Things are great when you’re Downtown

When Jacob Walker accepted a job with DTE Energy two years ago, he and his wife were among the first residents at the Fort Shelby development.  Coming from Atlanta, they knew they wanted to stay in a city environment and they eventually found out that their new neighborhood is one of the safest in the country.  What they did not expect to find was the variety of restaurants and entertainment.

“Downtown is kind of this undiscovered gem.  I’ve found out over the last two years that there is a lot to see and do,” said Walker.

As the Walker family grows, his daughter is almost a year old, they are discovering downtown can be family friendly, too.  Walks on the riverfront are common for them and daycare is right around the corner from home.

Jacob’s employer and four other companies are hoping others are willing to join the Walker family in discovering what living is like downtown.  DTE Energy, along with Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan, Compuware, Quicken Loans and Strategic Staffing Solutions are teaming up to create a program to entice more people to call downtown home.

Not only will Live Downtown attract more residents, it will be a catalyst to renovate and convert more of our beautiful downtown historic landmarks to new housing units. It will also serve to create strong neighborhoods, which, in turn, will attract more residents and retail.

It’s a great place to be. Even though it’s been hit with difficult economic times and has lost population, Greater Downtown continues to attract a very diverse group of new residents of all incomes, ages, races and backgrounds as well as new businesses.

We’ve experienced a 59 percent increase in the number of college-educated residents under the age of 35 in the last decade, according to a recent article in the New York Times. That’s nearly 30 percent more than two-thirds of the nation’s 51 largest cities. Artists, designers, entrepreneurs and other young professionals are taking advantage of low real estate prices and the growing career opportunities.

Called Live Downtown, the program will offer employees of each company:

  • A $20,000 forgivable loan toward the purchase of a primary residence for new homeowners
  • Matching money up to $5,000 for exterior property improvement projects of $10,000 or more for existing homeowners
  • $2,500 toward the cost of an apartment in the first year, followed by $1,000 a second year for new renters
  • $1,000 for renewing a lease in 2011 for existing renters

The neighborhoods included in the incentive program are Downtown, Corktown, Woodbridge, Midtown, Eastern Market and Lafayette Park.  The specific eligibility requirements are unique to each company.

Stephanie Chang and her fiancé Sean Gray have lived in Lafayette Park for the last year. They both made it a point to spend a lot of time with friends in different neighborhoods downtown to get a feel for what life would be like there before selecting Lafayette Park, and they highly encourage friends who are considering moving to do the same.  Come on down.



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