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New jobs, new investments, new housing development? Yes, this is the new Detroit

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You know when Detroit’s Mayor Mike Duggan describes the past seven days of his tenure in the city as “remarkable,” that something significant has happened.

m4Was it the $100 million investment in a residential development in Brush Park? Perhaps it was a Fortune 200 company bringing its global headquarters to Detroit. Oh, and the Detroit Promise announced more opportunity for Detroit students to go to college debt free. Hmmm….Hard to say what might have sparked Mayor Duggan’s wonderful adjective.

This is Detroit. This is the times we are living in now. Huge monetary investments. Huge personalities. Huge developments announced regularly. I’d hate to be the mayor’s schedule maker or driver. Well, scratch that. I’d actually be pretty proud to go to any and all of these events.

This is a new narrative about the city, about its students, about its residents. Yes, poverty, education andn neighborhood redevelopment are still huge issues. Public safety, business development and acceleration as well as

M2Some background on all of this week’s announcements. On Wednesday, Mayor Duggan along with Adient (NYSE: ADNT), the world’s largest global automotive seating supplier, announced the company has acquired the 10-story, 164,000-square-foot Marquette Building located at 243 West Congress in Detroit’s historic financial district, across from Cobo Center.

The company will invest approximately $50 million into renovating the building to establish its global headquarters and bring roughly 500 jobs to the city of Detroit, of which approximately 100 will be newly created. Adient will work with the city to fill as many of those jobs as possible with Detroit residents.

On Tuesday, Bedrock Detroit, Dan Gilbert and Mayor Duggan announced the $100 million investment (with mostly private funds) a massive new housing development called City Modern. Five housing types, designed by award-winning architects, will fill 47 parcels in historic Brush Park. A total of 410 new residences will come to fruition in 2018. Some 54 of those will qualify for low-income housing tax credits via the Michigan State Housing Development Authority.

“Today is a very proud day,” Duggan told the audience of about 100 Brush Park advocates, Bedrock employees, media and interested neighbors. “This area … has room for everybody and includes everybody.

“We have a clear vision of Detroit” via these sorts of projects, the Mayor added.

M3What’s that vision? I’ll take a quote out of the City Modern brochure to illustrate what we’re seeing now in Detroit. “Designing a dream city is easy; rebuilding a living one takes imagination.” That came from Jane Jacobs, journalist, author and urban theorist. In years past, I recall Detroit’s biggest advocates turning to Jacobs for help, invoking her name when blighted parcels sat open, parking lots were more prevalent than office or retail developments and housing sat empty.

Now, the very people who are investing the big money are also quoted Jacobs. They want the same things as the residents, the business owners, the dreamers, the thinkers, the provocateurs. Everyone wants a vibrant Detroit, a growing city, a historic city, a place where great people do great things. And they can do great things because basic needs are covered: food, shelter, education, safety.

Welcome to the new Detroit – new in the sense that progress is the norm, the long-standing businesses and residents are given respect and people of all kinds are interested in the city’s redevelopment. It is a marvelous time to live, play, visit, invest and write about Detroit. We have seen the ashes; now we are the phoenix.

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