If you didn’t attend this year’s MEDA Annual Meeting in Downtown Detroit, you missed out! Detroit is on a comeback, driven in partnership by some of its large corporations and local businesses with a belief in the city’s future.
According to the Detroit Regional Chamber, there has been at least $3.4 billion in investment and development announced in the city, since 2013; including 125 new restaurants and retail establishments that have recently opened. Overall, there are 378 restaurants in the city, and residential rental units in both downtown and midtown Detroit were nearly 100% fully occupied between 2013 and 2014. During the MEDA tours, there was evidence of a lot of economic opportunity, showing people are coming into the city to work, live and play; creating a vibe that was infectious and inviting. To further accelerate the process of turning downtown Detroit into a live, work, play hub that can draw in people from the outskirts of the city and suburbs, the implementation of a light rail project known as the QLINE financed by the private sector, is expected to be operational Spring 2017.
Additionally, two recent big projects include Amazon‘s announcement last fall to unveil a new corporate office and technology hub in the City in 2016, and the new Nike retail store. What’s more, since 2009 nearly 227,000 private-sector jobs have been added through the end of 2015, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
The MEDA tours showcased how obvious Detroit has come in the past few years due to a coordinated development effort, largely led by the private sector. What’s important to understand is it wasn’t one building or so-called impact project this time around, unlike past efforts to revitalize the downtown. This time, it highlights a strategic approach involving many buildings with an intent to connect them with a network of public and semi-public spaces where everything works together to reveal the unique character of downtown Detroit and transform it.
If you haven’t been to downtown Detroit lately, I encourage you to come explore and experience a different Detroit…I know you will be pleasantly surprised!
Monique Holliday-Bettie, Economic Development Manger, DTE Energy is the MEDA Board Secretary in 2016.