Business

Business
5:21 am
Mon July 21, 2014

Fmr. U.S. Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson wants more foreign investment in the Great Lakes region

Former U.S. Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson is seen here at a reception in Beijing co-sponsored by the Paulson Institute at the University of Chicago and the Center in Beijing.
Credit University of Chicago-Paulson Institute

The nation’s former Treasury Secretary has an idea about how to bring more foreign investment to the Great Lakes region. He’s coming to Detroit today to pitch it to the city’s business leaders.

Henry Paulson sees the Great Lakes region as a place presenting a lot of opportunities for emerging markets, like China, to invest.

Paulson was President George W. Bush’s Treasury Secretary during the 2008 financial crisis. He championed the $700 billion bailout of the nation’s banks. Before that, Paulson headed the investment firm of Goldman Sachs.

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Business
2:50 pm
Sun July 20, 2014

Plan to transform downtown Detroit released

An artist's conception of the yet-to-be named downtown hockey arena.
Credit Olympia Entertainment

Downtown Detroit could undergo a major transformation under a development plan unveiled today.

The organization that owns the Detroit Red Wings says it wants to transform the northern part of downtown Detroit into a sports/entertainment/retail and residential destination.

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Detroit
10:16 am
Fri July 18, 2014

Historic government building in downtown Detroit to be sold to New York buyer

Old Wayne County Building in downtown Detroit.
Sean_Marshall Flickr

I know what you’re thinking.

This building that once housed Wayne County’s administrative office is perhaps "one of the nation’s finest surviving examples of Roman Baroque Revival architecture, with a blend of Beaux-Arts and some elements of the Neoclassical style."

I was thinking the exact same thing.

Well, I was really thinking it’s a beautiful building in downtown Detroit and I hope it gets some attention.

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Business
5:19 pm
Tue July 15, 2014

DTE, Consumers should spend excess surcharges on solar, say solar proponents

Costs for solar panels are dropping rapidly, according to solar energy proponents
Credit Photo by Haris Alibasic / City of Grand Rapids

Michigan's two largest utilities, Consumers Energy and DTE Energy, have about $26 million in renewable energy surcharges in the kitty, after both companies overestimated how much their renewable energy projects would cost.

Now, a solar work group convened by the Michigan Public Service Commission recommends, rather than returning it to taxpayers, the companies should invest the money in new solar projects.

Only about 1/4 of 1% of Michigan's energy comes from solar.

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Business
4:50 pm
Tue July 15, 2014

Former Ford CEO Alan Mulally appointed to Google Board of Directors

From left, Mark Fields, Alan Mulally, and Bill Ford
Credit Ford Motor Company

Alan Mulally has at least one part-time job now, after leaving Ford Motor Company in late June.

Mulally was the Dearborn automaker's CEO from September, 2006 until June 30, 2014.

Mulally was appointed to serve on Google's Board of Directors on July 9. 

The announcement was made on July 15.

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Business
10:28 am
Fri July 11, 2014

Whirlpool looks to acquire controlling stake in Italian appliance maker for $1 billion

Credit Spotrebice Whirlpool / Creative Commons

Michigan-based Whirlpool has entered into an agreement to buy a controlling stake in an Italian appliance maker.

Whirlpool is expected to spend $1 billion to purchase more than two-thirds of the voting stock of Indesit, the company announced last night. The Italian based company employs 16,000 people. It sells appliances mostly in Western Europe under the name brands of Indesit, Hotpoint and Scholtès.

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Business
2:13 pm
Wed July 9, 2014

The rise and fall of Michigan's Stroh family

Photo of a can of Stroh's beer taken in 2008.
Credit Kyle Freeman / Flickr

Many of us are more than a little curious about the lives of the rich and famous. 

In the mid-1800s, Bernard Stroh came to the U.S. and began selling beer in Detroit.

The business grew and prospered, but around 150 years later, the family company was bought and broken up.

Kerry A. Dolan of Forbes chronicles the rise and fall of the family in her piece, How to blow $9 billion: The fallen Stroh family.

From Dolan's story:

The Stroh family owned it all, a fortune that FORBES then calculated was worth at least $700 million. Just by matching the S&P 500, the family would currently be worth about $9 billion.

