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Three New Projects Approved Under Jefferson Avenue Retail Readiness Program

The Detroit Economic Growth Association (DEGA) Finance Committee has approved up to $283,000 in grants for two new restaurants as well as headquarters for a development company relocating to the City, under its Jefferson Avenue Retail Readiness Program. The grants are expected to leverage more than $600,000 in new private investment along East Jefferson.

Tim Hortons was granted approval to help open a restaurant at 7201 East Jefferson Avenue, occupying the corner of East Jefferson and East Grand Boulevard. The new Tim Hortons is expected to open in August. Mark Kellenberger, Project Planner for Tim Hortons said this new store will create approximately 25 new jobs and will be their second store in the City of Detroit. "This location has great visibility right across from the Belle Isle bridge," said Kellenberger. "We expect this restaurant to do very well. Detroit has been good to us since we opened our first store in the City of Detroit last December." Coincidentally that was Tim Hortons 500th store in the U.S. "Working with the City and DEGC staff and the DEGA Finance Committee has been a great experience. We look forward to more opportunities within the City and programs such as these make it that much more attractive." The grant funds will defray half of the cost of remodeling the interior, installing awnings and making other exterior improvements.

Shelborne Development will use its grant to pay for half the cost of making interior and exterior repairs to the vacant, architecturally significant building at 8443-45 East Jefferson commonly known as the Book House Building. Parking lot and site improvements are also part of the project. The first floor will be turned into Shelborne corporate offices in late 2009, with additional tenant space on the second floor. "We do a significant amount of work rehabilitating property in Detroit and have several projects nearby so it just made sense to open our office here," said Bart Famularo, Shelborne Development CFO. "This building is gorgeous, and the grant allows us to move in here quickly and help make this corner of Jefferson one of the most beautiful in the neighborhood."
Passport Pizza, will be opening its second franchise in the city at 2636 East Jefferson, just east of Chene. The grant funds will be used for an interior build-out for the 1500 sq. ft. restaurant. Passport co-owner Vince Giacalone said he expects to hire about 10 employees when the restaurant opens later this summer. "I am very excited," said Giacalone. "I've worked in Detroit for almost 20 years and I am very familiar with it. With the concentration of people downtown and nearby I know we will be a success."

Olga Stella, Vice President, Business Development of Detroit Economic Growth Corporation said, "We are very pleased to be able to work with retail and other business owners who are recognizing the untapped potential of Detroit's neighborhoods and are willing to match our help with their own investments. These businesses are supporting the growing sense of neighborhood along East Jefferson and provide much needed services to residents."

The Jefferson Avenue Retail Readiness Program is funded by a grant to the DEGA from the Community Foundation for Southeast Michigan, and administered by the DEGC. It provides financial incentives to make properties more marketable or "retail ready" along the Jefferson Avenue corridor from I-375 to McClellan Street. Property owners and tenants improving vacant space for an identified retail or commercial user can receive 50% matching grants to reimburse for the cost of installing eligible interior and exterior improvements up to a maximum of $100,000 for buildings and $30,000 for parking lots.   

To find out more information about the program, persons can contact the DEGC at (313) 237-4601, or visit the DEGC web site at: www.DEGC.org.

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