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Renaissance Center station open on 11/22


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This article comes from todays Free Press. Is the new entrance for the GM headquarters supposed to be open soon as well?

TILE ART REBORN: People Mover stop to reopen at RenCen

November 17, 2004



Brightly colored tiles of greens, pinks, blues and other colors were carefully numbered and placed in long rows of two on the floor of the Renaissance Center People Mover station on Tuesday.

Somehow the wild lines on them -- some crooked, some smooth -- managed to mesh. They formed circles, and paths meeting and crossing.

George Woodman, the ceramist who put them all together, said that was the point.

"Here, there are many things that fit together and many things that don't fit together," he said of "Path Games," a massive artwork of 2,625 ceramic tiles that will adorn the walls of the RenCen People Mover station in Detroit.

The station reopens to the public Monday.

"This balance of predictable and unpredictable is something I wanted to work with here."

After the 2002 demolition of the RenCen station -- to allow for a new front on the downtown complex -- destroyed his first work, "Dreamers and Voyagers Come to Detroit," Irene Walt, chairwoman for the Downtown People Mover Art Commission, moved to get Woodman to do a new one.

Like "Dreamers and Voyagers," the ceramic tiles for the new piece were hand silkscreened by Woodman, manufactured in his Florence, Italy, studio and shipped to Detroit. Woodman, 72, splits his year between Italy and New York.

In addition, some green tiles were saved from his previous work. They have a historical importance because, according to Walt, they were given to the city by the old Stroh Brewery. The tiles go as far back as 1926.

The reopening of the station comes at a good time for Walt, who is responsible for the program that began in 1984 to bring art to the walls of People Mover stations.

She has been promoting a new book published by the group, "Art in the Stations: The Detroit People Mover." The $45 book has 88 pages of color photographs by Balthazar Korab that showcase murals and other art in the 13 People Mover stations.

"This is the end," she said, looking at the tiles like a proud parent.

It's been 20 years since 80-year-old Walt and her organization of volunteers got together and commissioned contemporary American artists to beautify the station walls with works that rival those at major art museums.

"I could hardly believe this could be," she said.

Despite having to start all over again, Woodman, who has designed works for a train station in Niagara Falls, N.Y., said public art in train stations is a fine concept.

"I like the idea of a work of art you pass through. It's not like going to a museum where you stand in front of a picture and look at it. You go by it and gather something and every time you go by it, you see something different."

Contact LORINDA BULLOCK at 313-223-4286 or [email protected]


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Too bad we can't use it to go to the Joe for a hockey game........

Does anyone have any idea the economic impact the NHL strike has had on the city?  Hotels, city workers, vendors, bars, resturants, etc.....


This was written before the season was supposed to start, but has estimates.

POTENTIAL NHL LOCKOUT: Empty ice, empty coffers



September 10, 2004

The hand-painted sign atop the Mac's on Third bar across from Joe Louis Arena says it all: "NHL + NHLPA: Please Don't Lockout!"

Bar manager Anthony Bruce put the sign up Wednesday in protest of the pending NHL work stoppage that threatens to put some Detroit bars on thin financial ice.

From October to June, dozens of Detroit watering holes cater to thousands of suburban hockey fans who descend upon Joe Louis Arena for 46 preseason and regular season home games. If the Wings are contending for the Stanley Cup in the spring, thousands more red-and-white-clad fanatics roam downtown streets.

But a lockout looms over the 2004-2005 season. NHL owners and the NHL Players Association are in a pitched battle over the current collective bargaining agreement, set to expire Wednesday.

Metro Detroit stands to lose between $52 million and $75 million in revenue if the entire season is a wash, according to Comerica Bank Chief Economist David Littmann. Those numbers reflect payroll taxes, sponsorships, souvenirs and parties related to a successful hockey season. In addition, he estimates the City of Detroit could lose upward of $2 million just on sales tax and individual income taxes paid by the players. A lockout would be another setback for a city that has come to depend heavily on high-profile sporting events to bolster its coffers.

"It's going to be crippling," said Bruce, whose bar sits in the shadow of the Joe. If no deal is reached, a number of Detroit bars could be in danger of going out of business.

Bruce and his mother, Maureen Bruce, the owner of Mac's, were looking forward to making the final payment on the building in March. Now, his family is in danger of losing the business entirely.

"We've got bills to pay, like any other business, if we can't pay our bills we're not going to make it," he said. "We're hoping that the (North American International) Auto Show can kind of help pull us through, but it will be very tight."

The concern is being felt throughout Hockeytown. Hockey fans in Detroit, or Wing Nuts as they are affectionately called, represent as much as 40 percent of the revenue for some downtown bars during the NHL season.

Another consequence of a lost hockey season could be a significant drop in People Mover ridership. On days that the Red Wings are playing at home, the People Mover averages 10,000 to 12,000 riders, paying 50 cents per ticket. That number jumps to between 13,000 and 14,000 daily during the playoffs. On nonhockey days, the People Mover averages 6,100 riders.

The People Mover, which recently restored service after a multimillion-dollar renovation, could lose more than $100,000 in additional fares if there is no regular hockey season.

A spokesman for the Red Wings acknowledged the negative impact a work stoppage would have on local Detroit businesses and fans, calling it a trickle-down effect.

