The Vibe in Paradise Valley

2016 06 23 Randolph Center 2020 - with title block

Five developers with strong Detroit roots recently received approval from the Downtown Development Authority of the City of Detroit to redevelop nine properties in the Paradise Valley Cultural & Entertainment District. The project will feature commercial and retail space, residential units, restaurants, entertainment venues and a boutique hotel, all scheduled to be built in the next three years.

Each developer has a great story to tell, and this is the first in a series that will run in this newsletter. Hamilton Development Corp., led by Rainy Hamilton, Jr., FAIA, NOMA, will renovate the 36,000 sq. ft. building at 1435 Randolph St. in which his firm, Hamilton Anderson Associates, has been an anchor tenant for Paradise Valley. It also will build a 16,000 sq. ft. new office building on the parking lot next door at 1455 Centre St.

“As the longest standing anchor tenant in the Paradise Valley Cultural & Entertainment District (PVCED), formally Harmonie Park, I am incredibly proud to see the push for redevelopment of the area. I am even more honored to have the opportunity to not only participate as a property owner, but also with my architecture firm, Hamilton Anderson Associates (HAA), serving as design lead for most of the proposed developments.

”When I decided to make the move to establish my own firm more than 21 years ago, I knew that location would play a large part in our ability to provide creative design solutions to our clients in the city. At that time, Harmonie Park was perfect, and was also the place where I held my first job out of college as an architect. This area has always been home to me.
“It is a great time in the City of Detroit, one of rebirth and resurgence. I often refer to this as the ‘second wave’ of my 30+ year-long career as an architect. HAA is fortunate enough to be involved in some of the city’s most notable development projects, including: Brush Park, The District Detroit, several projects with Wayne State University, and a number of mixed-use residential projects with private developers. Adding PVCED to our diverse portfolio is an honor, not only professionally but personally. When my 91-year-old father arrived in Detroit many years ago, Paradise Valley was his first home. This development opportunity has come full circle for me and my family.

“My proposed development at 1435 Randolph St. and 1455 Centre St. will honor the history of Paradise Valley and offer commercial office space for fledging entrepreneurs, retail and dining, and as an homage to the importance of music, a jazz alley dedicated to local and national artists.”

Rainy Hamilton, Jr., FAIA, NOMA

Hamilton Development Corp.

D2D Buyer Ready Business: Powerlink Facilities Management Services – Link Howard, chairman and CEO

degc-detroit- growth-update_0804 Buyer Ready

Powerlink Facilities Management Services provides facility management services for construction and electrical contractors. The company does everything in terms of facility management/care, inside and out. Powerlink works with clients of all sizes and has found quite a niche in healthcare. Powerlink’s Chairman and CEO Link Howard founded the company in Detroit 13 years ago.

What is the history and background of Powerlink Facilities Management Services?

We began servicing the automotive sector but as the economy changed we switched our services to focus on healthcare and other industries. We found that the paint system management we originally created for automotive worked very well in healthcare so it was a seamless transition. We’re very effective when we work with industries that have facility management needs and are looking for an employee-focused, engaged provider.

What are some of Powerlink Facilities Management Services’ notable clients?

We’ve worked with many prestigious clients such as  Henry Ford Health System, Barbara Ann Karmanos Cancer Institute and Children’s Hospital of Michigan.

What is Powerlink Facilities Management Services’ culture?

The Powerlink culture has been cultivated by our dedication to providing quality services and helping the city of Detroit.

Why did Powerlink Facilities Management Services select Detroit as its headquarters?

We believe that there has been and continues to be a renaissance occurring in Detroit, and we wanted to be a part of it. I was born and raised here; I love having a business in the city.

What are the benefits of connecting with other Detroit businesses?

We all want to see Detroit and Detroit-based business succeed so it’s crucial to work together to make that happen. Being a part of the Detroit Athletic Club has provided a way for Detroit entrepreneurs to collaborate. Powerlink also actively works with D2D in an effort to get more contracts, and because of this relationship we’ve gotten a lot of visibility. It’s always better when Detroit works together.

Brian Watkins

D2D Program Manager

NEIdeas Announces 2016 Finalists


A total of 134 businesses have been selected as finalists for this year’s NEIdeas challenge, a program rewarding existing small businesses in Detroit, Hamtramck and Highland Park with cash for their ideas for growth. This fall, 30 of the finalists will be selected to win $10,000 each for their ideas to grow, and two others will be selected to win $100,000 each for their ideas to “grow big.”

More than 600 businesses submitted ideas by the June 1 application deadline.

