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'We're All In!' How These Billionaires Transformed A City And Lured People Back For The First Time In 70 Years

'We're All In!' How These Billionaires Transformed A City And Lured People Back For The First Time In 70 Years
'We're All In!' How These Billionaires Transformed A City And Lured People Back For The First Time In 70 Years

Detroit has had a rough ride over the past few decades. Once a booming industry hub, the city faced economic downturns, population loss, and eventually declared bankruptcy in 20. But things are changing, and Detroit is making a comeback.

For the first time in almost seventy years, new data by the US Census Bureau shows that Detroit's population actually increased last year. Young people are flocking to the city, attracted by its upscale condos and trendy restaurant scene. Today, Detroit looks nothing like the crime-ridden symbol of industrial decline it once was.

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While cities like Los Angeles and Chicago struggle with empty offices and slow recoveries post-pandemic, Detroit is seeing significant improvements, according to Bloomberg. Its resurgence is largely thanks to a small group of billionaires. Dan Gilbert, the Ford family of Ford Motor Co., and the Ilitch family, known for their Little Caesars pizza chain, have collectively invested billions into the city. They or their companies own about 70% of the downtown office space.

As Bloomberg writes, these billionaires didn’t just buy buildings; they filled them with their workers and attracted big-name employers like Amazon and Microsoft, who moved their offices from the suburbs to downtown Detroit.


And just this month, Ford opened Michigan Central Station, a once-abandoned train depot now transformed into a modern office shared with Google.

Detroit’s improving fortunes have also attracted real estate mogul Stephen Ross. Ross is a Detroit native, but he’s better known for his developments in New York and South Florida. Ross and the Ilitch family have plans for a massive $1.5 billion development that includes a University of Michigan graduate and technology campus as well as offices, accommodation and apartments.

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Talking of the Ilitch family, Mike and Marian Ilitch famously played a crucial role in revitalizing downtown Detroit. They bought and renovated the Fox Theatre and moved their company, Ilitch Holdings, to the newly revamped location. Mike also made a deal to get Comerica Park built for the family’s Detroit Tigers and opened a brand new Little Caesars Arena for hockey and basketball that replaced a relic of a building.

But no one has changed downtown Detroit more than Dan Gilbert. With a fortune of about $29.3 billion, he began his mission to revitalize Detroit in 2007. Back then, his mortgage company, Quicken Loans, was too big for its office in Livonia, a suburb of Detroit. So, he suggested moving his first 1,500 employees into rented office space downtown.

As the economy returned after the mortgage crisis, he bought real estate in Detroit. Many of the buildings were empty or needed significant repairs, allowing him to buy them for low prices. Plus, he paid in cash because banks weren’t willing to finance these deals anymore.

Gilbert's latest venture, Hudson's Detroit, will open next year. It will include an office building next to a 49-story skyscraper filled with shops, restaurants, a hotel and apartments. General Motors has already signed a 15-year lease for the building, ensuring it stays the only major car manufacturer based in the city.

Detroit’s story is one of resilience and transformation. Thanks to the dedication and investments of these billionaires, the city is experiencing a remarkable comeback. With continued development and a growing population, there is renewed hope and optimism for Detroit’s future.

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This article 'We're All In!' How These Billionaires Transformed A City And Lured People Back For The First Time In 70 Years originally appeared on Benzinga.com

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