DDA Seeks Developers for Two CBD Buildings

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The Downtown Development Authority (DDA) is seeking preliminary redevelopment proposals from qualified developers for two of the remaining unconverted, mixed-use buildings in Detroit’s Central Business District (CBD). Responses to the RFQP (Request for Qualifications and Proposal) are due by 1:00 p.m., August 31, 2016.The buildings are located on Broadway Boulevard between Gratiot and Grand River, adjacent to the Paradise Valley Cultural and Entertainment District. Built in 1900, 1326 Broadway is a 2,200-square-foot parcel containing a 5,563-square-foot, three-story structure. The second building, 1332 Broadway, is a 5,022-square-foot parcel containing a 15,090-square-foot, three-story structure. It was built in 1919. The properties will be sold “as-is, where-is” without any representation or warranty.The buildings are near parking, theatres, entertainment, restaurants, bistros and retail. Last month the DDA approved a comprehensive plan to redevelop nine properties in the Paradise Valley Cultural and Entertainment District. Other nearby areas are undergoing significant redevelopment, including Eastern Market, Corktown, Midtown and the East Riverfront District.

A mandatory pre-bid meeting and property viewing will be held at 1:30 p.m., August 3, 2016, at 1326 Broadway. Proposals are due at 1:00 p.m., August 31, 2016, and final selection is expected to take place in September. For a copy of the RFQP and additional information, go to DEGC New Projects RFPs (http://www.degc.org/contractors/new-project-rfps).

Moddie Turay

Executive Vice President – Real Estate

D2D Buyer Ready Business: Liberati Group – Michael Turner, Sales & Marketing Manager

degc-detroit- growth-update_july_2016-Liberati Group

Liberati Group is a strategic media consulting firm that helps amplify the voice/vision of any brand. A small but mighty team, Liberati assists its clients through PR, social media management, business planning, crowdfunding campaigns, fundraising and more. One of Liberati’s key team members and founders is Sales and Marketing Manager Michael Turner.

What is the history and background of Liberati Group?

The three core, original Liberati members worked together to assist the Detroit Water Brigade to raise $100,000 to give bottled water/relief to those whose water had been shut off. Liberati also helped the Brigade receive nonprofit certification. In doing this we realized our passion of helping other companies do good here in the city. Liberati Group came to be by realizing that all our skill sets combined are quite powerful in helping individuals and companies.

Personally, I have a lot of entertainment/promotion experience. In fact I was on tour with Kenny Rogers at the age of 10. Other Liberati members bring in the PR, social and other talents —  combined we’re a great team.

What are some of Liberati Group’s notable clients?

We currently service about a dozen clients. Some of them include Mid City Grill, The Workers and Builders, Youngblood productions and the performer Martha Reeves (we do web, PR, marketing and promotions for her).

What is Liberati Group’s culture?

The way we function is simple: anytime we get a client we evaluate their needs and based on the services they need or are interested in we form a plan.. From there we’re off to the races. We’re dedicated to creating quality products and services.

Why did Liberati Group select Detroit as its headquarters?

I was born and raised in Detroit. Within the last year we moved into our headquarters at the Renaissance Center and have continually grown our clientele here. We are passionate about the nonprofits here in the city and helping other companies in Detroit thrive so it was the only city we considered when selecting our headquarters.

What companies have you collaborated with in Detroit?

Notably we’ve done a lot of work with the city of Detroit, specifically with CIty Council member Mary Sheffield. We’ve done two events with her so far in the community.

What are the benefits of connecting with other Detroit businesses?

Detroit businesses have a like-minded resilience — together we can do anything. There are so many benefits with working alongside Detroit businesses.

Brian Watkins

D2D Program Manager

Buyer Ready Business Profile: US Construction Restoration and Development Concept Group – Al Foster, CEO

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US Construction Restoration and Development Concept Group is a family-owned business specializing in restoration, including fire repair, and environmental and hazmat consulting. The company was founded in 1940 in Alabama and is currently headquartered in Detroit. US Construction is also classified as a US Government Federal Inspector company. The organization’s culture is deeply rooted in education, training, mentoring and giving back to the city of Detroit.

We talked to company CEO, Al Foster.

What are some of your notable projects?

We really loved doing some projects around the city for Motor City Blight Busters; it’s so great to have a positive impact on the city. Another notable project we were involved in was Evergreen Estates, which included 400-500 units. We’ve also really enjoyed being city and government contractors on various projects throughout Detroit.

How do you want your company to impact Detroit in the long term?

Right now US Construction is doing a lot of education, training and mentoring in the city. We mentor veterans, returning citizens and youth. We provide skilled construction training in addition to soft skill mentoring that people may need assistance with. We go above and beyond by giving people the right tools to obtain a GED, get a job and much more.

Our end-goal is to create jobs here in the city of Detroit. We pride ourselves in collaborating with other Detroit-based businesses to make this happen.

What is the US Construction culture all about?

