Contractor Spotlight: Lorenzo Walker- 3.L.K. Construction

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3.L.K. Construction was founded in Detroit, Michigan 16 years ago by the company’s president and sole owner, Lorenzo Walker. The company provides commercial general contracting, construction management and self-performs painting and carpentry services. Currently, 3.L.K. Construction has 20 employees whose responsibilities vary from primarily office functions to field operations. Through the pursuit of various projects, 3.L.K. Construction has established its presence throughout the state of Michigan and the Midwestern United States. It is committed to helping their customers in a holistic fashion and rendering a multitude of services through the creative use of its resources. As a result, 3.L.K. Construction has been able to create a singular focus for its customers.

What are some of the current projects you are working on in Detroit?

We recently finished the interior renovation/expansion of the M1 Office building for Bedrock Real Estate Services. Many of our projects spanning the last three years have been let by government entities. Much of this work included tenant-in-place capital improvements and renovations. Our endeavors have enhanced the functionality of our customers’ workspaces and contributed to job creation at various locations. Our previous clients include several federal government entities, Detroit Public Schools, Detroit Building Authority, City of Detroit, Chrysler Corporation, Henry Ford Health System, Detroit Medical Center, Greektown Casino and Hotel, and MGM Grand Casino and Hotel. Fortunately, we have been afforded an opportunity to work on various projects throughout the city for a multitude of customers.

Why did you select Detroit as your headquarters?

I am proud to be a native Detroiter! I chose Detroit as the headquarters because I have always been optimistic about the greatness that is destined for the city. There have obviously been some very difficult times in recent years, but I am committed to contributing to its resurgence. I believe the worst is over and our past experiences and resilience can contribute to the rebirth of this town.

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

Our long term goal is to leave a permanent mark on the redevelopment of Detroit through our personal projects and partnerships developed in our business undertakings. Through these undertakings, I believe the youth in the city of Detroit can be provided new opportunities. I believe through collaborative efforts, contractors can create a new set of possibilities that haven’t been available to young Detroiters in the past. Ultimately, I would like to see positive changes continue and increase exponentially in the city of Detroit.

What is the 3.L.K. culture all about?

The culture at 3.L.K. Construction is driven by managerial modesty with a focus on company teamwork. We strive to hire employees who have high moral and ethical standards, demonstrate loyalty, possess leadership qualities and exude positive attitudes. In order to ensure everyone’s voice is heard, we conduct regular feedback/brainstorming sessions to assess employee and customer perception. We embrace an open door policy! Our leaders are readily available to anyone with comments, concerns or questions, employees and customers alike. We are committed to working with any customer or contractor, large and small, if the betterment of the community is held as a consensual goal. We understand our commitment to excellence has contributed to our prior successes and our core values will continue to drive our future projects.

Brian Watkins
Business Development Manager

Belle Isle Park is the new place for business

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Belle Isle Park is generating a lot of interest these days and most recently, more than 225 people representing 100 companies – including 66 headquartered in the city of Detroit – turned out to learn how to become a Belle Isle Park contractor.

The free half-day seminar, “Selling to the State Parks and the State of Michigan,” was held February 21 at the Belle Isle Casino and sponsored by The Michigan Department of Natural Resources (DNR) in partnership with the Department of Technology, Management and Budget (DTMB) and the D2D program of DEGC.

Speakers from the state organizations explained how businesses bid on construction and capital outlay contracts; the ins and outs of Request for Proposal (RFP) documents; and how contracts are written to authorize private business operations on state land.

“The seminar was very effective in giving business owners an in-depth look at the opportunities to do business with the new management of Belle Isle, and the new processes they’ll need to follow,” said Richard King, region director, Michigan Small Business Development Center (SBDC). He plans to share the seminar information with SBDC clients.

“The good thing is, everything that is required for Belle Isle is required for all state parks, so Detroit business owners will have prospects well beyond just Belle Isle,” King added.

Attendees were able to network and meet the new Belle Isle staff, as well as learn what new projects are forthcoming to improve the infrastructure and overall visitor experience on the island.

On March 18th and 25th, D2D will host its two-day “Supplier Capacity Building Series” of interactive trainings for Detroit-based construction firms looking to grow their business. Participants will learn the concepts and skills they’ll need to meet increased procurement demands and win contracts. For more information, visit http://d2dbusiness.org/supplier-development-calendar/

Brian Watkins
Business Development Manager

Public Invited to Help Rethink Detroit’s I-375 Freeway

I-375 project map in Detroit

As part of the I-375 Alternatives Study, a seven month-long effort to develop possible alternatives for recreating the 1-375 corridor, the public is being asked: “Do you think that I-375 as currently configured is still the best gateway into Downtown Detroit, or can it be improved to better meet the city’s needs now and in the future?”

On Thursday, Feb. 13, from 5:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m., the public is invited to share their thoughts and ideas at the first of a series of three community meetings on the study. The meeting will follow an open house format and will feature exhibits of how other cities have transformed urban freeways to better suit community needs, as well as the opportunity to speak with transportation and urban design experts. The meeting will take place at the Stroh River Place South Atrium, 300 River Place Drive in Detroit.

