Good news for eastsiders: going to the laundromat just got a whole lot easier – and tastier. After three years of development and a massive remodel, The Commons — a cafe, community space, and laundromat — has opened in the Islandview neighborhood. The business is just one part of a larger community plan from MACC Development. The local nonprofit, founded by the Mack Avenue Community Church in 2010, is “seeking the holistic revitalization of Detroit’s 48214 ZIP code.”
MACC began working on the concept after asking neighbors what they actually wanted in their neighborhood. What they requested was simple: a laundromat. But the non-profit wanted to go even a step further. “Someone had the brilliant idea to take the idea of the cafe and the laundromat and kind of crush them together,” says Jesse Bandfield, general manager of The Commons.
The Commons has partnered with various local brands to stock the cafe with coffee, sandwiches, soups, and more. Businesses include Populace Coffee, Intu Tea, Avalon International Breads, Sweet Potato Sensations, and On the Rise Bakery. Prices are beyond affordable, with an 8-ounce coffee available for only a buck. The most expensive offering, a medium mocha, is only $4.
The interior certainly doesn’t look like your average laundromat. Inside, clean wood floors meet modern furniture, bright new washers, and colorful wall murals. Long community tables available for patrons to eat, work, and relax. The minimalist interior was designed in part by Kaija Wuollet of Laavu, the Detroit-based architectural firm behind Gold Cash Gold, Sister Pie, Batch Brewing, and Detroit Institute of Bagels.
Beyond providing neighbors a convenient amenity, MACC Development wanted to position The Commons as a community center for Islandview. “There isn’t really a good community space around here,” explains Bandfield. “There’s no libraries or public space, so that was also part of the plans.”
The Commons is only one part of a larger community development plan by MACC Development. As part of the Mack Avenue Corridor Project, the neighboring lot will be converted into a park and green space for the community. The park is planned to include a cafe seating area, a community garden, a multipurpose stage, and a play area for kids.
Eventually, MACC hopes to develop the 13-block stretch of Mack Avenue in partnership with residents, business and property owners, and church and community leaders, in order to better serve the 48214 community. More information on MACC Development can be found here.
The Commons, 7900 Mack Ave. Detroit, thecommonsdetroit.com