The City of Detroit, Michigan is working to rehabilitate 100 vacant houses and 257 empty lots in northwest Detroit. They are looking for development partners to help it set the course for the revitalization of neighborhoods in need.
The City’s Housing & Revitalization and Planning & Development departments, along with the Detroit Land Bank Authority, released requests for proposals (RFPs) today to bring to fruition the re-envisioning of the Fitzgerald neighborhood.
The Housing and Redevelopment Department has issued two Requests for Proposals (RFPs) in order to find developers for the sites.
One of the RFPs, the Fitzgerald Revitalization Project, targets the 100 houses. The other, a Productive Landscape Development RFP, seeks landscape development options for the 257 lots. Suggested programs for the empty lots include community gardens, orchards, meadows, and space for urban agriculture. Park and green space developed by the RFP will be maintained by the Parks and Recreation Department.
Landscape architecture firm Spackman Mossop and Michaels (SMM) worked with the city and the community to outline a framework to develop new productive landscape projects.
The SMM plan outlines three phases to the landscape redevelopment: Vacant parcels will be converted into a public greenway and neighborhood park that will be redeveloped and maintained by the City and “Neighborhood Hubs,” smaller social spaces maintained in partnership with the community; larger clusters of vacant lots that can be redeveloped into productive landscapes, whether for crop production, orchards, or other uses to be proposed through this Productive Landscape Development RFP; and individual and highly dispersed parcels that can be redeveloped into lower-maintenance meadows through the Housing Developer RFP, or for compelling proposals, could be developed by the Productive Landscape Developer of Development Team.
One of the more visionary aspects of the plan is how the City will deal with vacant parcels, one of the bigger questions the City has had to deal with as it looks to improve its neighborhoods. They will either converted into a public greenway and neighborhood park that will be redeveloped and maintained by the City; turned into smaller social spaces maintained in partnership with the community, or larger clusters of vacant lots can be redeveloped into productive landscapes – whether for crop production, stormwater management or other uses determined through this RFP process. Other individual parcels can be redeveloped into lower-maintenance meadows in partnership with a housing developer who will rehabilitate vacant, publicly owned houses next door.
“Our strategy is focused on creating a mixed-income neighborhood with both ownership and professionally managed rental housing and open space,” said Arthur Jemison, head of the city’s Housing and Revitalization Department. “There will be a place for every kind of Detroiter, and because of the affordable housing component, as the neighborhood continues to improve, we will continue to have a place for affordable housing.”
“This plan makes financial sense, as well,” Jemison said. “The cost of new construction versus rehabilitation is real, and we believe this project will also create an opportunity for medium-size developers and builders in our community.”
The Fitzgerald Revitalization Project is part of the larger Livernois/McNichols Corridor Revitalization Initiative. The initiative aims to transform northwest Detroit through coordinated projects addressing physical social and economic concerns. The Fitzgerald Revitalization Project represents one quarter square mile of that larger plan.
Proposals due August 26, 2016.