The Pony Ride Building



The Pony Ride Building

1401 Vermont at Porter in the Corktown Neighborhood of Detroit


A new Detroit may be slowly emerging, one that will capitalize upon the innovations of entrepreneurs, many of them young people who come to Detroit to develop their ideas and new products. Phil Cooley has had great success with his Slows B B Q Restaurant on Michigan Avenue in the Corktown area just southwest of downtown Detroit.  The success of his restaurant has, at least indirectly, contributed to the apparent prosperity of other business located near the intersection of Michigan and Roosevelt Park.

The 30,000 square foot building you see had been empty for some time.  I believe that it was used most recently as a warehouse but I know almost nothing about its history.    It was purchased or acquired by Phil Cooley in, I believe, 2012 for $100,000 to serve as a home for young business people.  His idea is to provide very low cost space to socially conscious artists and entrepreneurs.  Indeed, the rent is as low as 10 or 20 cents per square foot per month including utilities.  Those who rent here are expected to cultivate ideas and share their knowledge and resources so as to serve the residents of Detroit.  One specific aim of the Ponyride project is to see how the foreclosure crisis can have a positive impact upon the city of Detroit.  Ponyride is a non-profit organization.  It will be very interesting to see what becomes of this endeavor.

Architect: Unknown to me
Date of construction: Probably mid to late 1920s
Architectural style:  Art Deco
Use in 2013:  Home of The Ponyride, a commercial firm that provides low-cost space for start-up businesses.
Website for the Ponyride organization:
Website for Slows Bar B Q:
City of Detroit Designated Historic Districts:  Not listed
State of Michigan Registry of Historic Sites:  Not listed
National Register of Historic Places:  Not listed
Photograph:  Ren Farley, October, 2013
Description updated:  April, 2014


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