City Match businesses on the same day
- Businesses opening today include a new bookstore and coffee shop, with a new bakery soon to follow
- New and proposed developments to bring more affordable housing options to East Warren
Detroit’s East Warren Avenue corridor comeback took a giant leap forward today as Mayor Mike Duggan joined other City officials, community members, philanthropic partners, and business owners to celebrate several major milestones: The completion of a beautiful new $8.8-million streetscape, the opening of two new Motor City Match businesses on that same stretch, and significant progress being made on the construction of a new $8 million, 18-unit affordable housing development. A new bakery – also a Motor City Match winner – is also expected to open on E. Warren later this fall.
Anchoring the revitalization is a $8.8-million streetscape that has made the stretch of East Warren from Three Mile Drive to Cadieux more attractive, as well as more pedestrian and business friendly. The 0.6-mile project, which spans the Morningside and East English Village neighborhoods, includes new protected bike lanes, new pavement, and sidewalks, two parking lots, ADA accessibility, improved lighting, and landscaping.
“We’ve seen the same thing happen on Livernois, West McNichols, Grand River and other areas we’ve invested in beautiful new streetscapes to make them more pedestrian friendly,” said Mayor Mike Duggan. “They become a magnet for new businesses and new housing, and it may be happening faster on East Warren than it has anywhere.”
Motor City Match and Strategic Neighborhood-funded businesses to open on corridor
Spurred in part by the physical improvements to East Warren, two new businesses opened their doors today, while a third is expected to open soon.
Next Chapter Books is a $50,000 Motor City Match grant winner (Round 23), which officially opened today. Owners Jay and Sarah Williams share a deep love for reading. Sarah, a journalist, and Jay, a historian, found that their shared passion for people's stories and community could be combined in owning and running a bookstore, bringing them joy. They envisioned their bookstore as a significant community space, one that could host community programming and gatherings.
Mayor Mike Duggan joined other City officials to help Jay and Sarah Williams cut the ribbon on their new bookstore, Next Chapter Books, which was among the top 5 retail spaces area residents asked for during community engagement around corridor development.
Morningside Cafe is the brainchild of owner Jeff Lewis, who has dedicated the last four years to bringing his vision to life. The cafe's journey began as an idea and evolved through a series of neighborhood pop-up events before taking root in its physical location at 16369 East Warren.
Lewis had expected to open sooner, however, he experienced a major setback on January 4 when a neighboring business caught fire and caused major damage to his property. Despite this challenge, Lewis’ unwavering dedication – along with a $50,000 supplemental Motor City Match grant – has made Morningside Café a shining example of the resilience of small business owners in the face of adversity.
Terri’s Cakes received significant support from the Strategic Neighborhood Fund and is a $75,000 Motor City Match grant winner. It is expected to open early next year. Terri Conerway started the business over 50 years ago as a home-based baking endeavor for friends and acquaintances. She was self-taught and passed down her baking knowledge to her daughter. About a decade ago, her daughter Garnet took over the business, aiming to realize her vision of an open-concept bakery.
Terri’s Cakes specializes in creating cakes for all occasions and serves as the flagship storefront. They also offer delivery services alongside the physical store. The space will be available for event rentals, and there are plans for sponsored events such as game nights and dessert bars.
“It’s moments like this we live for at the DEGC. To witness two business ribbon cuttings in a single day, with another on the horizon, is a testament to the transformative revitalization underway on East Warren,” said Kevin Johnson, President and CEO of the Detroit Economic Growth Corporation, responsible for overseeing the Motor City Match program. “Each of these establishments offer residents distinctive services that will help keep local spending power in the neighborhood.”
Mayor Duggan joined owner Garnet Terri James and her mother Terri to cut the ribbon on her brick-and-mortar location, which is expected to open in January after decades of serving Detroiters from their home-based bakery.
Strategic Neighborhood Fund
Many of these improvements, as well as several others along E. Warren, are being made possible through support from the Strategic Neighborhood Fund (SNF). The fund, created by Mayor Mike Duggan and Invest Detroit in 2017, provides critical funding for neighborhood small businesses, multi-family housing developments, streetscapes, and park improvements in 10 key neighborhood cluster areas across the city.
In and around East Warren, the SNF has provided funding for The Ribbon, Terri’s Cakes and major improvements at Balduck Park. Plans also have been announced for two other key projects in the SNF area along Warren: The Deco and the Arthur Murray. Both are proposed as mixed-use developments that would include affordable housing and retail space. Combined with The Ribbon, these three developments will bring additional affordable housing to the streetscape portion of the corridor in the next two years.
“It’s incredibly rewarding to see the realization of the Strategic Neighborhood Fund investments in East Warren/Cadieux” said Jermaine Ruffin, Senior Vice President of Neighborhoods for Invest Detroit. “SNF funding has resulted in improvements to parks and streetscapes and brought about much-needed new businesses and affordable housing. We are incredibly grateful to have wonderful partners, including the City of Detroit, East Warren Development Corporation and Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan to help us continue investing in Detroit neighborhoods.”
In 2019, the CEOs of seven corporations each pledged $5 million to one of seven SNF neighborhoods. Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan’s Daniel J. Loepp pledged his company’s $5 million investment to the greater East Warren SNF neighborhood. That funding has helped to support The Ribbon and other key improvements in the area.
“Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan commends all the partners and stakeholders involved in creating a revitalized environment to do business, gather with family and friends and lead a healthier life in the East Warren/Cadieux neighborhood,” said Daniel J. Loepp, President and CEO at Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan. “The vision for this area was a community where commerce and families can thrive and a safe space to gather and get active, and it is now realized through not only the extensive streetscape project’s completion but also a signal of new business blossoming in the neighborhood’s center.”
“The East Warren corridor has been in need of a capital infusion for many years. Thanks to the support of Blue Cross Blue Shield, we now have a protected bike lane, beautiful landscaping and we're seeing vacant buildings being reactivated,” said Councilmember Latisha Johnson (District 4). “It was great to see residents extremely engaged in determining the look and feel of the streetscape infrastructure.”
Strong Community Support
East Warren Development Corporation has been the backbone of their community for nearly a decade and has worked hand in hand with the City of Detroit and Invest Detroit to spur many of the exciting new projects underway and coming soon, including a brand-new East Warren Public Market, to provide retail space for entrepreneurs, a small grocery store, office space and indoor space for their very popular Farmer’s Market.
“The neighborhoods of MorningSide, East English Village, and Cornerstone Village have been hungry for new retail on this E. Warren corridor. We can think of no three businesses to complement the existing retail than add a new bookstore, bakery, and coffee shop,” said East Warren Development Corporation’s Executive Director, Joe Rashid. “We heard throughout the E. Warren Cadieux planning process that they wanted walkable businesses with space for the community to sit and congregate, and we are thrilled that all three have that component.”