Flex-N-Gate investment attests to strong manufacturing in Detroit

From the desk of: Glen W. Long, Jr., Chief Financial Officer, Interim President & CEO

We celebrated a very important investment in the City of Detroit this week when top automotive supplier Flex-N-Gate hosted a groundbreaking ceremony at 7000 Georgia Street in the I-94 Industrial Center, future site of its new $95-million manufacturing facility. It will be the largest investment by an auto supplier in the City of Detroit in more than 20 years.

This is a huge win for two reasons: it proves the manufacturing industry is strong in Detroit, and it will create 400 to up to 700 new jobs in an area where new jobs are sorely needed. Flex-N-Gate has committed to hiring Detroiters and Detroit-based contractors, as well as developing a comprehensive hiring plan in conjunction with the City of Detroit Human Rights Department and Detroit Employment Solutions Corp. to help ensure permanent jobs for Detroiters. Its new facility is expected to open next year.

A key reason Flex-N-Gate was able to locate in Detroit was the tax incentives administered by DEGC through the Detroit Next Michigan Development Corporation, one of the public authorities DEGC manages.

The 189-acre I-94 Industrial Park has been under control of the Economic Development Corporation (EDC) since 2000, with EDC overseeing property acquisition, clean up and development of the land. LINC Logistics was the Park’s first major new tenant when it opened a new $30-million, 500,000 sq. ft. facility last year, immediately adjacent to the Flex-N-Gate site.

This latest investment in the I-94 Industrial Park is the culmination of a collaborative effort among the City of Detroit, DEGC and the Michigan Economic Development Corporation (MEDC), which administers incentives and programs on behalf of the Michigan Strategic Fund.

Riverfront Redevelopment is Real — and DEGC is Ready

Last week DEGC joined the Detroit Riverfront Conservancy (DRFC) and the City of Detroit to announce details of a framework plan that will preserve more of Detroit’s riverfront land for public use and create greater community access.

Highlights of the plan include:

  • Creating nearly eight acres of additional park space on the East Riverfront.
  • Increasing community through two new “Dequindre Cut” style greenways
  • Streetscape improvements to make E. Jefferson more attractive and bike and pedestrian friendly
  • Sale of publicly owned land through the release of RFPs

The plan has special significance for DEGC, because our involvement goes back more than fifteen years. DEGC staff, acting for the EDC, managed the creation of the 2003 East Riverfront Plan that envisioned the transformation of the district from obsolete industrial land to a mixed use of recreational, residential and other developments. DEGC’s project management role included work on sections of the RiverWalk and Dequindre Cut and Trail, the acquisition and demolition of cement silos, facilitating the adaptive reuse of the Globe Building and managing deals and site remediations that led to Orleans Landing, among many other projects.

All those activities required forging new collaborations with solid partners, such as the City of Detroit, Michigan Department of Natural Resources and the Riverfront Conservancy. We are very pleased that those and other partnerships are continuing stronger than ever. DEGC will continue to be a lead player in implementing the riverfront plan — starting with the release of a request for proposals for the redevelopment of the historic Stone Soap building. It’s incredibly exciting to see what’s in store, and we are grateful to be working with such great partners and stakeholders.

Use this link to download the Stone Soap RFPQ, or share the link page with others who may be interested in it.

Please take a look at the presentation of the Your East Riverfront Plan in the DEGC Reference Library.

Follow East Riverfront news at the dedicated website: YourDetroitEastRiverfront.org

The Free Press gave the story very good coverage in Thursday’s edition.

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

Ninety Percent of Contracts for District Detroit, Nearly $500 M in Total, Awarded to Michigan Companies

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The Detroit Downtown Development Authority recently approved a number of contracts on behalf of Olympia Development of Michigan for work on the new Little Caesars Arena that raise the total dollars awarded to Detroit-based or -headquartered businesses to $308 million – nearly 60 percent of the total awarded, eclipsing Olympia Development’s 30 percent goal for Detroit business participation by nearly double. Michigan businesses have received $493 million in construction contracts for the project which represents more than 90 percent of total contracts awarded.

“From day one we committed to create real and significant business opportunities for local companies and their workforces through a Michigan Made, Detroit Built development,” said Steve Marquardt, vice president of Olympia Development of Michigan. “Just one year after breaking ground on The District Detroit and the arena project we’ve already awarded more than $300 million to Detroit-based businesses and nearly $500 million to Michigan businesses. This is a significant milestone for our project and is just the beginning. As more developments come on line, so will more business opportunities.”

