Medical Wellness Center Study Aims to Measure Feasibility of New Development

From The Executive Director

Recently you may have seen the articles about the Medical Wellness Center feasibility study the Southfield Downtown Development Authority (DDA) is undertaking along with our partners.

As part of the first phase of this study we need to determine if the local market, including residents and employees of businesses in and around the Southfield DDA, would be able to support such a project. If so, our next step would be to determine the scope, size and services that a Medical Wellness Center would offer.

This study is very important for two reasons. First, it fits with the healthcare growth and emphasis that has been a part of our strategy for the last few years. With more physician practices, healthcare services, and the continued growth at St. John Providence Hospital in Southfield, a Medical Wellness Center available to the public would only further enhance our healthcare footprint.

In addition this wellness center, or other large-scale developments like it, can serve as a magnet for opening the door to conversations with developers on new retail, commercial and residential opportunities.

Many thanks to our partners who have helped to invest in this feasibility study. The cost of the phase one study is being shared by the Southfield DDA, St. John Providence Hospital, Health Alliance Plan, Medical Main Street powered by Oakland County, Farbman Group and Solo Development.

These partners share our vision for what the DDA will be in a few years, and the continued opportunities that exist here. Whatever results the study brings, we are committed to finding new development options that best meet the needs of our stakeholders who work and live in the DDA.

Southfield DDA Launches New Website

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Promoting the Southfield Downtown Development Authority (DDA) today has changed over the last few years. There are new ways to use technology to promote what the DDA has to offer, and stakeholders are receiving their information from more sources that ever before. So change is good. The Southfield DDA is taking steps to evolve along with the expectations of developers and investors who may be interested in commercial properties within our district. One of those changes is greater and more immediate access to information about the DDA – the ability to view images of properties, and a wealth of additional reference information. With that in mind we’re happy to introduce the Southfield DDA’s new website that was released in July. It offers our stakeholders more insights on available commercial and residential properties along with other DDA news updates In addition the new Southfield DDA website also is “dynamic” in nature, allowing you to conveniently view our web pages on mobile devices, such as tablets and smart phones. There are many links that allow you to easily get additional information, along with the ability to sign up for these quarterly email newsletter updates. The website URL has stayed the same – Any suggestions and feedback are welcomed by calling the Southfield DDA at 248-796-5190.

Southfield DDA Road Construction Notice


The northbound lanes of Northwestern Highway (M-10, the Lodge Freeway) from Eight Mile to Nine Mile through Southfield are expected to be close for a major construction project starting in May 2015 within the Southfield DDA’s borders. The completion date is scheduled for July 2015. Stay tuned for further updates from the Southfield DDA on this project in the coming months.

Southfield DDA participates with other city residents and employees in the Relay for Life

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Hundreds of people from around the Southfield community showed their support for the American Cancer Society as part of its Relay for Life event featuring corporate professionals, area students and residents on September 10. The event was held at Lawrence Technological University and also serves as a fundraiser for the American Cancer Society.

At Relay for Life events, communities across the globe come together to honor cancer survivors, remember loved ones lost, and fight back against such a terrible disease. The funds raised can help make a difference in the fight against cancer – as any of the nearly 14 million cancer survivors nationwide can attest.

The Relay for Life in Southfield included various activities such as running and walking outdoors on the Lawrence Tech campus. This was an ideal event for Southfield to be a part of given all the healthcare employers that are located within the city’s limits and the DDA’s borders. We were pleased to see many of our DDA healthcare stakeholders at this year’s Relay for Life and look forward to another successful event in 2015.

Southfield DDA’s Skyline is Changing for the Better

Providence Hospital

There is a buzz about the Southfield Downtown Development Authority (DDA) and many of the accomplishments that have been achieved in since the start of 2013 point toward the goal of changing the “skyline” of the DDA.

Certainly there has been a focus on highlighting our “meds and eds” (healthcare and educational resources). Consider these recent additions:


  • St. John Providence Hospital’s Expansion of its Providence Cancer Center and emergency rooms
  • The expansion of Phoenix Medical Group, a large private physician practice
  • Retention of Health Alliance Plan office with close to 700 employees
  • The tearing down of the old Ramada Inn; part of the property purchased by Oakland Community College for future use.
  • Road construction projects along Greenfield and Nine Mile roads along with many of the secondary streets in the DDA

These changes have all positively impacted the skyline of the Southfield DDA, as occupancy rates in our commercial buildings have improved and discussions on future residential developments continue.

