New Detroit Development Coming to Northwest Goldberg Neighborhood, MEDC Approves Multiple Deals

A mixed-use, mixed-income development is coming to the Northwest Goldberg neighborhood of Detroit at 1331 Holden St.
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Life is a Dreamtroit rendering
A mixed-use, mixed-income development is coming to the Northwest Goldberg neighborhood of Detroit at 1331 Holden St. // Photos courtesy of the Michigan Economic Development Corp.

A mixed-use, mixed-income development is coming to the Northwest Goldberg neighborhood of Detroit at 1331 Holden St.

This project and more were approved by the Michigan Strategic Fund on Tuesday, according to the Michigan Economic Development Corp.

“Today’s MSF approvals demonstrate the significant role we play in restoring Michigan’s economic recovery, while continuing to support the businesses and community projects that will secure the long-term economic health of our state,” says Mark A. Burton, CEO of the MEDC.

“These business expansions in key industries – professional services as well as auto manufacturing and mobility – will have a significant economic impact in Detroit while creating good jobs for our residents. We’re pleased to work with our local partners and support these investments.”

Life is a Dreamtroit is redeveloping the Northwest Goldberg property, which sits on 3.8 acres, through a $19.7 million investment. It is one of the first major community investments being made within the neighborhood. The Michigan Strategic Fund approved two Michigan Community Revitalization Program performance-based loans totaling almost $2.5 million in support of the project.

The City of Detroit Brownfield Redevelopment Authority also received fund approval of nearly $1.3 million in state tax capture that will assist with the remediation of brownfield conditions at the site.

The development will include shops, art studios, venue space, and residential units. It will offer affordable rental housing and focus on encouraging recycling and sustainability through partnerships with Recycle Here!, Detroit’s only recycling center, and Green Living Space, an environmental nonprofit.

Local support for the project includes a Neighborhood Enterprise Zone with an estimated value of $908,500 and Commercial Rehabilitation Act tax abatement with an estimated value of nearly $2.5 million. The city is also contributing to the local portion of the Brownfield TIF with an estimated value of $1.4 million. The city is engaged with MEDC’s Redevelopment Ready Communities program.

Another Detroit project, the Royal Palm hotel redevelopment (also known as the Park Avenue House), received fund approval of a brownfield work plan that will include more than $2.5 million in state tax capture reimbursement. The City of Detroit Brownfield Redevelopment Authority received the approval.

The project, located at the northwest corner of Park Avenue and W. Montcalm Street, entails the redevelopment of the historic 13-story building into a Hilton brand hotel with around 172 hotel rooms and a ground floor café and restaurant (formerly occupied by the Town Pump Tavern, which was relocated across W. Montcalm to the Iodent Building).

In an effort to remain historically accurate (the building was named to the National Register of Historic Places in 1996), modern amenities will blend with historic accents. The building’s name will also be restored.

The project is expected to generate a total capital investment of $50.3 million and create about 65 new full-time equivalent jobs. Activation of the property will preserve a historically significant piece of architecture. The project meets the MEDC’s goals of supporting development in geographically disadvantaged areas and transforming underused properties into productive mixed-use developments. The city of Detroit is supporting the project through the approval of a 12-year Obsolete Property Rehabilitation Act tax exemption valued at more than $3.6 million.

Other projects receiving MEDC support include Detroit Manufacturing Systems, a minority owned Tier 1 auto supplier in Detroit that specializes in the manufacturing and assembly of vehicle modules such as instrument panels. The company plans to repurpose its Detroit facility and diversify and expand its capabilities to market to other industry segments.

The project is expected to generate a total private investment of $31.9 million and create 225 jobs, resulting in a $1.5 million Jobs Ready Michigan Program performance-based grant that will be used to assist with training needs. A focus for the project is to transform the company’s existing workforce into the next generation of skilled workers. The investment in new technology will result in skilled operators of advanced machinery, robotics, and other automation technology. The Michigan site was chosen over a competing site in Toledo.

The company has 800 employees in Michigan and 1,200 in the U.S.

“At Detroit Manufacturing Systems, we are creating a culture of serving and empowering others to grow, rise, and give back to accelerate a positive change in the world,” says Bruce Smith, chairman and CEO of Detroit Manufacturing Systems. “That is at the core of who we are at Detroit Manufacturing Systems, which is why we are so excited and appreciative of this grant from the state of Michigan. This grant enables us to invest in people in an underserved area of Detroit, providing economic and growth opportunities for talented individuals who will rise with us as an organization.”

