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Community benefits negotiated for Henry Ford Cancer Pavilion development

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Letter of understanding includes local hiring requirements, environmental mitigations


Henry Ford Health System (HFHS) is the dominant force in New Center. And its latest development, the Brigitte Harris Cancer Pavilion, will only grow its impact.

And now the community will see some benefits from the massive development, as the West Grand Boulevard Collaborative (WGBC), a local community coalition, has privately negotiation a letter of understanding with the health system. A signing ceremony will take place Friday, April 12 at 10 a.m. in the Irwin House Gallery.

Spanning 187,000 square feet at a cost of $155 million, the cancer pavilion will be a state-of-the-art facility that’s part of a larger, 300-acre vision HFHS has for the area.

According to The Detroit News, “The center will offer ambulatory cancer treatment, precision medicine, clinical trials, and enhanced support services for cancer patients. The hospital has also partnered with Syapse, a leading precision medicine software company, to give patients options based on their DNA profiles.”

The center, which is located across West Grand Boulevard from the hospital, broke ground in June 2017. Negotiations for the letter of understanding between HFHS and WGBC started when the center was announced around three years ago.

The primary feature of the agreement pertains to a local hiring recruitment plan to create a jobs pipeline. HFHS will host trainings, classes, and job fairs, as well as use local vendors for the development. The exact details of the agreement have not yet been released.

During construction, there will also be truck route restrictions and meditations put in place to reduce environmental impact.

Sam Butler, executive director of Doing Development Differently in metro Detroit, which provided technical assistance during negotiations, believes this is a win for the community.

“It’s one more example of how a community and developer can work together to create a mutually beneficial relationship,” he says. “This builds towards a larger development culture here in the city that’s more accepting of community benefits … “CBAs don’t have to be scary.”

Butler says there are also enforcement mechanisms in the agreement in case one party doesn’t meet its requirements.