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Friday, 17 February 2012 08:40

ULI adopts statewide focus

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WEST MICHIGAN — The Urban Land Institute, one of the state’s premier organizations for land use and real estate development issues, has dropped its Southeast Michigan-centric focus for a broader statewide audience.

ULI-Detroit changed its name to ULI-Michigan to reflect the shift and created a new programming committee for events outside of metro Detroit.

But don’t call it a change in name only, said Pat Lennon, partner and head of the real estate practice at Honigman Miller Schwartz Cohn LLP in Kalamazoo and the chair of the ULI-Michigan Western Region Programs Committee. The expanded focus opens the door for ULI to reach more members across the state and provides local events on topics dear to developers in West Michigan, Lennon told MiBiz.

“The organization recognized that there were numerous transformative and complex urban projects occurring all over the state,” he said. “The scale and complexity of recent projects occurring outside the tri-county area has drawn attention and interest. The extension of ULI’s presence can serve as a great resource for professionals in our neck of the woods and can stimulate idea sharing across different parts of our state.”

The West Region’s first event drew about 100 professionals to Lansing on Feb. 7 for a discussion led by Michigan State Housing Development Authority Executive Director Gary Heidel on the difference between “development ready” and “development friendly” communities.

Lennon said more programs are planned throughout the year in West Michigan. Moreover, the 2012 joint ULI-University of Michigan Real Estate Forum will be held in Grand Rapids in November.

“We hope that (these events) will motivate those that participate in ULI on a limited basis to get more involved and to introduce our organization to those who haven’t previously been involved,” Lennon said.

Rick Chapla, VP at The Right Place Inc. who has been involved with ULI for years, said the broadened scope of the organization is “a good recognition that the state is a lot bigger than Southeast Michigan.”

“There’s significant economic activity in West Michigan — and business diversity and population growth — and it’s occurring faster here than anywhere else in the state,” he said.

Read 1744 times Last modified on Sunday, 12 August 2012 18:03

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