Conference looks at ways to reinvent Mich. cities

By Steve Thorpe

Legal News

Real estate practitioners interested in learning the latest on urban redevelopment projects and their legal methodology will gather for Real Property Law Section of the State Bar of Michigan 2012 Summer Conference "Reinventing Michigan Cities Through Redevelopment" Thursday through Friday, July 18-21. The event, to be held at the Boyne Mountain Grand Lodge northeast of Traverse City, will feature panel discussions, workshops and speakers.

Monica J. Labe of Dickinson Wright PLLC in Troy and John D. Gaber of Williams, Williams, Rattner, and Plunkett PC in Birmingham are the organizers of the three-day conference designed for real estate practitioners interested in learning about some of the current projects in Michigan.

Sponsors of the event include First American Title Insurance Company National Commercial Services, eTitle, Stewart Title and Old Republic National Title Insurance.

"We're really excited about our program this year," said Labe. "We have some really interesting projects to profile and the people who put together or worked on those projects are going to be giving overviews of the business and legal hurdles they encountered, both in the city of Detroit and in Flint."

At a time when Michigan's cities -- especially Detroit and Flint -- are struggling, the conference hopes to fuel optimism that the problems can be overcome.

"We're focusing on the positive, the redevelopment that's going on in cities that have had challenges," said Labe. "We've got projects that are being undertaken by Dan Gilbert and people from Quicken will be presenting on those projects. We're focusing on the fact that people are investing dollars in these cities because they do have potential. That's the exciting thing about what's happening in Michigan now."

The organizers have tried to strike a balance between the business and legal aspects of the development environment.

"We have a nice combination, because we'll have business people who are 'boots on the ground' in these ventures, but we'll also have the lawyers who have wrestled with the legal issues in the projects," said Labe.

The conference will begin on Thursday with a panel discussion on the business and legal issues involved in actual urban redevelopment success stories as presented by those who represented the developers.

Friday's workshops will address the redevelopment potential of shopping centers and the issues involved in leasing office and industrial space in a tough economy.

Roundtables on Friday and Saturday will provide opportunities for interactive learning. Subjects will include "Property Taxes: Due Diligence and Beyond," "Michigan Land Title Standards: 2012 Update" and "Turning Non-Recourse into Recourse," among others.

The keynote speaker on Saturday morning will be Carol Cain, newspaper columnist, business writer and host of television's "Michigan Matters."

Advance Registration fees are $325 for section members, $375 non-members, $285 first time attendees, and $100 Young Lawyer Section members.

Register at

Published: Fri, Jul 6, 2012