Born and raised in the City of Detroit, MI, Herbert J. Strather is the Chairman of Strather Associates— a real estate development and investment firm located in Detroit. Always industrious and exuberant, Herb Strather began working at the youthful age of twelve waxing cars and selling door-to-door products to help his family. In 1970, Strather started working with Detroit’s Bowers Realty Company, where within one year, he became the top sales agent both at Bowers and regionally. After learning real estate appraisals and public adjusting on his own, Herb formed Strather & Associates, Inc. and began to make his mark in the real estate world by arranging complex, multi-dwelling unit transactions around the city. Together with former University of Michigan Regent, Nellie Varner, Herb formed Strather & Varner, which closed more than $250 million in real estate transactions and acquired more than 1,000 apartment units in the 1980s. After Varner’s departure for other pursuits, Strather continued as Strather & Associates, Inc. which has been responsible for more than $2 billion in real estate transactions and is a multi-level conglomerate consisting of real estate acquisitions, investment, development, education and property management.
By the mid-90s, Herb Strather turned his attention to the growing public interest in casino gaming and began organizing and leading the initiative to place casino gambling on the ballot for Detroit voters. The hard-fought battle proved a winner for Strather, as he and his Investors were awarded the operation of Motor City Casino (one of three land-based casinos in Detroit). After selling their interest in the casino in early 2004, the group reformed to create an investor group which continues to maintain interest in other casino endeavors such as the Mashpee Wampanoag Indians in Massachusetts and Lotto Soul which license Motor City artists’ images to state lotteries.
In 2004, Woodbridge Estates, a 47 acre residential community, consisting of single-family townhouses and condominiums, opened to the public. A joint venture housing development, funded by Strather Trust and the Slavik Co. of Farmington Hills, is a sparkling example of Herb Strather’s determination and pride. The development has won numerous recognitions and reflects his dedication to Detroit.
A strong community supporter, Herb Strather serves on a host of boards and committees, but is most active in the Optimist International, an organization devoted to empowering young people to reach their optimum potential. Crediting the organization with “saving his life” as a youth, Strather, a former governor and international board member of the organization has personally built over 150 Optimist Clubs, making him the most successful builder of civic clubs in the world. In support of his commitment to Optimist International, Strather personally help organize, pledged and donated $1 million to the Optimist Youth Foundation of Detroit which has provided more than 2,700 scholarships. With his civic and spiritual development passions, Strather also devotes his time to working with the National Progressive Baptist Convention (PNBC) as member of and past Chairman of the Economic Development Committee and currently as Consultant to the President.
Strather is on a mission to create the next generation of Developers and to help redevelop Detroit’s great neighborhoods and communities. In doing so, he boldly moved his entire office and staff from the riverfront to the multi-purpose Tower Center building located at 15400 W Grand River, Detroit, MI 48227. Among his other commercial revival initiatives include the Mammoth Building, in which he plans a two-story indoor amusement park with go-karts, bumper cars, a bowling alley, rock climbing and rollercoaster rides, as well as a full sit-down restaurant for food and beverage enjoyment.
In October of 2014, during the annual Wayne County Treasurer’s Auction, Strather placed a winning bid of $3,000,000 and won 6,000 homes and vacant lots. Concerned that such a large parcel of Detroit real estate might fall into the hands of outside speculators, this historic bid took the homes off the auction block. His action ensured that the parcels would go to the Detroit Land Bank Authority for proper disposition.
As a result of this transaction, he and his daughter, Carmen Strather, founded the non-profit organization, Detroit Bundle Group, Inc., a 501(c) 3 in an effort to continue moving forward his vision of community restoration for Detroit’s neighborhoods. He plans to restore 28 blocks of residential properties just east of the Grandmont Subdivision.
In November of 2014, Strather and partners received the 2014 Detroit Community Development Award for Excellence in Real Estate Development. Commensurate with the award’s honors, Strather is more determined than ever to teach a new generation of developers how to redevelop the city he so dearly loves. In fact, he has philanthropically taught more than 1,000 disadvantaged students the art of real estate at no charge. Now, Strather is taking his educational initiatives to the next level by bringing his passion and knowledge to the people and communities that need it most—his beloved city, the City of Detroit.
For more information on Herb Strather, call Strather Associates at (313) 446-6900.
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