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wolverine

Detroit Polishes and Demolishes

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I'm really happy we are seeing these types of articles go beyond the free press and into more National newspapers.

http://www.nytimes.com/2006/01/22/national...artner=homepage

I love this line:

"Mayor Kwame M. Kilpatrick is so determined to show Super Bowl visitors a new face for his beleaguered city that he is willing to sacrifice its Motown roots."

Damn straight! You just tore down a major chunk of Detroit's history Mr. Kilpatrick. I'm sorry you couldn't tolerate the broken windows. Get Berry Gordy to do something about it, apparently he can afford a museum. Little did you realize how many people you've upset, and it isn't just Detroit residents.

"It seems very sad that all it's worth is 50 parking spots for the Super Bowl," Mr. Grunow said."

I'm happy Francis said that. Now the whole nation will know of Mr. Kilpatrick's parking scheme. Or shall I say, people will experience it firsthand, and make a mockery of it.

"It's an opportunity to present people with the next Detroit," Mayor Kilpatrick said.

He said this right after he talked about the demolition. I'm thrilled about his future plan for the 'next Detroit.' Guess we can look forward to more parking lots... as if we didn't know that already.

"Although the city has torn down a few buildings, many dilapidated ones remain readily visible. Long-empty structures like the old United Artists Building are draped with signs like "Premium Development Opportunity.""

Folks, this isn't the Free Press. Finally a newspaper that is skeptical of Detroit development.

"The mayor said that did not bother him. "Detroit is a gritty town with rough edges, and we love it, and we celebrate it," he said. "People have been trying to make us into something else for so long. It's better than Chicago or Philadelphia. People are going to be pleasantly surprised.""

Hater. And an idiot. As much as I love Detroit, Chicago and Philadelphia will always be better, just because they have levels of vibrancy, employment, and status that puts them ahead of us. It's an obvious sign that Kilpatrick is sick of Detroit being bashed (well, we all are). So like an idiot, and turns things around and bashes other cities. Nice move.

The proof, he said, will be whether interest in improving the city continues afterward, or whether the city's problems will push the promises off center stage.

The promises will be pushed off stage if we continue to operate under this city administration.

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I don't know exactly what to think after reading the article.

It only reminds me that reviving Detroit has been and will remain a Herculean task even after the Super Bowl.

It also reminds me what it took to turn S. Korea, particularly metropolitan Seoul, from a shantytown into a "world class city." The amount of development it took since as far as I can remember in the late 70's up to 1987 when I left was staggering and has only continued since then. There's no such effort on the horizon for Detroit.

Yes, S. Korea had two giant events to encourage and focus its development - the '86 Asian Games followed by '88 Olympics - but the fact is the planning and the developments were well on its way before kicking into high gear for those events.

It does feel like the improvements as of late in Detroit has all been about the Super Bowl. That has many worried and skeptical about it all, including myself. Seeing many of the viable redevelopment candidate buildings, many historic, been torn down only adds to the FUD.

The fact that local media has been drinking the Super Bowl coolaid does suck. The fact that it takes NY Times to point out some of the obvious does suck.

At the end of the day, though, what sucks the most is that most people in this area couldn't care less and many still desire to move out of Detroit.

But I think... well, okay, what if it's all been about the Super Bowl? Has it improved things in Detroit? I think the answer is yes. Most importantly, there's more awareness. There are seedlings being planted. That makes me feel hopeful.

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I think comparing Seoul to Detroit is pretty weak comparison seeing as how one is the capital and largest city of a nation, and Detroit was even at it's peak the lower tiered "Top 5" of the cities of this nation. Many people believe that they could live without it, whereas Seoul HAD to redevelope seeing it's importance even when it wasn't all that rich.

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I think comparing Seoul to Detroit is pretty weak comparison seeing as how one is the capital and largest city of a nation, and Detroit was even at it's peak the lower tiered "Top 5" of the cities of this nation. Many people believe that they could live without it, whereas Seoul HAD to redevelope seeing it's importance even when it wasn't all that rich.
Actualy towards the end of the 1940's, Detroit was not only a world class city, but for short time was the 3rd largest in the greatest country with 2.1 million and 2.2 million if you included Highland Park and Hamtramck. It's sickening to think how much has been lost within a couple of generations. Detroit by far is the most devastated city in the U.S. :(

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I'm really sick of everything happenning in Detroit, every time I see a new thread with "_____ to be demolished" I feel like commenting and ranting on about how one weekend isn't worth destroying decades of history, but then I figure why bother. The city government is so corrupt and so ignorant, nothing will change them, I sort of hope that Detroit's government is taken over by the State, maybe then, after a couple years of restructuring, the city government can be turned back over to the people with most of the problems fixed. But how much more will the city and it's people have to suffer before something is done?

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I'm really not sure that Flint's turnaround is so much a credit to state takeover as much as it a credit to the new mayor, who has done some very radical (and controversial) things to put his city back on a good footing.