Clearcover Inc., a venture-backed, Chicago-based auto insurance carrier, plans to expand its presence to the city of Detroit to support its business functions. The project is expected to generate a total private investment of $5 million and create up to 300 jobs, resulting in a $3.5 million Michigan Business Development Program performance-based grant. The company conducted a national search and chose Michigan over competing sites in Wisconsin and Indiana.

“When we started our national search for a second talent hub, it was critical to us that we find talented people who can help us continue reinventing a centuries-old industry,” says Kyle Nakatsuji, co-founder and CEO of Clearcover. “Several cities offer talent, but what made Detroit stand out to us is its embodiment of our core values: empower others and embrace being the underdog. We’re excited to offer high-growth career opportunities in a city with talent that not only reflects who Clearcover is but also reflects the customers we serve.”

The fund also approved a $400,000 Jobs Ready Michigan program performance-based grant.

“We appreciate the Michigan Strategic Fund’s support of this project to help Clearcover establish a presence in our city,” says Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan. “It’s another example of a national company seeing Detroit as a good investment.”

Clearcover says it is committed to hiring qualified Detroiters and is partnering with Detroit at Work and the Detroit Economic Growth Corp. to achieve this goal.

“With today’s announcement, Detroit further establishes itself as a financial services hub,” says Kevin Johnson, president and CEO of the Detroit Economic Growth Corp. “Clearcover had its pick among many Midwestern cities to grow its high-tech auto insurance business. Clearcover will join such industry giants as TCF Bank, Ally Financial, and Quicken Loans in our city. Detroit is proving once again that we will compete and win in a variety of diversified sectors.”

The company also anticipates that software engineering roles may be incorporated in the future.

“The Detroit Regional Partnership is incredibly excited to welcome Clearcover to the Detroit Region,” says Maureen Donohue Krauss, president and CEO of the Detroit Regional Partnership. “Clearcover joins a community of innovators in the region who have utilized new technology to improve the customer experience and disrupt aspects of the traditional financial services industry.”

The Michigan Strategic Fund also approved funds for the Business Accelerator Fund to be allocated to Michigan’s startups and entrepreneurs that are surviving and growing throughout the COVID-19 crisis. The BAF is administered by the Michigan Small Business Development Center and provides small grants to be used toward delivery of specialized commercialization services to assist advanced technology companies.

The City of Grand Rapids Brownfield Redevelopment Authority has received Michigan Strategic Fund approval of a brownfield work plan that will include more than $4.4 million in state tax capture reimbursement for the Vandenberg Center redevelopment project. The project will include the rehabilitation of the building at 111 Lyon St. NW and demolition and ground floor commercial rehabilitation of the 200 Monroe Ave. property in downtown Grand Rapids. When completed, the project will include commercial office, retail, and restaurant space. It will also include the installation of approximately 5,400 square feet of new snowmelt sidewalk.

The project is expected to generate a total capital investment of $134.7 million.

Grand Rapids is supporting the project through the Downtown Development Authority’s Development Support program in the amount of $950,000. In addition, support includes the local portion of the Brownfield Tax Increment Financing Plan, valued at more than $1.2 million.

Other approvals made by the Michigan Strategic Fund today include:

  • One-year extensions of two International Trade services contracts – MSF also approved an extension of Trade Small Business Services contracts with service providers Foster Swift Collins and Swift P.C., IBT Online, Michigan State University – International Business Center and the Small Business Development Center. The contracts will allow the service providers to continue to offer export seminars, workshops, and legal training resources to Michigan companies involved in exporting their goods or services.
  • One-year extension of a contract with the Council of Great Lakes Governors Inc. to continue to administer dedicated International Trade Centers in several foreign markets.
  • One-year extension of a grant agreement with the Michigan Manufacturing Technology Center – MSF approved an extension of the contract with MMTC to provide manufacturing support services to the Michigan manufacturing and related industries with the goal of increasing sales and creating and retaining jobs.

The Michigan Economic Development Corp. is the state’s marketing arm and advocate for business development, job awareness, and community development.

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