Space Creating at the Grand River Creative Corridor

by: Travis Wright

Photo by Venti Valdez

When Derek Weaver moved from rural Monroe County for the urban atmosphere of Wayne State University, he says he caught flak from friends heading to other schools, like Michigan State University, because he was headed to the seemingly un-cool city of Detroit.

But Weaver saw opportunity here.

Between classes, he drove around unknown neighborhoods, eventually deciding to purchase some of the more shoddy houses he saw -- rehabbing them for rental properties.

Now 26, Weaver is young and successful in real estate, locally. He recently found himself taking on a mew role, managing director of a building at 4731 Grand River.

A ten minute drive from the city center, 4731 has more than 30 studios where noted artists the likes of Tyree Guyton, Dave Krieger, Rico Africa and Gilda Snowden work. He took the once anonymous half-vacant building and lowered the rent, filling the studios and making sure its exterior got a makeover as the building lacked identity.

Weaver tells WDET’s Travis Wright how he started the arts-oriented non-profit Grand River Creative Corridor on a whim while headed to work at 4731 one day.