Update: January 29 meeting and review of Kercheval & Van Dyke development

CVA Monthly Meeting

Tuesday January 29th, 5:30pm-7pm
Butzel Family Center, 7737 Kerchevel

Happy New Year, CVA! We hope you all had a wonderful holiday! We’re looking forward to seeing you at our January meeting on Tuesday the 29th at Butzel.

Since we didn’t have a general meeting last month, we wanted to follow up with y’all about our campaign to get your voices heard about Invest Detroit and Roxbury Group’s 94-unit luxury apartment building at Kercheval and Van Dyke. In November, City Council voted to rezone the property, allowing the development to move ahead.

For full details about this development, check out our factsheet and the letter CVA submitted to City Council.

They’re building this in our backyard and it could cause rising rents and property taxes, while at the same time benefiting from our tax dollars. Lots of folks turned out to the community engagement meetings and made trips down to City Hall in the fight for a Community Benefits Agreement.

Our accomplishments organizing around this development:

  • Slowed down a rushed process so that the community could make their voices heard. Roxbury Group/Invest Detroit wanted to break ground in October 2018. Now the project is planned to begin construction in Spring 2019.
  • Increased the length of time that some subsidized apartments in the development will be kept at a lower prices ($665/mo and $798/mo for a 1bd), from 10 years to 30 years.
  • Capped the price of all market rate units for 10 years.
  • Drafted a Community Benefits document and delivered it to Roxbury Group/Invest Detroit to begin the negotiation process.
  • Got a verbal commitment from the developers for community benefits and a community advisory board.

It’s because of you that we’ve gotten this far! A lot of changes are coming and we need your help in the New Year to hold these developers accountable and make sure the community has a say!

We look forward to seeing everyone at Butzel on the 29th!

Tell City Council to Hold Developers Accountable and Stand Up For Long-term Residents in Detroit!

Attend City Council Committe of the Whole Session 

Tuesday, November 20th, 10am | Coleman A. Young Municipal Building, 13th Floor

On Tuesday, City Council will vote on whether or not to approve the rezoning request needed by Invest Detroit and Roxbury Group to do their 94 unit mixed-use development on the corner of Van Dyke and Kercheval.  While the community’s input encouraged Invest Detroit and Roxbury Group to make some changes to the development( the 19 units at 50% to 60% AMI was for ten years, but now it is 30 years, and the units are priced capped at 120%AMI for ten years) it still has far to go to be a truly inclusive and equitable development.

We need people to call City Council members and attend Tuesday’s City Council meeting to ask that they delay the rezoning until the community’s needs are addressed:


  • While Invest Detroit and Roxbury Group have taken out units that are market-rate, putting a cap on rent at 120% AMI for 10 years, the cap is still too high and the time frame too short.

  • 120% AMI is well above the means of incoming teachers, police officers, and firefighters, who are at 75% AMI, at salaries between $36,000 and $38,500.
  • On too many occasions, Invest Detroit and the Roxbury Group have failed to communicate with the community about changes made to the development project.

  • The developers have had no meaningful engagement since Oct 10th, which was the community meeting called by the Planning Commission and held at Butzel Community Center.

    • They have not responded to a request by the community concerning a set of community benefits people would like to see attached to this development.

    • Community members who expressed interest in being a part of the Community Advisory Board that was suggested by the Planning Commission have not heard back from Invest Detroit or the Roxbury Group

Because of our insistence on speaking up and making sure development that happens in our community actually benefits us, we have forced some significant changes to this development and the City’s process of “engagement”.  Our voices matter. That is why we have to remain vocal and active. Please reach out to City Council and come speak out Tuesday to urge City Council to hold these developers accountable.

Brenda Jones, 313.224.1245, Bjones_mb@detroitmi.gov
Janeé Ayers, 313.224.4248, councilmemberayers@detroitmi.gov
Mary Sheffield, 313.224.4505, councilmembersheffield@detroitmi.gov
James Tate, 313.224.1027, councilmembertate@detroitmi.gov
Roy McCalister, 313.224.4535, councilmemberMcCalister@detroitmi.gov
Scott Benson, 313.224.1198, BensonS@detroitmi.gov
André Spivey, 313.224.4841, councilmanspivey@detroitmi.gov
Raquel Castañeda-López, 313.224.2450, councilmemberraquel@detroitmi.gov
Gabe Leland, 313.224.2151, LelandG@detroitmi.gov


Support the Poverty Tax Exemption Ordinance

City Council will be voting on an ordinance that could help keep families and long-term residents in their homes by breaking down barriers to the Poverty Tax Exemption.  The exemption helps stop unjust tax foreclosures on those living in poverty.  We need people to tell Council members to remove these roadblocks to the much-needed exemption.

Please contact City Council officials and express your support for the Poverty Tax Exemption Ordinance.  For more information on the ordinance go to www.illegalforeclosures.org


The City of Detroit reached a settlement with the ACLU that allows for people who live in homes facing tax foreclosure to stay in their homes.  As part of the settlement the City of Detroit will use the Right of First Refusal (ROR) to take homes off the tax foreclosure auction for owners or occupants whose income is below or near the federal poverty guideline.  These homes will be sold to the United Community Housing Coalition (UCHC), where they can be purchased for $1,000 by the owner or occupant. If the owner or occupant does not have $1,000 they may enter into a zero interest payment plan with UCHC.  The deadline for the program is July 13th, so people must act now to see if they qualify. Please call UCHC to see if you qualify at 313-963-3310 x339 or email register@uchcdetroit.org.  We need to spread the word and help anyone we can to stay in their homes.  If you know of someone in tax foreclosure please forward them this info.


