New Motor City Re-Store to Boost Established Businesses

FROM: Glen W. Long, Jr., Chief Financial Officer, Interim President & CEO

I was so excited last week to see the Motor City Re-Store program announced in the neighborhood I grew up in, Old Redford. Re-Store is the newest element in the strong network of support that DEGC, along with Mayor Duggan’s office and other private, philanthropic, and non-profit organizations, is building for every kind of small business in every phase of growth. The aim of Motor City Re-Store is to strengthen Detroit’s neighborhood commercial corridors and the existing businesses that have helped define them.

We recognize successful small businesses are significant job creators and strong contributors to the quality of life in our neighborhoods. In Old Redford, we’re lucky to have long-time businesses such as Paul the Barber and the Old Redford Theatre joined by newer stores like Sweet Potato Sensations, Motor City Java, and Tea House.

Motor City Re-Store will give existing business owners like these and their landlords a chance to improve the appearance of their building and make the business more attractive to new customers. Re-Store will award up to $50,000 every three months in matching grants for exterior improvements such as facade work, landscaping, and parking lot upgrades, as well as technical assistance to support improvements such as architecture and design.

It’s a companion program to Motor City Match, which awards $500,000 every quarter to startups and businesses expanding to new locations. I’m pleased to tell you Motor City Match will celebrate two years of success next month, having supported more than 750 businesses around Detroit.

The small business team at the DEGC will manage Motor City Re-Store. I can’t thank them enough for their time, talent, and dedication. The feedback we’ve received from small business owners about this team over the last couple of years has been phenomenal. Led by Mike Rafferty, they’ve worked with well over a thousand small businesses through a variety of programs, and they’re proud to make this brand-new program available to existing businesses.

Motor City Re-Store will be taking applications for Round 1 from June 15 through August 1, and the first awards will be announced in the fall. Re-Store will host two Info Sessions for all business owners interested in applying for grants on June 22 and June 29. More information is available at MotorCityRe-store.com.

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.

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 

Apply to MCM by July 1 to Receive Help Launching Your Business Idea

degc-detroit- growth-update_june_2016 Detroit Training Center

Detroit commercial property owners and entrepreneurs have yet another opportunity to receive support in growing their business. The next round of Motor City Match applications is open from June 1 to July 1.

The program aims to help revitalize Detroit’s neighborhood corridors by pairing vacant commercial property with new and expanding businesses and giving them the support they need to succeed. Applicants can receive various levels of support, including: free business planning classes, match-making between building owners and entrepreneurs, architectural design and other technical assistance, and up to $100,000 in grant funding.

With $500,000 in grant funding available, each quarter, Motor City Match is making a significant impact in Detroit’s neighborhoods. So far, the program has awarded $1.5 million in grant funding that has helped leverage roughly $10.5 million in local business investment.

Among the businesses to receive Motor City Match grant funding is the Detroit Training Center, which provides training and education to prepare Detroiters with the skills and licensing needed to work in high-demand industries. The company received a $100,000 Motor City Match grant in the fall of 2015. The additional funding allowed Detroit Training Center to expand into an additional center that offers a commercial driver’s license program and a diesel engine mechanic program.

Patrick Beal, president and credits Motor City Match for helping his company meet new demands, saying, “We could not have done this without the support we received from Motor City Match.”

Motor City Match has served more than 300 businesses and 180 commercial properties since its launch in 2015, with nearly two-thirds of the business winners coming from Detroit. Seventy percent of Motor City Match business winners are minority-owned.

For more information about Motor City Match, including application requirements, please visit www.MotorCityMatch.com.

Michael Forsyth

Director of Small Business Programs