New $30M medical distribution center opens in New Center

After a couple of years of wrangling and another year of construction, Cardinal Health has opened a long-awaited distribution center in Detroit. It is the first part of a larger campus dreamed up by Henry Ford Health System, which hopes to drive over $500 million in development over roughly 300 acres south of Grand Boulevard, west of the Lodge Expressway, and north of Interstate 94. The new campus would be a mix of light industrial, residential, commercial, and green space.

The roughly 140 employees that worked at Cardinal Health's previous facility near Detroit Metro Airport are expected to relocate to the new facility. The company was lured to Detroit by Henry Ford Health System and the Detroit Medical Center as the two agreed to long-term distribution deals with the company in return for its moving to the city. Such a deal represents a long-term strategy for those anchor institutions as they take a broader role in development, looking to improve both their businesses and the neighborhoods in which they operate.

Cardinal Health is a $91 billion health care services company that offers pharmaceuticals and health care products. The distribution center's proximity to HFHS and DMC makes delivering such items to the hospitals that much more efficient, officials say.

"We're excited to have this beautiful building and these jobs in the city of Detroit," says Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan.

The building is a 275,000-square-foot distribution center built by KIRCO, the company that bought the site from HFHS and is the acting project developer. A steel manufacturing facility previously occupied the site, which presented environmental remediation challenges like contaminated soil and petroleum storage tanks buried in the earth.

Writer: MJ Galbraith

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Full disclosure: Henry Ford Health System and the Detroit Medical Center belong to a group of organizations that provide underwriting support to Model D's parent company Issue Media Group for its coverage of anchor institutions in Detroit.

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MJ Galbraith is Model D's development news editor. Follow him on Twitter @mikegalbraith.