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LEAP Receives Top International Excellence in Economic Development Awards from the International Economic Development Council

Excellence in Project Work and Economic Equity Programming Awards from Economic Development Industry’s Most Respected Governing Body

Picture of Pat Gillespie Receiving the IEDC Gold Rank Award for Block600

Gillespie Group President Pat Gillespie and MEDC Managing Director of Community Assistance Programs Sarah Rainero accept the gold award for Block600 in the Public-Private Partnerships at the 2021 IEDC annual conference in Nashville, TN.

Building off a respected history of excellence in economic development practice, the Lansing Economic Area Partnership (LEAP) received two top international Excellence in Economic Development Awards from the International Economic Development Council (IEDC) today. LEAP received a Gold Rank for the BLOCK600 project in the Real Estate Redevelopment and Reuse category and a Gold Rank for its One and All Inclusive Entrepreneurship Initiative Economic Equity and Inclusion category.

“LEAP is proud and honored to receive these prestigious awards from the IEDC on behalf of our membership and region,” said LEAP President and CEO Bob Trezise.

Thanks to funding from MEDC and the Consumers Energy Foundation, LEAP’s One and All inclusive entrepreneurship initiative increases successful entrepreneurship and small-business ownership among underrepresented populations, including Black, Indigenous and people of color (BIPOC), women, persons with disabilities, immigrants, military veterans, racial or ethnic minority groups, refugees and returning citizens across Clinton, Eaton, Ingham and Shiawassee counties who fall below the Asset Limited, Income Constrained, Employed (ALICE) threshold.

“Consumers Energy’s investment in LEAP’s One and All program is an investment in our communities, business owners, workers and their families, and a commitment to help power through together,” said Carolyn Bloodworth secretary/treasurer of the Consumers Energy Foundation.

The fourth One and All program graduated 19 entrepreneurs during a virtual graduation ceremony on Thursday, Oct. 7.

“Intentionally removing barriers to success in entrepreneurship creates more opportunities, more ideas and more innovation for everyone in our region” said Trezise. “Led by the extraordinary leadership of LEAP’s New Ventures Manager, Anum Mughal, this program is an invaluable resource for entrepreneurs across the Lansing region. We of course would not be able to offer this program without funding from the MEDC and Consumers Energy Foundation. Additionally, our program partners, the Fledge and the Refugee Development Center, and curriculum partners, the Michigan Capital Region Small Business Development Center and Piper & Gold Public Relations, continue to be invaluable in producing this impactful program.”

During awards ceremonies held Tuesday, Oct. 5 at the recent IEDC annual conference in Nashville, Tennessee, the Michigan Economic Development Corporation (MEDC) accepted both awards on behalf of LEAP and the Lansing region.

“We are proud to work with our partners at LEAP, the city of Lansing and the Gillespie Group to support innovative placemaking efforts like the BLOCK600 project that lay the foundation for long-term economic resiliency in our communities,” said MEDC Senior Vice President of Community Development Michele Wildman. “This project is a perfect example of how a public-private partnership can work together to transform an underutilized space into a vibrant, unique place where people want to live, work, visit, and play.”

The $41.5 million BLOCK600 project developed by Gillespie Group created the Capital City Market grocery store, a 122-room Courtyard Marriott – downtown’s first new hotel in decades – and 42 apartment units. The project is located in an Opportunity Zone and created over 70 full-time jobs and revitalized a former gas station lot and adjacent vacant site into a catalyst for additional development.

“Gillespie Group is honored to be a part of the BLOCK600 development winning an IEDC award in the Real Estate Redevelopment and Reuse category,” said Pat Gillespie President of Gillespie Group, the project developer. “The support and partnership with LEAP was vital in transforming the 21 parcels of land on Michigan Ave. and corner of Larch into a development that greatly impacts and infuses energy into the community. We are grateful for LEAP’s commitment to Lansing and the booming Stadium District. It is our continued passion to deliver developments that open the door for more residents and businesses to call downtown Lansing their home.”

The City of Lansing, Lansing Brownfield Redevelopment Authority (LBRA) and Lansing Economic Development Corporation worked with the Gillespie Group and the State of Michigan on an extensive assistance package including a brownfield plan and multiple grants.

“The completion of the BLOCK600 project brought the first full-service grocery store, as well as the first new hotel in many years to downtown Lansing. These are major assets for the Capital City and Greater Lansing area. I was proud to work with the Gillespie Group, LEAP, and all of our partners who made this happen,” said Lansing Mayor Andy Schor.

Trezise added, “These awards are a celebration of partnership, and we cannot thank the developer Pat Gillespie enough for making this happen along with Meijer and Marriot, Ingham Land Bank, EGLE, the LBRA and the MEDC. We were glad to coordinate and manage this team effort. It was complicated and very hard work.”

IEDC’s Excellence in Economic Development Awards recognize the world’s best economic development programs and partnerships, marketing materials and the year’s most influential leaders. Twenty-five award categories honor organizations and individuals for their efforts in creating positive change in urban, suburban and rural communities. Awards are judged by a diverse panel of economic and community developers, following a nomination process held earlier this year. IEDC received over 500 submissions from 4 countries.

“The winners of IEDC’s Excellence in Economic Development awards represent the best of economic development and exemplify the leadership that our profession strives for every day,” said 2021 IEDC Board Chair and Invest Buffalo Niagara President and CEO Tom Kucharski. “We’re honored to recognize the more than 100 communities whose marketing submissions, projects, and partnerships have improved regional quality of life.”

LEAP’s 2021 Excellence in Economic Development awards adds to past IEDC awards received by LEAP, including:

  • 2019 – Gold award in the public-private partnership category for the MWC project.
  • 2019 – Silver award for Local to Global: Lansing Economic Area Partnership 2019 Annual Report.
  • 2018 – Gold award for LEAP’s StartChart Resource Guide for Entrepreneurs.
  • 2018 – Silver award for Stronger Together: 2018 LEAP Annual Report.
  • 2016 – Gold award for the Outfield project (partnership category).
  • 2016 – Silver award for the Outfield project (real estate redevelopment and reuse category).
  • 2016 – Bronze award for 2015 LEAP Annual Report.
  • 2015 – Silver award for the Knapp’s Center project (real estate redevelopment and reuse category).
  • 2011 – Gold award for Ottawa Power Station project.
  • 2011 – Gold award for regional overview brochure.
  • 2011 – Gold award for Entrepreneurs Edge program.