Posts in Organization
Closing Weeks Before Opening The Construction Meetings

As we enter the closing weeks before opening the construction meetings are much about timelines, complications, final decisions, and finishings. With the plywood off the windows there is a revealing look at the tenant side space. The natural light that enters the space intensifies later in the day. 

With the plywood off the windows there is a revealing look at the tenant side space. The natural light that enters the space intensifies later in the day. 

Decisions are being made about window sills and about the wrought iron treatments for the interior of the windows, the rear facing building windows, and the doors. 

Beginning Discussions About Mural With Freddy

We are excited to announce that Freddy Diaz, former participant and longtime mentor at TAP, will be leading the development and installation of the mural that will cover three sides of the building at Elsmere and Avis. 

Freddy, who is also a board member of Young Nation, quickly responded to the opportunity to install the mural after our good friend and mentor, Tead, tragically passed away this summer. Tead was Freddy’s mentor and close friend and he is honored to create a work inspired by the decisions that Tead had already made together with the Young Nation team. 

Diseños Ironworks, Young Nation, et al architecture firm, and Freddy met at today’s construction meeting to go over where things are currently in the coordination between the building, the wrought iron design, and the mural. 

Today Diseños responded to feedback to the sample frame that was installed a few weeks ago and Freddy is working to prepare a palette and initial designs for the mural together with the architects. There should be updates in the coming weeks for each to share. 

Panel Design Begins

Diseños Ornamental Iron designed, fabricated, and installed a sample panel in the patio space yesterday. They wanted to show us something that complements the design of the building and will also work well with the mural that will eventually wrap three sides of the building.

This morning they came by to meet with the design team. We had conversations about design, function, and how to address some of the trickier spaces around the building–tall doors, unique windows, the patio gates and so on.

Soon a final design will be determined and work will begin on creating and installing it so stay tuned! 

Drywall Installation

Drywall installation started a couple weeks back. In the tenant space you can see the insulation in the interior walls and the framing around interior windows coming together.

Today all of the drywall is hung and mudding and sanding has started in several of the spaces throughout the building. Its really starting to paint a picture of how the inside will feel when complete. 

Concrete Pour

The thickened concrete slab for the front porch/patio was prepped, poured, floated, and trowled today.

Even the small details of the construction can be quite involved. Here’s a link to some step-by-step about how a concrete is poured:

If you live down the street you probably already noticed that the street was blocked. Please pardon our dust during construction. :) 

Some Windows Installed

Today the Avis side of the building was opened up and the retractable glass wall panels were installed. Also the doors on Elsmere are now in place and operational. 

Tomorrow the frames for the windows around the rest of the building will be here. 

With the plywood off and the glass up we are starting to get an idea of how open the space will feel on the Avis side. Looking forward to time spent on the porch with neighbors in the near future. 

Tenant Window Frames Exposed

The tenant space and its window frames are now also exposed. The shape of the windows is now starting to show, including where the butt joint glazed windows will be. This is where two panes come together at a corner without a pane. 

The brow (overhang) extends along the broad side of the building and tucks over the glass at its widest extension. A sill under the windows will give the appearance that they are floating over the sidewalk.

The brow will be clad in steel and will conceal lighting along the outside of the building.  

Revealing the Building's Exterior

The temporary plywood wall around the facade’s construction area was removed today revealing the building’s exterior. The light coming into the building here the same that will come in when the building is finished.

Window framing, brick work, the building’s brow (overhang), and knee walls are now visible from Elsmere. We are now also starting to see the windows’ and building entrances’ location and shape. 

Laying Community Legends to Rest

Tomorrow we lay two legends to rest.

Two friends. Two mentors. In some ways our relationships with each of you couldn’t be more different, and in other ways they are so much the same in ways other folks just couldn’t understand.

You were both critical to creating, building, and sustaining The Alley Project. 

Thank you both for the moments teaching, learning, sharing, and building. You are irreplaceable.

Tead and Freddy Begin Mural Plans

Tead, local artist and mentor, came by to measure and discuss more details about the mural he will install on the exterior of the building. Part of the mural will continue to the inside of the space and will be visible through the windows on Elsmere. 


On the way in he stopped to pose for a pic near a photo of Freddy, another local artist, who he has been a mentor and friend to over the years. Freddy has been coming to The Alley Project since he was a youth and has grown as an artist and a mentor to young artists in Southwest Detroit passing on all that he has picked up along the way. 

We are excited for the full circle mentee-mentor cycle to unfold in real time as it becomes a tangible work of art/mural for the whole community to enjoy.  

Showing Layers

Layers are showing. Concrete, terrazzo, wood, blocks, bricks, and steel. A stroll around the inside of the building right now shows the foundations that everything we will touch and see in the new space will be built on. 

The last parts of the floor have been cut and broken up and the new floor will be poured and smoothed in the next few days.

The knee wall where the windows will rest has been completed. The aluminum framing on top of it will hold the butt joint glazed windows–where two panes come together at a corner without a pane. Floor to ceiling windows will run up to the end of the knee wall and expand across the rest of the front and side of the space allowing a lot of natural light into the space throughout the day. 

Tenant Space Progress

The tenant space is moving along as well. Since it will not be finished on the same level as the community space and office, it is perhaps moving along “faster” toward completion. 

The tenant space’s entry will be on Elsmere just behind where the temporary door currently sits and the unit is adjacent to the alley.

Areas that will contain the large windows letting in lots of natural light are now visible. Framing for the windows, an interesting process, is beginning soon. There are still some decisions to be made but weekly conversations and meetings are moving much of that along quickly.

Before we know it all the decisions will be behind us and we will all be inside together.