By: Kenyetta Hairston-Bridges, Executive Vice President of Economic Development and Investment Services, DEGC
Thanks to a request submitted by DEGC to the U.S. Department of Commerce, it was recently announced that the Detroit Brownfield Redevelopment Authority has been awarded a $2.6 million grant to support local food manufacturing at Eastern Market. The grant was part of the CARES Act Recovery Assistance initiative that helps communities impacted by COVID-19 rebuild and strengthen their local economies.
Our Economic Development and Investment Services (EDIS) team submitted the grant application in July 2020, and has been working closely with the department’s Economic Development Administration to ensure its approval. Not only do we commend our EDIS team for securing this funding, we also credit the productive and ongoing relationship between DEGC, the City of Detroit and the EDA that focuses on much-needed project funding.
Specifically, this grant will support road, stormwater and utility infrastructure improvements required for the expansion of development-ready space for new food manufacturing and production facilities. The following roads were included in this proposal:
- Riopelle Street – from Wilkins Street to Hale Street and Hale Street to Mack Avenue;
- St. Aubin Street – from Mack Avenue to Superior Street;
- Illinois Street – from Dequindre Railway to St Aubin Street;
- Superior Street – from Dequindre Railway to Superior Street.
The investment will also provide the Greater Eastern Market Food Innovation Zone with additional capacity for processing, warehousing and distribution. The grant will be matched with $639,488 in local funding. This project is expected to lead to the creation of 300 jobs and will generate an additional $47.5 million in private investment. Work is expected to begin on this project in the spring of next year.
For more than 125 years, Eastern Market has been nourishing Detroit as the city’s oldest working food district. Since 2018, DEGC and the City have been leading charge to further promote the market as one of the nation’s most comprehensive regional hubs using the Eastern Market Neighborhood Framework Plan as a North Star. It is this plan that served as the basis for the EDA grant proposal.
The Framework outlines a path to expand food manufacturing and retail, while being intentional on how new development shapes the district. It is helping to elevate food production and distribution in the Market District and expand amenities in the interlacing residential neighborhoods. It sets the course to catalyze $70.9 million in private investment, create nearly 500 new jobs and retain nearly 300 jobs in the local food sector alone.
The EDA grant will go a long way in helping expand the Eastern Market Food District and retain its authentic, diverse, connected and mindful identity. DEGC is continuing to petition for state and local resources, as well as the American Rescue Plan, to create transformational change in our City.
DEGC remains committed to transforming once-blighted properties into productive use that creates jobs for Detroit residents. Our commitment of this work has been realized through partnerships with companies such as Stellantis, Lear and Dakkota, supporting the development of production and manufacturing facilities in Detroit that have created thousands of jobs for Detroiters. We’re also leveraging federal, state and local resources to support the development of neighborhood commercial corridors and affordable mixed-use developments as well as working on behalf of the City to support infrastructure of public amenity spaces.