This week we have our eye on a couple of noteworthy cases of small neighborhood organizations going up against bigger investors in Highland Park and NW Goldberg. Meanwhile, the District Detroit’s groundbreaking is likely to be held up for another month over negotiations with that mysterious authority Outlier Media shone some light on last week.

Here’s your weekly recap of Detroit development news. 

Giving ground to the District? 

Developers for District Detroit are negotiating with the little-known Detroit/Wayne County Stadium Authority, as it owns several parcels needed for the project to begin construction. Wayne County selected a negotiator to come to an agreement with Olympia Development of Michigan and Related Companies on the sale price for the properties, two of which are parking lots next to Comerica Park. The property was valued at $35.3 million in an appraisal last month. None of the parties revealed a timetable for negotiations, even though the project was supposed to break ground in July. Any agreement would have to be approved by the stadium authority, which hasn’t met the last three months. Its next meeting on Thursday might also get canceled. (Detroit Free Press, Outlier Media)

Farmers 🤝 City 

Mayor Mike Duggan announced that urban farms and community gardens would be exempt from property tax increases as a result of the tax reform he’s been pursuing. If implemented, the proposed land value tax would raise property taxes on vacant land. Side-lot owners would only see an average increase of $30. The legislation is expected to head to the Michigan Legislature this week. The city is also planning to hire a director of urban agriculture to support farming initiatives. (Metro Times, Detroit Free Press, BridgeDetroit)

Meanwhile, at a community garden in Highland Park… 

A small neighborhood group has been in a dispute over a vacant lot with an out-of-town investor. The nonprofit Avalon Village, which has been steadily fixing up vacant properties on Avalon Street and providing services like a marketplace and after-school center, has been farming on a city-owned lot for over a year and giving away the produce. The lot was formerly overgrown with weeds. Premier Michigan Properties (PMP) wanted to buy the lot to convert it to a yard for an adjacent house it’s owned since 2017. The house is still not renovated and has boarded up windows. Avalon Village has also been mowing the home’s front lawn. Highland Park City Council voted last night against selling the lot to PMP. (Detroit Free Press, Detroit Documenters)

Neighborhood vs. developer, pt. 2

NW Goldberg is seeing a modest amount of home sales for the first time in years — but the neighborhood’s biggest real estate owner, Henry Ford Health, might not be pulling its weight. The nonprofit NW Goldberg Cares and a developer has fixed up homes that are selling for more than $200,000. The community development organization’s director, Daniel Washington, says that the hospital, which owns dozens of parcels in and around the neighborhood, has deterred investment and “depressed the area” by sitting on property. The hospital says it’s engaging with businesses and neighborhood groups about how it can help build up the neighborhood, and it cited a handful of initiatives it’s already taken. It’s planning a $2.5 billion expansion of its campus with Michigan State University and Pistons owner Tom Gores. (Crain’s Detroit Business, Urbanize Detroit)

Best of the rest 

Negotiations on community benefits should begin soon for the next big developments in Detroit. That includes a hotel next to Huntington Place and the aforementioned expansion of Henry Ford Health’s campus… The Board of Zoning Appeals approved a number of zoning variances to the North End Landing development. Residents spoke in opposition of the project, saying a lack of parking would create issues in the neighborhood… Developers for the Fisher Body plant’s redevelopment said they hope to begin construction on the long-vacant factory next year. The project was announced in March 2022. (Crain’s Detroit Business, Outlier, Axios Detroit)

Aaron (he/him) believes in telling true stories about real people. He doesn’t think there’s anything better than a crisp fall afternoon at the Detroit Jazz Fest.