"Obviously, our fans come first and we've thought about them at great length throughout this process," said John Hahn, senior director of communications for the Red Wings. "We want to ensure that the game is healthy for many years to come."

It's unclear how much impact a lost season would have on the Red Wings' owners. The Wings, along with Little Caesar Enterprises Inc. and the Detroit Tigers, represent one of the pillars in the Ilitch family's business, organized under Detroit-based Ilitch Holdings Inc. The company posted revenue of $900 million in 2003, but beyond that the family doesn't make its financial information public.

The average attendance at Red Wings home games is a sellout at more than 20,000 people. The Wings' payroll during the 2002-2003 season, the most recent figures available, was more than $68 million. As the city prepares for the Major League Baseball All-Star Game next summer, continued interest in the Detroit Lions playing at Ford Field and the NFL Super Bowl in 2006, a lot of positive momentum would be stifled if the Red Wings don't suit up.

"It would be devastating," said Richard Bell, owner of Jacoby's German Biergarten Since 1904, which has been a popular hockey bar since the days of the NHL's Original Six teams back in the 1920s. Bell, who has owned the bar at 624 N. Brush for a decade with his son Michael, estimates Wings fans make up nearly 10 percent of the business' revenue during the year.

"We're a destination place for many folks," said Bell, who put the bar up for sale earlier this year. "It is the suburbanites that come downtown for the games that we need to keep."

The hospitality sector is big business in metro Detroit and Michigan. Statewide, it brings in $5.5 billion a year in overall revenue, while generating $629 million in state and local taxes, according to the Michigan Licensed Beverage Association, a trade group that represents more than 2,500 bars around the state. There are more than 500 member businesses in the tricounty area, with thousands more that aren't affiliated with the association.

"I've been a Red Wing fan for close to 30 years, and I just love the sport," said Chris Nichols of Clinton Township. Nichols, who goes to about 10 games a year, said the real losers would be the fans and places like Mac's.

"This place is wall-to-wall with people during hockey season and even better when the Wings are in the hunt" for the Stanley Cup, he said. "I'd hate to not be able to go to games."

To be sure, not all of the establishments in the downtown Detroit area are on the verge of closing their doors. Quite a few bars that have been serving Detroiters for generations will continue to thrive, as they have developed loyal clients over the years. It is the smaller, newer haunts that are being threatened.

Nevertheless, any kind of lockout would be bad for everyone.

At the Anchor Bar at 450 Fort St., longtime owner Vaughn Derderian Sr. estimates game nights draw three or four times as many customers than other nights. The bar also has a shuttle to and from the arena that averages 150 people a night.

"Listen," Derderian said, "hockey at Joe Louis Arena isn't my bread and butter. But it certainly is the jam."

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I was wondering how the local economy was going to be affected by this. It does not sound good. Hopefully some of those bars and restaurants nearby can hold on.

As for the people mover, well, I can say that it was full last night. It does stand to loose a lot of revenue though. I did not realize that ridership more than doubles on game days.

BTW, Welcome to the forum! :)

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Thanks.  I just stumbled on to this site last week.  Great pictures.


Thanks. I am working on a website for the best of my photography. The problem is that I have taken just under 5000 photographs of Detroit since mid August. That's not counting the 500 or so that I took of the city between February and July, or the several hundred photos that I have taken of my hometown, Flint. I keep the links to my latest photo threads in my sig so people can actually find them.

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Didn't want to start a new thread for this, but the walkway behind the Renaissance Center is now open to the public. This thing is pretty amazing, and you can see the progress of the riverwalk (going east) taking shape. There's this really cool fountain in the ground that has over 300 water jets. It's supposed to have alot of different displays (30+ I'm told) that it can do when they're done fine tuning it. There are alof of photo opportunites for those of us with nice cameras (Allan). :D

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I'll be heading down to check out the new park tomorrow, I should go by there as well. Anyone who's familiar with the C-Mart area in the daytime know the best place to park? It's supposed to be rainy, so I don't think I'll be hanging around for too long, is there street parking nearby?

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I'll be heading down to check out the new park tomorrow, I should go by there as well.  Anyone who's familiar with the C-Mart area in the daytime know the best place to park?  It's supposed to be rainy, so I don't think I'll be hanging around for too long, is there street parking nearby?


Park in the Compuware parking lot, it's closest and very convenient. Then go inside the Compuware building and purchase $5.00 from the coffee shop, they will validate your parking. Oh, and while you are there, enjoy the view from inside the building! You can also have Borders validate it, but I'm unaware of anything there for $5.00. Good luck!

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I typically park on Madison Avenue, but there are parking places near the Lafayette Building (Lafayette/Michigan/Shelby). That's only a couple of block from C-Mart. You can also try the spots on Monroe, but those are usually full during the day...unless you get lucky.

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Maybe I'll go back down there tomorrow and take a few pictures. I was just excited to see that there is actual progress on the riverwalk east of GM. Living in the D can make you a skeptic in regards to projects the city proposess. I didn't expect to see anything done, besides the part by the RenCen.

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It the fountain running already?  I will have to go and check out the riverwalk for myself when I am downtown tomorrow morning.  I don't have class until 2 PM, which gives me just enough time to check out the riverwalk and C-Mart.  :)


I checked out the fountain on Friday. All of the jets are in place, however, no water at this point.

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