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Knight award winner aims to spur local investment in Detroit neighborhood businesses

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Lester Graham
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Michigan Radio
Commercial properties in Detroit are vacant and avaliable to be developed.

The Next Idea

As Detroit's fortunes rise from the ashes of bankruptcy, developers are seeing opportunity. In the neighborhoods, banks and outsiders look to develop residential real estate. But recent Knight City Challenge Award Winner Chase Cantrell is focused on redeveloping commercial properties, the “nuts and bolts” businesses at the end of the street where people live.

“If we are not concentrating on both commercial and residential at the same time, we are not going to have neighborhoods that thrive,” Cantrell said.

Cantrell’s nonprofit organization, Better Buildings, Better Blocks, offers a three-month program teaching practical skills like site selection and financing to Detroiters. The goal: to equip a diverse range of people with the support to take ownership of the potential properties in their neighborhood. 

Listen to the full conversation here and learn more about the impact Cantrell’s organization is making.  Visit Cantrell's website here.

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