“This shows that Olympia Development of Michigan is a partner that is committed and that they are working closely with the Detroit Economic Growth Corporation, the City of Detroit and others to hit these targets,” said Rod Miller, President of the Detroit Economic Growth Corporation. “It also shows that Detroit businesses know how to get the job done and they know how to do it well.”

These contracts represent construction work on the new Little Caesars Arena and adjacent buildings to house new shopping, dining and entertainment in The District Detroit. More than 70 Detroit-based companies have received contracts to date as part of the project, including major awards to Motor City Electric, Adamo Group, Midwest Steel, Tooles Contracting Group, Ram Construction, Blaze-Iafrate JV, ChristenDETROIT and others.

“Blaze Contracting is honored to have the opportunity to play a significant role in The District Detroit,” said Kerlin Blaise, co-founder of Blaze Contracting, which is one half of the joint venture, Blaze-Iafrate. “We’re passionate about the city and are thrilled that the work we are doing will have a lasting impact on Detroit and the people who live, work and play here.”

Data released by the University of Michigan demonstrates that The District Detroit will ultimately account for an economic impact of $2.1 billion by 2020 and create 12,500 construction and construction-related jobs and 1,100 permanent jobs. More than $100 million in income from the arena project alone is expected for Detroit residents, with significant additional income to be created through future private development.

“We’re proud to be connecting Detroit and Michigan businesses to the opportunities that The District Detroit and Olympia Development of Michigan offer,” said Douglas Diggs of Heritage Development Services. “The District Detroit is a catalyst for putting Detroiters to work, and is a key player in the revitalization of Detroit.”

Companies interested in working on The District Detroit development should visit DistrictDetroit.com/jobs to learn more and register for bid opportunities.

Olympia Development of Michigan

DDA Approves Firms to Redevelop Paradise Valley Cultural & Entertainment District

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The Downtown Development Authority of the City of Detroit (DDA) recently approved a comprehensive plan to redevelop nine properties in a historically significant pocket of downtown with a $52.4 million investment in new construction and renovations.

The Paradise Valley Cultural & Entertainment District project includes the simultaneous redevelopment of five existing buildings and four surface lots. The project will feature commercial and retail space, residential units, restaurants, entertainment venues and a boutique hotel; all scheduled to be built over the next three years. The DDA voted to approve four of five projects. To meet a legal requirement, approval of the final project is expected at a later meeting of the Authority.

The winning proposals came from developers with strong Detroit roots. Several of the developers, including Rainy Hamilton, Jr., Hiram E. Jackson and Ismail Houmani, already have a major presence in Paradise Valley. Other developers include Patricia Cole and Roger Basmajian, and Dennis Archer, Jr.

The development plan includes these five projects:

  • Hastings Place.Paradise Valley Real Estate Holdings, II, LLC, led by Hiram E. Jackson as managing partner, plans to build a new 189,660 sq. ft. building on three current parking lots at 1468, 1480 & 1496 Randolph St.
  • Randolph Centre Building. Hamilton Development Corporation, led by Rainy Hamilton, Jr., FAIA, NOMA, as president, plans to renovate the 36,000 sq. ft. building in which his firm, Hamilton Anderson Associates has been an anchor tenant for Paradise Valley, at 1435 Randolph St., and to build a 16,000 sq. ft. new office building addition on the parking lot next door at 1455 Centre St.
  • Harmonie Club Hotel. 311 E. Grand River, LLC, led by Patricia Cole and Roger Basmajian as partners, plans to renovate the 36,000 sq. ft. building at 311 E. Grand River as the Harmonie Club Hotel.
  • Harmonie Pointe. Gotham Capital Partners, led by Dennis Archer, Jr., as managing partner, plans to renovate the 17,328 sq. ft. in two buildings at 1407 and 1427 Randolph St.
  • La Casa Cigars and Lounge. La Casa Properties, LLC, led by Ismail Houmani as principal, plans to purchase and refurbish the 7,500 sq. ft. building at 1502 Randolph St., in which he now operates La Casa Cigars and Lounge.

The development of Paradise Valley has been nearly a decade in the making.

At the urging of Detroit City Council, the Downtown Development Authority used casino fund dollars to purchase the buildings and lots in 2006 with the intention of developing an entertainment district that would celebrate African-American culture and the vibrant music scene of Paradise Valley. At that time, crime and blight was becoming a major concern in the district and the buildings were only 20% occupied.

“Stepping in to purchase these buildings to stabilize this section of the district was the right move,” Rod Miller, CEO of the Detroit Economic Growth Corp. (DEGC), said. “I’m proud that a decade later, the DEGC has found developers who have the capacity to develop the entire district at once and turn it into a cultural destination and economic hub that’ll serve Detroit for years to come.”

Moddie Turay

Executive Vice President – Real Estate