Pony Ride is a recently developed project from Detroit’s media favorite and PLAYGROUND DETROIT Supervisor Phillip Cooley. He aqcuired the building- previously an unused, old office space- in Corktown for a steal and transformed it into a community space. The diverse group of tenants now occupying the 30,000 sq. ft space literally pay dimes per square-foot to rent there, enabling them to focus on their true passions.
The Empowerment Plan calls Ponyride home, led by recent grad and entrepreneur Veronika Scott, which employs and trains homeless women to produce convertible coats that turn into sleeping bags. Another tenant, Bryan Christopher Baker, runs Stukenborg Letterpress Studio which re-located to Detroit from Brooklyn, NY- check out the recent article from coolhunting.
Here is more about Pony Ride from their website:
Ponyride is a study to see how the foreclosure crisis can have a positive impact on our communities. Using an ‘all boats rise with the tide’ rent subsidy, we are able to provide cheap space for socially-conscious artists and entrepreneurs to work and share knowledge, resources and networks. We purchased a 30,000 square-foot warehouse for $100,000 and offer space for $0.10-$0.20 per square-foot, which includes the cost of utilities.”
Ponyride nurtures collaboration using shared resources, knowledge, and ideas to cultivate opportunities created by the strengths and crises of Detroit. Participants serve Detroit communities by sharing their craft and expertise. Ponyride explores the potential positive impact the foreclosure crisis can have on our communities. We engage a diverse group of creative socially conscious entrepreneurs giving them the opportunity for production, community outreach, and education. The tenants’ rent is well below market rates due to the low purchase price of the property and the outpouring of community support in the form of various resources.”
Details magazine has even taken notice, profiling the new endeavour:
“Foreclosures have hit Detroit especially hard, but amid the gloom and doom of the real-estate crash, Phillip Cooley sowed the seeds of a creative boom. Last spring the 34-year-old civic activist, a former fashion model, purchased a 1930s industrial warehouse for $100,000 and turned it into an incubator for the city’s most innovative entrepreneurs. He called it Pony Ride because, he says, “Who doesn’t want to go on a pony ride?” To saddle up, tenants must have a socially conscious purpose and agree to teach their craft to the community.
More than 40 have moved in, including a boat-maker, a dance studio, a film-production company, and a designer who builds furniture from the city’s fallen trees. “I want some interesting collisions to happen here,” says Cooley, an interesting collision unto himself. The Michigan native walked runways in Paris, Milan, and Tokyo before making his name in 2005 by opening Slows Bar-B-Q, a smoke joint in the city’s Corktown neighborhood that serves as a platform for local community building. Nearby Pony Ride promotes the same values by offering absurdly cheap rent: “Ten cents per square foot,” Cooley says, “and that’s with utilities.” -VIA Details Magazine
This month they even held a dance fundraiser that featured sounds of DJs Dale Earnhardt Jr Jr! [Wish we could have been there!]
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