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DEGC helps restore another iconic building in Detroit

Oct 10, 2018

From Brian Vosburg, Brownfield Redevelopment Manager

Helping restore Detroit’s historic buildings and repurpose them for vitality is a top priority of the DEGC and definitely one of the highlights of my job.

Most recently, I worked with Real Estate & Financial Services staff to help shepherd an incentive package that will bring new life to the former Standard Accident Insurance Company Building located in Midtown. DEGC helped to secure $6.5 million in Brownfield Tax Increment Financing, a $5.697 million Community Revitalization Program loan, and an Obsolete Property Rehabilitation Act tax abatement through the Detroit City Council and the Michigan Strategic Fund.

Bordered to the east by 2nd Street and to the north by Charlotte Street, the building at 640 Temple predated Masonic Temple and even “Temple” Street, which was named Bagg at the time. It has since been occupied by several Wayne County departments including Wayne County Social Services and the Wayne County Public Service Department.

The nearly 100-year old building is among Detroit’s most historic – designed by master architect Albert Kahn and completed in 1920. The structure features several regal appointments reflective of its founders – a veritable who’s who of “turn of the Century” Detroit– David Whitney, Jr., Francis Palms, Simon Murphy and Dexter M. Ferry.

This new development is significant for a number of reasons. First, it serves as an important catalyst for further development in the area. It also recaptures an important part of Detroit’s history that otherwise might be lost. The $67 million development will feature a 100-room hotel, restaurant, rooftop pool and banquet facility, mixed-use living and retail space, and nightclub. Perhaps most importantly, the project is expected to provide up to 80 full-time jobs paying above minimum-wage rates.

The redevelopment builds on a long line of hard work and billions of investment dollars over many decades in the Cass Park area of Midtown, including the new Cass Tech High School and projects by the Cass Corridor Neighborhood Development Corporation and Central City Integrated Health.

It’s fortunate that Detroit has access to incentive tools, which can help reduce risks for developers and offset the high cost of construction. Thanks to MSF, the City of Detroit, DEGC and countless others, the Standard Accident Insurance Company Building will remain for future generations.

Five things you should know about the DEGC:

1. Mayor Duggan and former Mayor Bloomberg met this past Friday to discuss Detroit’s small business ecosystem at Round 3 Motor City Match winner, The Commons.
2. Yesterday, Detroit celebrated the official ribbon cutting for Flex-N-Gate.
3. This week thought leaders from some of Michigan’s most prominent organizations will participate in a series of events throughout the city during Mobility
Week Detroit to showcase Detroit’s global leadership in mobility and technology.
4. On Monday, Oct. 22 MCM awardee, Detroit City Fieldhouse will celebrate its grand opening.
5. Oct. 28-30, leaders from around the world will join Mayor Mike Duggan and former New York Mayor Bloomberg for the CityLab Detroit conference.

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