Column: Residents heart of city’s comeback

Tosha Tabron and Matthew Hessler

Those of us who’ve lived in Detroit for the past decade or more have been ecstatic with the changes we’ve seen and continue to witness throughout the city. While redevelopment doesn’t happen overnight, local residents like ourselves have seen a steady stream of construction year after year, which is helping revitalize the city so many of us love.

The best part of this revitalization? The fact that it’s not taking place at the expense of longtime residents.

Across many projects citywide, developers are integrating the existing community into their plans to ensure residents are not displaced. The latest example? 7.Liv, a mixed-use development that will be catalytic in driving inclusive growth along Detroit’s Avenue of Fashion. Both of us are longtime residents in the surrounding Livernois area, and this development will be one more step in the right direction to help spur a resurgence in the area.

This $8.3 million project will include 10 residential units — three of which will be affordable — as well as 20,500 square feet of commercial storefront and 29 underground parking spaces. The financing was provided in part by Capital Impact Partners and JPMorgan Chase’s $30 million Detroit Neighborhoods Fund, the Michigan Strategic Fund, Invest Detroit, Detroit Economic Growth Corporation and Bagley Forest Properties.

Additionally, 7.Liv is further proof Detroit’s economic comeback continues to extend into the surrounding neighborhoods. The leadership and continued collaborative efforts across Detroit are examples for cities in the United States, and around the world of how working together can create more inclusive economic opportunity.

We truly believe by working together, we’re creating more inclusive, long-term economic opportunities for Detroiters. Furthermore, by supporting and strengthening individuals, families and organizations explicitly working to empower their communities, we are helping to deliver sustainable change in the most impactful way.

One key partner for both of us, Capital Impact Partners — a nonprofit, community financial development institution (CDFI) with a place-based strategy — uses a collaborative approach to development by targeting capital across multiple sectors simultaneously. Where many investors might see risk in underserved or challenged communities, Capital Impact sees promise and opportunity.

Capital Impact has been addressing social and racial justice issues in underserved neighborhoods from New York to Washington, D.C., and Los Angeles to Detroit since 1982, and has deployed more than $180 million in Detroit alone since 2010. Capital Impact, through their commitment to Detroit and national expertise, embodies what we seek in a local partner.

With many projects and initiatives already in the pipeline, without question, 2018 will be another eventful year not only for us and our organizations, but for Capital Impact and the city of Detroit.

We know there is still more work to be done to ensure the next chapters in Detroit’s history book will tell an uplifting story of an unprecedented, inclusive economic recovery, and we would encourage everyone passionate about the future of this great city to support those small businesses opening in the multi-use facilities popping up across Detroit. We will continue to apply what we’re learning from each neighborhood from Midtown to West Village to Livernois Corridor and beyond to more neighborhoods, ensuring that all residents in those communities benefit and are wholly included in the redevelopment process.

One day at a time — and together with our partners — we will build on the momentum currently underway, investing in Detroit’s future because we are proud and honored to be a part of this community and privileged to call it home.

Tosha Tabron is vice president and relationship manager for global philanthropy at JPMorgan Chase. Matthew Hessler is owner of Bagley Forest Properties, LLC, and owner and developer of 7.Liv.