Seriously, the state if going to try and hold off a takeover of the city for as long as they possibly can. NO ONE wants to take on the mess that is Detroit politics. They'd much rather keep the "business as usual" elected figures so they have someone else to blame for the city's problems. If they take it over, they realize that it will take many, many years (probably a decade or two) to rebuild the decayed structure of the city government. And, a state takeover by the Republicans would completely kill their chances of ever courting Detroit voters. They'd be shooting themselves in the foot.

Exodus,

Population doesn't mean everything. Detroit may have been 2.1 million in population, but that didn't necessarily equate to it being better and more significant than some smaller but more historic cities. i.e. Baltimore, New Orleans, Washington D.C. Detroit was still largely wealth, blue-collar, factory city. And, while it may have had some "World Class" establishments (a really subjective term in itself), I think you can make a good argument for it NOT being a "World Class" city. Many current sprawling cities have "World Class" institutions and establishments, too. But that doesn't make their cities world class.

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I think comparing Seoul to Detroit is pretty weak comparison seeing as how one is the capital and largest city of a nation, and Detroit was even at it's peak the lower tiered "Top 5" of the cities of this nation. Many people believe that they could live without it, whereas Seoul HAD to redevelope seeing it's importance even when it wasn't all that rich.

My reason for comparing to Seoul (or any urban center in S. Korea for that matter) was to illustrate the kind of effort it takes to get a city from not so great or even very poor status to "world class" status. The speed and the volume of development that went on while I was living in S. Korea was many many times what we see in Detroit today. Even then, it took a couple of decades to get there.

So I can't help but wonder... just how long will it take? Given the FUD surrounding post Super Bowl era, it just frustrates me to imagine that redevelopment of Detroit will slow down even from relatively slow pace that we've had in the past 5 years.

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It's going to take mass immigration or mass migration to the turn the city around faster than we'd like, and neither of those are looking to promising. Without that, expect at least two decades of crawling back out of the hole. Even still, there are parts of the city that have yet to bottom out.

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The article does bring up some good points especially the about demolitions to impress SB visitors the only thing I don't like is how they make it as if the the entire SB cleanup is a front with no real change The new businesses, lofts streetscaping aren't going to disappear on Feb 6th. I believe the facade grant program will also continue after the SB. Granted all not the changes have been postive(cough M-L) but in think there's to much momentum for this stop. Honestly, I can't wait until the SB over the and the local media stops tying every single thing in city to the SB

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Would you guys (who has "ear on the ground") characterize the kinds of developments that's been happening in Detroit in the past... say a decade, well thought out, well planned, etc? Does the city's planner (I think we have one, yes?) have it "together" with a strategy to take Detroit from where we are today to what we'd consider "world class?" Does Detroit even have a goal post that's less nebulous than "something better?" Anything beyond the CBD and the river front that'd be considered cohesive?

What's the "master plan" for Detroit?

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It's pretty apparent that the city leaders and planners have had very little practical vision in what they want their city to become. There is a weak masterplan, but even that seems to be poorly followed. Planning in Detroit was thrown out the window in the 30 and 40's when the city leadership saw it as a hinderance to unadulterated to growth, IMO. It's pretty clear by the layout of the "new city" that planning took a backseat, and hasn't been brought to the forefront even now.

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My reason for comparing to Seoul (or any urban center in S. Korea for that matter) was to illustrate the kind of effort it takes to get a city from not so great or even very poor status to "world class" status. The speed and the volume of development that went on while I was living in S. Korea was many many times what we see in Detroit today. Even then, it took a couple of decades to get there.

So I can't help but wonder... just how long will it take? Given the FUD surrounding post Super Bowl era, it just frustrates me to imagine that redevelopment of Detroit will slow down even from relatively slow pace that we've had in the past 5 years.

It should be pointed out that during the beginning of Detroit's decline during the 50s and 60s, and after the Korean War, S. Korea received substantial foriegn aid from the USA. This aid alllowed S. Korea to develop the basis of its economy today.

Similar aid did not flow into Detroit during this period and because the area had hitched its fortunes basically to one industry it is suffering now. I am not sure, but I don't think S. Korea had to deal with the racial issues that have also plagued the Detroit area. Because Detroit is just one city in the USA, it is easier for people to move away than to stay and work on the problems.

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It should be pointed out that during the beginning of Detroit's decline during the 50s and 60s, and after the Korean War, S. Korea received substantial foriegn aid from the USA. This aid alllowed S. Korea to develop the basis of its economy today.

Similar aid did not flow into Detroit during this period and because the area had hitched its fortunes basically to one industry it is suffering now. I am not sure, but I don't think S. Korea had to deal with the racial issues that have also plagued the Detroit area. Because Detroit is just one city in the USA, it is easier for people to move away than to stay and work on the problems.

Please, everyone, I did not make the comparison to point out that Detroit should have somehow developed as fast as Seoul or S. Korea. It's also not a comparison I make b/c I think Detroit must become what Seoul is today or even a decade ago in order to be considered "world class." Far from it.

