Discover how a black developer is breaking barriers and transforming urban living in Southwest Detroit with a $23 million project.

Photo Credit: Ryan Garza, Detroit Free Press

What is Black development? Why is it important? And how is Detroit paving the way? These are the questions we must grapple with to understand the transformative power of projects like The Brooke on Bagley. This isn’t just another building—it’s a statement, a beacon of progress, and a testament to the unyielding spirit of Detroit’s Black and Brown communities.

Mayor Mike Duggan, alongside developer Woodborn Partners and a host of community leaders, recently celebrated the grand opening of The Brooke on Bagley, a mixed-use and mixed-income development in Southwest Detroit. This $23 million facility is more than bricks and mortar; it is a manifestation of dreams and aspirations built by Detroit-based talent. Sixteen of its seventy-eight apartments are dedicated to residents earning 80% of the area median income, ensuring that affordability is woven into the fabric of this thriving neighborhood.

Southwest Detroit, a vibrant and diverse part of the city, is now pulsing with new energy thanks to The Brooke on Bagley. This isn’t just about housing; it’s about community. Picture this: spaces where people can live, work, and play, where they see their stories, their culture, and their future reflected in the very walls around them. The Brooke on Bagley stands as a symbol of possibility and progress. Nestled near the newly renovated Michigan Central Station and the vibrant Southwest Greenway, this project offers not just apartments but a whole new way of living. With amenities like a fitness center, dog park, and community spaces, with the goal to create a lifestyle that enriches lives and brings people together simultaneously. This is about redefining urban living and ensuring that every resident feels seen, heard, and valued.

The Brooke on Bagley isn’t an isolated triumph; it’s part of a broader strategy, the Strategic Neighborhood Fund (SNF). This $150 million public-private partnership is dedicated to uplifting Detroit’s neighborhoods, focusing on housing stabilization, parks, commercial corridors, and equitable opportunities for local business owners of color. It’s about more than buildings; it’s about building lives, creating opportunities, and fostering an inclusive city where everyone has a stake in its success.

Photo: Clifford Brown, CEO & President of Woodborn Partners

Clifford Brown, CEO & President of Woodborn Partners, embodies this vision. His company is a cornerstone of Detroit’s development renaissance, focusing on building better communities. “We are excited to expand on our investment in the city and honored to join the amazing neighborhood that is Hubbard Richard,” Brown stated. This sentiment echoes through the corridors of The Brooke on Bagley, where the design by Gensler Detroit integrates seamlessly with the vibrant local culture, adorned with local artistry and community-inspired details.

But what truly sets The Brooke on Bagley apart is its purpose-driven partnerships. It’s the first project to utilize the $11 million Ebiara fund, a collaboration between Invest Detroit and URGE Imprint. This fund is a game-changer, providing essential capital and resources to Detroit’s Black and Brown-owned development firms. The successful completion of this project is a powerful testament to what can be achieved when vision, expertise, and financial support align. Rod Hardamon, Ebiara Co-Founder & Managing Director, highlighted this, saying, “The Brooke on Bagley is symbolic of the growth potential Black-founded development firms possess when provided with growth capital.”

This isn’t just about one building or one developer; it’s about setting a precedent. It’s about proving that Black development is not just viable but essential. It’s about recognizing the importance of empowering local talent and ensuring that the people who build the city also benefit from its prosperity.

Detroit’s Housing and Revitalization Director, Julie Schneider, emphasized the city’s commitment to creating more affordable housing, ensuring that all Detroiters can be part of the city’s exciting transformation. This is a crucial element in maintaining the city’s diverse fabric and preventing displacement in rapidly growing areas like Southwest Detroit and Corktown.

The Brooke on Bagley is also a reflection of the power of community-driven design. John Jourden, Architectural Design Director at Gensler Detroit, highlighted how the building’s design serves as a gateway and connector between key neighborhoods. This intentional integration ensures that the development not only serves its residents but also enhances the broader community.

The Strategic Neighborhood Fund, along with partners like Capital Impact Partners, the Michigan Strategic Fund, the Detroit Economic Growth Corp., and others, plays a crucial role in driving equitable development across Detroit. Damon Hodge, Senior Loan Officer for Capital Impact Partners, praised Clifford Brown’s contributions, stating, “His impact on Detroit will resonate for years, both through developments like this and from his incredible mentorship of the diverse developers who participate in our Equitable Development Initiative.”

In celebrating the opening of The Brooke on Bagley, we are not just cutting a ribbon on a new building; we are cutting through the barriers that have historically impeded Black and Brown developers. We are making a statement that Detroit is a city where everyone’s dreams can be built, brick by brick, vision by vision. The success of this project is a call to action for more inclusive development practices, for more intentional support of minority developers, and for a city that truly reflects the diversity and resilience of its people.

Detroit is not just a city; it’s a movement. And The Brooke on Bagley is a shining example of what’s possible when we invest in that movement, when we believe in the power of Black development, and when we commit to building a future where everyone has a place to call home.

About Post Author

Ebony JJ Curry, Senior Reporter

Ebony JJ is a master journalist who has an extensive background in all areas of journalism with an emphasis on impactful stories highlighting the advancement of the Black community through politics, economic development, community, and social justice. She serves as senior reporter and can be reached via email:
Keep in touch via IG: @thatssoebony_

#UrbanLiving #CommunityRevitalization #DetroitDevelopment

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