You may recognize Kathy Makino-Leipsitz from her many news articles in Crain Detroit Business, the Detroit Free Press and Metro Times, but you’ll remember her for her commitment to rebuilding blighted neighborhoods all around Wayne County.
In 1983 Kathy began to make her vision a reality fresh from obtaining her BA in economics from U of M. She wanted to help make a positive change in the City she loved and did so with her first purchase of a 30-unit apartment building in what was then the Cass Corridor. Over the next 20 years, after more purchases, building new construction, and rehabilitating several apartment buildings throughout the City and southeastern Michigan, she has decided to focus all of her attention on the neighborhoods in the city of Detroit.
In 2003, Shelborne Development purchased a vacant boarded apartment building on Seward Street and in the next 3 years completed a $10+ million gut rehabilitation, resulting in 71 units of quality affordable housing. In 2005, they were asked to step into another project on Seward Street (consisting of 4 multi-family buildings) that had struggled for years and was not performing due to extremely low occupancy. The history of Seward Street had created a very difficult reputation to overcome due to drugs, crime, and a very poor tenant profile. Since the start she has helped to restore Palmer Park, Midtown and the Jefferson-Chalmers neighborhoods with a total of 17 buildings with several more in the underwriting process.
Kathy has been awarded with several achievements over the years. Jefferson East, Inc., named her as 2012’s Developer of the year. In November of 2013 the University of Michigan and Urban Land Institute Real Estate Forum awarded Kathy with the Real Estate Excellence award. Most recently she received the 2014 MultiFamily Executive National Project of the year for Chalmers Square LDHA LP as well as Wayne county Commission recognized Kathy for her dedication to reinvesting in Detroit.
Kathy is a board member on the Michigan Housing Council, The Jefferson East Business Association, Recovery Park and the Clinton House Supportive Housing. She is very committed to the redevelopment of Detroit and is active in community associations such as The People for Palmer Park and recently was a panel member for the Freedom Institute.
Wife, Mother and Grandmother are other coveted titles that Kathy holds dearly. Just this year she watched her oldest daughter marry and her youngest daughter graduate. She has two adorable grand children and a loving husband. Kathy is forever grateful to her family, friends and colleagues who she is noted as saying, “I am so lucky to have such Amazing family and friends.”