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Project Highlight - Case Study


Herman Gardens - Detroit, Michigan

METROVENTURES is currently serving as the Program Manager for the $300 million revitalization of the former Herman Gardens public housing site. The Detroit Housing Commission's (DHC) plans for the redevelopment represent a bold step in the direction of connecting public housing redevelopment with neighborhood redevelopment strategies. Along with this strength, there have been some critical challenges that needed to be addressed in order for this effort to meet its full potential.

Built in 1943, the Herman Gardens' public housing community was once a healthy bustling community with more than 2,100 apartment units. Located in northwest Detroit on approximately 139 acres, Herman Gardens was, at one time, the public housing "Community of Choice", but over the years it became one of the most distressed communities in DHC's portfolio. Prior to its demolition, which commenced in 1997, the property suffered from significant deferred maintenance including extensive structural problems as well as the deterioration of infrastructure and all major building systems. The former resident population was also one of the poorest of DHC's community and the property had one of the highest crime rates in DHC's portfolio.

Through the City of Detroit's efforts to revitalize its public Housing stock, DHC received grants totaling approximately $55,500,0000 through the Major Revitalization of Obsolete Property (MROP) and the HOPE VI Programs. This funding commenced in 1994 and a substantial amount of this resource was utilized to relocate all residents and demolish the entire property leaving an approximate 139-acre vacant site for redevelopment.

As a part of its activities on this project, METROVENTURES has and continues to assist DHC in a myriad of ways. From conducting a Land Use and Feasibility Analysis of the project site and adjacent locations to researching and coordinating financial leveraging options, METROVENTURES has helped moved important project forward. In addition, METROVENTURES assisted DHC by coordinating and preparing the comprehensive Revitalization Plan for submission to the US Department of Housing and Urban Development (USHUD), as well as the required Supplemental Submission, which responded to USHUD's comments and questions. Also, METROVENTURES coordinated the preparation and submission of a Disposition Application for the Herman Gardens site to USHUD's Special Applications Center. Other responsibilities to date have included the preparation of the Request for Proposals (RFP) for Master Developer, as well as the RFP for Land Developer after it was decided that a two phase development approach to the revitalization of the site was preferable. In both instances, METROVENTURES acted in an advisory capacity during the selection process and assisted DHC in contract negotiations with the selected development team.