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What a festive night as throngs gathered at Campus Martius in Downtown Detroit for the the lighting of the city Christmas tree and the official opening of the skating rink.

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  1. #1
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    Default Is Dan Gilbert the person to bring the biggest and fastest positive changes?

    Allow me to preface this by saying that I'm in no way related to Dan Gilbert, or even work for him in any way.

    With that in mind, I saw him this evening standing right outside the Compuware building near the attached parking garage all by himself; in a sport coat, with a black backpack, and a Cleveland Cavaliers lanyard. No entourage, no fanfare.

    The sight of that made me think about recent individuals, business leaders, elected officials and just about anyone making honest attempts to bring the city back to prominence.

    For some reason, I can't think of any names that has done more than Dan Gilbert in terms of raw numbers and speed. Just this week, we hear news that Title Source will be gradually moving 1500 employees to downtown Detroit. Within just a short 2-3 years, his portfolio of companies, including Quicken Loans, have brought many thousands of people to work in Downtown Detroit. It wouldn't surprise me that quite a few of those folks ended up living in Downtown Detroit as well.

    Please share your thoughts on the merits of individuals who are making a tangible difference in Detroit.
    Last edited by darwinism; July-26-12 at 11:27 PM.

  2. #2
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    I would say you are correct with Dan Gilbert. I can tell you living further north until september (Saginaw to be exact) people outside of the city actually like Mayor Bing. I don't know if it is because Kwame was so bad or what..but people have a feeling he is more professional. Duggan definitely comes to mind, the DMC has/is doing a lot and has future plans for the city. He also bought a home in Palmer Woods. Sue Mosey is incredibly impressive. She has done so much for Midtown with limited funds. I wish she could be elected to office. For better or worse, the Ilitches...just look at the FOX now. I am sure there are plenty more, those are just the people I see mentioned in the news.

    Oh and of course, Joan Watson-Woman of the Year. (LOL jk).

  3. #3
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    Dan Gilbert is the person bringing the biggest and fastest positive changes.

  4. #4
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    Ummm... No, "he didn't build that."

    Maybe it was the taxpayers who gave him $200 million of tax incentives, subsidies and other gimmes that are the ones responsible.

  5. #5
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    Yes, I'd say most definitely, although Illitch's impact on the city (Fox Theater restoration, Olympia Entertainment, Hockeytown, Comerica Park, Motor City Casino, etc.) is definitely more visible in brick and mortar terms. You also can't deny the economic impact that that Illitch has had over the years, although he's had a much longer timeline than Gilbert has.

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by Packman41 View Post
    Ummm... No, "he didn't build that."

    Maybe it was the taxpayers who gave him $200 million of tax incentives, subsidies and other gimmes that are the ones responsible.
    LOL, very true and great point!

  7. #7
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    The biggest change has to be Karmanos, he has actually put people into a dead part of downtown. He built and reconfigured the area to be more attractive.

    Gilbert built on this, and has been running like a bull in a china shop, but without Karmonos' original vision (and his extra square footage) Gilbert would have had little to build upon.

    That and year the tax payers who assumed the tax liabilities for all of the millionaires to come in and get tax abatements.

  8. #8
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    In Idaho, 1,530 new businesses came to the state last year to do business. Half of them were manufacturers and food processors.

    "Idaho isn't a big check state. We're not writing big incentives to bring these businesses in," said Jeffery Sayer, director with Idaho's department of commerce.

    Utah has added 5,231 manufacturing-related jobs since 2011. "That's not bad for a small state with 113,000 people working in manufacturing," he said.

    http://money.cnn.com/2012/02/23/smal...e=yahoo_hosted

    Neither one of those states paid $200 million to accomplish even more,they just simply provided a business friendly atmosphere.

    To me personally no matter what Mr. Gilbert does it would be all in vain if it was not for the ones that really represent the spirit of Detroit and excuse me but I suck at remembering names.

    The groups of homeowners that band together in places like Corktown,Midtown, even the single little guy that is still trying to hang on making a difference in a neighborhood that has a few houses left.

    The group and citizens that worked so hard at bringing changes through the new charter.

    The guy that the bricks fell through his ceiling from the building next door .

    Places like Russel center ,the couple that are rehabbing the apartments one by one,the community garden groups ,the building that Lowell moved to,Lowell for providing us with a venue to even discuss change.and countless more that should be given kudos daily for scratching,biting and clawing their way up to make a difference,to me they are the real Detroit and the reason it will succeed and be strong again.