The primary project study area extends along I-375 from Gratiot Avenue to Atwater Street. Additional study areas include the I-75/I-375 interchange, portions of Gratiot Avenue and the Gratiot Connector, and Jefferson Avenue between Washington Boulevard and Joseph Campau Street.

The alternatives evaluation process will address a number of issues including:
• defining a vibrant entryway into Downtown Detroit and the East Riverfront;
• making better connections to the Entertainment, East Riverfront, Greektown, Stadium, Convention Center, and Eastern Market districts; and
• improving pedestrian, non-motorized and transit connectivity.

The final report also will detail whether there are environmentally and economically beneficial ways to adapt and reuse the below-grade roadway.

For more information on the I-375 Alternatives Study, visit www.I375Detroit.com .

Will Tamminga
Director, Project Management

Jackson to leave DEGC, form private consulting firm

Jackson departing DEGC

George Jackson announced last week that he’ll be leaving DEGC at the end of March to
form his own Detroit-based private consulting and development firm. Needless to say, all
of us here at DEGC are very disappointed about losing such a dynamic leader and a
caring CEO, but we know how passionate he is about the city and look forward to
working with him “from the other side of table,” as he puts it.

George has been the president and CEO of DEGC since February 2002. Prior to that, he
worked for 27 years at DTE Energy, rising to the position of Director of Customer
Marketing.

During the announcement of his resignation, George said, “I had a tremendous run at
DEGC working with great companies here and from around the world, and solid partners
in the private and foundation communities. I look forward to working with great partners
as we continue to transform Detroit into a leader of innovative urban redevelopment.”

Among the accomplishments of DEGC under his leadership, George is most proud of the removal of the cement silos along the Detroit River and the transformation of the riverfront from industrial to mixed use. Now everyone enjoys recreational access to the river.

Some of the many other successes DEGC achieved during George’s tenure include:

• The restoration and reopening of the Book Cadillac as the Westin Book Cadillac
Hotel.
• Innovative programs and incentives that relocated Quicken Loans to Detroit,
consolidated operations of Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan here and led to the
re-concentration of technology and creative companies in Downtown and
Midtown, bringing in well over 10,000 new employees.
• The opening of Whole Foods Market – the first national grocery chain to open in
Detroit in decades.
• The largest retail development in more than 40 years, anchored by a Meijer
superstore.
• Steering the development and beginning implementation of Detroit Future City, a
comprehensive 50-year framework to help guide decision makers as they
revitalize the city with innovative approaches.

Everything was accomplished with an impeccable record of fiscal and ethical
responsibility, maintaining balanced budgets and clean auditing reports for DEGC and all
the public authorities it administers.

As the head of DEGC, George encouraged partnership and teamwork amongst the staff.
No matter your position within the organization, he was always willing to listen to
suggestions for improvements, ideas for new programs or just chat with his employees.
Not many employees can brag that they had a thirty-minute conversation with their CEO
about a golf game, their new house or the grand kids. George’s approachability, sense of
humor and demeanor made him more than just our boss; he is a friend.
I’m sure I’m not alone when I say it has truly been an honor and a privilege to work for
George over the last 12 years. All of us at DEGC wish him great success in his new
endeavor.

Tiffini Smith
Director, Corporate Communications

Construction on Livernois “Avenue of Fashion” continues

Livernois Avenue of Fashion

DEGC is making continual efforts in the revitalization of Livernois Avenue to get more and more businesses into the area and make this historic “Avenue of Fashion” a thriving community once again. For example, through its REVOLVE program DEGC partners with business owners to activate empty storefronts and encourage pop-up and permanent retail to enter the community.

The latest in the series of plans for Livernois involves an approved initial phase of construction. This first phase includes 2.8 miles of streetscape improvements on Livernois Avenue between the Lodge Freeway and 8 Mile Rd., consisting of boulevard landscaping, irrigation and pedestrian amenities. Construction is set to begin in the spring of 2014 and finish by summer 2014. The City of Detroit Department of Public Works will oversee the construction. The Economic Development Corporation of the City of Detroit (EDC) will oversee the project design implementation.

This initial phase of construction will enhance the image and elevate the brand of the area as a special place, creating a unique experience for anyone who gets off of the Lodge or turns off of 8 Mile. This end-result of the construction will elevate the role of arts in the community and will aim to bring new businesses to the area.

The construction is one project done within the context of a much larger series of investments taking place with many partners. There is approximately $5 million in redevelopment in the pipeline for the upcoming few years,

“There are lots of exciting developments to come including plans for improved lighting along the avenue and several great real-estate projects like the opening of The Hunters Supper Club building and Kuzzo’s Chicken and Waffles ” said Michael Forsyth, DEGC business development manager.

Funding for this initial construction will come from grants from the Michigan Department of Transportation, the City of Detroit Planning and Developing Department, in addition to grants from the University of Detroit Mercy and the Kresge Foundation. Be on the lookout for changes coming this spring and summer.

David Tobar – Project Manager