Actor Hill Harper buys Detroit’s Roasting Plant

Melody Baetens
The Detroit News
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Longtime television and film actor Hill Harper has purchased downtown Detroit’s Roasting Plant Coffee.

Hill Harper

The Iowa native — known for his roles on “CSI: NY” and Showtime’s “Homeland” — will move to Detroit, as well. He’s purchased and started renovating a house in one of the city’s historic neighborhoods.

Harper’s plan is to use the coffee roastery and cafe as a platform for his Manifest Your Destiny Foundation that helps underserved youths. He wants to use the Roasting Plant to provide tactical work skills and professional growth opportunities for young people in Detroit.

“Detroit is a great American city that was forged on innovation, social enterprise and entrepreneurship. My ownership of Roasting Plant Coffee in downtown Detroit builds upon that legacy. It is truly an honor and privilege for me to help fuel the Motor City, not just with Roasting Plant’s incomparable coffee, but by providing career paths and launching pads to greater success in a booming industry for young Detroiters hungry for opportunity and active mentorship,” said Harper in a press release, adding that he loves “this city and its people” and has filmed two movies here over the past four years.

“I believe in Detroit. It is truly a vibrant, unique and great American city.”

The Roasting Plant in the First National Bank Building in Detroit.

Harper, who is an honors graduate of both Brown  and Harvard universities, has purchased the Detroit cafe and has invested directly in Roasting Plant Inc. He’ll serve as  an adviser and brand ambassador to the company, which was founded in 2004 by an industrial engineer and former Starbucks employee Mike Caswell.

“Our experience in the Detroit market has exceeded our most optimistic expectations and we’re grateful to our loyal customers,” said Caswell in a press release. “When Dan Gilbert invited us to join Opportunity Detroit, we jumped at the chance to be part of this great American city’s renaissance. We’re so excited to now be partnering with Hill Harper to bring an entrepreneurial approach to empowering young people across the city.”

Besides the Detroit cafe at 660 Woodward in the First National Building, there are two Roasting Plant locations in New York City, one at the Denver International Airport and at the Minneapolis-St. Paul Airport.

Harper, who also is known for his friendship with President Barack Obama, was named among People magazine’s “Sexiest Men Alive” in 2004 and 2014. He plays a journalist in the upcoming Tupac Shakur biopic “All Eyez on Me” and is the host of the CNN series “How It Really Happened with Hill Harper.”

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Twitter: @melodybaetens

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