©2018 Michigan Economic Development Corporation

Granholm Announces Brownfield Support for Oakman Boulevard Revitalization in Detroit

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Michael Shore, MEDC
(517) 335-4590

Michigan Bell Building Is Centerpiece of $38 Million Restoration

Governor Jennifer M. Granholm today announced assistance for a phased development of the industrial and commercial strip along Oakman Boulevard just east of the Focus: HOPE campus in Detroit into a mixture of affordable housing, retail and park space. The project is expected to create up to 120 jobs and involve $38 million in capital investment. The brownfield redevelopment will benefit from assistance provided by the Michigan Economic Development Corporation (MEDC) and the Michigan State Housing Development Authority (MSHDA).

“A healthy, vibrant Detroit is critical to Michigan’s economic success,” Granholm said. “The Oakman-Woodrow Wilson development will create jobs in Detroit and return this once-bustling neighborhood to a center of economic development and investment in the city.”  

The area, designated a Cool City neighborhood by the state of Michigan, is bounded by Oakman on the north, the Lodge Freeway service drive on the west, the Davison Freeway on the south and Thompson Street bordering Highland Park. It encompasses the historic Michigan Bell Building at the corner of Oakman and Woodrow Wilson, currently owned by Focus: HOPE.

State and local tax capture valued at $4,946,000 will be used by the city of Detroit teaming with Focus: HOPE to advance the project, which includes more than 150 new units of affordable housing including 55 senior housing units. In addition, the phased project comprises conference and education center, retail stores, development of local park space, replacement of run-down infrastructure and eventual adaptive re-use of the old Michigan Bell buildings.

“These neglected buildings and property have blighted the area for years,” MEDC President and CEO James C. Epolito said. “A cooperative effort by the state and Focus: HOPE will enable restoration of these tax-reverted properties to the city’s tax base and help stabilize the neighborhood.”

The Oakman-Woodrow Wilson brownfield redevelopment is one of five economic development projects the Governor announced today. In all, they are expected to create a total of 1,044 Michigan jobs.

Michigan brownfield programs provide incentives to invest in property that has been used for industrial, commercial or residential purposes and to keep that property in productive use or return it to a productive use. Brownfield incentives can be used for functionally obsolete, blighted, or contaminated property.

"Over the past years, MSHDA and MEDC have developed a very effective working relationship, and we are proud to collaborate with MEDC on these projects," MSHDA Executive Director Michael R. DeVos said. "This partnership will go a long way in not only helping develop and revitalize traditional downtowns and commercial centers but also improve the quality of life for those living in these communities."

In her 2007 State of the State address, Granholm emphasized the importance of making Michigan a global economic powerhouse in the 21st century. Since January 2005 the Governor and MEDC have announced the creation or retention of more than 167,000 jobs as a result of targeted assistance provided by the MEDC.

The Michigan Economic Development Corporation, a partnership between the state and local communities, promotes smart economic growth by developing strategies and providing services to create and retain good jobs and a high quality of life. For more information on the MEDC’s brownfield redevelopment incentives, click here

MSHDA is a quasi-state agency that provides financial and technical assistance through public and private partnerships to create and preserve safe and decent affordable housing, engage in community economic development activities, and address homeless issues. MSHDA's loans and operating expenses are financed through the sale of tax-exempt and taxable bonds and notes to private investors, not from state tax revenues. For more information on MSHDA programs and initiatives, visit the Web site atwww.michigan.gov/mshda.

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