Crain’s: After a close look, developers invest hundreds of millions in Detroit

After a close look, developers invest hundreds of millions in Detroit

As Detroit Homecoming marks 10 years, its impact has registered with at least two developers with longtime connections to the region.

The annual event, aimed at bringing back those who grew up in the metro Detroit area but moved away for various reasons, has had a tangible impact on at least two developers with longtime connections to the region.

Principals with Method Development and Greatwater Opportunity Capital — both based in Detroit — each say the event has helped provide a necessary forum for those with deep roots in the area and ultimately helped bring people and capital back to Detroit.

“It puts you in a forum (with) other ambitious and talented people who had both emotional and physical connection to the city,” Amelia Patt-Zamir, co-founder and principal of Method Development, said of the Homecoming events. Any time you can get a large group of people talking about a vision and common goal, it’s great.”

For Matt Temkin, co-founder of Greatwater Opportunity Capital — which like Method Development, has invested primarily in Detroit’s neighborhoods with myriad residential projects — the Homecoming event actually led to bringing on a new partner for the firm, Jon Opdyke, who he met at Homecoming and who eventually joined Greatwater.

“I think there are a lot of people who are from (metro Detroit) who live elsewhere who are very interested in what’s going on in Detroit,” Temkin said. “But there wasn’t really a forum for them to connect with what was happening here. And I think Homecoming was a great forum for that.”

Patt-Zamir said her firm’s plans in Detroit amount to about $150 million in total project costs over about 20 projects, many in the city’s neighborhoods, but now adding to its portfolio through investments in the central business district.

Specifically, Patt-Zamir said the development firm is getting ready to commence work on a new hotel in the Merchants Building at the corner East Grand River Avenue and Broadway Street, as Crain’s has previously reported.

Greatwater Opportunity Capital, meanwhile, has done about $200 million in real estate projects and all of it is in Detroit neighborhoods, largely residential projects, although some have had a retail component, Temkin told Crain’s. Many of the developments have been smaller scale apartments in neighborhoods such as the North End, New Center and on the east side.

Trained as both an architect and a real estate financier, Patt-Zamir said she was drawn back to Detroit after living in New York City and elsewhere and largely sought to build upon some of the momentum began by large-scale developers in the downtown area such as Bedrock and the Ilitch family.

“So our investment thesis was, ‘where can we invest right outside that to have a bigger impact,'” said Patt-Zamir, noting that the firm’s largest concentration of real estate holdings today is located in the Milwaukee Junction neighborhood east of New Center.

To that end, the developer told Crain’s that the area is also being known as the “Detroit Design District,” bounded by E. Grand Boulevard and Milwaukee between St Antoine and Oakland Avenue.

Source: Crain’s Detroit