Entrepreneur rehabs blighted Detroit building into future organic restaurant and bar

You wouldn't guess from its current state, but the building on East Jefferson was a shell.

The symbolic structure of Detroit's blighted building problem, a property in Detroit was slated for demolition. But, Nya Marshall had other ideas.

"This is so far from where it started," she said. "It's been a journey."

A journey that started five years ago when Marshall purchased the building. Intending to restore it into an organic restaurant and bar, the jovial entrepreneur has overcome a slew of financial barriers in her dream to create a farm-to-table eatery as unique as the city it's registered for.

"I'm not Dan Gilbert, I'm not Peter Cummings, I'm not the Illitch family or anything like that," she said. "But I exist and actually others like me exist. And my goal is actually to encourage others because this is a brick-by-brick process."

She's not lying. The dilapidation of the structure had persisted for 30 years. Its windows were gone. There weren't walls. And that was just what one could see was wrong. The money it would take to fix it up wouldn't come at once, but it would all come from her. 

When she ran out, she'd have to reshape her portfolio and wait to raise more. But, she persisted. Now on the cusp of her grand opening, she has a message for everyone else with an idea like hers.

"I'm hoping that my story inspires others to say 'hey, if Nya is doing this, I can do it too," she said.

If any prospective business people are eyeing projects like Marshall, there's plenty of square feet just next door waiting for the same kind of persistence.

For now, Ivy Kitchen and Cocktails will soft-open June 24th.