Coming back from bankruptcy: How Detroit is reaching economic stability

by Dan Rafter

Economic stability. When Detroit declared Chapter 9 bankruptcy in July of 2013, getting to a stable, steady economy was the goal.

And according to the latest research from JLL, it looks like Detroit is enjoying that right now.

What has led Detroit to stability following what was the largest municipal bankruptcy filing in the United States? JLL says that it’s a combination of new office and residential development and investment in the city’s downtown.

According to JLL’s report, the downtown Detroit population has increased, rising 3.1 percent since 2000. JLL says that downtown Detroit’s residential population 37,700 in 2017, up from 32,900 in 2010. A hefty percentage — 32 percent — of these downtown residents are Millennials, many of them living in downtown multifamily buildings close to their jobs.

Thanks to the growing population, downtown Detroit is now seeing a boom in multifamily construction. JLL says that developers now have an estimated 8,000 apartment units either under construction or in the planning stages.

This population is also inspiring more companies to set up offices in downtown Detroit. JLL reports that in 2016 27 office tenants either moved to downtown Detroit or signed new leases to remain in the center of the city. Some big companies opening offices in downtown Detroit include Amazon, Fifth Third Bank, Lear Corporation, Microsoft and International Bancard. Big companies either signing new leases downtown or expanding their office space there include Ally Financial, Miller Canfield and Plante Moran.

The good news is that investors are again sinking their dollars into downtown Detroit, helping to spur even more development in the center of the city. JLL reports that from 2012 through 2016, 43 investment projects worth $1.2 billion were completed in the center of the city. An additional 40 investment projects worth $2.5 billion are now under construction, while 33 projects worth $2.9 billion are in the planning stages.

A good chunk of these projects — 70 — are residential, while 28 more are in the office sector. But investors have sunk their dollars into hotel, entertainment, retail, education and infrastructure projects, too.

No one would argue that downtown Detroit and the city as a whole doesn’t still face significant hurdles. But JLL’s report provides more evidence that this key Midwest city has turned a corner.

As JLL says in its report, “Detroit is rebranding itself as a hub of innovation and entrepreneurialism. Start-ups are flocking here.”

That’s good news.

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This entry was posted in Detroit commercial real estate, Michigan commercial real estate, multi-family, office and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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