Grants Are Helping More Businesses Becoming Retail Ready

The Detroit Economic Growth Association (DEGA) Finance Committee has approved up to $89,000 in grants to a new restaurant and an artist's studio under its Jefferson Avenue Retail Readiness Program. The grants are expected to generate more than $200,000 in new investment along East Jefferson.

Harbortown Investments, LLC earned approval of a grant to help open a restaurant at 3496 East Jefferson Ave. The new RJ's Roost is expected to open around May 1, serving broasted chicken, ribs and seafood in an informal setting. The grant funds will defray half of the cost of installing an exterior awning and signage and resurfacing the parking lot.

Griffis Properties, LLC will use its grant to pay for half the cost of making interior and exterior repairs to the building at 6923-25 East Jefferson. Part of the first floor will be turned into a gallery space for artist Allie McGhee, whose studio is also in the building. There is additional space on the first floor for a second tenant. "Without this help we would not have been able to complete all these improvements," said David Griffis, owner of Griffis Properties. "We are making it a very appealing site for retail customers, to attract a quality tenant." 

Olga Stella, vice president, business development of Detroit Economic Growth Corporation said, "These businesses are investing their own money to match the grants we are managing. That's a powerful sign that the revitalization of this neighborhood continues in spite of difficult economic times throughout the region."

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 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:

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