Story: Detroit Food Commons

The Sponsor

The Detroit Black Community Food Security Network (DBCFSN) and Develop Detroit (DDI) have co-sponsored an effort to bring healthy food, community space, and economic opportunity to Detroit’s Central Woodward community.

DBCFSN was formed in February 2006 to address food insecurity in Detroit’s Black community, including operating small urban farms throughout the city. It is incubating the Detroit People’s Food Co-op, which will be housed in the new Detroit Food Commons development. DDI is a non-profit real estate development company sponsored by the Housing Partnership Network. Through its collaboration with DBCFSN, it is bringing development experience, capacity, and financial strength to the project.

The Project

Broadstreet committed nearly $7.2 million of LISC’s New Markets Tax Credit (NMTC) allocation, with US Bank as the investor, to support the multi-use development, designed to catalyze positive change in Detroit. The first floor of the 28,000-square-foot development is designed with a full-service grocery store and a café, with indoor and outdoor seating. Adjacent will be 15 outdoor vendor booths available for residents to rent in order to sell crafts, books, art, and value-added food items. The second floor includes administrative offices and a banquet center.

Broadstreet financing is being combined with NMTC allocations from Michigan Community Capital ($7 million) and US Bank Community Development Corporation ($5.5 million). Additional financing comes from National Co-operative Bank (NCB) as well as philanthropic program-related investments (PRIs), federal funding via the Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) program, and a capital campaign.

Impact Statistics

  • $7.2 M Broadstreet NMTC Allocation
  • 40 Projected Permanent Jobs Created
  • 30,000 Projected Residents Served

The Impact

When completed, Detroit Food Commons will be one of only a few Black-led, community-owned grocery stores in the country. The grocery facility will be operated by Detroit People’s Food Co-op, a non-profit organization whose mission is to provide fresh, local foods to people living and working in the North End, Midtown, Downtown, and New Center communities. It is bringing healthy food and economic activity to a community that has long been a food desert—helping people move beyond the convenience stores and gas stations that are often their local shopping options.

It is creating 48 construction jobs and 40 permanent jobs—with a focus on hiring nearby residents and those facing barriers to employment (i.e., disability or past criminal conviction). It will serve 30,000 residents in the North End service area, where most people earn low-to-moderate incomes and most identify as people of color.

Detroit Food Commons honored with community development award