Cardinal Health, Detroit Medical Center, Henry Ford Health System collaborate to promote urban renewal

cardinal healthA bookie would not have given the potential partnership between competitive healthcare giants Henry Ford Health System (HFHS) and the Detroit Medical Center (DMC) very good odds of making it past a guarded first meeting.

Despite assumptions that such efforts are a long shot, at best, the two systems defied the long-held belief that fierce competitors cannot achieve mutual goals with the announcement of an innovative effort that will combine the strengths of HFHS, DMC and Cardinal Health to bring urban renewal and jobs to Detroit.  

As part of their commitment to the city’s economic recovery efforts, DMC and HFHS have agreed to long-term distribution agreements with Cardinal Health, enabling the company to relocate a medical products distribution center to the Midtown area from its current Romulus locations.

The partnership, which offers unique advantages to each company, is estimated to bring 140 new jobs to Detroit.

The project is expected to lead to further development not only in the areas of warehousing and office space, but also in retail and residential space, according to Henry Ford Health System President Robert Riney. 

“The proximity of Cardinal Health’s distribution center to our respective operations brings significant advantages with just-in-time delivery of medical supplies and devices, and enhanced electronic inventory tracking and monitoring systems,” Riney said. “As important, the proximity to major freeway arteries provides Cardinal Health with significant logistics improvements.”

Distribution center development plans include retail space, loft and residential properties, and affordable housing within a walking-distance campus patrolled by the partners and adjacent neighbor, Wayne State University.

“The development will include amenities like a community garden, extensive bike and walking trails and a green space in the freeway overpass,” Riney added. 

A retirement community is also being discussed, according to Riney, who notes that many HFHS retirees and employees nearing retirement have expressed interest in a downtown location adjacent to Henry Ford Hospital.

“DMC was focused on leveraging our partnership in a meaningful way to contribute to the city’s revitalization. This new facility will fulfill Cardinal Health’s commitment to relocate its Michigan-based distribution operations within the city of Detroit, which was part of the negotiation of the DMC agreement. We are excited that our 20-year partnership will continue and the relocation will be an opportunity for new construction within the Midtown area,” said Donald P. Groth, corporate vice president of materials resource management, Detroit Medical Center.


Proposed Facility:  273,520-square-foot medical products distribution center.

Construction: Pending approvals, Cardinal Health could begin construction by the end of 2012 and finish within about 12 months.

Approvals: The company has filed an application with the Detroit Brownfield Redevelopment Authority and is awaiting a number of City Council approvals before details can be finalized. The company advises that its relocation to the site within city limits is dependent upon those approvals and a robust package of local, state and federal economic development incentives. 

Service Area: Cardinal Health will also serve surrounding areas in the state of Michigan, as well as northern Ohio and northern Indiana, from its new location.

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