The system has revealed a plan, very much in the preliminarystage, that would invest $500 million into additions to its maincampus, with a new surgical center, emergency center and cancerinstitute, and construction of a south campus with a new researchfacility, ambulatory care facility and education building. The newadditions would go in directly across from West Grand Boulevard.The hospital already has purchased about 85% of the property forthis phase.

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In addition, the system says it will encourage and supportanother $500 million in new commercial development in a 300-acrearea to the south. "For each dollar of investment we make, we wantto leverage additional investment for commercial healthcare-related products and programs, distribution throughmanufacturing facilities and research and development, to newretail and residential development," says William Schramm, Ford'sSVP for business development.

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The 300 acres is about 50% vacant, which roughly 30% owned bycity, county or state entities, Schramm tells GlobeSt.com. Variousgovernment development incentives will be sought, he says, andearlier this year the state housing authority awarded Henry Ford$343,000 in federal incentives to tear down eyesore buildings inthe area. Zoning and other city approvals will be needed, Schrammsays.

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The health system recently reported positive growth during theeconomic downturn in 2009, reporting an increase of $277 millionfor the year, to $3.97 billion, from 2008. The non-profit systemalso said it increased its market share by 37% in southeastMichigan in the past five years, and has doubled revenues in thepast 10 years.

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Schramm stressed that the plan is still in its infancy stage,with not even direction yet from the Board of Trustees. He alsosays that like other promised-but-failed projects downtown, "theproof with all projects is if they become what they intended. Ifthe impact of what we're seeking takes place, it won't turn thecity around…but it could become an example that supports otherinvestment in other parts of the city, a model. In 2015, we willhave been here 100 years, we as a health care organization arecommitted to serve the Detroit population."

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