Getting Organized

The following are organizations that AAB Development Strategies professionals helped form or began to manage early in its formation so that we helped create its structure and form. Corridor Organizations

8 Mile Boulevard

McKenna Associates, Inc. with Al Bogdan as Project Manager, was hired by the now infamous six pack (a coalition of the three metro counties, Detroit, State’s Economic Development and Transportation Departments) to prepare a corridor study for 8 Mile Road. Bogdan organized an overall strategic plan for 8 Mile Road in an attempt to restructure the image of the road from that of a divider to that of a unifier. The study pulled together a land use map of the road, an economic market study of it over its length, and included the use of focus groups made of elected officials and residents living along its length to get their ideas for the road’s future. The combination resulted in a document entitled A Vision for 8 Mile Boulevard.The result was not only a set of reports but also resulted in the formation of the 8 Mile Boulevard Association made of the elected leaders along the roads 26 mile length. The association is still hard at work implementing the report’s Vision and strategy. (more)

Telegraph Tomorrow

Redford’s supervisor, Kevin Kelly, contacted the then Wayne County Executive, Ed McNamara, and asked for the County’s help in organizing the communities along 27 mile Telegraph Road to implement a joint strategy to improve this major Corridor. He liked what was being done along 8 Mile Road and felt there was a need to create a strong Corridor organization for Telegraph Road. By now, Bogdan was working for Wayne County. He was again asked to implement his magic. He organized a series of Visioning Sessions for residents along the road to indicate their prospective for the road’s future and to determine whether there was a need for a new organization. The answer was YES! Bogdan with Bob Hunt’s support, helped establish a new 501-c-4 organization, helped structure the Board of Directors, established a dues structure, and then helped raise the public investment from MDOT to develop a Plan for the Corridor to help unify its design. The organization still operates today.

Woodward Heritage Organization – Wayne

As Planning Director for Wayne County, Bogdan was involved with an organization formed to create an automotive heritage designation from the National Park Service. Woodward Corridor was one of several corridors to be established to develop and promote the automotive heritage of the nation. We brought together all of the major stakeholders in Woodward Ave. facilitated a Visioning session to determine what they saw as a future for Detroit’s major Corridor and then structured an organization that could partner with the Oakland County. Bob Hunt, the Planning Deputy Director took over the county’s administration of the organization and is coordinating the relationship with Highland Park, the City of Detroit, and the other major stakeholders.

Housing Corporations

Berkshire Housing Development Corporation

Soon after becoming the executive director of the Pittsfield Urban Coalition, Al Bogdan defined the need for new affordable housing as an important need for Pittsfield and Berkshire County, Massachusetts. As a first task, he commissioned a national nonprofit called Urban America to prepare a market study to define the need and a business plan to establish the resources required implementing its recommendations. Bogdan understood the importance of bringing in an outside independent consultant to define the need and to recommend the resources and vehicle for implementing it. It recommended the establishment of a nonprofit housing development corporation. As fund raising was being organized, Bogdan discovered that all of the local banks had already committed their maximum allowable charitable contribution (5%) to other organizations in the community. A new way had to be found. So Bogdan structured a fund raising tool by using a bond issue paying 6% interest, when earned, to finance the corporation. The bank’s checked with the Controller of the Currency and with the Federal Loan Home Bank Board and obtained their approval to buy the bonds (which they promptly wrote off). This became a mechanism for getting around the 5% limitation. The five local banks purchased $250,000 in bonds, the Catholic Archdiocese of purchased $50,000, Williams College Board of Trustees purchased $50,000, and a sundry number of smaller churches and organizations purchased over $50,000 in bonds to raise over $400,000 as equity for the new corporation. The new organization hired staff and began the development of affordable housing.

Bay City Housing Development Corporation

Bay City hired McKenna Associates, Inc. to determine how to solve its housing problems. This time Bogdan became the outside consultant. He first prepared a market study and business plan to determine need and the resources to solve the problem. As part of the process, Bogdan organized the board of the new corporation to help raise over $100,000 in private and public financing to implement the strategy. The corporation raised enough funding to hire an executive director. The first director did not last long. However, the second director still continues to help in the rehabilitation of the existing housing in Bay City. It has become one of MSHDA’s success stories.

Hazel Park Housing Development Corporation

While with McKenna Associates, Bogdan prepared a detailed Neighborhood Development Strategy for the city. Part of the study recommended that the City’s advisory committee be transformed into a Community Housing Development Corporation under the federal HOME program so it would become eligible for federal financing to rehabilitate and build new housing. The new nonprofit corporation obtained funding from Oakland County and undertook the rehabilitation of housing. In this case we were not able to secure permanent staff funding and the corporation finally dissolved.

Development Authorities

City of Fenton Downtown Development Authority

While working for McKenna Associates, Inc. Bogdan became the Project Manager of a contract leading toward the formation of a Downtown Development Authority. The city’s core downtown was small and did not have a sufficient tax base to support in order to pull together a viable DDA. In addition, the City manager thought that the city might need to provide infrastructure financing for a new shopping center located at the city’s edge along I-23. We structured the boundary of the DDA district so that it picked up the core downtown and the entire commercial and industrial area between it and the location of the new shopping center. In addition, we needed to make a finding that there had been a loss of property value within the district boundary. In this case an economic analysis indicated that the property values of the district had not kept up with inflation thereby resulting in the loss of real value in constant dollar terms. This now established a DDA that had the financial capacity to make a real impact on the City’s downtown. See Fenton Downtown Development Project.

