Makeover in Midtown: Midland neighborhood gets an upgrade

Downtown is not the only thing going through a resurgence in Midland.The city’s Midtown neighborhood has also seen numerous opportunities in business and community development emerge.

Residents have certainly noticed the growing number of food and beverage options as well as the neighborhood undergoing a visual makeover.

What once was a pass-through to get to downtown, has become a go-to location in and of itself. Midtown is becoming a spot for locals to grab a bite to eat, families to play and businesses to grow. 
 
Here are some of the key developments behind that growth and a visual look into the community.

Transformation

Midlanders have seen the light, and it's coming from the newly remodeled Bricks Real Estate located at 702 Ashman Street.

Bricks took over the previous commercial space of Dr. Ostergren, a local chiropractor who originally built the building in 1966.

Bricks Real Estate's "before" picture. The building didn't have any windows and was in need of an overhaul.Locals might have spotted it at night recently, as the business sports blue, linear, modern lighting on the building’s exterior.

Bricks started from the husband and wife team of Daniel and Jamie Broderick. With over 22 years of combined experience in real estate in the Midland area, the two ventured off on their own in early 2017, renting office space downtown while the renovations took place. The Broderick team officially moved into the new office on Ashman in November 2017 and just recently held the official ribbon cutting in mid-January.

“Doctor Ostergren and his wife Carol stopped by recently to see the finished space, and they definitely approved of what we’ve done here,” says Daniel. “It is nice to have the original owner’s blessing of the work we’ve put in, and I think they saw we would continue to love and use the space within this community for years to come.”Daniel and Jamie Broderick, owners of Bricks Real Estate, felt that Midtown was the perfect location for their new office. Raising a young son with twins on the way, they've also chosen to live in the district to be within walking and biking distance.

The Broderick’s couldn’t be happier with the warm welcome from local friends and neighbors. 
 
“It has been so meaningful to us to see the amount of love and support we have received throughout this remodel,” says Daniel. “We have a passion for contributing to the community, and I have so much gratitude for the people we’ve worked with in this process, the contractor and building help was tremendous, but most of all I appreciate my wife’s hard work in this launch.”

The Brodericks may have warm feelings about the process, but the place definitely looks cool. The building’s exterior lighting that residents can see at night was by design.

“We know that the building was practically invisible to so many people, when describing the building's location, most just couldn't picture it,” says Jamie. “So we definitely wanted everybody to know we're here and wanted to make a contribution in a positive way to the neighborhood.”Brand new to the district, Bricks Real Estate invested significantly into their new offices. In addition to the welcoming pergola they had built, the interior was completely renovated to accommodate their growing business.

“We have gotten some really good initial reception from the community, so it would be fun to see more of our Midtown neighbors light up next year and it’s something we’re working on,” says Jamie.

Location was an important factor for Broderick’s business, as they wanted to be conveniently located in the heart of the city and in an area that is easy to navigate both to and from.

That community aspect is one of Daniel and Jamie’s favorite aspects of the city along with a quality of life is affordable.

“We have friends all over the country in the real estate business, and it is amazing to us how many communities there are out there where the cost of a home is often double or triple, if not more, of what similar homes run here in Midland,” says Daniel. “Plus there are so many amenities here that many of those bigger cities have within a very short distance.”

Community
Bricks Real Estate joins other Midtown catalysts, the businesses inside The Ashman Plaza. You will probably recognize them as  Captured Studios and Community, a group that has grown to include several new businesses and community events, most of which are in and around The Ashman Loft. Captured Studios has been in Midtown for seven years, but has recently expanded with several new businesses and partnerships, most notably, Live Oak Coffeehouse which opened in 2017 right next door to Auto Perfection.Auto Perfection occupies a unique building, with a striking rooftop that forms an awning at each corner of the structure.


The building that Captured Studios called home became available in 2013 and sent owner Renee Deckrow on a mission to not only restore the building, but also the larger community that surrounds it.
Live Oak Coffeehouse opened in 2017 to much fanfare, offering a warm, comfortable environment and high-quality coffee.

“This building has so much history, and it has been a dream to get the chance to rehabilitate it,” says Deckrow. “It has been a true labor of love and celebration of community and creativity. This past year we added critical elements of hospitality including coffee, treats, local food trucks that frequent the parking lot, including pizza from The Pizza Baker, whose kitchen is on site.”Renee Deckrow and her husband have owned and operated Captured Photography for many years and recently opened Live Oak Coffeehouse in the Ashman Plaza.

There has been enough attraction to the area to spur the community as an area ripe for some of Midland’s newer businesses — food trucks.

Several local area food trucks use the Ashman Street Plaza during the weekday and weekend lunch hours including Midland Burger Company, Los Jalapeños, and Makin Bacon among others. Spurred by increased traffic to the area and in Downtown Midland, the food truck scene has really taken off in the last year or two in Midland.

“Things took off last year when we opened Live Oak, and it has been very rewarding to see the community around us grow and develop,” says Deckrow.Live Oak's espresso machine creating a beverage during a recent weekday morning.

Deckrow’s favorite part of the process has been watching people make the space their second home, a place for reconnection in relationships and one that serves the community.

“The name Live Oak comes from the tree all that it represents — deep roots, a shelter from life's storms, and a place to find rest,” says Deckrow. “Growing up in the south, I have memories of swinging from and playing on Live Oak trees. My desire is for Live Oak Coffeehouse in Midtown to be that for people. A place where they can take a deep breath, sort through their thoughts, pause & reflect, play, connect, get inspiration and nourishment and grow within their community.”

And the coffee shop isn’t the only place you’ll find connection inside the Captured Community. Numerous community members and groups host events, workshops and run businesses out of the space as well. Some of those partners include innovation and business hub Incub8, several wellness classes like Jazzercise, Kanga Jumps, and Cardio Drumming, individual and family counseling at Haven Professional Counseling, career training classes and workshops such as She Thrives by Life Coach Heather Englehart.

Brand new to Midtown and set to open in early February 2018, is the new childhood development space Little Midland, which also resides within The Ashman Loft.

Little Midland offers several smaller versions of local stores, like LaLonde's Market

Sporting miniature versions of real Midland locations like LaLondes Market, a police station, Live Oak Coffee and Auto Perfection, as well as cars, roads, and streetlights, Little Midland offers exploration around every corner for early childhood learning and events.

Little Midland manager Beatrice Sushynski wanted the venue to offer a hands-on experience offered at many larger children’s museums.

“In visiting larger cities with my kids, I noticed that children often gravitated to the play areas,” says Sushynski. “We had the space available here, and it seemed like an indoor play area was something that was lacking in Midland.”

The development center current plans are hours from 10:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. Monday through Saturday, with drop-in availability, similar to a children’s museum. Day passes are $5, and parents are free of charge. Little Midland will be available for rental space for birthday parties and other events.

With all of the action and development in the last year, 2018 is shaping up to be Midtown’s best year yet.
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