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From Kevin Johnson, President and CEO

At 139 square miles, Detroit is considered rich in available land; however, that isn’t necessarily the case if you’re seeking to build a 200-acre manufacturing site – like the property proposed by Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (FCA).

Detroit does have real estate, but we’re without a turnkey inventory of various-sized parcels immediately available for new developments. For Detroit’s economic growth to continue, a collection of development-ready land is essential, and that is why the DEGC has made this a priority.

Assembling individual properties into adjoining sites needed for large-scale development is an expensive and time-consuming process. Without the power of eminent domain, our options for land assembly are limited. There are also other processes to be considered when assembling properties into large parcels of land, including property titles, zoning, tax abatements, community benefit ordinances, infrastructure improvements and environmental considerations.

You can see why manufacturers seeking to build new factories are attracted to large areas of undeveloped land rather than dense urban areas. Every minute spent on land assembly cuts into a company’s time to market. In the case of FCA, Detroit has been given less than two months to prepare a land deal. While the DEGC staff is working tirelessly with the City to achieve this goal, the project underscores the need to become proactive in our land assembly mission.

Detroit needs market-ready land packages to be considered for new development projects – a business attraction imperative. In short, Detroit needs to shift from “getting ready” to “being ready” in order to successfully bring large-scale property opportunities into the City.

The DEGC team is already making this shift. Our land assembly strategy includes preparing various-sized parcels of land for industrial and commercial use including manufacturing, warehousing, R&D and other sectors that provide good paying jobs for Detroiters.

For Detroit to compete and win in today’s market, we must obtain a portfolio of assets that includes not only great people but great spaces for businesses to build.

Three things you should know about the DEGC:

  1. Last week, MCM awardee, Ferne Boutique, and Kyla Carlsen, DEGC, appeared on Fox 2 Detroit to promote Detroit’s women-owned businesses in celebration of International Women’s Day.
  2. Motor City Match awardee, Michigan & Trumbull recently announced plans to open its Detroit-style pizzeria this fall.
  3. Motor City Match Round 16 and Motor City Re-Store Round 8 applications are open through April 1.