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Old 04-13-2011, 01:17 AM
46 posts, read 111,080 times
Reputation: 38


I thought this would be a good discussion. What do you all think?

PONTIAC — Danielle Green admitted she had reservations about expanding her burgeoning business into Oakland County’s seat.

Her dance studio, Vixen Fitness, has been a success with locations in Detroit and Ypsilanti.

Would she be able to recreate that energy in a city with high unemployment and a reputation for being on the rough side?

“I had received requests to open up a location in Oakland County,” she said, sitting in her bright red dance studio located in downtown Pontiac.

“I already had women coming from Pontiac and Royal Oak.”

So, when a friend told her about an economic incentive plan to replace “For Rent” with “Opening Soon,” signs, she decided to give Pontiac a try.

Green’s studio is now among 52 new businesses having moved in or preparing to come to a city that has its cheerleaders calling it the first steps taken on the comeback trail

Almost a year ago, city leaders and business owners unveiled “The Rise of The Phoenix.” The plan was simple, offer a deal too good to be true for a limited time to serious new renters looking to expand or relocate.

The applicants selected would be given free rent in exchange for multiyear leases (two years or more). The city sweetened the deal by giving one-year free parking in city lots to the new business owners and employees.

It was estimated the downtown had 700,000 square feet available. In less than a year, more than 350 inquiries were made.

About half those inquiring completed applications, which were trimmed down to more than 40 serious offers. The effort also sparked about a half-dozen ancillary deals, such as the empty building at 40 W. Pike Street becoming the Reunion nightclub.

“I’m ecstatic with the results,” said Lee Todd, owner of Todd Enterprises, a Pontiac-based commercial real estate brokerage and property management agency and a member of the business group behind the idea. “Any single signing is a positive.”

The new tenants include law offices, clothing stores, medical service companies, home improvement businesses, computer repair companies and salons.

While not every business has opened its doors since the offer ended in December, there are 14 in the process of getting ready to welcome customers.

A citywide ribbon cutting is being planned for June when most, if not all, of the businesses will be open.

“If we had signed one, it would be worth it,” Todd said. “Signing 52 new tenants to move into the city of Pontiac I think gives us, as a downtown, a legitimate chance of a complete turnaround of the landscape.”

Some of the facilities are now getting upgrades and tweaked to better suit the renters before the move in becomes official.
Once such property undergoing renovations is the Waterman Building where Green’s studio, Vixen Fitness, is located.

The studio focuses on pole dancing, but offers other fitness programs like yoga and Zumba.

The original studio was able to grow through word of mouth, which has already started with the Pontiac location, Green said.

“Once they get in, they are hooked,” she added.

Talika Moore’s story isn’t much different. Moore owns Soléi, a chic boutique that started in Southfield and grew with a location in Ferndale.
Her store — which has added 87 N. Saginaw Street in Pontiac as a location — offers both high-end and affordable clothing, shoes and accessories.
The front features merchandise for women, while the rear of the store will be dedicated to men.
Her store sells national and some locally designed shoes.

The first day the doors were opened in Pontiac resulted in several sales and the store has proven to be a popular stop by attorneys on their lunch, Moore said.

While Todd said he is jubilant about all of the businesses coming into the downtown, there is one of which he is most proud

Future Help Designs, another small business venture proving to be profitable, is a Michigan-based software company has been in existence for two and a half years. It develops products such as applications focused on Apple’s mobile technology platform.

It employs graphic design artists, copy-write and documentation specialists, testers, branding and marketing experts plus animation and gaming specialists in the making of their products.

Some of their clients are Compuware and the Farmington-based visual services company The Clik Group.

Pontiac has a creative energy that makes it an attractive to new businesses, said Christian Marcillo, an owner and director of creative design.

“There are artists, hiding in all these buildings, that get creativity and from the technology side. Technology is supposed to be working for you and engineers are great at making that happen, but people that have a creative side know how to get it done without an instruction manual,” he said.

Future Help Designs is now operating out of a house in Pontiac, It will soon occupy a large office space that is being renovated in the Waterman Building.

“We operate under a results-orientated work environment,” Marcillo said. “And it’s a very collaborative environment. So the open spaces is what we like, not cubicles.

“And there was a lot of that available in Pontiac.”

The mobile platform industry is a growing sector of the business world, creating multiple jobs in almost every aspect, said Marcillo, adding the employment opportunities go from development and marketing to selling the hardware.

“What’s exciting about it is in the mobile space ... for every single job that is created is on par with the manufacturing industry in the state of Michigan. So for every single job there five other jobs created,” Marcillo said. “We are glad that is going and we are looking that that is going to help bring some jobs and keep some jobs in Michigan.”
New hope for Pontiac WITH VIDEO - theoaklandpress.com

I'm a little wary of this deal only because I still find the city govt. in Pontiac to be incompetent. However I also think new businesses in the downtown core will help Pontiac get back on track. Hopefully that and the Sheriff's going into Pontiac soon will help change things for the better in my hometown. Hell it might mirror that of Detroit's "Midtown".
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Old 04-13-2011, 02:54 AM
Location: On the brink of WWIII
21,093 posts, read 24,818,425 times
Reputation: 7812
Interested to see how many stay more than a year. As said, the city government is no way the brightest crayon in the county....nor are the city's finances stable.
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Please update this thread with any new information or opinions. This open thread is still read by thousands of people, so we encourage all additional points of view.

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