Monday, July 25, 2011



"Live Downtown," a partnership between the five employers and the Downtown Detroit Partnership, encourages the more than 16,000 combined employees of each of the employers to take advantage of funds to buy, rent or renovate property in downtown, Lafayette Park, Corktown, Woodbridge, Midtown and Eastern Market.

"This will continue the positive momentum that we've been expericing in downtown Detroit," said DDP President David Blaszkiewicz, flanked by Detroit Mayor Dave Bing and executives from each of the corporations.

Potential residents are employed by the five aforementioned corporations can apply for a $20,000 forgivable loan toward the purchase of a property in the area, while existing residents are eligible for a $5,000 home improvement loan on a property worth at least $10,000.

New renters can apply for a $2,500 incentive if they sign a one-year commitment to rent downtown, and are also eligible for an additional $1,000 if they commit to a second year. Existing renters are eligible for a $1,000 incentive.

"This is a substantive commitment to the city of Detroit. We all know that great states and great regions work because the core cities work," Dan Loepp, president and CEO of Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan, said.

About 6,100 BCBS employees, 2,000 Compuware employees, 4,000 Quicken Loans employees and 3,000 DTE Energy employees -- in addition to a rolling number of Strategic Staffing Solutions, a consulting firm -- are eligible.

The boundaries are defined by Rosa Parks Boulevard and 14th Street to the west, I-94 to the north, I-75 and Mack Avenue to the northeast, St. Anne St. to the East and the Detroit River to the south. These boundaries were chosen based on proximity to downtown and available units and properties for rent or sale.

"The intention is really to create density, to recreate the 24-hour community," Blaszkiewicz said. "This is our starting point. We've agreed to have annual reviews of the geographic borders."

Bing did say he would make another announcement concerning "other communities" in the city this week, but did not elaborate on which ones.

The program mimics the "Live Midtown" initiative announced by several health-care employers in January. "Live Midtown" consultants worked with "Live Downtown" to implement this program. The announcement also comes on the heels of the Somerset Collection's plan to open retail space during weekends downtown.

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