“We are thrilled at both the number and quality of applications we received for this year’s NEIdeas challenge,” said Pamela Lewis, director of the New Economy Initiative. “The strength of these applications is a testament to the strength and resilience of small business owners throughout the cities of Detroit, Hamtramck and Highland Park.”

This year’s finalists include a wide variety of businesses spanning many sectors, from chocolatiers to car washes, restaurants to construction companies, marketing firms to manufacturers, boutiques to barber colleges. The ages of the finalist businesses range from three years to 107 years old.

Applicants’ ideas for growth include purchasing software to promote their products and services, adding production equipment, building out new facilities, acquiring work vehicles, improving facades, and much more.

For a complete list of 2016 finalists, visit

New Economy Initiative

Mike Ilitch School of Business Breaks Ground in The District Detroit

degc-detroit- growth-update_0804 Mike Ilitch School of Business

Community members came together last month to break ground for the new Mike Ilitch School of Business at Wayne State University in The District Detroit following Detroit Downtown Development Authority approval of a Master Development Agreement. Full construction is expected to start later this year and the first students are expected to begin taking classes in 2018. The business school is named in recognition of a $40 million gift from Mike and Marian Ilitch, entrepreneurs and philanthropists in southeast Michigan who founded Little Caesars.

The Mike Ilitch School of Business will serve more than 3,000 undergraduate and graduate students and provide flexible teaching, research, and office and community spaces for students and faculty. It will be highly integrated along Woodward Avenue with its prominent position, including a number of innovative street level, sidewalk uses such as a full trading floor, an open air classroom, business incubator pop-up and corner café.

Detroit-based Christman-Brinker has been selected to be the construction manager for the new business school building and Detroit-based architectural firm Smith Group JJR led the development of the updated design for the new structure.

“The glass façade and design elements, such as the café and the indoor-outdoor spaces, make the Mike Ilitch School of Business both visually striking and inviting to the greater Detroit community,” said Wayne State University President M. Roy Wilson. “This new home for our business school will create a beautiful and accessible gateway connecting Midtown and downtown Detroit for students, faculty and the community alike. It’s a fitting and elegant design for a world-class business school made possible by entrepreneurs who throughout their career have been dedicated to opening up a world of opportunities for the people of Detroit.”

Olympia Development Corporation

Motor City Match Grows 11 More Businesses

degc-detroit- growth-update_0804 MCM Round 4 Announcement

Mayor Mike Duggan announced last month 11 more businesses that will be growing or expanding in Detroit neighborhoods with the help of grants from the Motor City Match program. Grants range in size from $15,000 to $75,000 and have been awarded to wide variety of businesses, including a beauty supply store, a cycling studio, a butcher shop, several restaurants and a musical instrument retailer.

“These are the kinds of businesses that help to create complete neighborhoods where people want to live,” said Mayor Duggan. “Motor City Match is helping dozens of Detroit entrepreneurs live their dream owning their own business while being a real part of our city’s neighborhood comeback.”

Now celebrating its fourth round of grant awards, Motor City Match has provided a total of $2 million in funds to nearly 40 small businesses over the past year. Those funds have helped to leverage total of $13 million in investment in these local neighborhood ventures.

Round 4 Grant Winners:

  • Twisted Roots LLC / Flow Inc. $75,000
  • Block Party LLC $70,000
  • Detroit Vegan Soul $60,000
  • Norma G’s $60,000
  • Live Cycle Delight $50,000
  • Amaze-Enjoyment, LLC $50,000
  • Guadalajara #2 Inc. $50,000
  • Lil Brilliant Mindz, LLC $30,000
  • Beau Bien Fine Foods $20,000
  • Meta Physica Wellness Center $20,000
  • Third Wave Music $15,000

In addition to distributing competitive grant funds, Motor City Match also provides entrepreneurs with technical assistance in creating a strong business plan. It also helps to match entrepreneurs with the owners of buildings in the city that are well positioned to house a new business.

Other MCM Round 4 Winners

  • 50 applicants received Business Plan Awards for free business planning classes provided by Motor City Match partners. These entrepreneurs have great business ideas but have not yet formulated their plans or need help strengthening their plans before pursuing space.
  • 26 businesses received Space Awards, which connect new or existing businesses with top available Detroit real estate and financial planning assistance. These applicants can be new business ventures with a strong business plan or existing businesses looking to expand into a new space.
  • 7 businesses received Design Awards for free architectural planning support and other assistance to design and plan their renovations in their selected locations.

The next application window for building and business owners to apply to Motor City Match will be open from September 1 to October 1. Application details are available at

Michael Forsyth

Director of Small Business Programs