For Immediate Release




DETROIT, May 15, 2018 – The partners behind the Dequindre Cut Freight Yard project are inviting the public to celebrate the unveiling of the much-anticipated outdoor space on Saturday, May 19 during an all-day event that features food, drink, entertainment and a bazaar showcasing the work of local artisans. Admission to Saturday’s event—which runs from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m.—is free. Food and drink will be available for purchase.

The project is a collaborative effort between the Detroit RiverFront Conservancy, Build Institute, Lawrence Technological University (LTU), Western International High School, Ponyride and Groundswell Design Group.

Students from LTU and Western International High School took the lead in the project from beginning to end. They conceptualized the project, fabricated the pieces off site and installed the shipping containers on site. Much of the off-site work in preparing the shipping containers took place at Ponyride, the Detroit incubator where emerging entrepreneurs and artists often get their start in business.

The Dequindre Cut Freight Yard is a retail and entertainment gathering space that comprises nine repurposed shipping containers along the greenway between Division and Wilkins streets. The containers are arranged in a pattern that is designed to be visually stimulating, but functional as well. 

The "Hub" is the centerpiece of the installation and features five shipping containers stacked on top of each other to house a DJ booth and retail space. Interesting lighting treatments, creative site furnishings and the colorful work of local artists combine to create a fun, festive environment.

Highlights of the grand opening celebration include a biergarten featuring wine and local beer, food trucks, musical entertainment and a Detroit-based vendor market. Food trucks scheduled to appear include Yum Village and The Drunken Rooster. A DJ will be spinning tunes, and local songstress Nique Love Rhodes will perform at 2 p.m. Local vendors including Pot and Box, Mend on the Move, Salikas Jewels and the Hip Hop Bake Shop will display their wares throughout the day.

Leaders from the Conservancy—the organization that serves as the perpetual steward of the RiverWalk and the Dequindre Cut public spaces—envision the Freight Yard quickly becoming a destination for visitors to the Detroit Riverfront.

"The Dequindre Cut serves as an important neighborhood connector for pedestrians and cyclists," said Mark Wallace, president and CEO of the Detroit RiverFront Conservancy.  "The Freight Yard will give people a reason to spend more time in the Cut, where they can appreciate its natural beauty, the public art, and some unique food and beverage options."

The May 19 grand opening also kicks off the season for the outdoor venue, which will be open every Friday, Saturday and Sunday through September 16. The hours are 4 to 10 p.m. on Fridays; 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. on Saturdays and Noon to 9 p.m. on Sundays.

The Conservancy is partnering with YUM Village and Brut Detroit to provide bar service and a rotating selection of food trucks each day during operating hours throughout the season.

"We are excited to be at the heart of this new chapter in Detroit's amazing story," said Nicole Mangis, owner of Brut Detroit. "We look forward to contributing to the existing vibrancy and culture by bringing the best of our local and statewide food and beverage scene to Eastern Market and the Dequindre Cut every weekend."

The Conservancy is also partnering with Build Institute to coordinate a bazaar every Saturday and Sunday that features the work of local vendors and artisans who will be selling their creations or providing musical entertainment.

"Build Institute is incredibly excited about this project," said April Boyle, executive director of Build Institute.  "We are continuously on the lookout for opportunities for our alumni and the small business community at large. Pop-up and temporary space is crucial to entrepreneurs as a low-overhead way to test ideas and launch vetted businesses." 

Supporting local entrepreneurs and others who like to dream big is important to Ponyride. "At Ponyride, we offer the opportunity to help budding artists, entrepreneurs and others learn to succeed," said Phil Cooley, local entrepreneur and co-founder of Ponyride. "It’s been especially rewarding to tap into the incredible young talent we have here in Detroit to work on an exciting project like the Freight Yard."

Shipping container projects are gaining popularity throughout the United States. While there are several private developments throughout Detroit that feature shipping containers in a residential function, the Freight Yard is among the first to tap them for public use.

Funding for the Dequindre Cut Freight Yard is made possible in part through the support of Kresge Foundation, Knight Foundation, Ford Motor Company Fund and the Community Foundation for Southeast Michigan. 

The Dequindre Cut is an approximately two-mile urban recreational greenway that currently runs below-grade from the riverfront to Mack Avenue. Formerly a Grand Trunk Railroad line, the path opened in May 2009 and provides a non-motorized pedestrian link between the East Riverfront, Eastern Market and several residential neighborhoods in between. The greenway is well-known for its examples of colorful urban artwork and graffiti. Much of the graffiti art originates from the time the Dequindre Cut was an abandoned railway, with the exception of 16 wall-sized murals by local artists that the Detroit RiverFront Conservancy has commissioned.

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