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$52.4 million investment over 3 years to create new cultural destination

City delivers on a vision that was a decade in the making

Detroit, June 29, 2016 – The Downtown Development Authority of the City of Detroit (DDA) today approved a comprehensive plan to redevelop nine properties in a historically significant pocket of downtown with a $52.4 million investment in new construction and renovations.

The Paradise Valley Cultural & Entertainment District project includes the simultaneous redevelopment of five existing buildings and four surface lots. The project will feature commercial and retail space, residential units, restaurants, entertainment venues and a boutique hotel; all scheduled to be built over the next three years.

The development of Paradise Valley has been nearly a decade in the making.

At the urging of Detroit City Council, the Downtown Development Authority used casino fund dollars to purchase the buildings and lots in 2006 with the intention of developing an entertainment district that would celebrate African-American culture and the vibrant music scene of Paradise Valley. At that time, crime and blight was becoming a major concern in the district and the buildings were only 20% occupied.

“Stepping in to purchase these buildings to stabilize this section of the district was the right move,” Rod Miller, CEO of the Detroit Economic Growth Corp. (DEGC), said. “I’m proud that a decade later, the DEGC has found developers who have the capacity to develop the entire district at once and turn it into a cultural destination that’ll serve Detroit for years to come.”

DEGC, acting as staff for the DDA, established a selection committee made up of representatives from Michigan Black Chamber of Commerce, DEGC and City of Detroit.

The committee evaluated each proposal based on a variety of factors including its connection to the vision of Paradise Valley and its ability to deliver commercial, retail, residential and cultural development, and financial capacity to successfully execute the vision.

The winning proposals came from developers with strong Detroit roots. Several of the developers, including Rainy Hamilton, Jr., Hiram E. Jackson and Ismail Houmani, already have a major presence in Paradise Valley.

“The City of Detroit is finally in a position to deliver on a promise made a decade ago,” Mayor Mike Duggan said. “The key developers behind this project are longtime Detroiters. They know what this district was and they know what it can be. They’re committed to working with existing tenants and building a Paradise Valley that not only honors the heritage of our city, but ushers in our future.”

New Conservancy to oversee arts & cultural programming

One of the unique aspects of the plan will be the creation of a Paradise Valley Cultural and Entertainment Conservancy, which will actively program the public spaces and support other efforts to create a continuing, rich educational and cultural experience for visitors to the district.

The development plan includes these five projects:

Hastings Place. Paradise Valley Real Estate Holdings, II, LLC, led by Hiram E. Jackson as managing partner, plans to build a new 83,340 sq. ft. building on three current parking lots at 1468, 1480 & 1496 Randolph St. It will include 60 apartments on the top floors, a 5-story parking deck, and first floor retail spaces. The project is located next to the building that Jackson’s company Paradise Valley Real Estate Holdings I is renovating as the new home of Real Times Media and the Michigan Chronicle. Total expected investment is $27 million, including a purchase price of $1 million.

“Moving back to the new Paradise Valley is actually a celebration for the Michigan Chronicle. Paradise Valley is where the Michigan Chronicle was founded in 1936. Building Hastings Place next door continues the legacy and spirit of Paradise Valley that was started by African American business pioneers and entertainers more than 80 years ago,” Jackson said.

Randolph Centre Building. Hamilton Development Corporation, led by Rainy Hamilton, Jr., FAIA, NOMA, as president, plans to renovate the building in which his firm, Hamilton Anderson Associates has been an anchor tenant for Paradise Valley, at 1435 Randolph St., and to build a new office building addition, the Randolph Centre Building, on the parking lot next door at 1455 Centre St.

“This neighborhood has been home to our firm for 22 years, and this is a great opportunity for us to expand our presence and our commitment to this unique place and the great heritage it honors,” Hamilton said.

Harmonie Club Hotel. 311 E. Grand River, LLC, led by Patricia Cole and Roger Basmajian as partners, plans to renovate the 36,000 sq. ft. building at 311 E. Grand River as the Harmonie Club Hotel, a 25- to 30-room boutique hotel on the first and second floors, which will include artwork from local African American artists. The third floor theatre will be completely refurbished and function as a theatre and banquet hall. The total expected investment is $13.6 million, including a purchase price of $1.6 million.

“This historic structure, built as a social club is ideal for a small hotel for those who want a truly unique cultural experience while they visit Detroit. We expect the third-floor banquet hall will be a favorite place for families and companies to celebrate their biggest occasions,” Cole said.

Harmonie Pointe. Gotham Capital Partners, led by Dennis Archer, Jr., as managing partner, plans to renovate 1407 and 1427 Randolph St. with a music forward lounge and restaurant on the first floor, and offices in the two upper floors. The total investment in the 17,328 sq. ft. building is expected to be $2.7 million, including a purchase price of $976,000.

“Our project will create the gateway to Paradise Valley from Gratiot Ave., welcoming visitors into our design forward, district featuring a world-class restaurant and lounge that are completely modern, but inspired by the great times of the original Paradise Valley,” Archer said.

La Casa Cigars and Lounge. La Casa Properties, LLC, led by Ismail Houmani as principal, plans to purchase and refurbish the 7,500 sq. ft. building at 1502 Randolph St., in which he now operates La Casa Cigars and Lounge. The Cigar Lounge and retail store will remain on the first floor; VIP Lounge will remain on the second floor; and existing apartments will be reconfigured on the upper two floors. The total expected investment is $1.47 million, including a purchase price of $1.17 million.

“I started this business seven years ago in the depths of a recession and have been open continuously since. I am excited to welcome all the other developments and the new retail, restaurant and entertainment it will bring to the neighborhood,” Houmani said.

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