JPMorgan Chase Commits $900K to Help Detroit Go Green

The money will target infrastructure projects, in addition to Chase branch updates for better energy efficiency. The Nature Conservancy, Eastside Community Network and Jefferson East community are some of the groups accessing the funds.
Matt Arnold, JPMorgan Chase
Matt Arnold, JPMorgan Chase

JPMorgan Chase will be kicking in a total of $900,000 to three nonprofits to support sustainable infrastructure projects in Detroit. In addition, more than two-thirds of Chase’s Detroit branches will be retrofitted with LED lights and new building management systems.

Sustainable infrastructure is critical to the efficient and continuous operation of small businesses and to revitalizing commercial activity throughout Detroit,” Matt Arnold, Chase’s Global Head of Sustainable Finance, said in a prepared statement. “We firmly believe that sustainability lies at the heart of long-term economic growth….”

One of the groups is The Nature Conservancy, which is working with the City of Detroit and other partners to create a first-of-its-kind Special Purpose District, rather like a Business Improvement District. The district’s creation would provide more cost-effective stormwater management services to local businesses, along with other benefits to businesses and residents in Detroit’s Eastern Market area.

Funding from JPMorgan will help the Eastside Community Network tackle the lack of affordable move-in-ready retail space for small businesses and will support the acquisition and rehab of vacant commercial properties along the Mack Avenue commercial corridor. In addition, the community network will be able to use vacant spaces between commercial properties for the development of green infrastructure that can mitigate drainage fees.

And the Jefferson East community group will be enabled to accelerate the incorporation of green building practices, such as the completion of new green parking lots in vacant land adjacent to commercial properties, into the development of commercial spaces for minority small-business owners.

A wide variety of green tools

In the branch retrofits, Chase is collaborating with GE subsidiary Current. The retrofits reportedly will cut lighting energy consumption by 50 percent, electric and gas consumption by 15 percent, and water consumption from irrigation systems by 20 percent.

The emphasis on stormwater and drainage in many of the projects, a JPMorgan Chase spokesperson told Commercial Property Executive, results from Detroit’s antiquated water management infrastructure, which features a “combined sewer system” that manages both sewage collection and stormwater runoff. When this type of system is overwhelmed by stormwater, the sewers discharge untreated sewage into the Detroit and Rouge Rivers and can cause surface and basement flooding.

Stormwater management components of the various projects include rain gardens, bioswales, cisterns, green roofs, permeable pavements and green spaces. All of which can reduce a property’s stormwater discharge and thus help reduce drainage charges, the spokesperson added.