DEGC Board Names Arthur Jemison as its New President and CEO

FROM: James Vella, DEGC Board Chairman

The Board of Directors, Detroit Economic Growth Corporation, today announced the selection of Arthur Jemison as President and CEO, DEGC. Jemison leaves his position as Director of Housing & Revitalization for the City of Detroit, a role he’s held since September 2014. He is expected to start in his new role Dec. 15, 2017.

“The DEGC Board oversaw a very thorough and deliberate search process that included local and national candidates with proven success in economic revitalization,” said DEGC Board Chairman James Vella. “We are thrilled to have someone of Arthur’s caliber to lead a team that already has been accomplishing great things for our city.”

Before coming to Detroit Jemison served as Deputy Undersecretary and Deputy Director, Department of Housing and Community Development, for the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. He has held a variety of both public- and private- sector positions, many related to city planning and urban development. This includes his role in the Office of Deputy Mayor for Planning & Development, District of Columbia, where he worked on Major League Baseball site selection, CityCenterDC, and the Marriott Marquis Washington, D.C.

Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan said, “Arthur has been critical to our efforts to make sure the city’s revitalization reaches all of our neighborhoods.  He is an outstanding choice to lead the DEGC as it continues to a larger role in attracting equitable growth and development to Detroit.”

Since coming to Detroit, Jemison has made significant contributions to the city’s housing transformation, including:

• Three-year collaboration with City Council on recently passed affordable housing ordinance to require developers who receive discounted city land or city funding to allocate at least 20% of the units in that development as affordable housing units.

• Worked with development community to complete over 1,400 units including 400 affordable units since 2015 at approximately $200m investment.

• Secured an $8.9 million grant from the U.S. Department HUD to drive planning, housing and public improvements for targeted neighborhoods.  Notably, this grant funding represented dollars allocated to other cities that went unspent.  Because of Detroit’s track record effectively utilizing HUD dollars under Jemison’s leadership, the funding was re-allocated to the city.

“I’m honored to lead the DEGC at such a critical moment,” said Jemison. “Our city is on a trajectory of prosperity and economic leadership fueled by business development. DEGC has earned a reputation as a trusted partner, business incubator, revitalization specialist and resource network. I will continue our focus on creating opportunities for local business owners, entrepreneurs and residents that allows every Detroiter to be part of the city’s success.”

Jemison is a graduate of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and the University of Massachusetts. He succeeds Glen W. Long, Jr., DEGC Chief Financial Officer, who has served as interim CEO.

“We are thankful to Glen and the entire DEGC team for their tremendous achievements so far this year, including their work on Little Caesars Arena, Flex-N-Gate, and a variety of programs that support local businesses,” said Vella. “The addition of Jemison will accelerate our efforts to improve the quality of life for all Detroiters through economic development.”

Neighborhood Restaurants Opening At a Fast Pace

FROM: Michael Rafferty, Vice President, Small Business Services

There’s a restaurant resurgence underway in Detroit neighborhoods … by Detroiters. Across our city Detroiters are opening local restaurants and eateries with unique themes that celebrate cultures and support the community.

Just last week, PizzaPlex opened on Vernor Highway in southwest Detroit to “create comfortable spaces and serve good food for a more sustainable city.” Two weeks ago, Brix Wine & Charcuterie Boutique opened its doors in a bank it renovated in the historic West Village district. Coming next spring, Simply Breakfast will open on West McNichols. Owner Ken Brown plans to employ returning citizens and provide them with the time, tools and training to make a successful transition back into the community.

And the list goes on! There’s Detroit Vegan Soul, with locations in West Village and Grandmont/Rosedale; Social Sushi pop-ups all over the city; and Narrow Way Café, which opened in August on Livernois, Detroit’s Avenue of Fashion.

It seems like every month there are more places to mix, mingle and eat in Detroit’s neighborhoods. That’s great news because restaurants and cafes create foot traffic and can be the seeds for walkable neighborhoods and small business development around them. They are destinations and gathering places that add to the vibrancy of our city.

DEGC is proud to support both new and existing small businesses through our Motor City Match and Motor City Re-Store programs, which combined award $1 million in matching grants each quarter. In fact, all the restaurants I mentioned have won a Motor City Match grant. Motor City Match is now starting its third year of supporting city entrepreneurs while Motor City Re-Store was launched this June and will announce its first grant winners later this fall.

We know there are many more eateries in the pipeline, since Motor City Match awarded cash grants to six specialty cafes or restaurants, a mushroom farm and two microbreweries last month. So, as you can see, Detroit’s food scene is “boiling” as Detroiters make the Motor City a culinary destination for our region. We’re happy to be a part of this resurgence.

DEGC Promotes Trade and Investment to German Companies

From: Peter Chapman, Executive Vice President, Business Development

The German American Chamber of Commerce hosted a trade mission here in Detroit last week, and I was there representing DEGC Business Development’s new focus on engaging foreign companies and helping local companies export goods and services more aggressively and strategically overseas.

The fifty-person delegation from Germany’s Niedersachsen region – home to Volkswagen, Continental and Airbus, as well as the world’s largest industrial trade fair, Hannover Messe – was led by the Minister of Economics for Lower Saxony, and largely consisted of executives from automotive/mobility companies, a key target sector for DEGC Business Development.

Through discussions and tours of the Lightweight Innovations for Tomorrow (LIFT) Institute, IAV Automotive Engineering, MCity and the UM Battery Lab, the delegates learned about future trends in mobility during their two-day visit. Ned Stabler, vice president for Economic Development at Wayne State University and TechTown CEO, and I also shared with them the history of Detroit and highlighted the exciting new projects underway in our city.

