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Detroit public land transfer may impact local jobs

The new Red Wings arena may be one step closer to construction after the developer in charge of the project agreed to hire from the local pool of Detroit residents. However, the City Council President wants more than a verbal agreement and is pushing for a more solid guarantee from Olympia Development of Michigan, the company in charge of the project.

A representative of the company pointed to its history of hiring locals in a recent City Council committee meeting, but the City Council President stated that any agreement is meaningless unless it is in writing.

The planning and economic development committee has agreed to send the public land transfer for a vote to the full council; however, there are varying reports as to whether the committee also recommended the land transfer be approved. One councilwoman stated that the committee was neither recommending nor not recommending the transfer, but the chairman disagreed, stating that if something is moved out of committee there is the underlying assumption of a positive recommendation.

If everything goes smoothly, the arena will be constructed close to the downtown area. The $450 million arena will be funded 42 percent privately, and the other 58 percent will consist of public funding, mostly furnished by the state of Michigan.

The construction project is forecasted to bring 5,550 construction jobs to the area, and the Downtown Development Authority has an agreement with the developer stating that local residents will comprise 51 percent of the workforce.

Where the employees involved in a construction project are from may not seem like it would be a normal part of a real estate transaction, but today's contracts often involve clauses and specific contingencies about different areas of a project, making it more important than ever that those entering into such agreements understand the terms exactly.

Source: Detroit Free Press, "Land transfer for proposed Red Wings arena clears council committee, heads for final vote Tuesday" Joe Guillen, Jan. 30, 2014

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