    You will have to excuse me and I mean no disrespect when I find it difficult to place someone on a pedestal that receives $200 million to do exactly what the mayor and city council are getting paid to do anyways.

    But I guess it is what it is and after the new year it will all start changing for the better ,I am looking forward to that time.

  9. #9
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    Gilbert is bringing change, while still lining his pockets as well.

  10. #10
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    So, there is something wrong with making money? He can make money here, like Illitch and Karmanos, while also improving the overall business climate in downtown/midtown it will lead to others...it's a progressive trend.

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by Richard View Post
    You will have to excuse me and I mean no disrespect when I find it difficult to place someone on a pedestal that receives $200 million to do exactly what the mayor and city council are getting paid to do anyways.
    Let's break down the numbers and think a little deeper about the statement above .....

    We have had mayors after mayors, city councils after councils; disgrace after disgrace, incompetence after incompetence ..... how many millions of dollars are those worth ?

    Gilbert is not the only wealthy person in this neck of the woods, anybody with a deep pocket can choose to accept the tax incentives and get to work making things happen. Yet, year after year, decade after decade, nobody steps up.

    I'm sure we are all good at playing Monday quarterback after-the-fact. But at the end of the day, we are stacking up stats that are very impressive indeed ..... timeframe=2-3 years, cost to taxpayers=$200 Million.

  12. #12
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    "Is Dan Gilbert the person to bring the biggest and fastest positive changes?"

    Now that I think about it it was Hank the Duece that trumps all of these guys. Of course his positive changes also came with a lot of negative effects. Lets hope this isn't repeated.

  13. #13
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    Mike Illitch gets a lot of criticism on this board, but he took THE huge step towards revitalizing downtown by moving the HQ of his world class corporation to the Fox Theater Building and restoring the theater itself. He did that in the late 80s, when downtown was a much different place. It was before Mayor Archer, Karmanos/Compuware, Ford Field, Comerica Park, the Casinos, the Campus Martius restoration, GM taking over the Ren Cen, etc. No one really "paved the way" for him, the way he did for Karmanos and Gilbert. The fact that he was able to relocate his company downtown, retain a skilled workforce, continue to have corporate success, etc., made it a less risky prospect for those who came after.

    I lived in the Fyfe Apartments from 1989 until 1992, so I got a good look at the way things were then, and how they are now.

    I like what Gilbert is doing, but the downtown he is moving to is a much more inviting place than it was in the late 80s.

  14. #14
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    hopefully gilbert's small-business incubators will bear fruit in the next couple of years.. hopefully DPS and other local schools are looking to have some kind of relationship with his operations; encouraging urban (minority) entrepreneurship..

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    I'd say Gilbert is the latest in a line of people who take civic pride, and move their business interests downtown. Like someone said before, Illitch took a big gamble in the 80's, but I would also include Chuck Forbes in that group.

    Without these pioneers, I'm not so sure we would have had the likes of Karmanos, GM, DTE, Blue Cross, and Gilbert following.

  16. #16
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    In raw numbers of bringing people to work in downtown Detroit, yes he has done the most of any single business owner in probably the past half century.

    But... what has truly changed in Detroit? The city still seems to have mostly all of the same flaws that it did 10, 20 or 30 years ago, only now a bit more obvious.

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by iheartthed View Post
    In raw numbers of bringing people to work in downtown Detroit, yes he has done the most of any single business owner in probably the past half century.
    Probably the most since GM moved, but they were already in the city in New Center. Gilbert is moving companies in from the suburbs.

  18. #18
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    Dan Gilbert is a venture capitalist. He sought that Downtown Detroit would be a real estate gold mine to lure exotic businesses there and increase jobs and regional growth just like Peter Karmanos and Mike Illitch. Glibert is doing an excellent jobs bringing businesses in Downtown Detroit while Detroit City government is failing financially and its neighborhoods declining. Once he complete his first phase of regional growth, then he would spread out into other Detroit outskirts and promises those residents a better community.

    He knows that Detroit needs help rather than going to protesters in front of the Spirit of Detroit Statue.

    WORD FROM THE STREET PROPHET


    For Trayvon Martin, George Stinney, Rodney King, Guy Fawkes, Neda and the 99 percenters.
    Last edited by Danny; July-30-12 at 10:20 AM.

  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by gameguy56 View Post
    Probably the most since GM moved, but they were already in the city in New Center. Gilbert is moving companies in from the suburbs.
    I think Gilbert's headcount is 6,500 workers, right? I thought GM only brought about 3,000 downtown?

