OT: City of Detroit Epic Comeback? (Business Insider)

Submitted by Ron_Lippitt on June 14th, 2013 at 9:45 AM
Business Insider give us its list of why they believe Detroit is on the verge of an "epic comeback."


Those of us who have been holding our breath, waiting for a Motown return to greatness, will likely be waiting a few decades longer. But reading through this list, it's hard not to get at least a smidge optimistic about the city's future.

We'll never be Chicago. But maybe we could be Indy. Or Pittsburgh.


Raback Omaba

June 14th, 2013 at 11:24 AM ^

Detroit is very bad. So is Baltimore. But overally, Batlimore is nicer - it has a better downtown and the inner harbor is something Detroit doesn't even come close to matching. A lot more wealth in Baltimore, both city and metro.......and no, there are no parts of BMore that would make the Detroit slums look like Disneyland. That is laughable.


June 14th, 2013 at 12:28 PM ^


I live in Howard County near Baltimore.  Inner Harbor is similar to the area around Woodward/Harmony/Stadiums, complete with several high-profile shootings in the Harbortown complex last summer.  They DO have the National Aquarium and the Constellation, which is pretty cool.

The parts I DO like are Federal Hill and Fell's Point...both vibrant areas, but still a little bit of grit.  We're always there on the weekends.  Detroit really doesn't have anything like that (or Canton as well, combination of 1700-1800s architecture with restaurant/bar/shopping scene)

You haven't been to some of the bad parts of Baltimore.  There are some truly terrifying places around Hopkins, and around northwest Baltimore.  I went to Med School @ Wayne, and did a rotation @ Sinai-Grace in NW Detroit (another pretty damn scary area, my first ER night one of the ambulances got carjacked in the bay), and did fellowship @ Cleveland Clinic, right near East Cleveland.  All areas are comparably bad.

I would love for Detroit to get on it's feet again.  Hopefully, the impending Chapter 9 will allow the Emergency Manager to trim a lot of the legacy costs and modernize the public service contracts so the city doesn't have a public infrastructure to support 2 mil, while the population is 700K.  Decrease taxes, better public services, continued improvements in safety, and most of all, better schools will help keep people in the area.


June 14th, 2013 at 11:29 AM ^

many thousands of relatively good wage/low skill manufacturing jobs is going to struggle mightily unless those kinds of jobs come back, and that ain't happening. Several generations of Detroiters of all colors and ethnic groups were able to become middle-class by virtue of the auto manufacturing industry and all its related industries, and the large majority of these jobs required nothing more than a high-school education, if that. The disappearance of these jobs took far less time to occur than the process of creating them did, and the result was that there was suddenly no way to make middle-class wages for all the Detroiters who had until a short time before been able to make do with a high-school diploma.

This has happened to cities all over the industrial midwest, but Detroit was probably more thoroughly dependent on heavy manufacturing than any of them.


June 14th, 2013 at 11:49 AM ^

I supply steel to fabricators/manufacturers and there are quite a few jobs out there right now.  Those companies that survived 2009-2011 are now flourishing.  The problem is finding people who WANT to work.  Every single one of my customers in or around the city have the same complaint:  it's a chore finding candidates who will

  • pass a drug test
  • has transportation
  • isn't on probation
  • and most importantly, SHOW UP FOR WORK.


Colin M

June 14th, 2013 at 1:34 PM ^

Word. I would have a hard time believing it was a widespread issue since it was just a few years ago that we had significantly lower unemployment. Those people didn't just disappear. A localized deterioration in the quality of the workforce in a place like Detroit, however, is easy to imagine. 



June 14th, 2013 at 12:21 PM ^

unemployment. Most of the people in the city who have the life skills that enable them to hold down jobs are already working, and many others have long since left the area for greener economic pastures. A sizeable portion of those who are left are people with the least prospects and are truly unemployable without substantial investments in work training, and that's no panacea. It's an intractable problem, IMHO.

