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."
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