DDA heralds job growth

By: Kayla Dimick | Southfield Sun | Published June 26, 2014

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SOUTHFIELD — If you find yourself driving through downtown Southfield and notice an improvement in the surrounding buildings, that is thanks to the Downtown Development Authority.

Formerly known as the Cornerstone Development Authority, the DDA is an organization founded in 1988 to grow and develop downtown Southfield. Its boundaries stretch from the Northwestern Highway and Greenfield Road, Eight Mile to Mt. Vernon.

“This part of the city is one of the oldest sectors around,” DDA Executive Director Al Aceves said. “And health care continues to be an important driver overall in the state of Michigan.”

Businesses in the DDA have created roughly 1,000 new jobs since 2011 — 89 percent of those jobs being health care related — through developments at Providence Hospital and the Southfield branch of Oakland Community College’s addition of a health sciences wing.

OCC Marketing and Communications Manager Margarita Wagerson said the college purchased the then-vacant Ramada Inn on Nine Mile and demolished it to create space for an increasing number of students.

“OCC’s Southfield campus is experiencing a growth in enrollment, which is resulting in a shortage of classroom space,” Wagerson said. “With the addition of the new health sciences wing and the increased need for health care workers, the campus anticipates additional student enrollment in this area.”

In addition to health care, the DDA also works to improve business and technology development, and to reduce property value deterioration.

“Over the last three years, we saw there was substantial growth in both the public and private sector, to the tune of $106 million,” Aceves said.

Up next for the DDA is construction on Greenfield Road to improve conditions. The project is set to start this summer and will cost approximately $3.1 million.

Aceves said the developments the DDA is working on suggest the state of Michigan is on the right track for job growth and development.

“This suggests that people believe in the area. They see there are opportunities here, and it suggests that growth is supporting what our board is doing,” Aceves said.

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