It is merely a point of example on the amount and the speed of development that takes for a city to grow from something like what Detroit is today to what people call "world class" city. I called out the growth of Seoul specifically b/c I witnessed it happened - possibly at its peak. Also, I presumed that it is familiar enough among the people on this forum - being one of the largest cities in the world. If I had grown up in some other city with a growth spurt that's familiar, I would have made comparison with that city instead.

And, no, Seoul is not without its own problems.

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I think what Jin Kim is saying is that Seoul had a breathtaking amount of redevelopment over DECADES to get it to where it is today. Taken in comparison to Detroit, the kind of redevelopment that is occuring due to preparation for the SuperBowl is not enough to offset the continued decline of the rest of the city. I tend to agree. I've often thought that it will take at least 40 - 50 years to turn back the decline of the city, and that's not with scattered projects here and there. Those of you that are hoping for a Detroit comeback are doing it selflessly, because you may not get to enjoy a reborn Detroit in your lifetime.

I'm hoping that Grand Rapids' continued revitalization may spark the competitive spirit of Detroit's business leaders to realize that successful growth in Oakland or Macomb County will be short-lived, without reinvesting in Detroit. The money is there to make it happen.

But what do I know.

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When it comes to Grand Rapids' redevelopment it's just crazy for a city of it size and demographics. If other cities in Michigan can do half as well as GR we'll be pretty well off. Thats why I often turn to Grand Rapids to see Lansing's future, and Detroit can hopefully realize the same success, only on a larger scale. Also, I don't think Detroit's neighborhoods will ever fully recover, some will, some won't. But downtown should be able to recover in a respectable amount of time, as long as large important buildings aren't razed for parking lots.

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Not to get too off subject, but I think Grand Rapids' growth is impressive, but maybe not as impressive as some here for the simple fact that it never fell as far. I find downtown Detroit's rebirth (Woodward, Washington, RenCen) to be far more impressive considering where it has come from in just 5 short years. I don't mean this as a slight to GR, but when you start further along the track to begin with it should be expected that their revitalization efforts would be ahead of Detroit, especially considering that the city has fallen further than almost any other large city in America, and has MUCH more space to recapture and get back up and running.

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Not to get too off subject, but I think Grand Rapids' growth is impressive, but maybe not as impressive as some here for the simple fact that it never fell as far. I find downtown Detroit's rebirth (Woodward, Washington, RenCen) to be far more impressive considering where it has come from in just 5 short years. I don't mean this as a slight to GR, but when you start further along the track to begin with it should be expected that their revitalization efforts would be ahead of Detroit, especially considering that the city has fallen further than almost any other large city in America, and has MUCH more space to recapture and get back up and running.

Sorry, LMichigan, I wasn't trying to say that GR's redevelpment was better than Detroit's. I was just making an analogy that if Grand Rapids continues to get good press for its progress, it might get some of Metro Detroit's business leaders to step up. It's the way I feel when I hear good news out of Kalamazoo (Kzoo Promise and a downtown movie theatre). It drives me CRAZY, and pushes me to want more out of GR. I've got to believe city and business leaders in GR feel the same way, and I think Detroit's would also feel the same.

But I might be getting off-topic from the NY Times article :dontknow:

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Actually, that was more directed at Hood than anyone else. There is no need to apologize for anything. With that said, though, there are some key projects going on in most of Michigan's downtowns at the moment. We actually always have a knack at underestimating ourselves.

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They put up a new sign with lights on 1520 Woodward. Super Bowl banners are going up all over the place. Construction fences are getting decorative treatments. Even the Park Avenue Building has some fancy new green plywood installed - I saw the owner and waved to him, but I didn't have time to stop & talk.

Up in the Cass Corridor that one story building that burned a few months ago is getting demolished. I think it was a car dealership originally in the 1920s, but I don't know for sure.

Driving has gotten rather chaotic during the day (In other words, it feels like a real downtown for once). Michigan Avenue is now closed from Campus Martius to Griswold, and they are putting up one of the big tents for the winter blast.

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Driving has gotten rather chaotic during the day (In other words, it feels like a real downtown for once). Michigan Avenue is now closed from Campus Martius to Griswold, and they are putting up one of the big tents for the winter blast.

I was up high in the Penobscot this morning, checking out some potential office space, and downtown looked like it was thriving during the lunch rush hour. From the 31st floor, the foot traffic and street traffic resembled that of the 50's photos that we've seen posted on here (not the chaotic traffic times of the 20's or 30's though).

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Yes, even though it's been a bit cold as of late, it's been great to walk around downtown during lunch.

In addition to what Allan mentioned, I saw that they were repaving some of the sidewalk on the Michigan side of the Lafayette building.

Many of the chain link fencing around construction sites/demolished lots now have colorful banners on them, though not all of them are what I'd call attractive.

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The sidewalk in front of 30 Clifford was also being replaced today. Also, they were installing the glass on the first floor of 1403 Woodward.

The rate at which things are occuring is nothing short of miraculous. The final push to get things done has begun!

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My friends and I went inside 1403 Woodward, we were so excited when the open space wound around the back, we thought we'd find a stairway up, but we didn't. Oh well.

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