Ron Utah

June 14th, 2013 at 4:53 PM ^

Unless there is a culture change, Detroit will never be great again.  Most of the residents are jaded by years of crime, corruption, and apathy, and you can't get a city going without a productive population.

Detroit needs a large infusion of new residents (highly unlikely) or years (maybe decades) for its current population base to grow out of the malaise that brought the city down in the first place.

Raback Omaba

June 14th, 2013 at 11:22 AM ^

I won't get into tooo much of a political argument, but it seems that from this article, "Business Insider" is similar to the Bleacher Report.

A Crane with the city's skyline/river behind it? Yeah, that's Windsor...not even the same country.

Strong leadership? Sorry buddy, Kilpatrick was only part of the problem - and not even a large part of it. Detroit's inept and corrupt leadership was here decades before Kilpatrick was having stripper parties. 

Crime is waning? Not sure where this is coming from...unless you want to look at the fact that Detroit has been bleeding population since 2003, which might account for something.

Good sports teams and a Triple Crown Winner? Sounds like the #1 thing that would bring a City on it's feet. Great point, Business Insider.

Don't get me wrong - I love what's going on Downtown, and I'm relatively bullish on the Metro Area - but this list is a sham, and the City of Detroit's problems are massive. They certainly aren't corrected by Justin Verlander pitching a no-no.





June 14th, 2013 at 11:28 AM ^

what do you think of the casinos impact in detroit?

on the one hand, it's additional tax revenue... on the other hand, it's mostly detroiters who go and waste all their money (so it's not even bringing in outside money).


June 14th, 2013 at 12:31 PM ^

I'm not convinced it's "mostly Detroiters."  For one thing, the fact that the revenue drop at the casinos coincided perfectly with the opening of casinos in Toledo shows that, at least up til then, a noticable amount of money was coming from out of state.  It's probably still the case.

I do agree with the argument that a dollar wasted at the casinos is a dollar not spent at a store or put in a bank where it can be loaned.  But I think most casino goers are suburbanites.  So while the money doesn't leave the region, it does go to Detroit instead of a Wal Mart in suburbia.  So that's a plus for the city.

The mistake the city made - and I think it's a big one - was not pushing for the casinos to locate in one area.  The riverfront plan made sense.  It seems like it wouldn't - after all, casinos purposely don't have windows, which wastes the point of a view.  But Niagara Falls has casinos, and if Niagara Falls can have casinos, so can the Detroit River.  You can get a nice view from your hotel room.  And a casino district would've done more to attract local businesses to that area and created more of an entertainment district than just an island on Grand River Ave. 


June 14th, 2013 at 12:56 PM ^

Definitely agree about not having all the casinos in one area. Having a strip of sorts or "entertainment district" is much more attractive to visitors than just allowing casinos to exist, especially pulling in people for conferences or large meetings. That stuff goes to Vegas, Toronto, Kansas City, Atlanta, Orlando, etc. and an interesting attraction in Detroit could have done the same.


June 14th, 2013 at 11:37 AM ^

It's great that they're optimistic, but this picture is just ridiculous

You can't brag about how it's home to Fortune 500 companies, when only 2 are actually in Detroit, and everything else is in the Metro area.

The Geek

June 14th, 2013 at 11:54 AM ^

Link: Link

Detroit's road to recovery begins today, Orr said in a statement issued on the sidelines of the meeting at the Westin Detroit Metropolitan Airport hotel. "Financial mismanagement, a shrinking population, a dwindling tax base and other factors over the past 45 years have brought Detroit to the brink of financial and operational ruin."