  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by iheartthed View Post
    I think Gilbert's headcount is 6,500 workers, right? I thought GM only brought about 3,000 downtown?
    GM moved to the RenCen to centralize all of its management staff. This means folks were brought in from Lansing, Flint, and Warren where Oldsmobile, Buick, and Chevrolet still had independant operating offices. Its was more than just simply moving jobs from the Boulevard to Jefferson Ave. However, it was still a cost cutting move as once they were all together many layers of duplication could be removed. It was a net loss for the State, a net gain for Detroit. Then of course GM had a bit of trouble in 2007.......

    Moving jobs from the suburbs to the city is nothing more than a game of shuffling buildings, but on a grander scale. This does not grow our City or the region, it just re-arranges the deck chairs on the titanic. What really needs to happen is for this region to embrace inovation once again. Innovation will bring jobs faster than increasing a company's bottom line by having the bean counters cut jobs to increase profits.

    Gilbert is both an innovator and re-arranging the deck chairs on the titanic.

  21. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by DetroitPlanner View Post
    GM moved to the RenCen to centralize all of its management staff. This means folks were brought in from Lansing, Flint, and Warren where Oldsmobile, Buick, and Chevrolet still had independant operating offices. Its was more than just simply moving jobs from the Boulevard to Jefferson Ave. However, it was still a cost cutting move as once they were all together many layers of duplication could be removed. It was a net loss for the State, a net gain for Detroit. Then of course GM had a bit of trouble in 2007.......

    Moving jobs from the suburbs to the city is nothing more than a game of shuffling buildings, but on a grander scale. This does not grow our City or the region, it just re-arranges the deck chairs on the titanic. What really needs to happen is for this region to embrace inovation once again. Innovation will bring jobs faster than increasing a company's bottom line by having the bean counters cut jobs to increase profits.

    Gilbert is both an innovator and re-arranging the deck chairs on the titanic.
    I don't agree that a job in a isolated suburban office park contributes to the local economy in the same way that one in the region's center does.

  22. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by iheartthed View Post
    I don't agree that a job in a isolated suburban office park contributes to the local economy in the same way that one in the region's center does.
    We are all part of the same economic system. Whether you work in a factory in Detroit or a Office in Birmingham you are bringing money into the region. Where one goes to spend the money is a different thing all together. Its not like people who work downtown are spending all of their dollars downtown, but they will spend some. If they spent more, then we would have a lot more stores here. They don't spend retail dollars here regardless of where the job is located. Detroit however does capture some money from those who work outside of it who come to town for events or gambling.

  23. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by DetroitPlanner View Post
    We are all part of the same economic system. Whether you work in a factory in Detroit or a Office in Birmingham you are bringing money into the region. Where one goes to spend the money is a different thing all together. Its not like people who work downtown are spending all of their dollars downtown, but they will spend some. If they spent more, then we would have a lot more stores here. They don't spend retail dollars here regardless of where the job is located. Detroit however does capture some money from those who work outside of it who come to town for events or gambling.
    I still don't view it as the same. A person who works downtown is probably, on average, supporting far more small businesses than a person who works in an isolated office park in random generic suburb. To be fair, I also do draw a distinction between someone working in downtown Birmingham or downtown Ann Arbor versus random Southfield or Troy office park.

  24. #24
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    I'm not going to skewer a guy who's been able to do what he's done in the past 2-3 years downtown. He's not worth as much money as he is because he wanted to help out communities. He's a businessman and he's in it to make money. Pure and simple. He's also been able to do a lot of good things in downtown, which is more than most business people who are willing to rape and pillage a town for all its worth just to add to their bottom line. Yea, he got $200M in tax subsides. So what? You're telling me you wouldn't take or lobby for them if you were in his position? I think not. I think what he's doing and hopefully will continue to do will far outweigh those costs.

  25. #25
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    Quote Originally Posted by mikeg19 View Post
    He's a businessman and he's in it to make money. Pure and simple. He's also been able to do a lot of good things in downtown
    A lot of times people see making money and doing good as two mutually exclusive ideas, but they don't have to be. Some of the most successful companies are ones that seek to make a profit while doing something good. Method is an example of a company like that (http://www.forbes.com/sites/amyweste...ny-in-america/)

    Just because Gilbert stands to profit from Detroit's turn around doesn't make his efforts to turn around Detroit any less significant.

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