Jefferson East, Inc. fosters economic growth and a business-friendly environment along the East Jefferson corridor.  We have a reputation for getting things done, and we’re known for our unbiased, engaged programming that provides opportunities for residents, entrepreneurs, and business owners.

JEI represents 5 distinct neighborhoods along the east Jefferson corridor and provides programming within a boundary area of 18.4 square miles and represent approximately 42,120 residents.

                                                 Five Unique Neighborhoods

JEI boundaries and neighborhoods


Formed in 1994 as the Jefferson East Business Association (JEBA), the organization was created out a desire of residents to bring a modern retail development to the Jefferson-Chalmers business district. The organization quickly moved from a grassroots start-up to a more sophisticated, professionally managed entity. With additional staff members focused on encouraging entrepreneurship, the goal was driving business growth to fill vacant store fronts. Quickly recognizing the unique urban form of the Jefferson-Chalmers business district, (one of the few largely intact neighborhood  commercial districts within the city), leadership began to utilize innovative interventions to bolster the area. JEBA pioneered a matching façade grant program to improve and stabilize more than 40 historic storefronts, and implemented the first traditional Main Street zoning overlay and a local historic district to support a pedestrian oriented environment. JEBA created Jazzin’ on Jefferson (JOJ), a unique arts and music festival which ran for fourteen years. JOJ was designed to raise the profile of the business district and surrounding neighborhoods.

Formation of East Jefferson Corridor Collaborative (EJCC)

Driven by the belief that east Jefferson starts in downtown Detroit and ends at Alter road, Jefferson East shifted its axis of focus to encompass all five neighborhoods along East Jefferson Avenue. In 2009, with major philanthropic support from the Community Foundation for Southeast Michigan, Jefferson East and the Downtown Detroit Partnership formed the East Jefferson Corridor Collaborative (EJCC). This group brought together major stakeholders from the western end of the corridor to identify strategies that could transform east Jefferson Avenue into a pedestrian friendly, multi-modal street. The result of these efforts culminated in an award-winning plan that laid out a wide-ranging transformative streetscape.

Formation of JEI

In 2013, JEBA and the EJCC (which functioned as an independent program committee of JEBA) had successfully integrated safety and streetscape planning work for the corridor and its surrounding neighborhoods. Realizing the duplication of board structures, both entities began a comprehensive governance consolidation process that knit together both ends of the corridor via a collaborative planning process. This led to the relaunch of the organization as Jefferson East, Inc. (JEI) with an expanded board of directors and mission to serve the entire east Jefferson corridor and its adjoining neighborhoods.


Come Visit Us!

Rivertown Headquarters (temp location while we redevelop the Kresge Building)
300 River Place, Suite 5250
Detroit, MI 48207

Satellite Office 
Looking to apply for the 0% Home Repair Program? Visit our temporary office.
1018 Chalmers
Detroit, MI 48217

The Team

Joshua R. Elling
Executive Director
(313) 314-2679

Kenita Harris
Office Manager
(313) 314-2684

Melanie Piana
Deputy Director Policy & Programs
(313) 314-2681

Derric Scott
Economic Development Director
(313) 314-2672

Joshua Budiongan
Planning & Urban Design Manager
Enterprise Rose Fellow

(313) 314-2682

Michelle Lee
Housing & Neighborhood Services Director
(313) 314-2683

Rebecca Nikodem
Housing & Neighborhood Services Coordinator
(313) 314-2672

Krystal Fields
Clean & Safe Director
(313) 314-2678

Nathan Howell
Americorps, Safe Initiatives
(313) 314-2682

Charlie Grose
Grant Writer/Consultant

Wendy Ricket
Financial Accountant