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.

Process To Facilitate Pistons’ Move To Detroit Hits Milestones

As you know, representatives of the DDA and DEGC have been integrally involved in facilitating the Detroit Pistons’ relocation to Detroit. Recently we reached two important milestones in the process of gaining bond issuance approvals supporting enhancements to Little Caesars Arena for the team’s move.

The City of Detroit City Planning Commission has recommended the 2017 Proposed Plan Amendments to the DDA’s Restated Tax Increment Financing Plan and Development Plan for Development Area No. 1, which includes the Catalyst Development Project (i.e., the Little Caesars Arena and surrounding private development). Furthermore, the Michigan Strategic Fund — the entity which was responsible for issuing the 2014 bonds for the construction of the arena — approved the changes to the Catalyst Development Project set forth in the 2017 Proposed Plan Amendments.

There are more steps in this ongoing process, including opportunities for public comment. Detroit City Council has hosted public hearings to listen to comments, concerns and recommendations regarding the community impact of the Detroit Pistons’ home venue relocation to the Little Caesars Arena, and headquarters and practice facility relocation to New Center.

DEGC continues to deliver. We will keep you informed of future developments.

Invitation: Alibaba’s Gateway ’17 June 20-21 at Cobo Hall to Cover Success Selling in China

FROM: Peter Chapman, Executive Vice President, Business Development

DEGC’s Business Development team is focused on engaging foreign companies and helping local companies export goods and services more aggressively and strategically overseas. We’re happy to invite you to an event designed to do just that in the China market.

Alibaba’s Gateway ’17 event at Cobo Center will be held June 20-21. Attendees will hear from the company’s founder, Jack Ma, about how Alibaba’s platform has been used to achieve sales success in China.

Furthermore:

  • Hear U.S.-based small business owners’ success stories as they share how they successfully exported to China using Alibaba’s platform.
  • Hear how Alibaba helps businesses sell directly to consumers, build their brand, find distributors, and conduct cross-border e-commerce through their web-based sales, logistics and digital marketing solutions.
  • Find partners for marketing, payments, and logistics in Alibaba’s ecosystem, and understand China’s retail and e-commerce landscape, and the buying patterns of China’s consumers.

In Detroit, we are broadening our base of small businesses among many industries. As such, DEGC encourages small business owners and aspiring entrepreneurs to attend. We welcome farmers, brand managers, manufacturers, food producers, high-tech companies, and anyone who is exporting or hopes to export goods to China. Alibaba will share specific solutions for business in the following industries: Fashion and Apparel, Everyday Goods, Fresh Foods, and Agricultural Products.

Alibaba’s Gateway ’17 is one of several foreign development investment and export-related forums that DEGC Business Development will participate in or co-convene this year. We hope you can join us.

Visit here to register and attend.

To learn more about Alibaba and Gateway ’17, take a look at these links:

I look forward to any questions you may have, and I encourage you to share news of this event among your networks.

 

Detroit Economic Development Called Out as a National Model in Times of Uncertainty

FROM: Malinda Jensen, Senior Vice President, Board Administration and Government Affairs

Malinda Jensen photo
Malinda Jensen
Sr. VP Board Administration & Govt. Affairs

Motor City Match has now gotten a second endorsement from the current administration in Washington. At a forum of the International Economic Development Council (IEDC) in Washington recently, Jessie Handforth Kome, acting director of block grant assistance at the U.S. Dept. of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), was a panelist in a session called “City Opportunities.”

Kome spoke highly of Motor City Match, as an example of a “best practice program for matching small businesses with underutilized vacant space.” HUD Secretary, Dr. Ben Carson had previously praised the program during a visit to Detroit.

I saw Kome’s session, attending the IEDC Fed Forum as a representative of DEGC and Detroit. It really was exciting to hear the buzz around all the terrific things going on here. That’s especially true because the IEDC brings together professionals from places around the world. We all share the desire to promote economic development within our communities, and I always learn from my colleagues and competitors about ideas or best practices we can use here. I hope they also learn from the dedicated efforts we are making to bring the benefits of economic development to every part of the city and every citizen who lives in it. Motor City Match is just one of those initiatives.

The Community Development Block Grants that fund Motor City Match and grants from the Economic Development Administration that are currently supporting Detroit’s industrial and commercial redevelopment around the I-94 Industrial Park are in budget jeopardy right now. If you would like to know why federal funds spent on economic development pays off for communities, please download this brochure from IEDC. It does a very good job of explaining the payoff from federal investments Why Invest in Economic Development.

Two Downtown Apartment Developments Win Preliminary Approvals

The Griswold

We have known for some time that people who want to live Downtown have found it very difficult to find apartments, and the Downtown Development Authority (DDA) has taken a step toward meeting that demand. The DDA has voted its preliminary approval of two separate housing developments Downtown. The Roxbury Group earned preliminary approval for The Griswold, an 80-apartment development that would be built directly on top of the parking garage at 150 Michigan Ave., next to the Westin Book Cadillac Hotel. Village Green Holding, LLC earned preliminary approval for Statler City, a 200-250 apartment unit that would be built at Washington Blvd. and Park Ave., directly across from Grand Circus Park.

Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan, who also chaired the DDA meeting said, “It’s great news that there is strong enough demand to build another 300 or more residential units in our downtown core. This is more evidence that a growing number of people are excited about living in Detroit because they are seeing good things happening.”

The idea for The Griswold was first proposed as a condominium development in 2007. When the housing market collapsed, the project was cancelled. Under the new development agreement, a five-story structure would be built on top of the deck at an estimated cost of $22 million. The 80 housing units will be rental apartments. The agreement anticipates construction could begin this year and be completed in 2015.

Village Green, the developer of the Statler City project is a nationally recognized firm with Detroit roots and projects in 13 states. It recently renovated and renamed Trolley Plaza as Detroit City Apartments and the former Millender Center Apartments as Renaissance City Apartments. It is planning to invest between $30 million and $35 million in the project, build it to meet the National Association of Home Builders’ National Green Building Standards and develop first-floor retail space along Washington Blvd. Parking for tenants would be underground. The developers hope to have the first tenants move in before the end of 2016.

DEGC President and CEO, George W. Jackson, Jr., added, “The revival of The Griswold project clearly shows that Detroit has turned a corner since the housing crash of 2008, and the investment by Village Green in Statler City sends a strong message to developers around the world that this is a great time to invest in Detroit.”

Brian Holdwick
Executive Vice President of Business Development