Historic five-and-dime department store to become Neighborhood Resource Hub in Jefferson Chalmers

The community development nonprofit Jefferson East, Inc. is one step closer to fulfilling its vision for its Neighborhood Resource Hub, thanks to a $100,000 contribution from AT&T and its Believe Detroit initiative.

Located at the corner of East Jefferson Avenue and Lakewood Street in the city’s Jefferson Chalmers neighborhood is an old S.S. Kresge’s Five and Dime Department Store first built in 1926. The building is being redeveloped as the JEI Neighborhood Resource Hub, the new home for the organization’s Housing & Neighborhood Services team.

The Neighborhood Resource Hub will occupy the back 3,500 square feet of the historic building, featuring flexible workspaces, meeting rooms, and more.

The restaurant Alma Kitchen was supposed to open in the front of the building but plans were scrapped in June 2020 due to economic hardships wrought by the COVID-19 pandemic. There is no news of a replacement.

“With the final piece of support from AT&T, we have the opportunity to move our housing team back to the neighborhood where JEI was founded, allowing us to provide an enhanced level of service for Jefferson Chalmers residents and surrounding neighborhoods along East Jefferson,” says JEI CEO Josh Elling.

“The Neighborhood Resource Hub will provide a home base where residents can easily access our housing services, ensuring that all Detroiters are able to benefit from and be a part of the city’s continued resurgence.”

JEI estimates that the new hub will allow its team to serve more than 1,000 residents per year. Their Housing & Neighborhood Services team offers programs in property tax assistance and tax foreclosure prevention; mortgage delinquency and default prevention; heat, housing, and health resources; and more.

According to the organization, their Housing & Neighborhood Services team has helped almost 200 Detroit homeowners avoid foreclosure; provided counseling services to more than 850 homeowners and renters; and assisted residents in securing more than $1.6 million in 0% Home Improvement Loans.

The Neighborhood Resource Hub will also provide space for JEI and its East Jefferson Development Corporation development subsidiary.

“Investing in our communities is what Believe Detroit is all about, and we are proud to help JEI expand its critical services that help improve outcomes in Detroit. JEI is strengthening equity and development from the ground up and AT&T is lucky to help amplify their important work,” says David Lewis, president of AT&T Michigan.

“AT&T Michigan is proud to support institutions like Jefferson East, Inc. that are creating positive change in Detroit. We will continue to believe in Detroit and invest in its people to change the trajectory of their lives and make an everlasting impact.”

The Jefferson East, Inc. Neighborhood Resource Hub will be located at 14300 E. Jefferson Ave. in Detroit.

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