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Friday, September 30, 2005

New Openings:

Live at PJ's, First Avenue (between Huron and Washington)

What used to be D'Amato's Italian Restaurant is now Live at PJ's, Ann Arbor's newest club. Grand opening is tonight with jazz, appetizers and no cover. Things kick off at 8pm.

Saturday, September 24, 2005

Housing Bubble:

If you ever want a quick primer in how to run a company into the ground, look no further than Spoon Companies (a.k.a. Spoon Equities, a.k.a. Spoon Commercial). As outlined by the latest such article in the Ann Arbor News, the last of the Spoon properties is in jeopardy of forced sale. The building in question has at times advertised the coming arrival of the Mellow Mushroom pizza joint but it never came to fruition. Spoon's legacy, however, will be that it left in its wake a couple of really nice looking buildings (namely, the Fifth Avenue Building and The Collegian Building).

Saturday, August 27, 2005

New Location:

Shalimar, Main Street (between William and Liberty)

Shalimar is opening a second location on Main (the original being on Washington between Fourth and Fifth). This seems to be the "Amer's Approach" to real estate, namely placing two or more locations within a three block radius. Also guilty of Amer's-ing is Sweetwater's, which now has a franchise location open in the Kerrytown shops (to compliment its other location on Ashley and Washington).

Thursday, August 25, 2005

Coming Soon:

Unnamed Bar, Washington Street (between Main and Ashley)

The owners of the Grizzley Peak have taken over the former Del Rio space next door and are adding a full-fledged, open-till-2am bar next to the Peak.

New Openings:

Blue Wolverine Sports Bar, Main Street (between William and Liberty)

The owners of Full Moon have opened up the Blue Wolverine Sports Bar where Don Carlo's Mexican Restaurant used to be. Nothing else to report.

Wednesday, August 24, 2005

Coming Soon:

Beaner's Gourmet Coffee, East Liberty (between State and Thompson)

According to the Ann Arbor News, Beaner's, an East Lansing-based coffee shop, is moving into the space recently vacated by American Spoon.

Sunday, August 21, 2005

Housing Bubble:

From the LA Times via Ann Arbor Is Overrated, it seems that local realtor Edward Surovell has some not-nice things to say about student tenants. To quote Surovell, "Students are horrible, disgusting. Their rooms smell. They live together like rabbits in a warren. They eat and sleep together. They have beer fights, and they don't make their beds."

Hmmm. I'm sure Martin Bouma doesn't take students for granted...

Coming Soon:

McKinley Towne Centre, East Liberty, between Thompson and Division

The listings are up for retail and office space at the McKinley Towne Centre (also known as the most pretentiously spelled building of all time). According to the website, Ye Olde Towne Centre is "the New Nexus of Ann Arbor, Michigan. Located in the heart of the central business district and the University of Michigan campus, McKinley Towne Centre is positioned to serve the needs of urban professionals and students alike."

And for only $30 a square foot? We'll take two square feet!

Chopping Block:

American Spoon, East Liberty (between State and Thompson)

According to a sign out front of the store, American Spoon's last day is today (Sunday, August 21st). So fill your gelato craving now lest you have to go to one of the other many gelato places in this town (Zingerman's, Gelato di Roma). And if you're craving something American, feel free to go to the newly opened American Apparel next door. Not as tasty, but you can wear it out in public.

Thursday, August 18, 2005

Chopping Block:

D'Amato's, First and Huron

According to Past the College Grounds, D'Amato's has closed its doors and rumor has it that a live music venue will be opening in its place. No word on whether the Royal Oak D'Amato's is still in business. Also, no word on what impact if any this has on Goodnight Gracie's (both the Ann Arbor and Royal Oak versions), which are owned by the same folks as D'Amato's.

Tuesday, August 16, 2005

Housing Bubble:

Condo Hotline

New website trying to peddle condos in Ann Arbor before the bubble finished bursting. The website is run by Martin Bouma, locally known for his creepy commercials where he says, in a seductive voice: "I want to be your realtor." And you know what he's really saying is: "I want to get up in your realty." Anyone have any idea what his accent is? He sounds a bit like an Eastern European phone sex operator.

