Black-owned business Detroit Pizza Bar celebrates grand opening in Livernois-McNichols neighborhood as part of SNF
- Legacy City Group developers Akunna Olumba and Marcus Jones open Live6’s newest restaurant inside the newly renovated building at 7316 W. McNichols.
- Project funded in part by Invest Detroit through the Strategic Neighborhood Fund.
- Restaurateurs to hire workers who mostly live in the surrounding neighborhoods.
- Open House from 5-9 PM Friday, April 1; official restaurant opening day April 8th.
DETROIT – The Detroit Pizza Bar celebrated its grand opening today, marking another addition to the Livernois-Six Mile (Live6) neighborhood. The community is invited to an open house to grab a slice from 5-9 pm and check out the latest project funded by the Strategic Neighborhood Fund, a public-private partnership aimed at improving 10 neighborhoods throughout Detroit.
The new Black-owned, 4,500-square-foot restaurant at 7316 W. McNichols (Six Mile) has already created 20 jobs and plans to create dozens more. So far, 100 percent of the staff hired are Detroit residents, with 97% of them living within a 2-mile radius of the restaurant. The pizzeria will combine quick and full service, with the chance to enjoy pies on the building’s rooftop terrace during the warmer months. Not only will the Detroit Pizza Bar support local residents with jobs, but it will support local farmers, as well – the restaurant is determined to keep as much in the community as possible. The $ 1.3 million project brings new life to a long-abandoned commercial building on McNichols.
“When developing in corridors like Livernois-Six Mile that have traditionally struggled to get funding for projects, the Strategic Neighborhood Fund has become an indispensable resource because they allow both redevelopment and stabilization of long-forgotten commercial thoroughfares,” said Marcus Jones , co-owner of the Detroit Pizza Bar. “The SNF has helped my partner Akunna Olumba and I not only open our business but help make a difference on this stretch of McNichols.”
The Strategic Neighborhood Fund (SNF) is a $ 150 million initiative led by the nonprofit Invest Detroit and funded through six corporate funds and philanthropic organizations. The SNF is dedicated to improving parks, commercial corridors, streetscapes and housing stabilization, as well as creating opportunity and equity for local color developers. Mayor Mike Duggan announced the fund in 2014 in three neighborhoods, and the program was expanded to seven more in 2018. There is at least one SNF neighborhood in each of the city’s seven council districts.
“Invest Detroit is thrilled to support Legacy City Group in bringing a great restaurant and job resource to this neighborhood,” said Keona Cowan, executive vice president of lending at Invest Detroit. “Detroit Pizza Bar is a wonderful addition to the redevelopment of this key commercial corridor that is largely being led by some of Detroit’s most talented Black developers and business owners.”
In October of last year, Mayor Duggan and members of the community celebrated the completion of a $ 7 million streetscape overhaul of McNichols, which includes new bike lanes, parking lanes, sidewalks and more. In addition to beautifying the corridor, it has already helped to draw more investment to this stretch, including another Black-led SNF project that broke ground Dec. 7, the Sawyer Art Apartments, located across the street from the Detroit Pizza Bar. Other streetscapes completed or nearly finished as part of the Strategic Neighborhood Fund include Livernois, Grand River in Northwest Grand River, Bagley Street in Southwest Detroit, Conant in Campau / Banglatown and Kercheval Avenue in the Islandview / Greater Villages area, with streetscape makeovers for East Warren and West Warren kicking off in the early spring.
“We have created the Strategic Neighborhood Fund to strengthen neighborhoods and to help revitalize commercial corridors that serve them,” said Mayor Duggan. “The business growth we’ve seen on Livernois has been tremendous and with the help of strategic SNF investments in businesses like the Pizza Bar, we’re seeing the same thing start to happen along McNichols. I’m so proud of Akunna and Marcus for the incredible transformation they’ve made to their new space. ”
The SNF’s work is amplified by many community organizations, block clubs and nonprofits. Among those playing the biggest role in the Live6 neighborhood is the Live6 Alliance, which is dedicated to enhancing the quality of life and economic opportunity in the neighborhoods and businesses around Livernois Avenue and the McNichols Road corridor.
“The SNF’s commitment to equitable development in neighborhoods aligns perfectly with Live6 Alliance’s mission and takes our collaboration with Invest Detroit and other prominent investors to a new level,” said Live6 Alliance Executive Director, Dr. Geneva Williams. “We are thrilled to congratulate Akunna and Marcus on the opening of the Detroit Pizza Bar. There couldn’t be a better time for a restaurant with a rooftop deck overlooking the beautiful new West McNichols streetscape, and who doesn’t love a great new restaurant in their community? ” Williams boasts that she has gotten to sample the pizza in advance of the opening, describing it as “super delicious!”
Besides providing key funding to renovate the long-abandoned commercial space, the SNF also helped Jones and Olumba create the development the way they had envisioned.
“The Strategic Neighborhood Fund allowed us, as developers, to ensure our commitment to green building and workforce development,” Olumba said. “With the funding we were able to install solar panels, and to institute a six-to-eight-week training program for all our employees.”
For more information on the Detroit Pizza Bar, follow them on social media at www.facebook .com / DetroitPizzaBar