22 Jun What Lies Ahead for Detroit?
Beyond Corktown and Ford Motor company, what lies ahead? It goes without saying that we are excited about Ford’s increased footprint, investment, and future in Detroit, but what does it really mean?
Ever since Peter Karmanos built Compuware’s headquarters, now One Campus Martius and home to Meridian Health and Microsoft, the Detroit engine has increased its horsepower. Alongside his investment, other major players in midtown were also building up. Sue Mosey’s Midtown Inc., Detroit Medical Center, and Wayne State were curating and reinforcing a strong residential community. It’s been about eight years since Dan Gilbert’s Quicken Loans started their move to city and our revitalization is leaving the pit lane, are we finally on the track?
Ford’s recent move into Corktown and the redevelopment of the former train depot, not only provides a glimpse at a new type of Detroit work force, one driven by mobility and technology, but introduces the concept of connectivity that we currently lack.
Our neighborhoods have been disconnected in the wake of the riots in the late 1960s. The connective tissue has been rebuilding though. The District, has already begun closing the gap between Midtown and Downtown, a new Ford campus can do the same for Southwest Detroit. This is another strong community that has sat as an island bound by freeways and bridges, but is filled with amazing food, people and culture.
The city has worked to acquire land along the West Riverfront down towards the Ambassador Bridge. The future likely holds additional requests for proposals, parks, river walks and increased housing density projects further amplifying and supporting the presence of Ford in Detroit. Yet it goes beyond connecting Southwest to the city and brings Detroit’s closest suburb, Dearborn, well within reach. Dearborn sits just around four miles from the train depot – two miles closer than the Grosse Pointe border. We should expect increased investments in preparation for the increase in traffic and new and restored multi-unit housing projects along the route.
As the valuations and rents of commercial properties in Corktown and Southwest continue to rise, we will hopefully see more retail and service businesses alongside a growing new supplier-network of tomorrow filling in the industrial gaps and taking on the creative re-use of our city’s expanse.
As to whether we are finally on track on with Detroit’s rebirth, I don’t think anyone has a definitive answer yet. In my opinion, we still need to look at where we are going to create jobs in Detroit, and where and how are those future workers will receive their education.
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