Ford invests $60 million in West Dearborn redevelopment, aided by state

A $60 million project to redevelop an area of West downtown Dearborn got a boost this week with state incentives.

The Michigan Strategic Fund approved a local and school tax capture of $31.4-million through Dearborn’s Redevelopment Authority and is providing a $3 million performance-based grant to the city of Dearborn for the construction of the parking structure deemed necessary for supporting the activity of the new development.

The project includes a number of vacant buildings along a two-block stretch of Michigan Avenue, which will be razed to make way for two three-story mixed use buildings. The ground floors are reserved for retail while the top two floors are reserved for office space for up to 600 Ford employees. A four-story parking garage will be built behind.

The development is called Wagner Place, named for the historic hotel located at the corner of Michigan and Monroe. While the former hotel will not be wholly repurposed, the facade of the 120-year old structure will be preserved and incorporated into the new development.

By all accounts, Wagner Place is Ford being proactive about downtown trends. By making west downtown Dearborn more attractive, the company believes it will make itself more attractive to prospective employees. According to the Detroit Free Press:
"[Wagner Place] came about because Ford officials said they had a need to offer space in an urban and walkable setting in order to attract talent. All of this development comes as Ford undertakes a decade-long overhaul of its nearby headquarters and research and development campus."

Steve Arwood, CEO, Michigan Economic Development Corporation, the state’s chief marketing and business attraction arm that administers and performs due diligence on proposals approved by the Michigan Strategic Fund, agrees. "Corporations around the world realize that creating dynamic places with diverse working-living-entertainment offerings is a compelling way to attract and retain employees," he says in a statement.

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