Yet today the Strohs, as a family business or even a collective financial entity, have ceased to exist. The company has been sold for parts. The trust funds have doled out their last pennies to shareholders. While there was enough cash flowing for enough years that the fifth generation Strohs still seem pretty comfortable, the family looks destined to go shirtsleeves-to-shirtsleeves in six.

Frances Stroh, a fifth generation family member, is working on a memoir about the family.

h/t Lester Graham

Business
5:52 pm
Sun July 6, 2014

Proposed food truck rules go back to Ohio mayor

The Grand Rapids "What The Truck" truck
Credit Steven Depolo / Creative Commons

TOLEDO, Ohio (AP) - Proposed regulations for food trucks in a northwestern Ohio city have gone back to the mayor for more discussion after opposition from supporters of the mobile businesses. The Blade newspaper in Toledo reports that Toledo City Council declined to vote on Mayor Michael Collins' proposals last week.

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Business
11:22 am
Fri July 4, 2014

Fireworks business booming in Michigan

“It has been a good fireworks state. And now with the laws having been relaxed, Michigan is on its way to becoming a great fireworks state," says Bill Weimer with Phantom Fireworks.
Credit Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

Business is looking up for people selling fireworks in Michigan.

Since state lawmakers expanded the kinds of fireworks that can be sold in Michigan, fireworks are a growing business in the state.

Bill Weimer is a vice president with Phantom, one of the nation’s largest fireworks retailers. He says Michigan is a ‘developing’ market since the state loosened the rules on ‘consumer” fireworks starting in 2012.

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Business
5:00 am
Wed July 2, 2014

Food trucks will soon roll into downtown Battle Creek

Credit Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

Battle Creek is the latest Michigan city to welcome food trucks to its downtown.

The city commission voted last night to lift a longtime ban on food trucks.  Starting later this month, the city will start handing out permits to up to seven food truck vendors to set up shop in a specific zone in downtown Battle Creek.  

Supporters say food trucks will add much-needed vitality and variety to Battle Creek’s downtown.

Downtown business owners are not happy. They fear the food trucks will hurt struggling downtown restaurants.

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Business
6:00 am
Mon June 30, 2014

Another proposed development, another controversy in Saugatuck duneland

Opponents of the development worry it'll compromise the larger ecosystem of the dunes in Saugatuck.
Credit Lindsey Smith / Michigan Radio

Another proposed development in the coastal sand dunes along Lake Michigan is causing some controversy in Saugatuck. Opponents will ask state officials to reject a permit request at a hearing tonight.

They’d like to scale back a project that’ll turn a nearly century-old church campground into a private development for 12 beachfront homes.

Dave Barker is one of the developers. He says the homes would sit only on a small portion of the property, which includes 130 acres of duneland along Lake Michigan.

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Business
7:56 pm
Fri June 27, 2014

Businessman Dan Gilbert's real estate arm buys newspaper building

The Detroit Media Partnership recently announced it will move its headquarters and both newsrooms into the Federal Reserve Building in October.
Credit Lester Graham / Michigan Radio

DETROIT (AP) - Businessman Dan Gilbert's real estate arm says it's bought the home of The Detroit News and the Detroit Free Press.

Bedrock Real Estate Services made the announcement Friday about its purchase of the Detroit Media Partnership building. The News says the purchase price wasn't disclosed.

The 400,000-square-foot building was built in 1917 and designed by famed architect Albert Kahn.

Detroit Media Partnership President Joyce Jenereaux says she's "thrilled that Bedrock will be the new owner of our building."

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Business
7:21 pm
Thu June 26, 2014

Michigan bars score with World Cup

Soccer fans have been packing Michigan sports bars during the World Cup, especially when Team USA is playing.
Credit Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

Team USA lost to Germany today at the World Cup in Brazil.  

But Michigan sports bars are counting themselves as winners.

Since the global soccer tournament began, sports bars have been very busy.   

Business at Peppinos in East Lansing usually slows in June as the college crowd thins. But not this year.

Soccer fans have been packing the bar during the World Cup, especially when Team USA is playing.

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Business
5:03 pm
Tue June 24, 2014

Another city considers leaving Detroit water system

Detroit provides water to more than four million people in southeast and mid-Michigan - but could lose many of its customers if water rates keep going up.
Credit user rob zand / Flickr

Another city that gets its water from Detroit is talking about pulling out of the system.  

