Highland Park is a small city with a lot of vacant land. Now, it's trying to use that vacant space as an asset to lure developers.
At just under three square miles, the city is basically an enclave within the city of Detroit, along the central Woodward Avenue corridor. A once-prosperous city built on the backs of automakers, Highland Park is now close to economically destitute.
But it does have that vacant land. Now, the city says it will try to use that to bring in developers in and “enhance the community through new developments and an expanded tax base…with the goal of securing one, or multiple, development partners who want to be instrumental in growing the city’s economy and improving its quality of life,” according to a joint statement released Monday.
Highland Park Mayor Hubert Yopp says the city will work with the Michigan and Wayne County land banks to vet developers and their proposals, starting with requests for qualifications due in the next couple of months.
Together, those three public entities own about half the properties in Highland Park. All three have properties within the designated “redevelopment areas."
Yopp says the city won’t turn down any ideas to start. “We want to see them [the proposals],” Yopp said. “We want to see what you have to offer, and see if it’s right for our city.”
Yopp suggests that, in addition to large tracts of land, the city also boasts a good Southeast Michigan location and immediate access to several major highways, which makes it the “right spot” for businesses like trucking companies.
“We’d like to put our city back on the map. We’ve got nice housing stock here. We’ve got the best location in the state,” he said.
Yopp says the current deadline for the developer request for qualifications process is February 9, but that will likely be extended by 30 days.