Some positive news about Detroit

Yesterday we received 2 pieces of great news – we received our permit to begin construction at the Green Garage, and the permit for the Green Alley. Hooray!

We’re pleased for ourselves (now we can begin construction), but we’re also happy to send out a positive report about working in the city of Detroit. We sent our plans for the Green Garage into the city just 1 1/2 weeks ago, and here we sit today with permit in hand. That’s remarkable! We have done construction projects in other cities, and have been told that they wouldn’t even LOOK at our application for 2 weeks, let alone comb through it for approval. So this represents lightning speed – good for you Detroit!

What’s even more amazing to me is the fact that this is not your usual project. We had to pass plumbing, electrical, mechanical, structural codes on a project that incorporates collecting up to 2,000 gallons of rainwater on site, utilizing a solar/hot water/geothermal heating and cooling system, installing an insulated roof over a roof, and developing a rooftop garden. We’re working with a historic building, so we needed all of this to mesh with our need to keep the historic integrity of the building intact. These items needed extra scrutiny, as they represent relatively new concepts. In fact, most of the approval happened within a week, and we had to wait the extra half week for some details to be worked out. For example, we needed approval from the health department for the water harvesting.

Now, keep in mind that we went in prepared. We sent in over 25 pages of detailed building plans and operating procedures. And to get to those 25 pages, we spent 9 months in design and modeling, and then 3 months preparing the plans. We also worked with people throughout the design phase who know city code, like Laurie Catey, a mechanical engineer, or Ted Berlinghof, an architect. Without their input we would not have had such a positive result.

So the green incubator has emerged from a long incubation. We also have a positive story to tell about working with the city. We all win.

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