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Detroit business leaders launch ad campaign to show Detroit’s bright future

BC071337_CEO_AD_NYTimes_F5 compressed featured

Businesses in Detroit are vested and invested in city and are laying that out for all to see in an advertising campaign that shows their commitment and sets the record straight on what’s happening here.

The full-page ad titled “Here’s $250 billion that says the city of Detroit has a very bright future” appeared on Sunday (September 22) in the New York Times, Washington Post, Detroit Free Press and Detroit News. Over the next week or so it will show up in the Wall Street Journal, Financial Times, Politico.com, USA TODAY, the Michigan Chronicle and Crain’s Detroit Business.

BC071337_CEO_AD_NYTimes_F5 compressedSo why $250 billion? That’s the combined market capitalization of the 28 companies and organizations whose leaders signed the ad. That’s clout. Here’s the full ad copy.

“Together, we lead companies and organizations with a combined market value of $250 billion located in the Detroit region. So we know a little about opportunity. And beyond the headlines, there is an amazing story about opportunity happening in this great city.

If you look closely at Detroit, you’ll see a place that’s home to businesses and people who are having a significant impact on the national and international economies. We’re a major center of innovation in technology, manufacturing, financial services, health care, education and more.

Right now, despite our municipal bankruptcy, our residential occupancy rates and downtown Detroit’s office market occupancy are both at their highest levels in decades. Well over 10,000 people have relocated their worksites to Detroit in the last few years. And the 5 million residents of the metro Detroit region are flooding downtown to enjoy its cultural and entertainment offerings. The renewed energy of our city is palpable and real.

Our companies are proud to be a part of our local economy. And we’re proud to be invested in its future.

Why?

Because we believe in Detroit.

The real Detroit.”

The ad campaign grew out of a conversation between Dan Loepp, president and CEO of Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan, and Gerry Anderson, chairman, president and CEO of DTE Energy.

President and CEO Dan Loepp

Daniel J. Loepp

“We had grown weary of the onslaught of negative reports that painted Detroit as a dying city, with too little attention paid to the thriving downtown, Midtown and other areas filled with promise that we in the business community are invested in and remain committed to,” said Loepp. “So we asked our peers to join us in a statement of support. Hopefully this ad encourages people to look beyond the city’s current financial situation and see the promise that we know is ahead.”

The ad is signed by Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan, DTE Energy, Quicken Loans, Penske Corporation, Ilitch Holdings, Compuware, Strategic Staffing Solutions, Ford, GM, Chrysler, Comerica Bank, Detroit Renewable Energy, DMC, DMS Detroit, FirstMerit Bank, Henry Ford Health Systems, the Kresge Foundation, La-Z Boy, the Detroit Lions, Masco, McKinley, Meijer, PNC Bank, PVS Chemical, Talmer Bank and Trust, Downtown Detroit Partnership, Business Leaders for Michigan and the Detroit Regional Chamber.

Gerald Anderson

Gerald Anderson

In a joint statement Anderson and Loepp acknowledged issues Detroit’s bankruptcy and pointed out “it is hardly a contagion. There’s a stark difference between our city and region’s economy and its government finances. In fact, Detroit’s economic heartbeat is growing stronger.” With that they laid out some facts about Detroit and its future.

  •  Young college graduates, artists and entrepreneurs are creating economic vigor.
  • Residential occupancy rates run in the 90th percentile in the city’s core.
  • More than 1,200 people have moved into the city or renewed their leases under the Live Downtown program where the six companies that are part of the program offer incentives to their employees to move downtown.
  • Office vacancy is at an eight-year low and downtown Detroit has been the dominant submarket for office space in Southeast Michigan for the past two years.
  • The nation’s busiest commercial trade crossing with Canada, the US’s top trading partner, goes through Detroit.
  • The region has an unparalleled concentration of engineering talent, unmatched access to fresh water, beautiful lakes, a world-class airport, great universities and top-ranked hospitals not to mention a rich array of music, art, sports and cultural institutions.

Detroit and its business community have clout. Loepp and Anderson agree. “Signs of life are abundant in our 312-year-old city. It’s far too early to write its epitaph.”

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