New All-Service Garage with Shuttle on Detroit’s Riverfront Fills Need for City Motorists

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Near-East side, downtown Detroit, Midtown, and surrounding areas will have a new all-service car garage to rely on with the opening of The Straits Garage on Joseph Campau, near the Detroit River and the Stroh Riverplace complex.

A much-needed new independent car repair facility in downtown Detroit has opened for business in January, 2014.

The Straits Garage operates in Rivertown at 217 Joseph Campau, adjacent to the Stroh Riverplace complex and the Atwater Block Brewery.

“There are very few garages in the whole city center, and literally none downtown,” said proprietor Chris Lee. “There’s a tremendous need, I know a lot of people in the area, and this is something I always wanted to do.”

In addition to full-scale auto repair and maintenance, The Straits provides shuttle service throughout the city center and Midtown. The waiting room provides complimentary coffee and pastries from the local Gem Bakery.

Having worked on cars of all makes and models since he was a kid, Lee is a certified mechanic, and he has hired another mechanic with many years of experience on both street cars and building high-performance race cars. More technicians will be added as demand rises.

The building, erected in 1880, has operated as a garage for decades. Lee currently has two lifts and 4 bays, but there is plenty of room for expansion.

“Part of the reason I did this was because I love the building,” Lee said. “When the weather gets better I plan to do a lot to restore the building and property.”

A jack of all trades, Lee has a fine arts background and still teaches at the college level. In 2007 he purchased his great grandparents’ former home near New Center and began to restore the badly depleted structure, doing much of the work himself.

In late 2013 a film crew from HGTV followed Lee and his family through the final months of restoration of the home. The series, titled “American Rehab: Detroit,” will begin airing later this year.

So why name his garage The Straits? “Because “Detroit” is French for “the strait” and we have several straits in Michigan. Even the Detroit River is technically a strait and not a river. And we can see it from our garage.”

Hours are 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Friday. Contact Chris Lee at chris(at)thestraitsgarage(dot)com; 313.393.6003. Website:

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