But here are a few key statistics that really stand out – even above the tallest buildings in our district: $107 million in total capital investments; nearly 950 jobs created and more than 1,500 jobs retained. In addition, we have renovated or created new space that totals more than one million square feet in our commercial properties. It should be noted that this includes both public and private investments.

Southfield remains one of the country’s top 101 zip codes for corporate employment despite the economic struggles of the region. More than 100 Fortune 500 companies have a presence within the city. And, the Southfield DDA is proactively contacting businesses with expiring leases to remind them of the advantages Southfield has to offer.


We’re pleased with the progress that the Southfield DDA has achieved in helping to create a more viable business, retail and residential community for those that work and play here. That’s a skyline that we can all be proud of.

Oakland Community College Acquires Property Along Nine Mile

OCC Southfield

Oakland Community College (OCC) acquired 11 additional acres of property in the Southfield DDA in January 2014 adjacent to its current location just off Nine Mile. Much of this property comprised the former location of the Ramada Inn that was torn down in 2013.

According to OCC Janet Roberts the college does not have any immediate plans to develop the land but acquired the property in case future growth was needed. “We own a good amount of land at most of our other properties but we’re landlocked a bit in Southfield. So this was a decision that made good sense for us in case we do decide to expand in the future.”

Historical Land Surveying Reenactment Held in the Southfield DDA


The city of Southfield sponsored a historical land surveying reenactment on July 15 at Eight Mile and Rutland as part of the Coasting the Baseline Project.

The Coasting the Baseline Project is a series of commemorative markers located on Eight Mile or Baseline Road. Each marker is a ten foot tall obelisk that describes the significance of surveying in the settlement of Michigan and as the foundation for property ownership in the state. Michigan was the first state in the nation to be fully surveyed using modern surveying practices. Known as the Public Land Survey System (PLSS) or the rectangular survey system, it is a mathematically designed and based method of measuring land.

“The Baseline Project will stand as a tribute to this major road and the communities it links,” commented Councilman Kenson Siver. “In addition to adding a new piece of public art to Southfield, the Baseline will also incorporate local and Michigan history for the enrichment of school children and the community at large.”

The baseline became known as Eight Mile Road and runs across Michigan from Wayne County on the east to Van Buren County on the west. The prime meridian was established at 84 degrees, 22 minutes, 24 seconds west longitude, a line drawn straight north from Defiance, Ohio. All subsequent land surveys in Michigan refer to these principal coordinates.

The historical reenactment included land surveyors dressed in early 1800s period clothing utilizing early surveying equipment and techniques to retrace the historic survey.

The Southfield Coasting the Baseline Obelisk was built through private and corporate sponsors. No public monies were used for this community project.

Road Improvements are Critical to DDA’s Growth

Road construction may bring some short-term pain. But the reality is that such projects bring important long-term benefit, especially for local municipalities.
This is particularly true for the $3.5 million project that has been overseen by the Oakland County Road Commission, the City of Southfield and the Southfield Downtown Development Authority (DDA) this summer. The project included major roadwork along Greenfield Road. Future construction projects slated for Northwestern Highway in 2015 and Providence Road from JL Hudson to 9 Mile will begin in the coming months. The road construction project along 9 Mile Road was finished earlier this year.
Infrastructure is a critical component for the Southfield DDA because businesses and developers will be much more interested in investing in our region if the roads are in good condition and easily accessible. It is well known that Nine Mile Road in particular has been in need of major upgrades the past few years. So as these projects are completed, the Southfield DDA’s road infrastructure will match the world-class opportunities we are offering healthcare, educational, retail and other commercial developers and business owners.
These projects would not be possible without cooperation among various groups, and the ability to complete these road construction projects and planning quickly with the Oakland County Road Commission and the City of Southfield has gone a long way to ensuring these projects are done on time and on budget.