Hazel Park Downtown Development Authority

While working for McKenna Associates, Bogdan became the Project Manager for the city’s DDA. As part of the meetings with the city officials it was discovered that the city had a strong vision to totally redevelop its commercial and industrial corridors. We ran into difficulty because the city’s downtown hotel was in bankruptcy. This would make a major impact on the city tax increment capture if the property values dropped precipitously. We ended up doing a major expansion of the DDA district boundaries. We expanded the boundary to cover the entire commercial and industrial strips of the city including all of John R, Nine Mile Road, Eight Mile Road, and the Hazel Park Race Track on Ten Mile Road.It became the foundation for the corridor redevelopment program for the entire city and other development project opportunities. In order to save the viability of the DDA, Bogdan entered into the negotiations with the former owner of the downtown hotel. A settlement was agreed to by the city. However, the structure of the SEV was designed so it dropped in the year before the initial assessed value for the DDA and increased each year until the sale, which was in the current year. At that stage the hotel was removed from the Tax Increment financing Plan. The net result was that the DDA’s revenue actually increased instead of dropping precipitously and the impact of reduced values requested by the new owner was not felt by the DDA since it was no longer in the Tax Increment Plan.

Rochester Hills Local Development Finance Authority

The city was interested in the redevelopment of an area on the south side of M-59 and Adams Road. Under McKenna Associates, Inc. Bogdan prepared a market study to determine the future potential of the site and a development strategy to encourage its proper development. While the city wanted to see the area developed as an industrial – office – technology area, there were strong pressures for shopping center development or some form of mixed use. In order to finance the infrastructure improvements, a Local Development Finance Authority was formed. However, one of the innovations in the plan was to structure a tax capture from properties that were not eligible properties. We did that by capturing only the tax increment from the city’s millage for ineligible properties. No other taxing jurisdiction’s millage was captured. The concept was simple. The city can budget its own finances to create an obligation, setting aside any portion of its budget for that purpose.

Wayne County Brownfield Redevelopment Authority

As Planning Director of Wayne County, Bogdan, in partnership with the Business Development Division’s Deputy Director, Marge Whittemore, initiated action to form the first countywide brownfield redevelopment authority in the state of Michigan. Over 14 communities agreed to create brownfield zones and join with the county in its new initiative. In order to reduce the need for a larger bureaucracy, and since Marge was Executive Director of the Economic Development Corporation, the EDC board was designated as the board for the new BRA. Simplified brownfield plan instructions were prepared to make it easy to prepare a brownfield plan to take advantage of the Single Business Tax Credit offered by the state. Within the first year, Bogdan prepared a proposal and obtained a $200,000 Pilot Environmental Assessment grant from EPA which was later renewed with two $300,000 grants and two $200,000 grants and expanded with a $500,000 Brownfield Revolving Loan Fund Grant. The environmental assessment grants permitted the BRA to become a strong supporter of new development initiatives by working with community development corporations in Detroit and the most distressed cities. Bogdan took a leadership role in helping the legislature to restructure the legislation to include obsolete property, add tax increment financing for infrastructure, and add urban redevelopment requirements in the new law.

Other Organizations

Wayne County Detroit Community Development Entity, Inc.

In 2003, Bogdan took the lead in putting together an application to the US Treasury CDFI Division to obtain a commitment of New Market Tax Credits. The first step was to form a new for-profit corporation and eight for-profit LLCs. The key component of the application was to pull together financial commitments to provide the financing of the projects located in low-income census tracts. Bogdan obtained commitments from three banks for $70 million, a major international investment banker for $100 million, and an additional $5 million from a fund established by the Casinos for business investment in the City of Detroit’s. The final application was for $177,000,001. Bogdan was named President of the new corporation. The decision to fund will be made in February 2004.

Pittsfield (MA) Urban Coalition

Bogdan became the first executive director of this new nonprofit organization made up of a diverse leadership from the community including business leaders, religious leaders, African-American leaders, leaders of social service organizations, and poor people. Bogdan established and raised over $400,000 to establish a housing development corporation, organized and managed the employment training activity including the public employment program, organized and lead the countywide public employment program that financed over 150 jobs and used to establish a day care center. A $750,000 Economic Growth Center grant was obtained from the New England Regional Commission which was used to establish a minority business loan fund, build the infrastructure in the local industrial park, and to establish a targeted marketing campaign to attract new business. Bogdan chaired a committee to form a seven-community regional transit authority to provide publicly subsidized bus transportation and obtained approval from A city council, two representative town meeting and four town meetings; organized an annual Ethnic Festival; was a member of approximately 26 community organization boards including VP of local NAACP branch, hospital board, Housing Fund, Berkshire Employment Planning Board, Chairman Massachusetts Council Against Discrimination - Berkshire Branch, etc. Bogdan became candidate for mayor in 1973 and local organizer of the Dukakis campaign for governor.

Bridgeport Minority Business Resource Council

As President of the Bridgeport (CT) Economic Development Corporation, Bogdan organized and obtained the funding to establish a Connecticut Minority Business Procurement Council to help minority firms in Connecticut have access to corporate contracts. We organized the purchasing agents from the majority firms and then systematically pursued helping Puerto Rican and African-American firms obtain contract. The funding was obtained from the Office of Minority Business Enterprises, with the help of the then Republican mayor.

Greater Detroit Regional Economic Development Initiative

As Detroit Regional Director for the Michigan Office of Economic Development, I joined DTE, and SEMCOG to promote and help establish a privately funded economic development initiative for the region. The combination of state, utility, and regional support by SEMCOG gave the new initiative credibility and removed concern in regard to competition. This was a united approach. We met with potential investors in groups and individually to help the Chamber raise $3 million to kick off the initiative. Since then the initiative has grown and receives funding from Detroit and the three counties.

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