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Better Buildings, Better Blocks

The Better Buildings, Better Blocks curriculum teaches the nuts and bolts of small-scale real estate development to Detroit, Hamtramck, and Highland Park residents. During the course, participants learn the basics of identification, acquisition, financing, leasing, and project management for neighborhood-based residential and commercial development projects. We also connect program participants to resource partners - an intentionally cultivated network of organizations that provide the resources necessary to complete development projects in and around Detroit. The upcoming 2024 training will run from January through April.

Rashard Dobbins

"I was not only introduced to a new peer group, but I often would find myself receiving additional information that I had not planned for during our sessions. Program staff would often answer questions directly but also share their expertise and help us avoid potential pitfalls."

Clover McFadden

"I liked the resources made available to us and the ability to connect and go deeper on topics of interest and topics that I found more challenging during office hours."

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"I want to stay engaged and will continue to spread the word about this program. It instantly helped me from the first class and inspired me to think bigger and know that there are resources that can support what I want to do here in the city."

Corey Johnson
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  • The pros and cons of leverage

  • Understanding market value

  • Income capitalization

  • Profit by creating value

  • Comparable sales

  • Tax free exchanges

  • Developing a pro forma

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To apply, you must:

  • Be a resident of Detroit, Hamtramck, or Highland Park (no exceptions)

  • Be able to attend all class sessions

  • Have consistent access to a computer and the Internet

  • Be comfortable using Microsoft Excel and PowerPoint

  • Be interested in community-based, real estate development


Our curriculum requires participants not only to attend each class session as well as complete all assigned readings and online videos but also requires the completion of a course term project, analyzing qualitative and quantitative reasons for purchasing a residential or mixed-use property. 

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