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Hill Harper talks his recent Detroit investments, plans for the city

The actor, who recently purchased a home and business in the city, dishes on what he hopes to contribute to the city’s revitalization

Photo by Angela Daves-Haley

Remember those viral #fakenews articles that circulated Facebook last year claiming various famous people were moving to Detroit? This is not one of those. Earlier this year, actor Hill Harper, known for his roles in CSI: NY and Homeland, made headlines after buying downtown coffee shop Roasting Plant and purchasing a home in Boston-Edison.

“I was (in Detroit) shooting two different movies over a four-year span. I met so many people that I was impressed by,” Harper says. “When an opportunity came up to purchase a business (in Detroit), I jumped at it. I wanted to be a part of that community, and I wanted to be part of what I call growing and re-growing a city the right way – so people aren’t necessarily left out of the growth and the prosperity.”

Besides wanting to be an integral part of the Detroit, Harper says his main motivation behind investing in the city was job creation, something he’s very passionate about.

“I want to grow the business. I want to provide jobs. There’s a lot of opportunity for young people to work at Roasting Plant and for returning citizens to work,” Harper says. “It’s not about how much profit I can extract, it’s about how can I actually serve the community where the business is.”

Harper is working to also support other businesses within the city, including a strategic partnership he developed with Detroit-based Dilla’s Delights to bring its doughnuts to customers at Roasting Plant.

“I know how hard it is to have a small business when you don’t have a set income stream,” Harper says. “Folks have to support businesses that they know are supporting the community. Because if Roasting Plant downtown does well, then I could open another one in another neighborhood, then that’s more jobs.”

His desire to create jobs and opportunity carries over into the home he purchased and the work he’s doing to renovate the space.

“I like to practice what I preach,” Harper says. “What I’m attempting to do with my home renovation is to make sure the people that are working there are bringing young people in to train them in some of these skilled trades.”

Harper says when those renovations are complete, he eventually plans for the space to be accessible to the community.

“I want to open it up so that folks can have events there,” Harper says. “It’s not just for me. It’s for the community, as well.”

Catch Harper in action as Dr. Horace Andrews in ABC’s The Good Doctor, airing Mondays at 10 p.m. starting Sept. 25.

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