When Narendra Panapitiya moved into his Midtown row house a new piano was one of the few things he had to buy. He got a great deal on the furnished model and took advantage of the $20,000 incentive program offered by “Live Midtown.”
He told us, “I didn’t have to worry about a down payment as much with that financial incentive and as a result you get good interest rates and $20,000 goes a long way toward purchasing something in midtown Detroit.”
As a radiology resident at the Detroit Medical Center, Narendra qualified for the incentive program that went into effect in January. The plan was sponsored by Henry Ford Health Systems, Wayne State University and DMC to encourage their staff members to live where they work. So far it’s been a big success.
Austin Black, President and broker of City Living Detroit, a full service real estate brokerage, told us he represented three developments over the past year “And now, two of them are sold out. And about half the units I sold last year in those two developments were a result of the Live Midtown program.”
Here’s how it works—employees apply for the incentive, and then find a place they like, for instance, a condo in the Willy’s Overland Loft building.
The incentive is a $20,000 upfront payment, or $25,000 at $5000 a year for 5 years.
Participants can purchase any kind of home in the midtown area that costs less than $204,500. The $20,000 is a forgivable loan. If you stay with the institution for five years and continue to live in the home, the loan doesn’t have to be re-paid.
So far at least 193 people have taken advantage of the program – using $1.1 million in incentive money. It’s been so effective no new applications are being taken.
Ben Buller used the program to buy a condo in this building that was once the Wayne State mortuary sciences building. He moved in with his girlfriend in July.
He explained, “We were renting on Woodward in the Park Shelton. That was hundreds of dollars more per month for about a third the space. We’re definitely both much more relaxed here.”
The “Live Midtown” incentive actually played a role in keeping this medical researcher in Michigan.
“To be honest, I wasn’t considering continuing to live here. I finished my doctorate about a year ago and I was planning on moving out east.”
But now he’s enjoying the urban lifestyle in Detroit.”I love it. You don’t end up wasting too much time in the car and being in the place where there’s a lot of like minded people.”
There were also incentives for renters, and for homeowners who needed cash to make improvements on their homes.