The Vibe in Paradise Valley

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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.

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 to learn more and register for bid opportunities.

Olympia Development of Michigan

Flex-N-Gate to Build New Facility in Detroit

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Flex-N-Gate, a top global auto supplier headquartered in Illinois, will invest $95 million in construction and capital costs to build a facility in the I-94 Industrial Park that will supply parts to Ford Motor Company. The project will create at least 400 and up to 650 new jobs in Detroit over the next three years.

“This news is further evidence that the United States auto industry is strong, promising and experiencing exceptional growth,” said Shahid Khan, owner.  “Building a new plant from the ground up within the Detroit city limits will be a milestone moment for Flex-N-Gate, made possible thanks to our partnership and collaboration with Ford Motor Company, the City of Detroit and the State of Michigan.”

Flex-N-Gate has committed to meeting Detroit-based hiring and contracting thresholds outlined in Executive Orders 4 & 5 (2014) and to develop a comprehensive hiring plan in conjunction with the City’s Human Rights Department and Detroit Employment Solutions Corp., to help ensure jobs for Detroiters.

“Nothing is more important to our city than creating jobs for Detroiters,” said Mayor Duggan.  “The fact that Flex-N-Gate has committed to such a strong local hiring and contracting plan shows the company’s deep level of commitment to being a partner with the community.”

The 189-acre I-94 Industrial Park is under control of the Economic Development Corporation (EDC).  Since 2000, EDC has overseen the property acquisition, clean up and development of the land.  The Park’s first major new tenant, LINC Logistics, opened a new $30-million, $500,000-square-foot facility immediately adjacent to the Flex-N-Gate site earlier this year.

This new multi-layered investment provides a major boost to the I-94 Industrial Park, and is the culmination of a collaborative effort among the city of Detroit, Detroit Economic Growth Corporation and the Michigan Economic Development Corporation (MEDC), which administers incentives and programs on behalf of the Michigan Strategic Fund. MEDC also serves as the state’s chief business attraction and marketing agency along with directing the Pure Michigan campaign.

“The expansion of Flex-N-Gate’s presence in Michigan demonstrates the broad range of productive possibilities for private investors and job creators when local and state economic development teams work with one of the state’s bedrock automotive companies and a privately owned auto supplier,” said MEDC CEO Steve Arwood, who noted Flex-N-Gate is among 81 of the top global auto suppliers that have North American headquarters or tech centers in the state.

Malinda Jensen

Vice President, Business Development

DDA bond approval puts shovels in the ground for $650 million investment

Ceremonial shovels went into the ground for the new $650 million sports and entertainment district Downtown just nine days after the Detroit Downtown Development Authority (DDA) approved the financial plan for building the new event center in partnership with the Michigan Strategic Fund (MSF) and Olympia Development of Michigan (ODM).

The DDA approved a preliminary agreement 15 months ago for developing the new sports and entertainment district around a new multi-purpose center that will be home to the Detroit Red Wings and programmed with other events throughout the year. The 785,000 sq. ft. center will seat 20,000 people.

Besides the $450 million arena, which will be home for the Detroit Red Wings, ODM is committed to investing, or causing to invest an additional $200 million in new residential, retail and office development in an approximately 45-block area that generally reaches from Grand Circus Park to Charlotte St. between Woodward Ave. and Grand River Ave. Overall, at least 56 percent of the total district development costs will be privately funded. The district is going to be an exciting place to be, as well as a great job creator for Detroiters and Detroit-based businesses.

“The DDA vote was an important next step in this public-private partnership that will create a world-class sports and entertainment district in Detroit,” said Christopher Ilitch, President and CEO of Ilitch Holdings. “This initiative will produce 8,300 construction and construction-related jobs, and deliver $1.8 billion in economic impact to our city, region and state. We appreciate the ongoing efforts of the DDA, MEDC and others toward the transformation of this key area in downtown Detroit.”

According to the plan, MSF will issue two series of 30-year bonds that total $450 million. The interest on the $250 million in Series A Bonds will be tax-exempt because a special DDA Tax Increment Tax capture of property taxes within the district will be used to retire them. The interest on the $200 million in Series B Bonds will be taxable because they will be paid off by an ODM affiliate under terms of the Concession and Management Agreement (CMA) it has with the DDA. Issuing two series of bonds for one project recognizes the difference in public and private contributions that will retire them.

Brian Holdwick
Executive Vice President, Business Development

Detroit PAL, Old Tiger Stadium Conservancy collaborate on plan for historic Tiger Stadium redevelopment


This time all the significant stakeholders agreed to redevelop the historic site of Tiger Stadium the right way. Old Tiger Stadium Conservancy had an idea to preserve the site’s place in baseball’s past, Detroit PAL works with young baseball players to give them a better future. Together they have the opportunity to create a very active place. Detroit PAL and Old Tiger Stadium Conservancy (OTSC) put their ideas together, and the Economic Development Corporation of the City of Detroit has given the partnership preliminary approval to proceed.

In the plan, Detroit PAL will build a new headquarters next to a youth baseball field in the same area as many legendary baseball stars played. Two additional areas along Michigan and Trumbull Avenues remain in reserve for residential, retail or commercial redevelopment. With that mixed use development, the site will be significant in the continuing revitalization of Corktown. Thomas W. Linn, chair of the OTSC said, “Our cooperation with Detroit PAL is historic and is the foundation for a tremendous development for the youth of Detroit and the future of the city.” The site itself is about 9.5 acres in size and the plan shows the proposed new headquarters for Detroit PAL along Cochrane St., while the youth field would cover much of the same footprint as the former Tiger Field.

The memorandum of understanding (MOU) approved by the EDC also provides conditional rights for Detroit PAL and OTSC to develop the area along the Fisher Freeway Service Drive between Cochrane and Trumbull. Under the terms of the MOU, the development partners have until the end of September to provide a financial plan and other details for the project. OTSC controls a $3 million federal earmark that can be tapped for redevelopment of the site to support youth recreation. The City of Detroit owns the property currently and has assigned the responsibility of redeveloping it to the EDC.

George W. Jackson, Jr.