Four Innovative Ideas for DIA's New CEO

June 12, 2013 3 comments Open printer friendly version of this article Print Article

Last week, the Downtown Investment Authority selected Aundra C. Wallace of Detroit's Landbank Authority to serve as its first CEO. Here are four creative revitalization initiatives underway in Detroit that should be packed in his suitcase for the drive down south.

1. M1-Streetcar

Over the past decade, developers and city officials across the U.S. have taken an interest in downtown streetcar systems as a development tool. By the end of 2015, downtown Detroit will be connected with adjacent urban neighborhoods with a 3.3-mile streetcar line of its own. However, this transit project is unique in that it is being funded by the surrounding business community to encourage transit oriented development.

M1 Rail, a group of private investors and philanthropists, led by Penske Corp. founder Roger Penske and Quicken Loans Inc. founder Dan Gilbert, has served as the driving force behind the project.

Pushing for quick implementation, major funding commitments of $3 million have come from Wayne State University, Quicken Loans, the Ilitch companies, Penske Corp., Compuware Corp., Chevrolet, Chrysler Group, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan, the Detroit Medical Center, Henry Ford Health System, Wayne County government, the Ford Foundation and the W.K. Kellogg Foundation.

Additional funding has come in the form of $1 million from the Hudson Webber Foundation and $35.1 million from the Kresge Foundation. Other funding sources include $9 million from the Detroit Downtown Development Authority, $16 million in federal New Market Tax Credits and a $25 million federal TIGER grant.

Overall, the 11-station fixed transit system will cost $137 million to construct. of that $85 million will be for streetcar infrastructure and $27 million for six modern streetcar vehicles. Construction is anticipated to commence by August 2013, with the line beginning operation in 2015. The line is expected to bring over $500 million worth of economic development to the corridor.

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