Illuminated Mural to be Preserved in Milwaukee Junction ‘Chroma’ Development

Illuminated Mural to be Preserved in Milwaukee Junction ‘Chroma’ Development

The Platform announced today that it has started work on Chroma, a project that transforms a historic cold storage building in Detroit’s iconic Milwaukee Junction neighborhood into a home for local creative entrepreneurs and businesses.

“We have been working toward this moment of construction commencement for two years and are grateful for the support of the funding community in Detroit,” said Dietrich Knoer, president and CEO of
The Platform. “Chroma will be a transformative development for Milwaukee Junction and the City of Detroit because of its unique focus on creativity, design and innovation.”

The nine-story, 75,000-square-foot building, which sat empty for years, will offer to the greater New Center area creative office space and co-working programmed by hospitality-driven co-working operator Beauty Shoppe, alongside a food hall with a variety of culinary options. Work on the $16 million renovation is expected to wrap up by the end of this year.
“We are proud to offer a development that supports Detroit creatives with quality space in an inspirational building while welcoming a broad community of neighbors and visitors,” said Peter Cummings, executive chairman of The Platform.

The landmark building on East Grand Boulevard will be home to a 14,000-square-foot public Market hall run by Grandview Public Market from West Palm Beach, Fla. This culinary hub will occupy the first two floors, serving as a great place to eat and as an incubator for local food entrepreneurs. Grandview will feature 14 chef driven concepts, most of which are locally owned. It will have a wide selection of culinary options and will also include a full bar with a detailed beer and wine list and cocktails.
“Grandview will not only be a great place to grab a bite but will help Detroit’s next food industry leaders by eliminating the costs of equipment, build-out and long-term rent obligations that are often barriers that keep so many food entrepreneurs from realizing their dreams,” said Grandview founder Chris Vila.

“Being able to combine our love of design with our hospitality background to create a venue where all people can come to enjoy themselves, work, socialize and enjoy exceptional and affordable food and drink has been a real privilege for us, and we can’t wait to bring our concept to Detroit.” Those interested in available vendor space can e-mail

Chroma’s facade will open up with generous windows and light on the east and north elevations to transform the former cold storage building. Its “Illuminated Mural” will be preserved and protected. The 15,000 square feet on the seventh and eighth floors of Chroma will be home to a dynamic
co-working concept by Beauty Shoppe, a Pittsburgh-based firm that is challenging the way people think about the workday experience. The company’s growing portfolio currently features eight locations in Pittsburgh and one in Cleveland. Beauty Shoppe is known for its hospitality approach and friendly workspaces that combine exquisite design with wholehearted service to showcase and foster the cultural and professional talents that are the essence of evolving cities. The vision for Beauty Shoppe at Chroma includes a variety of workspace options, from dedicated desks to private offices in a range of sizes and formats, all of which are intended to house small producers, service-based businesses and freelancers across a wide spectrum of industries and mediums. Tenants will benefit from a flexible, month-to-month membership structure that provides shared amenities to support daily operational needs. The ability to scale quickly and seamlessly without taking on the risk or expense of a long-term office lease provides an attractive perk for growing businesses.

Chroma is one of the first projects in Detroit to take advantage of new Opportunity Zone rules that took effect last year. This measure allows investors to reduce or avoid capital gains taxes by investing instead in designated areas. This opens the door to new funding sources for completing projects in cities like Detroit. Funding for Chroma was made possible through the PNC Bank, Invest Detroit and the Detroit Economic Growth Corporation. Chroma is nurturing a number of partnerships with local nonprofits to deliver supportive community programming through entrepreneurial classes, mentorship and technical assistance to tenants and Detroiters alike. The Henry Ford Academy: School for Creative Studies (HFA:SCS) located in the Alfred A. Taubman Center for Design Education is exploring after-school co-working access for students and teachers. HFA:SCS is the premier art and design school in the city of Detroit that focuses on design thinking and deeper learning. Design Core Detroit plans to bring classes and events to Chroma. Design Core supports the growth of design-driven businesses in the region through business-support programs, promotion and efforts to grow market design services and goods. Both partners are neighbors to Chroma.

“Chroma honors Detroit as a UNESCO City of Design, the only U.S. city with this designation,” said Abir Ali, director of design and culture for The Platform. “It is a project that creates quality space for creatives– from emerging to established practitioners – in a neighborhood with a rich history of industry and creativity. It is also an incredible opportunity to reimagine the architecture of a cold-storage building to allow for new programming and activity.”

The project is projected to create 74 full-time employees with 55 in construction, four in building operations and 15 in retail and the food hall.
The building was erected in 1913 and designed by architect Rudolph C. Gernt. In 2009, the building’s west facade was energized with artist Katie Craig’s 125-foot high “Illuminated Mural.” “Breathing new life into this building marks the next chapter in the life of the mural” the artist said. The Platform is working closely with her to remove graffiti, maintain and repair parts of the mural, and light the mural.

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