This week in Detroit development news, the Morouns surprise everyone by signing a community benefits agreement with Southwest Detroit residents, details emerge about tax breaks sought for Henry Ford Health’s expansion, and the City of Detroit released a report about the state of homelessness in the city. 

A CBA with the Morouns 🤯 

The owners of the Ambassador Bridge have signed a community benefits agreement with a Hubbard Richard neighborhood group as part of a proposal to expand the bridge and construct a new plaza. 

The bridge company agreed to give the group 10 properties and $20,000 per property for redevelopment; demolish the Greyhound bus station and give part of that land to the neighborhood; construct a buffer from heavy industry; and contribute to the expansion of a local recreation center. 

The agreement also says the company would not expand farther into the neighborhood. The proposed deal is a surprising turn for a company and family with a history of alienating residents and acting without their input. The proposal still needs approval from the City Council and other government entities outside the city. (Detroit News, Curbed Detroit)

Billionaire seeks millions

Developers of the $3 billion Henry Ford Health expansion in New Center said at a community benefits meeting last week they will ask for $273 million in subsidies

The subsidies would take the form of three local property tax breaks and a “transformational brownfield” tax capture valued at $220 million to build three apartment buildings being developed by Detroit Pistons owner Tom Gores and a new medical research center to be developed by Henry Ford Health and Michigan State University. Twenty percent of the 662 housing units will be set aside for tenants making 50% or less of the area median income; those rents would be set at about $888 per month for a one-bedroom unit and $1,066 for a two-bedroom unit. 

The hospital expansion is not seeking incentives because Henry Ford Health is a nonprofit and doesn’t pay property taxes. (Detroit Free Press)

Ending homelessness 

The City of Detroit received $46 million in pandemic aid to address homelessness and commissioned a report to help determine the best way to spend those funds. Some of the big takeaways from the report: around 75% of unhoused people in the city became that way for the first time over the last two years, shelters have been overcrowded and are difficult for disabled people to access, more affordable housing is needed to transition people out of homelessness. (City of Detroit, BridgeDetroit)

Polluters (possibly) pay

Democratic Michigan legislators have introduced a package of 14 bills aimed at addressing pollution caused by corporations. The “polluter pay legislation” would require a high-risk business to prove it has finances to clean up future contamination, make it easier for state regulators to identify new pollution threats, add more transparency around cleanups, and make it easier to sue polluters. Michigan has about 24,000 contaminated sites, and only 3,000 have been cleaned up since 1990. An investigative series from Bridge Michigan found that the burden of paying for cleanup almost always falls on taxpayers. (Planet Detroit, Bridge Michigan)

Development news quick-hitters

City Council has delayed approving a rezoning request from Develop Detroit on its Eastern Market Gateway project. The project has stalled in recent years and buildings at the site have started to collapse… 

Sister Pie is planning an expansion of its bakery in the West Village and will seek Historic District Commission approval at its next meeting Nov. 8… 

City Council approved nearly $14 million in American Rescue Plan Act funds toward an inflatable athletic dome in Chandler Park… 

Another 105 families have become homeowners through the latest round of the Make It Home program. The collaboration between Rocket Community Fund, the City of Detroit, and the United Community Housing Coalition has enabled more than 1,500 occupants of tax-foreclosed homes to become homeowners since 2017. 

(BridgeDetroit, Outlier Media, Crain’s, Freep, City of 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.