Those looking to buy a storefront on Michigan Avenue might have trouble finding affordable real estate east of Michigan Central Station. If you're hunting for deals, your best bet is to head west, where redevelopment seems to have finally made the leap across 14th Street. Already slated to become home to a new distillery later this year, the good news continues for the western side of Corktown. Andy Didorosi, founder of the Detroit Bus Company, now has a tenant for a property he picked up in the tax auction: Pot & Box, an Ann Arbor-based florist and gardening shop, will be moving into the vacant service station on the corner of Michigan and 17th. Pot & Box--a semi-finalist in the 2011 Hatch Detroit competition--has already been in business in Ann Arbor for six years. Looking to expand into Detroit, owner Lisa Waud was thrilled to hear about Andy's vacant gas station."It's always been my dream to open a flower shop in an old gas station," Lisa told us.
While the move is still in the planning stages, what's certain is that the station will undergo major renovations before Pot & Box can move in. The building's three garage doors--two of which were bricked shut at some point--will be restored with brand new doors. Once the openings are in place, Pot & Box can essentially eliminate a wall during warm weather, allowing shoppers to meander through the flowers outside. Andy describes the planned interior decor as "traditional, old-school garage." A shipping container will be added to the back of the building to provide additional storage, but it will be out of the way and blended in with the original structure.
Another major item on the to-do list: The parking lot, currently "pretty crumbly," will be torn up and partially replaced with concrete. Some areas will be left open as green space. Pot & Box hosts a significant number of events, and Lisa wants to use the parking lot as a unique space in which to host. She envisions lights strung over the lot, illuminating tables and chairs full of partygoers below. Sounds good to us!
Lisa's goal is to get Pot & Box open near the end of the year, though patrons looking for a taste of what's to come are very much in luck. She's teaming up with Andy to host venders from all across Detroit for a Valentines Day Market at the gas station. Pot & Box will be selling flowers (Lisa mentions an old ice cream truck she's repurposing for the task) while merchants like City Bird will set up under a giant tent out front. We'll bring you more info on the market as it approaches, but for now, it's great to know that a long-vacant corner of Corktown is destined to be a whole lot busier and greener by year's end.
· New Building Owner Will Crowd-Source Development Ideas [Curbed Detroit]
· Pot & Box [Official]