Vanguard CDC Site Feasibility Study Executive Summary and Poster


August 15, 2022 - Author: Wisdom Henry, Victoria Silvester, Everett Ebling, Noah Steiner, Xuebin Wang, Armin Mouly, Jack Maisch, Kiara Rivera

This site feasibility study was the collaborative result of eight student team members in the Michigan State University (MSU) Urban and Regional Planning Practicum capstone course. The eight team members of MSU's practicum course have provided recommendations for Vanguard Community Development Corporation (CDC) that determines the best feasible use of their campus. During the 2022 spring semester, practicum students completed site visits, land use and zoning analysis, a socio-economic profile, retail market analysis, essential services as well as other tasks to determine the best recommendations for future use. To complete the varying analysis, Census data, Detroit Open GIS, and primary collection data were used.

Vanguard Community Development Corporation (CDC) is seeking to address the current feasible use of their main campus, as well as the future acquisition of 2817 East Grand Boulevard. Vanguard CDC's main campus consists of their headquarters, 2795 East Grand Boulevard, Goodwill Flip the Script, 2777 East Grand Boulevard, and the new Black Bottom Park. Vanguard CDC is located along the Milwaukee Junction business district within the North End neighborhood of Detroit.

To determine the best feasible use of the Vanguard site, analysis of the North End neighborhood and Milwaukee Junction business district was conducted. The land use and zoning analysis showed that Vanguards campus is zoned for intensive industrial district (M4) and has a land use designation of mixed residential and industrial. The socio-economic profile gave insight on population, race, age, income, employment, education, and crime of the North End neighborhood. The population of the North End neighborhood is 5400 residents, 4999 of the residents being of African American race. The socio-economic profile showed that the North End neighborhood is a maturing community with 80% of the population eighteen and older, and almost 30% of the population 55 and older. The socio-economic profile also showed a high crime index for the crimes of motor vehicle theft, larceny, burglary, robbery, assault, rape, and murder.

The retail market analysis showed the variety of industries within the North End neighborhood. After analyzing the surplus and leakage factors of the industries, it was determined that there is a need for accessibility to retail industries like grocery stores or general merchandise stores. The essential services analysis showed the locations of grocery stores, hospitals, schools, health centers, libraries, and recreational centers within a two-mile radius of Vanguard. This analysis showed the within the North End neighborhood boundaries, there is a lack of all the essential services, primarily grocery stores, and a commute is required for all.

After completing the analysis of the Vanguard campus and the North End neighborhood, the team suggests recommendations that support the best possible use for the Vanguard campus. As a team, we recommend that Vanguard continues to lease out 2777 East Grand Boulevard to Goodwill for their “Flip the Script” program. Recommendations for the Vanguard building itself, 2795 East Grand Boulevard, include implementing a community kitchen, partnering with foundations to host mental health programs, and a lending library. The community kitchen will allow Vanguard easy access to providing food at events held on the campus or allowing local food entrepreneurs access to rent out the kitchen space, providing revenue for Vanguard. Partnering with organizations like the Jed Foundation, to host mental health programs, will help foster hopefulness in the community, considering the low income and high crime conditions of the neighborhood. The last recommendation, the lending library, would offer residents access to tools at an incredibly low cost. The lending library would also include AARP recommended books on health, money and how to guidebooks

Recommendations for Black Bottom Park include using the space to host a farmers' market and hosting outdoor health and wellness programs. Due to the high need for grocery stores based on the essential services and retail market analysis, the fresh produce sold at farmers markets would be beneficial for the residents. Health and wellness programs, like fitness, nutrition, digital literacy classes, would be beneficial to the neighborhood based on findings of mature aged population from the socio-economic profile. Recommendations for 2817 E Grand Boulevard are in addition to the Makerspace consulting recommendations that were previously conducted for Vanguard. Our team is recommending a for-profit leasing to create either a food hall or dual restaurant and convenience store. This will allow residents access to fresh produce, affordable food and encourage outside visitors' motivation to stay in the neighborhood longer.

Our team also created recommendations for the neighborhood corridor, based on the analysis completed. These recommendations include a volunteer partnership program between the elderly and local schools, wayfinding signage and music in the park. A program for the elderly would allow them to get involved with their local neighborhood schools, by volunteering to read and talk with young students. The implementation of new wayfinder signage will be beneficial to the neighborhood and allow for larger and more specific signage. Lastly our team is recommending hosting events like music in the park, within black bottom park, as this would bring remembrance to the diverse music history of the North End neighborhood. The overall goal of these recommendations is to take into consideration the needs and wants of the community and incorporate them within the Vanguard site.



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