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Walters Family Foundation

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Redeveloping Vacant Spaces into Innovation Hubs in Midtown Detroit

Detroit, MI (August 29, 2018)In the heart of Detroit, the revitalized Midtown neighborhood is one of the city’s most exciting commercial and residential districts. While burgeoning with pockets of creativity and culture, Midtown is yet to have a central area that supports innovation, collaboration and enterprise.

Midtown Detroit, Inc. (MDI) has been focusing on establishing a visionary micro-district, The Selden Innovation Corridor, that can foster entrepreneurial uses and take the region into the future. The corridor will meet a growing demand for space to support new start-ups, entrepreneurs, small businesses and co-working models of all kinds. Along with redeveloping key assets, the vision includes refashioning a vacant lot into a public courtyard and collaboration space with outdoor amenities and community programming.

The Selden Innovation Corridor Courtyard will include 32 seating areas on a rail system that can be reconfigured in various seating arrangements to accommodate small group meetings, socializing and open-air workspace. The courtyard will have a stage area with a projection screen and full audio that can be used for presentations, group meetings and community events.

MDl's design incorporates sustainable features that focus on creating an inviting community space while being environmentally conscious. These include a permeable pavement system and bioswale system that allow the courtyard to slow down and reduce overall water flow into the city's combined water system. This addresses a significant issue the city has been working to mitigate for several years.

The Walters Family Foundation is providing funding to support the development of these sustainable systems, one of the final financial priorities needed to advance the project. These features will offset significant drainage cost, ease storm water overflow issues and protect the area's environment.

"We’re excited about funding this project because it addresses many of our Foundation’s objectives,” says Matt Walters, Walters Family Foundation Board Member. “We are assisting with environmental sustainability, while also contributing to a collaborative and innovative space that encourages small business development, minority business inclusion and entrepreneurship.”