Field of Dreams

after spending some quality time downtown over the weekend, it was impossible not to notice all the cranes on the horizon and the development of new buildings (not to mention the redevelopment of old ones)… walking down Washington i took a look at the construction they’re doing on the Book-Cadillac, which is just one of 4 or 5 new hotels coming to the D… over in Brush Park they’re putting up the Garden Lofts rather quickly, which is just one of the dozens of lofts and condos popping up near the downtown area… seeing all this development is very exciting… but in the back of my mind, i can’t help but wonder: where are all these people coming from???

what i mean by that is: “where are all the people who are supposed to stay in these hotels coming from!?!?” and also, “where are all the people who are supposed to live in these lofts coming from!??!”… it’s almost like everyone has just recently watched “Field of Dreams”… “If you build it, they will come”… Detroit is a popular gamble these days, a gamble i took when i bought my own loft in Midtown… now, i don’t claim to know much about urban development, but i always figured that you built stuff to meet a need or at least to meet a strong desire…

is there a need for more hotels downtown??? an article from the Detroit News by Louis Aguilar stated that Detroit hotels filled only 56% of their rooms last year, the lowest of the top 25 major cities in the US… why on earth then, are they building more??? the News article stated that having more hotel space could possibly bring in more convention business, but could also possibly just eventually lead to more closed down buildings in the D (the failed hotels)… of course i hope for the former, but it’s an interesting conundrum…

what about the condos??? is the amount of loft/condo development in the D equal to the amount of those wanting to live downtown??? i actually think that the answer to that question is “yes”… however, the cost of these lofts is a bit too high in my opinion… too high for still having to go to the suburbs to get what you need all while still having to worry about safety at night… i totally want to live downtown, but our next space has got to be 3 bedrooms and if i want that, i’m gonna have to shell out at least 250K and i don’t know if we can pull that off… so while i believe that a lot of people do actually want to live in Downtown/Midtown, i don’t know how many can afford it, are willing to take the risk or are willing to forego the comforts of suburia…

Detroit is a Field of Dreams for many… let’s hope all our dreams come true…

3 Comments so far

  1. Girl in the D (unregistered) on August 1st, 2006 @ 11:16 am

    This New York Times story about Kimball Homes’ expansion into urban markets (including one project in Detroit) to fill the need for affordable, urban housing may interest you:

  2. Mollika* (unregistered) on August 1st, 2006 @ 2:33 pm

    My theory – people are builing now to stake their ground. It is probably cheaper to build now and maintain hotels in anticipation of future growth, than to build in an already thriving city. I am sure that the hotel owners will do their part to create demand to make sure their investments will pay for themselves be it through advertisin, sponsoring events, or hosting conferences.

  3. max (unregistered) on August 1st, 2006 @ 3:17 pm

    i’m taking my “i’m such a badass that i vacation in Detroit” t-shirt to the dry cleaners as soon as i finish typing this…but then the fact that i have t-shirts dry cleaned instantly trumps my bad-ass-ness…never mind.

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