Diane Van Buren

Ms. Van Buren integrates urban redevelopment with historic preservation and sustainable development principles to maximize community resources and energy efficiency of the built environment. In practice for more than 25 years, she has made the redevelopment of Detroit a primary focus of Zachary and Associates, Inc. Her planning principles have been most active with the Sugar Hill Development 71 Garfield project, that incorporated alternative energy and green building principles included the use of solar and geothermal technologies in the adaptive reuse of a historic 1922 building.

Most recently, Van Buren was instrumental in creating a new 24-hour mixed-use green development in the Sugar Hill community of Midtown Detroit. The two block district adjacent to the Detroit Medical Center held a valuable history and opportunity to demonstrate how a sustainable community could be a plan for a renewable energy district while retaining its historic integrity. In addition to developing the green energy plan for the highly acclaimed 71 Garfield building, she has opened Sugar Hill Clay and SocraTea within the building to demonstrate sustainable business practices and bring valuable arts programming to the district. Ms. Van Buren is also currently engaged with development workforce strategies for green jobs in Detroit, including expanding alternative energy and deconstruction opportunities. Serving as consultant to Henry Ford Community College, she has been engaged with developing curriculum and community based job training with the WARM Training Center.

Ms. Van Buren is a seasoned speaker at conferences, workshops, seminars, and videos to promote green building and historic preservation technologies. She is a certified speaker with the Al Gore Climate Reality Project, holds Green Advantage Environmental Certification and a Masters of Science Degree in Historic Preservation from Eastern Michigan University. She has served on numerous boards including the National American Institute of Architects (AIA) and the Visitors Board for Wayne State University Honors College.

Ernest Zachary

Founder & Vice-President for Development
From 1970 to 1984, Mr. Zachary was employed by the City of Detroit as Head of the Finance Division of the Community and Economic Development Department. In this capacity he was responsible for securing and coordinating the financing for most of the major projects undertaken by the city during that period, including Harbortown, Riverfront Towers, The Millender Center, and Joe Louis Arena.

For the past 27 years, Mr. Zachary has been a primary consultant to community organizations, including Midtown Detroit, Inc (formerly the University Center Cultural Association and the New Center Council), the Mexicantown Community Development Corporation, the Eastern Market Development Corporation, and others. Mr. Zachary packaged the first New Markets Tax Credit project in Michigan. In addition, he has been involved with the following development finance projects: The Inn on Ferry Street, Mexicantown International Welcome Center and Mercado, New Amsterdam Project, Pinnacle Aeropark, and the Wayne County Ways of Life Project. Most recently, he developed and financed two major historic buildings in the Midtown neighborhood of Detroit: Newberry Hall Apartments and 71 Garfield. He is also the part owner and developer of the Garfield Building, the Lofts at New Amsterdam, and several other buildings within the city of Detroit.

These experiences have given Mr. Zachary the ability to understand the problems and perspectives of both the private and public sectors in consulting with developers and governmental entities. His ability to develop plans, programs, marketing studies and strategies fully reflect the realities and potentials surrounding the development of commercial, residential and industrial areas.

Mr. Zachary graduated from Wayne State University with a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Economics and earned a Masters Degree in Economics from that same institution. He has taught at Wayne State University and the University of Detroit Mercy, and has spoken at other universities and national community development conferences.

Alexander Zachary

Planning & Development Associate
Alexander attended Iowa State University, College of Design, where he graduated with a Bachelor of Architecture - Professional Degree.  Alexander worked in the field of architecture until 2005 at which point he shifted into City Planning, working for the Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board. He joined Zachary & Associates, Inc. January 2013 where he lends his architecture skills to the development of new construction and historic restoration projects. Alexander applies his planning career experience while serving as Grant Coordinator for the Old Tiger Stadium Conservancy's Commercial Redevelopment Grant.

Cassandra Verras

Planning Associate
Cassandra studied GIS, physical and cultural geography in college and has applied this understanding of placement to her work at Zachary and Associates. Her love of nature and adventure has created a deep passion for sustainable and equitable projects that consider the environment, the economy and the history of a given place. Most recently, she has been researching the feasibility of historic rural areas and industrial Detroit including Idlewild, Michigan and the Beltline Solar District, respectively. She is currently pursuing her Master's of Urban and Regional Planning at Eastern Michigan University along with a Graduate Certificate for Sustainability Management and Policy at Penn State World Campus.

Thank you to our 2015 interns!

Toni Henry
Master's of Community Development
University of Detroit Mercy

Solbin Park
Urban Planning
Wayne State University

Zachary & Associates, Inc. | 71 Garfield, Suite 130, Detroit, MI 48201 | 313.831.6100 | info@zacharydetroit.com | © 2013 All rights reserved.