For some background, I was born and raised here in Detroit. I currently sit on about a dozen boards throughout the city from the M-1 Rail committee to task force boards for veterans and returning citizens, among others. This makes me, and my company very committed to improving the community in any way we can, and our company culture reflects that dedication.

Brian Watkins

Business Development Manager

CEO Spotlight: Fran Westbrooks BLVD Content

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BLVD Content is a marketing and strategy company specializing in multicultural and Emerging markets. BLVD develops fully integrated marketing strategies and messaging for its clients so their brands can connect to and thrive in the culture of their unique market. BLVD Content’s solutions for their diverse clientele range from consumer, digital and social media strategy to strategic planning. CEO & Managing Partner Fran Westbrooks founded the company in 2012 and is headquartered in Detroit.

What made you decide to have your headquarters in Detroit?

I was born and raised in Detroit. I went to school out- of- state and had brief stints living in Los Angeles and New York, but my heart was always in Detroit. I couldn’t be happier to live here and have BLVD Content’s headquarters here. There’s something about this city that you just can’t pass up. There always has been, and always will be, such great spirit in Detroit.

How does having your headquarters in Detroit add to your success?

Detroit is a “white slate” in terms of innovation, growth, imagination and possibilities. All eyes are on Detroit right now, but in a good way. People see Detroit as an emerging market and city, and with the help of organizations like the DEGC, being in the hub of growth is essential to our success.

How do you want to impact Detroit in the future?

We want to help companies in the city as well as Fortune 500 companies refine their brands. We want to assist businesses of all sizes to grow, build relationships with consumers and be more innovative.

What is your company culture?

Our culture at BLVD is very unique. We have an incredibly collaborative team. Our staff consists of diverse talent from blended backgrounds. For example, our team consist of Social Media strategists, a former agency CEO, Digital strategists and even an architect, and because of those diverse backgrounds it gives us a unique understanding of urban strategy, which is a crucial part of our market.  I think that everyone is creative, no matter what their background or title is.

What do you find most exciting about the changing face of Detroit?

The interesting part of our business is developing diverse relationships among companies across cultures and audiences. The BLVD team has such a passion, vitality and pride for Detroit – it’s most exciting to help companies build these relationships and their brands.

Mark Denson
Business Attraction Manager

Contractor Spotlight: SDG Associates – Geoffrey Harrison, Principal

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Formerly known as Sims-Varner & Associates, SDG Associates (SDG) is a comprehensive and diverse architectural, planning and program management firm with 50 years of leadership and design experience. Headquartered in Detroit, Michigan, the firm has designed some of the most recognizable structures in the city. It provides designs for a variety of markets such as civic, cultural, education (K-12 and higher education), infrastructure and transportation, corporate facilities and parking structures. Additionally, SDG has a broad portfolio of aviation project work that spans several states and includes Detroit Metro Airport.

SDG’s operations are managed by two principals, supported by a team of architects, architectural designers and an urban planner. Principal Geoffrey Harrison supervises the majority of the work at SDG.

What are some of your notable projects?

We’re best known for our design of the Charles Wright Museum. Another notable project that is past and present for us is Cobo Center. We began working with them in 1989 and now we’re on the frontline with the vision for its current renovations.

Tell me more about your current involvement on Cobo.

We’re in the midst of several Cobo projects including the renovations of the middle level and the east side of the building. The east side of the building renovations involve the interiors, meeting rooms and concourse. The most spectacular feature that I’m looking forward to is a major entrance canopy (where the freeway goes under the building). This space will include a video wall that will be about 200 feet by 50 feet. In addition, we have plans for expanding the entry atrium on the north and adding several video walls there as well. The appearance of Cobo by the end of 2014 is going to be incredible.

Any other exciting projects you are working on in Detroit?

We are continuing services to Greektown Casino which is always exciting. We’re also kicking off an improvement project for the Hartford Memorial Baptist Church, a beautiful English gothic church. We will be working on some renovations for the church as well as additions to the north and south. We are looking forward to improving upon such a wonderful building. We also have some things in the works with the Detroit Housing Commission.

Why did you select Detroit as your headquarters?

Our founder Howard F. Sims, a Detroit native, founded the company in 1964, so this year is our fiftieth anniversary. Since the seventies we’ve been based in downtown Detroit. He was a Detroit native, and it was always his intent to provide architectural services to Detroit.

There are so many wonderful projects we’ve had the pleasure to work on and so many more to come. Detroit was an exciting place to be in the seventies and it is an even more exciting time now.

How do you want your company to impact Detroit in the long term?

Detroit is right on the edge of really taking off. It’s such a great place to be. I grew up in England in Liverpool in the sixties and at that time that was the place to be.  In 2014 I truly feel that Detroit is the place to be.

Over the long term we are excited to continue creating the vision for wonderful places throughout the city for residents to enjoy.

What is the SDG Design culture all about?

We pride ourselves in quality innovative design, practical and cost-efficient construction, in addition to our exceptional and timely delivery of our services. Our team is fully dedicated and committed to ensuring that our projects are all of exceptional quality and our clients are completely satisfied.

Tiffini D. Smith

Communications Director