This was the first of several foreign development investment and export-related forums that DEGC will participate in or co-convene in 2017. It follows the highly successful trade mission to China we participated in last year with Mayor Duggan and Governor Snyder, where we inked a trade partnership agreement with the city of Shenzhen.

In addition to forging an important agreement that lays the foundation for further partnership of inbound investment and export activities, we came away from that trip with two or three viable business attraction leads.

We are keenly focused on China and will most likely do another trade mission this year. We’re also planning to support a second trade mission with Germany as well as one with Michigan Israel Business Bridge to assist in business to business export matchmaking.

With a sizeable grant from JPMorgan Chase, DEGC Business Development is promoting an understanding of global commerce throughout the organization and hiring the staff to enhance and manage our new global focus, which encompasses five key sectors:

  • Automotive/mobility, including companies like Sakthi Automotive Group, which is expanding and bringing new jobs to the city.
  • Advanced manufacturing
  • Food
  • Health and medical
  • Emerging industries, particularly tech companies like our most recent win, Microsoft.

Sandra Choi is our new Foreign Direct Investment Business Manager who will work on these endeavors.

In addition, we’ll continue to cultivate our relationship with companies such as Sakthi to learn what attracted them to Detroit, what keeps them here and what growing pains they might have so that we can learn and share their story with other foreign companies considering an investment in Detroit.

Strengthening Detroit’s brand in the global marketplace to promote international investment and local export opportunities is a key component in Detroit’s continuing resurgence. DEGC Business Development stands ready to engage foreign companies and help local companies in their export efforts.

 

 

 

Detroit Welcomes Pistons and Two New Global Businesses

R.Miller.HeadshotDowntown Detroit sealed its position as the best sports venue in the country – home of four major league sports teams within a vibrant walkable, 24-7-365 urban center – when the tentative agreement to bring the Pistons to Little Caesars Arena was announced last month. Within a few days, our city also welcomed two world-class manufacturing companies, Adient and ArcelorMittal Tailored Blanks Americas Corporation, and got a glimpse of how development might proceed on the Monroe Block.

The revitalization of a great city requires many kinds of successes, and these are excellent examples, shining a positive spotlight on the whole city. But it would mean little if they didn’t also reap economic benefits that reach far into our city.

To that end, the ten-point benefits plan that the City of Detroit Downtown Development Authority negotiated commits the Pistons to hire Detroiters and use Detroit-based contractors during construction of their practice facility, and to use reasonable efforts to hire Detroit residents to operate it. In the plan the Pistons also agree to invest in recreational facilities throughout the city, mentor young people and participate in youth development programs, among other activities.

The Adient and ArcelorMittal projects collectively inject $181.3 million in private investment and bring more than 600 jobs — including 235 new ones —  to the city of Detroit. You can read more about these companies in the next article. Bedrock’s vision for how it is time to “go vertical” with new office and residential skyscrapers tells the world that Detroit has turned another corner. The formerly vacant office towers Downtown are filling up fast — and only new construction will satisfy the growing demand for prime commercial spaces in Detroit.

All of this is a “win-win” for our city and our residents as Detroit becomes a “must” market for global companies in addition to being the best sports venue in the country.

MSF Provides Grants to New Businesses Adient and ArcelorMittal

300h-Marquette.Bldg-121

Two new projects which will attract private investment of $215.3 million and bring 265 jobs to Detroit were approved last month by the Michigan Strategic Fund (MSF) board.

Adient, the world’s largest automotive seating supplier, will locate its operational headquarters in the Marquette Building in downtown Detroit while ArcelorMittal Tailored Blanks Americas Corporation, one of the leading steel producers in the world, will establish a new manufacturing center in the recently established industrial park near I-94.

“These projects reflect each private companies’ long-term commitment to the economic viability of Detroit,” said Steve Arwood, chief executive officer at the Michigan Economic Development Corporation (MEDC), the state’s business attraction arm that administers programs and conducts due diligence on incentive agreements with private companies.

“Adient and ArcelorMittal coming to Detroit further strengthens our city’s standing as the automotive capital of the world,” said Rodrick T. Miller, president and CEO, DEGC.

Adient recently announced it acquired the 10-story, 164,000 sq. ft. Marquette Building at 243 West Congress for its global headquarters. The Fortune 200 automotive supplier will be the first Fortune 500 company to establish a headquarters presence in Michigan since 2003.

Earlier this year, Adient became a publicly traded company when it spun off from Johnson Controls Inc. Since late October, the company has been listed on the New York Stock Exchange. In wooing Adient in a competition with the city of Milwaukee, which is home to Johnson Controls, the MEDC negotiated a $2 million Michigan Business Development Program performance-based grant. In return, Adient committed to a $97.8 private investment and the creation of 115 jobs.

ArcelorMittal Tailored Blanks is in the industrial park near I-94 that includes Flex-N-Gate, a key site to the state’s automotive industry resurgence. With the support in May of a state grant, Flex-N-Gate will invest $95 million to manufacture exterior trim components along with aluminum and steel modular stamped body chassis assemblies, among other products.

ArcelorMittal receives a $2 million Michigan Business Development Program performance grant for a project that will create a minimum of 120 jobs over five years, and a capital investment of $83.5 million.

 

Peter H. Chapman
Executive Vice President for Business Development