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DETROIT-Efforts to re-develop the Detroit Riverfront are moving forward with the announcement of a president and CEO of the non-profit agency that is leading the effort. And, a key land deal in the plan should happen next month.

The Detroit Riverfront Conservancy has appointed Faye Alexander Nelson as president and CEO. Nelson had been VP, governmental affairs for Wayne State University since 1996.

Meanwhile, the Detroit/Wayne County Port Authority says it plans to complete a deal with General Motors next month to buy land for a two-story port terminal, along the Detroit River. The 30,000-sf complex would include port offices, public viewing area and customs facilities to process cruise ship passengers.

In December, Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick and others announced the Riverfront plan, which will include parks, a Riverwalk and other improvements along the river, ultimately to span from the Belle Isle Bridge to the Ambassador Bridge.

“We are delighted to have Faye join the Conservancy and lead our efforts to transform the Detroit Riverfront,” said DRFC Co-Chair Derrick Miller, chief administrative officer for the City of Detroit. “She knows Detroit and she understands the critical importance of building relationships with a diverse set of stakeholders to make real progress.”

Nelson currently is responsible for federal, state, county and local legislative and policy affairs and directs day-to-day management of the University’s Department of Government Affairs. For the past four years, she has led the development of the Wayne State University research and technology park, which has been a university, business and government partnership. In this capacity, Nelson led the establishment of alliances with federal, state, county and local officials along with business and community officials and university faculty and administration. In her current capacity, she also works to seek critical university funding and other support.

“Faye clearly has the qualities required to achieve our vision of the Detroit Riverfront,” said DRFC Co-Chair Matt Cullen, General Motors general manager of economic development and enterprise services. “Our search process focused on identifying a candidate who is an exceptional organizational leader and visionary, with a passion for the mission of the Detroit Riverfront, along with the skills necessary to make this vision a reality.”

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