Chopping Block:

The Tree, Detroit Street and East Kingsley Street

The Ann Arbor News reports that The Tree, the second-hand clothing store across the street from Zingerman's, is closing its doors at the end of the year.

Monday, August 15, 2005

Housing Bubble:

North Sky, Pontiac Trail (off of M-14):

This new housing development promises "porches in the front and garages in the back" which we assume is a thinly-veiled sexual euphemism. According to the Ann Arbor News, this sort of New Urbanism development promises to "use less land, create a sense of community, reduce car trips and encourage healthy lifestyles." Also, world peace. So that's a nice plus, if you're into that sort of thing.

Sunday, August 07, 2005

Public Transportation:

The Link is back. And it's linking a few more places than before. From The Ann Arbor News:
"The Link buses will run their entire route from 7 a.m.-6 p.m. Monday through Friday and will serve just Oxford Housing, Trotter House and U-M Central Campus from 6-11 p.m. A U-M bus will still serve Oxford Housing and Trotter House from 11 p.m.-2 a.m. Monday through Friday."

* On a side note, regular updates are returning soon. No surprise that anything Ann Arbor-related slows down over the summer.

Friday, June 03, 2005


Alright, we've been away from Ann Arbor for a little while but we are back so a quick update on what we've noticed around town:

* Smoothie King still isn't open. We thought that the whole point of opening a franchise is that it comes in a box and all you have to do is open it up.
* Sweetwaters Cafe's first franchise location (at the Kerrytown Shops) is also not yet open (they were supposed to open in April... tick tock).
* Gelato di Roma, right next to Smoothie King, isn't open yet but they've got a lot of tearing up to do to their building. Thus far, they've installed big panes of glass where the walls used to be.

State Street area:
* Looks like the failure of a one-item Asian restaurant (Teryaki Grill) hasn't prevented some entrepreneurs from opening a two-item Indian restaurant (Pita Kabob Grill, or Pita Kabob something, it slips my mind). They're open for business.
* Harry's Army Surplus is under heavy construction now as they prepare to put in an Aveda salon (or so we've heard). That way the graduates from the Aveda institute can stick their comb in their holster and go up the street to start their careers.

Main Street area:
* Nothing to report thus far. Although Firefly Club has a large red sign out front now advertising their nightly jazz shows. It's a huge red banner. Gigantic.

Saturday, April 23, 2005

Coming Soon:
McKinley Towne Centre, Liberty Street (between Division and Fifth)

Check out Arbor Update for a review of the new plans for what used to be the TCF Bank building. Looks like more chain restaurants, though. Pretty soon Ann Arbor will look like a highway truck stop.

Franchise Invasion:
Gelato di Roma, Fourth Avenue (between Ann and Catherine)

What could be a better fit next to People's Co-op and Cafe Verde than two new franchises (Smoothie King (see past entries) and now Gelato di Roma)? The new term for this sort of neighboring of polar opposites--"Bivouac-ing." As in, the two sides of Bivouac: on the one hand an outdoors store and on the other hand a designer clothing store.

Sunday, April 17, 2005

Coming Soon:
Cool Waves, on South University
American Apparel, Liberty Street (between State and Division)

The Michigan Business Review brings news this week of two new clothing stores. Unlike Poshh., neither will be bringing its own punctuation. American Apparel seems to be the equivalent of fair-trade clothing, the website boasts that it is made in downtown L.A., is sweatshop free, and is brand free. This is starting to sound like the Emperor's New Clothes.
As for Cool Waves, it is a local-to-Michigan chain started in Traverse City and its claim to fame is that it'll only stock "6 to 12" of any given item. If I had septuplets, I'd definitely shop there and dress them all alike.

Saturday, April 09, 2005

Coming Soon:
Pottery Barn, Briarwood Mall

According to the Michigan Business Review, Pottery Barn is set to arrive at the Briarwood Mall by December of 2005. Finally, our wicker and rattan needs will be met.