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

On The World Stage

The Russian mayors have come and gone. The Chinese executives did the same. The contingent from Portland was very engaged. The columnists and bloggers from Chicago, London and elsewhere all found surprises. The New York Times seems to be “discovering” something interesting, tasty or cool in Detroit every few weeks. Time magazine explored the city for an entire year. In short, the world is making its way to Detroit, and it’s not because of some calamity or scandal, or even a big event such as a Super Bowl or International Auto Show. We are on a world stage right now because of hundreds of stories, successes and interesting people that all add up to a world-class transformation.

We’ve known that for quite awhile, because we are supporting it every way we can, but there is something satisfying about spending time hearing the interest from the Russian mayors, who were here because they represent one-industry cities that need to diversify their economies. Sounds familiar, doesn’t it? While we talked with the Russians, Japanese public television was videotaping a story about W Industries, a company that successfully grew from auto supplier to advanced manufacturer in alternative energy, natural gas extraction, defense and aerospace.

The Chinese were here to consider business investments. They realize that Detroit is in the center of the greatest concentration of automotive research and development in the world. The constant re-invention of personal transportation is going on right around us every day.

Time magazine, of course wanted to witness bold moves from major players like Mayor Dave Bing and Quicken chairman, Dan Gilbert, but reporters from Time or its sister publications also covered entrepreneurial successes in our incubators, NextEnergy and Wayne State University’s TechTown. And they wrote about Detroit’s cheerleaders such as Slow’s Bar BQ’s Phil Cooley, City Living Detroit real estate broker Austin Black or I Am Young Detroit’s Mike Han.

As we are breaking new ground, we are also on the lookout for what we might learn from others. That’s why we have a delegate in Turin, Italy this month, reviewing the economic progress of the home city to Fiat.

The best news from all this buzz is that it is not too late to get into the game. We know of properties ripe for renovation or redevelopment, and we know the ways to support growth for startups or global companies. We have success stories, and if you are growing a business in Detroit we’d like to know yours. After all, the world is watching.

 

George W. Jackson

Jackson is president and CEO of Detroit Economic Growth Corporation, a non-profit organization that works with businesses, government and other organizations throughout Detroit to encourage and manage economic development projects.