If you know anything about the happenings in Midtown Detroit, you know that Sue Mosey, President of Midtown Detroit Inc., has been leading the charge to see to it that Midtown thrives as both a neighborhood and business center – no wonder she has come to be affectionately known as the “mayor of Midtown”. Sue has a knack for knowing which people to work with to ensure successful development projects and as such, it’s not surprising that she approached the Green Garage team with the idea of bringing life back to the El Moore. I was fortunate to sit down for a few minutes to listen to Sue share about her involvement with the El Moore project:
Question: You have been involved with the development of Midtown for quite some time. What has been your experience with the El Moore specifically?
“I don’t ever remember it being occupied – there was an attempt to develop the property before the recession but that company had some challenges raising the equity and then after the bust it just couldn’t happen.”
You work with a lot of developers on a lot of projects. Why did you approach this team about the El Moore?
“Well, I was afraid it would get demolished and I knew that Tom [Brennan] was just about finished with the Green Garage so I thought they might be ready for another project. I knew that I could trust them to get it done in a way that would be sensitive to the community. I told Tom, ‘You have to save this castle.’ The El Moore is going to be a big anchor in this community. Midtown was glad to donate the two adjacent lots to the project and we are partnering on the green alley — all of it ties nicely with our garden across the street….
Are you surprised by what they are doing?
“Well, it is much bigger than I initially imagined. I would say the vision grew, but I think it is great. Tom and his team are very intentional and put a lot of analysis into their development. They are unique in that they are led by their vision. A lot of developers are led by numbers rather than vision.”
Do you anticipate more sustainable development throughout Midtown?
“We have done some projects with sustainable features like geothermal, but not as much solar technology has been implemented. I think there will continue to be sustainable development – not everyone will be able to hit the mark that Tom can hit but they can take pieces that might work for their individual project. This team is committed to sharing all the information they can just for that purpose.
Any advice to others wanting to do similar work?
“If you want to do sustainable development you have to make the initial investments of time, capital and analysis that is the same for both the big or smaller projects. We encourage small development — that is what makes Midtown what it is. It is the big projects right next to the small projects – all of it is crucial to this neighborhood.”
- Never give up – a ‘no go’ may just be a delay to something wonderful
- Pick partners you can trust
- Be led by vision
- Big or small, everyone counts!