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.

3. Live Downtown Housing Incentive Program

For many decades, Americans tended to move out of major cities into nearby suburbs, especially as cars let them commute to work. However, since 2010 the growth rate of cities has surpassed that of the suburbs. This is a trend that has occurred since the 1920s.

Like Jacksonville, there is a demand for housing in downtown Detroit.  However, the cost to construct housing from the ground up or retrofitting existing structures, exceeds leasing and purchase prices the market will support.  To help eliminate this financing gap, the Live Downtown housing incentive program was created.  Modeled after Live Midtown, employees of Blue Cross Blue Shield, DTE Energy, Compuware Corporation, Quicken Loans and Strategic Staffing Solutions can receive cash incentives to move into the city. Combined, more than 15,000 employees at the five companies are eligible to participate in the program.

Here's how the incentives work: New homeowners can receive a $20,000 forgivable loan; new renters a $2,500 rental allowance (and $1,000 for the second year). In addition, existing renters will receive $1,000 for renewing a lease, and existing homeowners can receive matching funds of up to $5,000 for exterior improvements on projects of $10,000 or more.

With this in mind, each company has pledged $200,000 a year for five years to fund the program.

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