Road construction in Southfield DDA to cause congestion through Fall 2014

The road construction along Greenfield Road and around Northland Center in the Southfield DDA is likely to cause some traffic delays and rerouting in the coming months. It will also require a temporary SMART/Detroit Department of Transportation (DDOT) bus stop to be located a few hundred feet east of the current location in the Northland Center parking lot.

This road construction project is expected to be completed in Fall 2014.

This linked map provides more details on the temporary bus stop which will impact both SMART and DDOT bus lines. Buses entering the temporary bus stop area will do so via J.L. Hudson Drive/Outer Mall Drive or eastbound Northland Drive. All buses will leave via westbound Northland Drive.

Detroit Bankruptcy Process Impacts all of us

In my previous role as a site location economic developer, I experienced the perception that outsiders had of Detroit and the impact of that on cities like Southfield.

There is little doubt that Detroit and neighboring cities are viewed as one – particularly when it concerns economic development. This is why Detroit bankruptcy needs to be resolved as quick as possible.

Here at the Southfield DDA we are in contact regularly with developers and investors, often individuals located from outside of Michigan, and questions about Detroit’s role and indirect impact on the DDA are common.

Even beyond the development end, we have residents who live in the DDA that work in the city of Detroit, and Detroit residents that work in the DDA. Tens of thousands of vehicles travel on the Lodge Freeway from Southfield to Detroit, or vice-versa, each weekday. Our communities will be forever linked.

A healthy Detroit helps attract new talent, employers, retailers and developers to the Southfield DDA. Our hope is that the bankruptcy process gets resolved quickly so we can add to the more than $100 million in investments that have been poured into the Southfield DDA in the last three years. The potential is even greater with a healthier Detroit. Let’s ban together so Detroit’s solutions have positive impacts on the SDDA.

Sincerely,

Al Aceves
Executive Director
Southfield DDA

Dr. Daveda Colbert brings emphasis on education to the Southfield DDA board of directors

davedacolbertIn less than four full years, Superintendent Dr. Daveda Colbert has helped the Oak Park School District to experience enrollment growth while eliminating a more than $8,000 annual deficit. And during that time, she has also brought her vision of the importance of education to the Southfield DDA as one of its 13 board members.

Colbert’s presence on the board makes perfect sense. Despite the fact that she works and lives in Oak Park, the city shares the eastern border of the Southfield DDA along Evergreen Road and any elementary, middle and high school students who live within the DDA’s borders are zoned for Oak Park Schools, Colbert said. So she understands the importance of being a board member to help look after her constituency.

“I think a lot of people who aren’t familiar with the Southfield DDA don’t realize how many residential developments there are,” Colbert said. “The DDA is about more than just business.”

And Colbert has a strong understanding of business. She credits her district’s employees and unions for making necessary concessions a few years ago to help maintain financial stability, with the district’s deficit expected to be at zero by this summer, one year ahead of a state mandate.

Meanwhile enrollment has risen with more emphasis placed on academics, athletics and the arts, which is in stark contrast to many other metro Detroit area school districts that have experienced declining enrollment.

“A lot of the success is about attitude and having a strong customer service mindset,” Colbert said. “Our goal is to make a significant difference in the life of each student we have.”

During her three years on the Southfield DDA board, Colbert is proud to have strengthened partnerships with Southfield leaders, including Mayor Brenda Lawrence, and to have a say in the ongoing development and revitalization activities of the DDA. She believes that the Southfield DDA has unique offerings and that there is great potential in the short- and long-term.

“The city and the DDA has done a great job attracting ‘meds and eds’ as we like to say with Oakland Community College expanding its DDA footprint and all the healthcare employers in the district,” Colbert said. “We have several anchors in the DDA and the restructuring has been very successful. You see a lot of private practices popping up all over. It has been a very positive experience for me.”

OCC Invests in Southfield DDA with Property Purchase

northplazaThe 17-story North Park Plaza along 9 Mile Road in the Southfield DDA was purchased in March by Oakland Community College (OCC) for $2.5 million.

Located west of OCC’s current Southfield campus, North Park Plaza includes 296,000 square feet of space. Built in 1972 and renovated seven years ago, the building had been empty for the past couple of years.

It is unknown at this time how OCC will use the property, or if and when the college will build on the 11.5-acre site. The purchase does allow OCC, the state’s largest community college with 27,000 students across Michigan and more than 4,600 in Southfield, to expand its imprint on the Southfield DDA region further as needed in the future.

This April OCC also finalized the purchase of five acres of land near the building from the city of Southfield and the Southfield DDA for $2.2 million to expand the campus. The land was the site of a Ramada Inn , an 18-story, 253,000 square foot hotel that closed several years ago before demolition began last August.