June 14th, 2013 at 12:09 PM ^

archer was in charge, the stadiums were going up, and Kwame got elected. Loved it. Completely unique (since it was sometimes desolate) urban experience. We had nice momentum under Archer, but window dressing and corruption under Kwame stunted the growth that could have happened under Freeman Hendrix. It nevertheless progressed. Sure Parts of Detroit, like every major urban area will always suck and remain dangerous, but parts will continue to grow to be something special. For example, I look at campus martius and the riverfront now with envy and amazement. That was all shit when I was down there and within a decade or so it changed to some pretty amazing public space. We have come along ways and don't give the d enough credit. Its easy to throw a shit house picture up and make cliche jokes about our city, but f it, I love it more than most cities I have been in and most cities I have been in have some level of the same shit. It would be great to flip a switch on Detroit, but institutional, regional cooperation, cultural, economic and racial issues like ours are a 50 year problems not a quick fix. To me, i agree with the conclusion, not the list here, but think the timeline is a ways out....for me, If the d has pockets of family friendly neighborhoods and one or two viable elementary schools by the time I die, I will consider that amazing process. For now, I just dig its grittiness, the talent it produces, the food, the art, the architecture, the sports, the people, and even though I have kids, I don't give a rip that I can't stroll them down the street of a hood after 10 pm....I wouldn't do that in most cities. Appreciate it for what it is and isn't. man.

Whoa, what the hell did I just ramble on incoherently about?


June 14th, 2013 at 12:12 PM ^

I love the city of Detroit, and really hope it does come back. But as I see it, the main thing holding the city back right now it's at school system. You're starting to see a lot of twentysomethings moving to Detroit because it's becoming cool again. The problem is, once those people start having kids, almost all of them will move out to send their kids to better schools


June 14th, 2013 at 12:57 PM ^

It's not just schools it's the lack of overall amenities. The police response time is awful, there aren't enough grocery stores, I'm sorry a Whole Foods isn't going to help what the citizens of Detroit needs. It's starting to come back but it's going to take quite a long time before outsiders see it as a desirable destination.


June 14th, 2013 at 2:15 PM ^

I see your point, and I completely agree with you about whole foods, but to me the single biggest obstacle to a real recovery for the city is the sub-par schools. Southwest Detroit, for example has 2 or 3 decent grocery stores, and a bunch of restaurants and small businesses. Sure there's some crime, but the thing that keeps young families, and really anyone with enough money to relocate elsewhere from sticking around, to me, is the lack of quality schools


June 14th, 2013 at 12:28 PM ^

"investors who hold $377 million in interest-rate swap contracts obtained the right to demand immediate payment the moment Snyder appointed Orr to the job"




Long time obfuscation of facts along with pervasive underestimation of the problem.

Somehow American society now views things like foreclosure and bankruptcy as the ultimate evil that must be avoided at all costs. It's really not.

Bankruptcy and foreclosure are not desired outcomes, but they are outcomes. And they were devised for very good reasons and situations just like these.  Without them, contract law is destroyed,, and replaced by misconduct and moral hazard.



June 14th, 2013 at 12:37 PM ^

HAHAHAHA is this like ND's return to glory?

Sorry folks, but when Hiroshima is a beautiful city and Detroit is a hole, doesn't say too much. And Hiroshima was hit with an atomic bomb.


June 14th, 2013 at 1:50 PM ^

"Those of us who have been holding our breath, waiting for a Motown return to greatness, will likely be waiting a few decades longer."


This is the reason you're waiting.  Stop holding your breath and contribute.


June 14th, 2013 at 4:08 PM ^

Detroit needs to get rid of the racism and the corruption before they will ever be successful again.  Every mayor and every person on the city council is African American.  To me that is racist.


June 14th, 2013 at 4:14 PM ^

I have been down in Houston for a long time now but Detroit will always be home in my heart. What happened to this idea:

Selling off sections of the city that adjoin other more prosperous cities, i.e. parts to Warren, Dearborn etc.? Does this idea have any merit?

On a side note, my former employer just purchased two of the three Riverfront Towers late last year. I wish them luck. 


June 14th, 2013 at 4:51 PM ^

I think Detroit would need to pay these other cities to take its blighted neighborhoods off its hands.  Most of the inner-ring suburbs are struggling to pay their own bills, so they're not going to be eagerly looking to snap up land that will cost a fortune to service and provide little in tax revenue in return.