This settlement proves what we have known all along – that the City has the power to do more to combat the housing crisis in Detroit.  It also makes clear that if we organize ourselves and fight that we can force the City to do right the right thing.  If we are going to win more, than means being more organized and fighting for more.

Since 2013, The City of Detroit has given over $410 million in tax abatements to developers (averaging $3.7 million per project).  Instead of giving this money to rich developers the City should be prioritizing their resources to help long-term, poor, and working-class residents stay in their homes.

This settlement is possible because of the work of progressive organizations in Detroit standing up to the City.  CVA’s organizing for equitable development and affordable housing should be seen as part of the organizing taking place all across the City that made this settlement possible.  It may be hard to feel it at times, but our actions really do have an impact! 

We need to keep the fight against racist displacement and resegregation moving forward.  This means putting more pressure on developers to enter into a community benefits agreement with the us, building a united movement in Detroit, and forcing the City to act in the interest of its residents, and not rich developers.  Please attend CVA’s Organizing Meeting Thursday, July 12 at 6:30pm at Mack Alive (3746 Fischer) and help us get organized so that we can win what our communities need and deserve.

CVA needs your help to keep them accountable!

Come out to join CVA at our meeting Tuesday, February 20th at Butzel Community Center from 5pm to 7pm!

As we build a movement against racist displacement, resegregation, and gentrification it is important that we find our voice to speak the plain truth about the injustice being done to us. We need to make sure that we hold individuals and organizations accountable for what they do and demand that they do right by the community. Published below is a letter we sent to the Villages CDC clarifying our relationship with them and challenging them to do better by the community. We will be discussing this letter, the City’s upcoming plans, and how to be prepared to speak out on Tuesday

Come out and be a part of the discussion for how we fight against racist displacement and gentrification in Detroit! We got a lot to talk about, including updates on what we have been doing and ways we can build a successful campaign against displacement in Detroit. Bring your ideas, your experiences, and your energy to the meeting!

Concerns about Banyan Investments LLC and CVA's relationship with The Villages CDC .jpgConcerns about Banyan Investments LLC and CVA's relationship with The Villages CDC 2.jpg

CVA in the news!

During the recent fight over City Council’s approval of hundreds of millions of dollars to downtown developers, the Charlevoix Village Association was a presence at council meetings. The media in Southeast Michigan took notice.

Gilbert’s Bedrock seeks council OK for major tax breaks, Detroit News

Public comments on the project were split about the potential deal. Several union officials whose members would get jobs and members of a neighborhood advisory committee for the developments praised the deal. Others urged the council to deny approval.

“This is a very creative way of not going to the general fund because the money is coming straight out of workers paychecks and to the billionaire,” said Allison Laskey, a member of the Charlevoix Village Association neighborhood group.

Detroit council approves $250M tax breaks for Bedrock, Detroit News

Some residents decried the incentives Tuesday as an unfair benefit for the wealthy. Others praised Bedrock as a partner, telling council the approvals will help bring jobs and upgrades to city communities.

Allison Laskey, a member of the Charlevoix Village Association neighborhood group, urged council to hold off on approving the plan during public comment.

“There hasn’t been enough time for due process,” said Laskey, who is worried about budget implications and job creation. “This is a very important piece of legislation, and it’s taking place on a short-time frame. Why rush this through City Council between the election and the Thanksgiving holiday?”

Detroit City Council approves $250M in taxpayer money for Dan Gilbert, Metro Times

Several residents like Brian Silverstein of the Charlevoix Village Association spoke during public comment and charged that council members wouldn’t have supported giving a billionaire $250 million if the vote took place before this month’s election. Silverstein called the proposal “grimy and unpalatable.”

Tell City Council Not To Give Dan Gilbert Detroiters’ Money!


Call Detroit City Council Members Scott Benson, Mary Sheffield, and Gabe Leland And Tell Them To Prioritize Detroiters Over Billionares and VOTE NO on Bedrock’s Brownsfield Development!

UPDATE: The vote has been moved to Monday at noon. The Planning and Economic Development Standing Committee will consider whether to give Dan Gilbert’s Bedrock Group even more of our money. This billionaire is asking for more than $250 million to build four developments that will have no positive or beneficial impact to Detroiters.

The notion of a billionaire getting money as Detroiters are struggling day to day to survive is outrageous. Detroiters need the attention of City Council, not a billionaire. We deserve more guarantees that Detroiters will benefit equitably from this development, including more affordable units that are not segregated from the market rate and luxury housing being built. Committee members Benson, Sheffield, and Leland should table the request and make Bedrock strike a better deal with the community.

Last week members of CVA spoke out last week against this proposal in order to represent the real interest of Detroiters. Our presence made an impact. So we are planning on showing up again, and are calling for everyone to SPEAK UP FOR DETROIT! Let Benson and Sheffield know that they need to continue to do right by Detroit. Table the vote, like they did last week. The billionaires can wait. Detroit residents cannot.

Join Us! Call Benson, Sheffield, and Leland and tell them to VOTE NO on the Brownsfield Development. Come and attend the Hearing MONDAY 11/20 starting at 12noon at the Coleman A Young Municiple Building on the 13th floor. Let us know if you are interested in coming and need a ride!

Scott Benson – District 3, BensonS@detroitmi.gov, 313-224-1198

Mary Sheffield – District 5, CouncilMemberSheffield@detroitmi.gov, 313-224-4505

Gabe Leland – District 7, LelandG@detroitmi.gov, 313-224-2151