‘Selden Innovation Corridor’ planned for Midtown street

Louis Aguilar
The Detroit News

A plan to transform a block of Selden in Midtown Detroit into a corridor that offers low-cost space for entrepreneurs as well as residential and retail space got a boost Tuesday. The project, called “Selden Innovation Corridor,” would feature new restaurants and a manufacturing space by luxury-goods maker Shinola.

The state’s economic development agency Tuesday approved a $1 million loan to renovate and expand an empty two-story building at 644 Selden as part of a $7.2 million project that will include a ground-floor “meat-centric” restaurant run by local entrepreneur Jon Carlson; a second-floor offering low-cost space for start-ups and entrepreneurs; and two new floors of eight residential units, according to state documents.

Carlson, the operator of the planned restaurant, has been involved in a number of popular restaurants and breweries in Ann Arbor, Traverse City and Royal Oak. The loan was approved Tuesday morning by the board of directors of the Michigan Strategic Fund in Lansing.

The building is one of four properties planned to become the “Selden Innovation Corridor.” The district aims to provide low-cost space “to support the innovation and entrepreneurial community,” according to state documents.

The Selden properties involved are between Second and Third streets, just around the corner from the popular Selden Standard restaurant. In addition to 644 Selden, the other buildings involved are 634 Selden and 666 Selden. A vacant lot at 656 Selden, which will be converted into a courtyard, also is part of the development.

The properties are controlled by entities linked to Susan Mosey, executive director of Midtown Detroit Inc., according to public documents. The nonprofit is a major developer in the neighborhood. Mosey couldn’t be reached before Tuesday’s vote.

Midtown Detroit is teaming up with the New Economy Initiative, a project of the Community Foundation for Southeast Michigan, and Invest Detroit, a fund that focuses on the city, to overhaul the properties into a mix of entrepreneurs along with retail and residences.

Another potential partner on the Selden block is Shinola Detroit LLC, the company known mainly for its expensive watches, bicycles and leather items. At 634 Selden, Shinola is planning a cafe and a manufacturing facility for audio equipment such as headphones and other items, according to documents submitted to the Detroit City Council in February. Shinola had no comment about its plans Tuesday.