The Obama’s mission to support local entrepreneurs and small businesses through affordable, turnkey commercial space is being realized with predominantly black women-owned businesses setting up shop at the corner of Grand River and Lahser. Businesses include CLASS Agency (Changing Lives and Staying Sober), DawanaFit, Dej’s Beauty Room, Haus of Healthy Living, Marcia Johnson Photography, and Nissy’s Fabulous Fashions x Sage’s Wisdom. Read more. Photos by Nadir Ali, 3andathird.
Art & Programming
In a community where arts and culture abound, preserving the building's namesake mural was paramount to the project. The “First Dance” mural featuring President Barack and First Lady Michelle Obama at the 2009 inauguration by local artist Chazz Miller was prominently exhibited atop the building prior to its redevelopment. The mural has been carefully restored and relocated to a gallery space on the building’s first floor that is an extension of an art loop in downtown Old Redford where murals adorn buildings and live music, poetry jams, art camps, and celebrations are regularly hosted by the Artist Village. The first in a rotating series of installation by local artists, Chazz Miller’s “Yes. We Can.” exhibition went on display in September 2021. Photos by Nadir Ali, 3andathird.
Years of neglect and deterioration led many to question whether the building was beyond repair. A collapsed roof had caused significant water damage, a fallen staircase, and a flooded basement. In order to preserve the building, a new structure was built inside the walls. Outside, decades of resurfacing materials on old storefronts were peeled away to expose the limestone block that was replastered to create an even façade. In addition, 20 feet of the building cornice – its most prominent architectural element – was rebuilt. Throughout construction, great care was taken to rehabilitate the building and preserve historic architectural and design elements.