Over Half of Prop N’s First $70M in Contracts Awarded to Black, Detroit Businesses

Priest Price, Owner of P&P Group, in front of a property on Stahelin Ave, on Detroit’s West Side. Price’s company is working to clean out and secure the home in preparation for resale and eventual rehabilitation. 

Photo provided by City of Detroit

The Detroit Demolition Department, which runs the city’s blight removal program, has awarded more than half of the first $70M in Proposal N funding to Black-owned, Detroit-based businesses, Demolition Department Director LaJuan Counts said today.

So far, seven rounds of contracts have been awarded to support the abatement and demolition of vacant homes across the city, as well as for the clearing out of vacant houses that will be secured for upcoming sale and renovation. Fifty percent of dollar value of the contracts awarded so far have gone to Black-owned companies headquartered in Detroit. Only 10% of all contracts awarded have gone to companies not headquartered in the city.

“When we asked Detroiters to support Proposal N, we promised that having this source of locally controlled funding would allow us to create more opportunity for Detroit companies and Detroit residents,” said Mayor Mike Duggan. “With more than $70 million committed so far, the results have been even beyond our expectations.”

To date, the Demolition Department has removed nearly 500 dilapidated properties with voter-approved bond funding, working with 53% percent Black-owned contractors. Additional contracts will be awarded to similar companies for the next phases of work in coming weeks.

Unlike the federal Hardest Hit Fund dollars that previously paid for the majority of demolition in Detroit, Proposal N funds allow the city to use location-based preferences in the procurement process to award more points to companies that are located in the city.

“From the beginning, we’ve been serious about our commitment to contracting local, minority-owned companies with real ties to the communities we serve,” shared LaJuan Counts, Demolition Department Director. “As we move through the pipeline, we’ll continue to eliminate some of the barriers and challenges these businesses historically face, allowing them to expand and hire even more Detroiters.”

Opportunity now “within reach” for smaller Detroit companies
P&P Group is a local, Black-owned business contracted to kick start the property securing process -clearing vacant properties of trash, debris and overgrowth in preparation for eventual demolition or rehabilitation for resale. With approximately 15 Detroit resident employees, owner Priest Price was surprised by the access and availability of such significant City work, as larger scale contracts have often remained out of reach for smaller, local businesses.

Through his work with the City, Price has increased his workforce by 50%, with more hiring on the horizon. Under Proposal N, all companies are required to employ a workforce of at least 51% Detroit residents to perform the contracted work.

“The Demo Department designating a certain amount of work to minority owned companies really leveled the playing field for small businesses like us,” shared Price. “The City was instrumental in educating us about the bid process, allowing us to secure certifications we would’ve had a harder time accessing alone.”

With the approval of Prop N, the Demolition Department outlined a concerted push to prioritize contracts with demolition and preservation companies headquartered in Detroit that hire Detroiters, encouraging them to bid through the City procurement process.

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