Greg Theokus  is Mayor Pro Tem of Grosse Pointe Park.

He says Detroit's water is already too expensive.

Grosse Pointe Park pays $1.5 million now for its water. That's up from $600,000 ten years ago.

Theokus says Grosse Pointe Park may have no choice, if Detroit water rates skyrocket due to the bankruptcy.

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Business
5:12 am
Tue June 24, 2014

Michigan's long, slow climb from home foreclosure crisis continues

Realty Trac reports Michigan home prices continue to improve, claiming the median sale price for a Michigan home last month was $100,000, that’s up 18% in the past year.
Credit Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

Michigan’s home foreclosure crisis of a few years ago can still be felt by the state’s real estate industry.

In February, 2011, 35.3% of the homes sold in Michigan were distressed homes: formerly foreclosed on or being sold short for a loss.

In May of this year, 18.6% of home sales involved distressed homes.

Realty Trac reports Michigan home prices continue to improve, claiming the median sale price for a Michigan home last month was $100,000, that’s up 18% in the past year.

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Business
10:26 pm
Sun June 22, 2014

Auction of items at Silverdome nets $500,000

Items up for sale included end-zone turf, pretzel warmers, a boxing ring, a soccer field, flat-screen televisions and scoreboards. The stadium's copper wiring sold for more than $77,000.
Credit Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

PONTIAC, Mich. (AP) - An auction featuring more than 3,000 leftover items in the Pontiac Silverdome has fetched about $500,000.

RJM Auctioneers facilities manager Jim Passeno tells The Detroit News that he considers the nine-day event that ended Thursday a success and "had a huge response nationwide."

Items up for sale included end-zone turf, pretzel warmers, a boxing ring, a soccer field, flat-screen televisions and scoreboards. The stadium's copper wiring sold for more than $77,000.

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Stateside
5:34 pm
Thu June 19, 2014

How can commercial drones boost the economy?

Credit Wikimedia Commons

The word “drone” holds some negative connotations. However, some believe that commercial drones could help boost the economy. Aaron Cook, director of aviation at Northwestern Michigan College, is one of those people. He joined us today on Stateside.

Cook says when people understand what drones are, what they are not, and what they can do, they will realize the many business opportunities and safety opportunities these drones can provide. They could possibly improve the quality of life and increase productivity.

So what is a drone?

It’s basically a flying robot. It is an aircraft that does not need a human on board, but is controlled by people on the ground using GPS communication technology.

Cook emphasized that drones are not armed, specifically ones flying over U.S. soil, and are not intended to be used to invade citizens' privacy.

They are only meant for commercial use. BP was just approved by the Federal Aviation Administration to use drones in Alaska to monitor pipelines, roads, and equipment. Cook said drones can be used for similar options here in Michigan.

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Business
3:44 pm
Sat June 7, 2014

Is there room in downtown Battle Creek for food trucks?

There's a proposal to allow up to 7 food trucks in Battle Creek's downtown business district
Credit Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

A drive to allow food trucks in downtown Battle Creek is running into stiff opposition from downtown business owners.

The proposal calls for allowing up to seven food trucks into the downtown business district.

Supporters say food trucks would add vitality to downtown.

But business owners say there are already too many empty storefronts downtown.

“Just common sense tells me that our first priority should be to fill those store fronts,” says businesswoman Marianne Angelo.

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Business
2:43 pm
Fri June 6, 2014

BWL looks to solar energy

6% of BWL‘s retail electric generation comes from renewable sources.
Credit Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

The Lansing Board of Water and Light wants to build Michigan’s largest solar power facility.

BWL officials say they want to contract with companies or organizations to build a solar power facility to generate up to five megawatts of electricity. Altogether the project could potentially be five times bigger than the next largest solar array in the state.

BWL’s proposal is a little vague on specifics, including where a facility would be located.

A utility spokesman says the project could provide enough electricity to power 2500 homes.

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Business
1:33 pm
Sat May 31, 2014

Ohio paper considers layoffs, closing facility

Credit T. Voekler

TOLEDO, Ohio - The Blade newspaper in Toledo says it's considering shutting down its printing and mailing facilities and laying off about 130 workers.

Block Communications Inc. notified city officials in a letter released Friday that it plans to begin the job cuts in August.

The layoffs would not include newsroom, advertising or circulation employees.

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