Week of 7.24.17

Welcome to the home of Social Lights. New online reports with photos appear each week on the website and in the monthly print editions for the Birmingham-Bloomfield area and the Rochester-Rochester Hills area at the start of each month. If you want e-mail notification of when new Social Lights columns are posted to this site each Monday, sign up in the Newsletter Sign Up box at the lower right side of this home page.

Detroit Music Weekend Gala

The inaugural Detroit Music Weekend began Friday night at the Detroit Opera House where 200 music lovers gathered for the Gala ($750 & $1,000 tickets). They savored cocktails and passed hors d’oeuvres in the lobby, pausing for brief welcoming remarks delivered from the top of the grand staircase by founding director, Music Hall’s Vince Paul. A soaring operatic selection sung by soprano Nicole James signaled it was time for dinner, which was served at dramatically decorated tables set on the stage. There were interruptions to thank sponsors, board members and event coordinator Laura Raisch, and to salute Michigan Opera Theatre founder David DiChiera. His pancreatic cancer diagnosis has dictated his retirement but has not affected his good humor nor his bearing.
This weeks social light photos…


oakland confidential

August 2017

HORSE RACES: Democratic aspirations of taking a majority hold on Congress after the 2018 General Election will hinge on the party’s ability to take two dozen congressional seats, which may include upsets in Michigan’s 8th and 11th Districts, according to recent rankings of 82 districts by The New York Times. The piece split the districts into eight groups to watch, based on competitiveness ...more»
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Birmingham envisions major city project

By Lisa Brody
News Editor
03/17/2017 - After grappling for several years with a shortage of parking, and recognizing an opportunity to redevelop the site at Bates and where the N. Old Woodward parking structure is located, the Birmingham city commission on Monday, March 13, unanimously approved having city staff develop and send out a request for qualifications (RFQ) to solicit developers, engineers, architects and other interested firms in pursuing its redevelopment to include residential, commercial and retail while incorporating hundreds more parking spaces.

Birmingham Planning Director Jana Ecker noted that for the last several years city staff and the commission had been addressing parking and the shortage that has developed in the city as office space and its usage has changed. A couple of years ago the city looked at adding two floors to the Pierce Street parking structure, as it is the only parking garage with that capability, but parking demands in the city have changed, she noted, "and now the recommendations are that we move forward with the N. Old Woodward deck first." The existing parking lot would be demolished. She added that the city's master plan advises for the redevelopment of Bates Street, with a Bates Street connector going through the area behind the N. Old Woodward flat lot.

Rather than having potential developers come up with plans and their own concepts, the city hired noted Birmingham architect Victor Saroki to create conceptual options on how a public/private development could look that the city would prefer. Ecker said that RFQ "would allow for a two-step process, where we would send this out, and they would show how they qualify, what experience they have, their financial ability, how they could work with the government. Then we would pick a few to work with, and invite those to submit a RFP (request for proposal), and we could be very specific about what we want – the activation of the space and the streets. We recognize the economy goes in cycles, and we think this may be the best time to move forward, rather than wait another five years."

Saroki explained that he had come up with two main versions, each with an alternate plan. "It became pretty apparent that this location was the most optimum. It could yield a maximum amount of parking, it created a new street, and it provided the opportunity for new development opportunities, alongside the Willits Building, which is five stories; the Google Building at four stories, and Brookside Terrace, being built, at five stories."

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