old gm building
Bartleby the Scrivener vegan27
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exciting times
While driving down Michigan Avenue with Sarah last night, I was pointing out all of the buildings that were vacant or abandoned when I first moved here in April 2005 and now housed active businesses. And of course I had to sit down and make a more thorough list to post on LiveJournal:

Active commercial spaces that were vacant and dilapidated when I moved here:

  • Detroit Institute of Bagels - 1236 Mich. Ave.
  • Ottava Via - 1400 (might have still been a pawn shop in 2005)
  • Onassis Coney Island 1501 Mich. Ave.
  • Mercury Burger Bar - 2163 Mich. Ave.
  • O'Connor Realty - 2120 Mich. Ave.
  • Astro Coffee - 2124 Mich. Ave.
  • Sugar House - 2130 Mich. Ave.
  • Slow's Barbecue 2132-2140 Mich. Ave. (only 5 months from opening at the time)
  • Two James Distillery - 2445 Mich. Ave.


These formerly dilapidated buildings are currently being renovated:

  • Batch Brewing Co. - 1444 Mich Ave. (although something called Detroit Sperm has a display in their window)
  • Bucharest Grill - 1623 Mich. Ave. (this was a Chinese restaurant when I moved in, but it was *definitely* dilapidated!)
  • 2000 Mich. Ave. is being fixed up, rumored to become a fish-and-chips restaurant
  • Gold Cash Gold (restaurant) - 2100 Mich. Ave. (also may have been an active pawn shop)


These businesses have opened up in spaces occupied by another entity when I came here:

  • St. Cece's Pub (1426 Bagley) used to be the Irish restaurant Baile Corcaigh
  • Mudgie's Deli (1300 Porter) opened where Eph McNally's closed
  • Brooklyn Street Local (1266 Mich. Ave.) opened in what I think was a deli
  • Motor City Wine (1949 Mich Ave.) used to be a dive bar
  • Rubbed (2015 Mich. Ave.), an awkwardly named sandwich place, will open where a failed hair salon operated
  • The shitty liquor store that called itself the Bagley-Trumbull Market has been closed, is being renovated, and is rumored to become a bike shop
  • I'm not sure if this counts, but Hoot's on the Avenue is now McShane's Pub


Depending on where you draw Corktown's borders, you could count Le Petit Zinc, which opened at 1055 Trumbull in 2009. Green Dot Stables (2200 Lafayette) used to be normal bar and grill but reopened under new owners as an inexplicably hip place with a new menu. I'm not sure if True Body Fitness is new or not, and if so, what was in their space before. For what it's worth, Sam's Mobile shop expanded with an addition into a vacant lot. LJ's Lounge was renovated, but I have not been inside since that happened. And of course a small Mormon church was mysteriously built on 14th Street for some reason.

Some businesses have closed, however. The 5E Gallery, a hip-hop art space, moved down the street and then closed again. The Porter Street Station closed, but that's definitely a *good* thing. And I believe that taxi place on 8th Street was open when I moved in, but is now obviously boarded up.

And I know I'm still forgetting places. Pony Ride, Rachael's Place, the recording studio in the "Squirt/Liquor" building... What else?

You've got The Detroit Institute of Bagels on there twice. ::snorting and pushing up my glasses::

D'oh... saw that and fixed it. :P

The Pawn Shop on 8th was still open in 2008, because I was in there with Shem. Koltay I think bought the building with the studio in 2002, so it may have been in operation by 2005. I seem to recall Gold Cash Gold still being open, but I never went in there.

On tours, it's hard to describe the changes in the last ten years when I'm giving tours. South of roughly Alexandrine, the Cass Corridor still looks pretty rough, and people notice that, so it's important to point to the dozens of places that look completely normal now that were just as ruined ten years ago.

Well, for what it's worth, I remember the exterior of the first floor of Koltay's space being renovated after moving here. But you're probably right about the studio itself.

It *is* hard to explain to people in other states why these things are exciting, and why a bagel shop is worth posting on the internet about.

I just hope these places stay in business. I just walked up and down Michigan avenue, and Onassis had no customers in it, and I only saw one person in Motor City Wine. Of course, it *is* a Tuesday...

Detroit Sperm is my friend Kat's business--she sells vintage home stuff.

The stuff on the website actually looks cool, but of course I hesitated to Google the name that I saw in the window. Is the display on Michigan Avenue just a sort of advertisement, or is it a functional store? I should see if I can get her to find retro coffee mugs like I used to have when I lived on Wabash.

The 5E Gallery moved into the Cass Corridor Commons building at Cass and Forest. So yeah, totally moved out of Corktown, but didn't close.

They still have a photo of their second Michigan Avenue location on their website under "mission", but you're right, if I actually read the words on the website they do say that they are now in the Cass Corridor. Hopefully the new location works out.

I seriously talk about this every time we drive down Michigan. I feel like everything has changed a ridiculous amount for the time I've been here even... (since June 2008) Thanks for putting together a list! =)

Pretty good list. Two James was in operation as radiator place. CPA Bldg closed probably around the time you moved in.

The CPA building had at least a few offices open when I moved to my old apartment on Pine Street. The Greater Corktown Development Corporation's offices were in the CPA, and I had to meet someone there when I was considering buying one of those colorful North Corktown houses. I don't remember when they moved out--probably right after someone was caught embezzling money...

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