Support for Third & Grand, Trident Checker projects underscores state’s cumulative 5-year investment in city’s revival


LANSING, Mich. – Two high-profile projects expected to serve as catalysts for further economic development in Detroit’s New Center and Corktown received support today from the Michigan Strategic Fund. Third & Grand development and the rehabilitation of the Checker Cab building – along with additional properties around the site – are expected to begin construction by the end of the year. Leasing space is projected by the end of 2018.

The latest projects in Detroit’s ongoing revival provide a major stimulus in attracting residents to two key business districts in the city and underscore the state’s cumulative five-year investment and commitment to the city’s economic and cultural revival. Total private investment for the upcoming two Detroit-based projects is $98.4-million with 105 new jobs.

Since January 2011 through mid-September, the MSF board has approved incentive funds of $707,634,072 for Detroit-based projects, which, in turn, has attracted a projected private investment of $2.62 billion to the city, according to research compiled by the Michigan Economic Development Corporation. That total comes from approximately $1.54 billion in private business investment and $1.08 billion in private community development-related projects. As a result of these projects, approximately 10,616 jobs have been created in Detroit.

“The combination of market conditions, momentum and public-private partnerships is transforming Detroit into an exciting urban center drawing residents to a cosmopolitan environment and attracting businesses, from manufacturers to service-oriented to retailers,” said Steve Arwood, CEO of Michigan Economic Development Corporation (MEDC). “In the last five-and-a-half years, our partnership with Detroit has led to an impressive rate of return, and today, is paying dividends for the region and state.”

On behalf of the MSF, the MEDC administers programs and performs due diligence on grants, loans, collateral agreements and approved funds. In addition, the MEDC is the state’s chief marketing agency engaged in business attraction and retention efforts along with serving as a catalyst for job creation.

Third & Grand, a mixed-use retail/residential project will be constructed at Third Avenue and West Grand Boulevard between the historic Fisher Building and Henry Ford. The MSF board approved a $2-million incentive from the Michigan Community Revitalization Program as part of funding for the $54.6-million development that will feature 20,000-square-feet of commercial space, parking and 230 residential apartments.

“The Platform has a commitment to adding 1,000 new residential units in the Midtown, Techtown and New Center, as well as a dedication to supporting growth in neighborhoods outside of Greater Downtown, including Brightmoor, Live 6 and Islandview,” said Peter Cummings, a principal with The Platform, a new real estate firm overseeing Third & Grand. The firm, established in May, focuses on urban mixed-used residential communities.  “We appreciate the support from Michigan Strategic Fund to catalyze this signature project in New Center, which is advancing our mission to support real estate and community growth throughout Detroit.”

Fifty-five jobs are expected to be created relating to retail and property management.

The project is located on a former surface-street parking lot at the north end of the QLINE, a 3.3-mile street-car line along the city’s main street, Woodward Avenue. Third & Grand is the first newly constructed apartment building in New Center in more than 30 years.

In addition to MSF support, funding comes from Fifth Third, Invest Detroit and Third & Grand LLC, developers of the property.

Meanwhile, the MSF board approved today a $6.9-million Michigan Community Revitalization investment to go toward the $43.8-million historic rehabilitation of the three-story Checker Cab building. The project also includes new construction of four mixed-use buildings with first-floor retail space and upper-floor residential space, historic rehabilitation of the Checker Cab building, and four multi-story townhome units.

Overall, the project includes 151 residential units, and is expected to create 50 full-time jobs, largely associated with retail and building management.

“We are very excited to build upon the investment we’ve had in Corktown for nearly 20 years with the Checker Cab business,” said Anthony Soave, president and CEO of Soave Enterprises, which oversees the Corktown project. “With the high demand for housing in Greater Downtown, and the unique opportunity to transform this area of the Corktown neighborhood, we are very thankful that the Michigan Strategic Fund’s board of directors have shown their support for this important project in Detroit.”

Soave Enterprises’ Corktown project is on the east side of Trumbull Avenue across from the former site of the baseball stadium, where the Detroit Tigers played from 1912-1999.

With the new development serving as a catalyst, other investments are planned for the neighboring Tiger Stadium site and create a bridge to the north side of Corktown. The new project is the initial phase of a multi-phase project to develop the area between Trumbull Avenue and Brooklyn Street, according to developers.

In addition to MSF support, other funding for the project is provided by Comerica Bank, Economic Development Corporation (EDC) of the City of Detroit, and Trident Corktown LLC.

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