Can Detroit's Business Kings Save the City?


While the rest of the country remains focused on Detroit's bankruptcy travails, the big story in the city itself is the group of private investors who are attempting an ambitious urban turnaround, I note in Bloomberg today. Led by Dan Gilbert, owner of Quicken Loans Inc., they are trying to rebuild everything — retail, housing, start-ups, transit and even street life — in the seven-square-mile downtown area.

Their intentions are good, no doubt. But whether they'll save or smother the city will depend on how much mulah they extract from their friendly local politicos to enact their grand revival plans.

"The challenge for the new mayor, Mike Duggan, will be to let this grand experiment in private social engineering proceed without shortchanging the rest of the city."

Go here to read the whole thing.

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  1. “But whether they’ll save the city or smother it will depend on how much mullah they extract from their friendly local politicos to enact their grand revival plans.”

    The mullahs are mostly in Dearborn.

    1. *shakes fist*

      ..someday, I shall be first

  2. “Moolah”, Shikha.

    AKA – “Cash rules everything around me – CREAM – gotta get the money, dollar dollar bills, yall.”

    ‘Mulah’ sounds too close to ‘Mullah’, and we all know that the Looming Sharia Law is a real concern for Michigan-ers (ites? Michegonians? bleh)

  3. “Detroit’s lack of street buzz is eerie. Its boarded-up stores discourage foot traffic — and the lack of foot traffic discourages stores, the two essential ingredients for a vibrant city. Gilbert’s team is attacking both ends: aggressively courting retailers and making efforts to bring back pedestrians”

    I am reminded of New Rochelle, NY’s similar efforts to ‘revitalize downtown’.…..vival.html

    “The city is pinning most of its hopes for revitalization on the 1.5 million square foot New Roc City, which is expected to draw crowds back into its downtown. The beige stone complex that replaced the old Macy’s mall has its own Main Street and police station, and includes a 19-screen movie theater, an IMAX theater, a sports and entertainment center, a supermarket, three restaurants, a hotel, office building and health club.”…

    , now in the planning stage, is the $15-million Intermodal Transportation Center, which is to replace the Metro-North and Amtrak train station. It is to include new bus and train terminals, as well as taxi and limousine stands. ”It will centralize all modes of transportation.” said Joseph Madonna, Commissioner of Development. …

    I will spare you the suspense of wondering ‘SO DID IT WORK??!’

    1. These cities that are run into the dirt by cabals of public sector unions and their democratic cronies seemingly always want to launch some Top-Down, “Big Project” that will magically reverse the economic tide somehow.

      These projects almost always result in a ~hundred million of taxpayer money or so getting blown on developer-subsidies and union work-guarantees, with the outcome being a financial boondoggle that no one can seem to explain in retrospect.

      Simply ‘getting out of the way’, lowering taxes, reducing the bureaucracy never seems to be attempted. No, there’s always gotta be some ‘public/private joint venture’, which simply means they’re sticking the taxpayer for the bill, again.

      1. There are taxpayers in detroit?

        1. Sure. The city charges nonresident income tax on the people who work there, and GM headquarters is in the city.

  4. “There [sic] intentions are good, no doubt.”

    There in Detroit? No doubt.

  5. “There [sic] intentions are good, no doubt.”

    There in Detroit? No doubt.

    1. Ah, now I know how doubling of comments works: just hit the Submit button twice.

  6. Has anyone heard of Quicken Loans one billion – that’s with a ‘b’ – dollar March Madness basketball contest? You get the bracket perfect and it’s a billion dollah prize!

    I just read about it today.

  7. Why do they need to get money from Detroit’s government?

    Just get out of the fucking way and let people build and earn a living without interference.

    If they can’t do it without a special subsidy, fuck them.

    You might be surprised at how resourceful human beings can be when they: (a) know that whatever they build and grow is theirs to keep, and (b) know that nobody is going to bail their ass out if their can’t build and grow enough to survive.

  8. Explain to me how this will attract people away from the “street buzz” of Royal Oak, Ferndale, and Rochester, and I’ll stop snickering.

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