Olympia Development of Michigan Expanding in Anticipation of Future Development in The District Detroit

Recent hiring brings expertise across all aspects of development to support growth in The District Detroit

Expansion to continue with open positions in construction, accounting, finance, marketing and legal

Detroit-based team includes local and national expertise to ensure future development success

Detroit-area natives Leo Mendez, John Valentine and Russ Borrows join Senior Vice President Keith Bradford and nearly two dozen others working to ensure forward progress

DETROIT – Working to ensure the success of The District Detroit and other development across the Ilitch companies, Olympia Development of Michigan continues to expand its development team with recent and future personnel additions. Recent and anticipated hiring will reach more than two dozen new employees dedicated to the Ilitch organization’s continuing development in The District Detroit.

Among the key additions to the team are Keith Bradford, Senior Vice President – Olympia Development of Michigan and The District Detroit, Leo Valentine Mendez, JR. AIA, Vice President of Design, John Valentine, General Counsel, and Russ Borrows, Senior Vice President of Finance.

“Our focus for and commitment toward continued development in The District Detroit and the city’s continuing resurgence is driving the need to grow the team, which will ensure that our progress continues,” said Christopher Ilitch, President and CEO of Ilitch Holdings, Inc. “Recent new hires like Keith, Leo, John and others bring unmatched expertise to Detroit. This team will lead our development momentum across the District Detroit and play a key role in the overall real-estate and development portfolio across all of our operating companies.”

Hired last year, Bradford has brought his leadership skills and extensive development expertise to the company and led a transformation in Olympia Development of Michigan’s operations. With a 23-year career at Walt Disney World Resort and years of development success at Disney Springs, Bradford is preparing a new wave of development, which will bring new construction and historic redevelopment, market-rate and affordable housing, as well as new restaurants and retail to The District Detroit. He is also responsible for the success of new establishments opening in The District Detroit, like Tin Roof Detroit and the Columbia Street dining and retail destination.

In a newly-created position, Mendez, a Dearborn native, brings more than 30 years of architectural and design experience to The District Detroit. His portfolio includes experience nationally along with Detroit-based projects, including the design of the new Chemical Bank headquarters. Mendez has also led master planning for real estate development in Corktown as well as projects for DTE, the Detroit Riverfront Conservancy and the Motown Museum. Previous positions, including work in Phoenix and Chicago, have include direct work with major brands, retail partners and developers such as The Taubman Company, Westfield, RH Galleries, Saks 5th Avenue and Nordstrom. His experiences range from creating strategic multi-phased concept master plans to leading design on redevelopment opportunities and adaptive reuse of world-class retail mixed-use projects throughout the United States and abroad.

Valentine serves as Olympia Development of Michigan’s General Counsel, another newly-created position that helps to streamline time spent on the legal matters associated with the company’s real estate development activity. As a former Principal at Miller Canfield’s Chicago, Illinois office, Valentine, a Troy native, returned to Detroit following nearly two decades spent representing regional and national owners and operators in connection with the acquisition, development, financing, leasing and operation of mixed-use entertainment and retail projects, sports facilities, multi-family residential complexes, office buildings, and warehouse/industrial properties.

Detroit-area native Russ Borrows is another senior addition to the team supporting development operations as Senior Vice President of Finance. In his role, Borrows’ duties are to plan, implement and oversee all financial activities including financial reporting, strategic planning, investment analysis and business insight. With recent experience as Chief Financial Officer of U.S. Concerts, at Live Nation Entertainment, Borrows helped to grow the company’s financial practices and analytical capabilities, resulting in the rapid revenue and profit growth of his division during his tenure. Prior to Live Nation, Russ held numerous finance executive roles for companies such as Fox Television Stations and Comcast Cable Communications.

Over the past two years, Olympia Development of Michigan has also hired nearly two dozen employees working as property managers, project managers, engineers, maintenance technicians and others working directly on current and future development. Posted job opportunities include positions in accounting, construction management, legal and marketing. 

“Growing this great team has been a rewarding opportunity for me and we are all excited by the challenge of delivering the kinds of projects that are greatly needed in the community,” Bradford said. “Right now, we have the chance to move the city forward with both new construction and historic redevelopment, dining and entertainment and so much more.”

The Ilitch organization’s ongoing development in The District Detroit is a key driver of Detroit’s incredible resurgence. The development includes a dynamic urban destination surrounding Little Caesars Arena, Comerica Park, Ford Field and the Fox Theatre.

The Ilitch organization has already invested more than $3 billion in real estate development in the city over 30 years, including more than $1.4 billion in development of Little Caesars Arena; two new adjacent office buildings, the Mike Ilitch School of Business at Wayne State University and the new Little Caesars world headquarters campus expansion, all on Woodward Avenue.  The Ilitch organization also attracted the local offices of Google to the city and worked with the Detroit Pistons to help return the team to Detroit . 

About The District Detroit 

Home to the Detroit Tigers, the Detroit Red Wings, the Detroit Pistons and the Detroit Lions, The District Detroit is the epicenter of sports and entertainment in the heart of the city. It is the densest concentration of the four major sports teams in any urban core in the country.  It is an evolving place with something for everyone fueling Detroit’s incredible resurgence and attracting new investment in the city.  Anchored by Comerica Park, Ford Field and the historic Fox Theatre, The District Detroit is home to the award-winning Little Caesars Arena, the Mike Ilitch School of Business at Wayne State University and the new Little Caesars world headquarters campus expansion. New businesses coming to The District Detroit include Tin Roof Detroit, The M Den, Frita Batidos, Sahara Restaurant & Grill, Union Joints and Warner Norcross & Judd.  The District Detroit has brought more than 20,000 construction and construction-related jobs and 3,900 permanent jobs to this area of the city, resulting in an estimated $2.1 billion in total economic impact.