The Detroit Economic Development Corporation announced today that it had chosen 27 buildings for possible redevelopment as part of the Motor City Match program. The program aims to pair businesses seeking expansion with buildings in need of restoration. The buildings' owners submit them to the city for "match" approval, with the hope that they will be paired with a business interested in renting the space. The buildings chosen today can now be paired with qualifying businesses. If a "match" is made, the businesses will be considered for grants to help with designing and building out space.
The program has $500,000 to award each quarter as matching grants for businesses that make it through the "Make a Plan," "Match Your Cash" and "Ready to Go" phases. The program also offers technical assistance to qualifying businesses, and help obtaining additional loans. Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan says the program will help revitalize neighborhoods and grow local businesses.
The Match program allocated $4.25 million its first year, and much of the cash will go to vetting properties and businesses. The funds come from federal Community Development Block Grant funds, with support form private entities including the Knight Foundation, the Erb Family Foundation, the Kresge Foundation, the New Economy Initiative of Southeast Michigan, Bank of America, and Fifth Third Bank.
One property that advanced as part of this round is the historic Frederick K. Stearns House. This structure on the National Register of Historic Places was the private home of Frederick K. Stearns, of Stearns Building fame. The 1902 mediaeval arts-and-crafts house was converted to office space in 2008, and tenants once included the Detroit-Wayne County Port Authority and Friends of Belle Isle.
According to Motor City Match, the program received over 150 applications from building owners,and the initial 27 were selected based of five criteria, including "building characteristics and vision," the buildings' condition, support from the community, leverage and tax, water bill and blight ticket compliance. The Motor City Match has more than 350 applications from potential commercial tenants to consider. Business owners matched with properties will hear about their awards by October 1.