Tenanting a Historic Renovation during a Downturn

| Tuesday, May 20 | 2 p.m - 2:45 p.m. | Room: LaSalle B | Session Tracks: U, RE



Tenanting a Historic Renovation during a Downturn

The Southwest Detroit Business Association, with a philosophy of "developer of last resort," took on the renovation of the historic Odd Fellows Building in its urban, commercial corridor. Financing mechanisms were put in place, construction challenges were overcome, and construction was finished on-time and under-budget...just as the economy went under. Tenant letters of intent were withdrawn. With innovative thinking and listening to the community, SDBA came up with tenants to fill the space. Learn real life experience and strategies for attract tenants to your community.


Theresa Zajac, Southwest Detroit Business Association 
Theresa Zajac, the Southwest Detroit Business Association's Vice President, coordinated the campaign to establish Michigan's and Detroit's 1st Business Improvement District (BID) following state-enabling legislation, oversaw the construction of the Southwest Detroit Greenlink (17.2 miles of bike lanes), and was the coordinator of the Historic Odd Fellows Finance Team for the $5+ Million renovation. Currently, Zajac oversees the administration of the West Vernor & Springwells BID, the construction of the 2.3 mile West Vernor Streetscape Project (new lighting), and SDBA's fund development program.

Kathleen Hahn WendlerSouthwest Detroit Business Association 
Leading the Southwest Detroit Business Association since 1981, Kathleen Hahn Wendler has been a catalyst in bringing change and fostering development in the Southwest Detroit community, attracting city support and a diverse funding base. Wendler's comprehensive approach to community revitalization has resulted in several public-private initiatives. Under her leadership, SDBA's accomplishments include: partnering with the East Michigan Environmental Action Council to help found the Southwest Detroit Environmental Vision Project; partnering with business and community interests to create the Mexicantown Community Development Corporation; completing the $5+ million historic renovation of the Odd Fellows Building; and much more.

Sarah PavelkoSouthwest Detroit Business Association 
Joining the Southwest Detroit Business Association in the Fall of 2011, Sarah Pavelko administers the Paving The Way program and SDBA's real estate including the redevelopment of the former DPW Yard in the core of Southwest Detroit's commercial corridor. Previously a project manager at ASTI Environmental, Pavelko specializes in finding creative sources of funding for projects having secured over $600,000 in grants and over $14.5 million in tax incentives for non-profits, municipalities, and private developers. Pavelko holds a Master's in Urban Planning from the University of Michigan in addition to a Certificate of Real Estate Development.