FROM: Moddie Turay, Executive Vice President, Real Estate and Financial Services
The best way to prepare for the future is to properly plan for it. This is exactly what Detroit is doing when it comes to environmental progressive changes.
In November 2016, the Fred A. and Barbara M. Erb Foundation approved a grant of $700,000 for the Detroit Economic Growth Association that will be used for a contractor training program to help property owners construct green infrastructure to manage storm water runoff and qualify for a credit towards their Detroit Water & Sewage Department drainage fee.
“These programs and initiatives are extremely important for attracting millennials to our city because of the growing need for environmental progression,” said Detroit Training Center President Marcus Jones.
The first training program ran between January and April this year with a total of 40 graduates.
The participants received 50 hours of training in subjects like construction techniques, elements of green infrastructure, maintenance training and field experience. All were Detroit-based contractors, ranging from landscape to plumbing to construction. Having undergone the green infrastructure training on how to properly install improvements, they will have a chance to bid on projects as opportunities arise.
“Implementing these programs will allow the city to spend less money for more sustainable and safe properties for Detroit homeowners,” said Patrick Beal, CEO, Detroit Training Center.
Not only will these programs create an opportunity for Detroit’s green initiatives, it will help create new employment opportunities as well as support businesses. By working with other Detroit organizations, Detroit Economic Growth Corporation will be able to help move the entire city forward.
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.
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
Yet another Detroit-based grocery store has completed extensive renovations, putting the falsely described “Detroit as a food desert” myth to shame.
Royal Fresh Market’s $2.5 million total investment, including about $1 million in renovations, is one of the largest in the northwest Detroit grocer community to date. Renovations include new refrigeration cases, flooring and shelving – all purchased through Michigan businesses.
Co-owners Mark Zaitona and Ken Koester began the re-naming and renovation process of the 25,000 sq. ft. store in September 2014. Plans of a remodel and official name change occurred in the following months, and a decision was made to begin renovations in July 2015. They were completed in April 2016. Employees from the former store have remained with Royal Fresh Market and plans for hiring in the future are to be determined.
“We knew after purchasing the former Metro Foodland, some serious changes needed to be made to revitalize this ‘tired’ business,” Zaitona said. “We believe our goal of offering our customers a better shopping experience in a clean, modern environment while providing healthy, nutritious products has truly come to life with Royal Fresh Market.”
“All of this was made possible because of the great neighborhood in which we’re located and with the Detroit Economic Growth Corporation’s support,” said Zaitona. “Everyone at DEGC was helpful and guided us to the right organizations to push this renovation forward. Both Ken and I hope our story shows that success like ours can be done in Detroit.”
The Detroit Economic Growth Corporation’s Green Grocer Project supports Detroit’s grocery economy through technical assistance, facade improvements and financing. The Green Grocer Project coordinated energy-efficient equipment rebates with DTE Energy and Local Incentives Support Corporation (LISC) financing.
“Royal Fresh Market has made a substantial investment in the northwest Detroit neighborhood,” Green Grocer Project Program Manager Mimi Pledl said. “The store is a beacon for this community, as all grocery stores should be.”
Royal Fresh is also exploring additional investments options in improving the store’s parking lot.
Mariangela (Mimi) Pledl
Green Grocer Project Program Manager
Orleans Landing, a $65 million, expansive mixed-use development which spans nearly eight acres along the Detroit riverfront, officially broke ground in October.
It will be the first new market-rate residential neighborhood construction project on Detroit’s east riverfront in 25 years. This neighborhood and mixed-use community will feature 278 apartments and 10,500 square feet of retail space.
The residential plans include one- and two-bedroom homes, flats, hybrid retail/lofts, and 30 townhouses with garages, all built to Enterprise Green Community criteria. Affordable housing rates will be offered on 20 percent of the available residential units.
The project was made possible by a partnership of public organizations including the City of Detroit, Detroit Economic Growth Corporation, Michigan Department of Environmental Quality, Michigan Strategic Fund, a Wayne County Brownfield Redevelopment Authority loan, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development and other private partners. Construction is projected to be completed April 2017.
Director of Project Management