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Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Opportunity Knocks!

Opportunity knocks in many place, including Detroit and Rogers City.  Here is a great article by Daniel Howes from the Detroit News.
April 10, 2012 at 8:32 am

Opportunity knocks loudly in Detroit

It takes a keen understanding of the word "opportunity" to follow state intervention into Detroit's bleak financial affairs with a play for Silicon Valley hotshots.
But that's what Dan Gilbert's Quicken Loans Inc. and his family of companies are doing with their unambiguous effort Monday to woo to Detroit some of the 2,000 soon-to-be-former employees of Yahoo Inc., the flailing Internet company laying off employees in a desperate search to find its way.
Is Gilbert crazy or smart?
The latter, without question. Because as much as the city's widely chronicled financial collapse into a consent agreement with Gov. Rick Snyder and the state Treasury Department is a cautionary tale about Detroit's deep dysfunction, it's also evidence that a long-impenetrable wall of denial is beginning to crumble under the weight of financial reality.
And that's more good than bad — as much as the city's heads-in-the-sand crowd and suburbia's they'll-never-fix-it cynics may refuse to acknowledge it. Detroit is poised to unwind decades of bad management, unnecessary costs, uncompetitive functions and redundant departments, and key leaders are betting they'll get more right than wrong in the months and years ahead.
Gilbert is not alone. Along the spine of downtown, a growing cadre of for-profit and nonprofit leaders — and outsiders, more importantly — is seeing opportunity in Detroit and showing it by doubling down on a place many of its own people have abandoned and given up for dead.
Maybe the homers resigned to the alleged inevitability of collapse don't know opportunity, at least one of the business kind, when it's right in front of them. Automakers led by outsiders with no previous connections to the city or the companies they head are adding shifts, consolidating staff in the city where appropriate and targeting charitable giving, and Chrysler Group LLC is poised to open its own downtown office.
Gilbert's effort to assemble a high-tech hub in his expanding real estate empire along Woodward Avenue is unspooling steadily despite the city's fiscal troubles, the latest coup being a Detroit office for the microblogging site Twitter. GalaxE Solutions Inc., a New Jersey-based information technology services firm, is spearheading an "Outsource to Detroit" initiative.
Tennessee-based Vanguard Health Systems is investing nearly $1 billion in the Detroit Medical Center, sitting as it does smack in the middle of the poorest major city in the United States. Remarkable, that, in a shrinking city with unemployment more than twice the national average, but even more so coming from a for-profit health care company.
The Detroit Symphony Orchestra, ensconced in an enviable complex across Woodward from the DMC, endured a lengthy strike that culminated in a sharply different business model better suited to current economic reality. The Detroit Institute of Arts reinterpreted its holdings in a bid to become more interactive and responsive to the community.
The College for Creative Studies expanded its mission, repurposing General Motors Corp.'s old Argonaut Building in a way that connects the city's past with its present and future. And Wayne State University is enhancing its residential space and embracing its neighborhood in ways it hasn't before.
One net result: The supply of Class-A rental space downtown is struggling to keep pace with accelerating demand, and demand so far appears to be relatively undeterred by the critical financial problems causing gridlock in City Hall.
Why? Because the people making the decisions to invest, to expand and to live where they work, despite some well-known inconveniences, are coming to the conclusion that opportunity in Detroit outweighs the risk. More than a few old hands would declare them nuts, given the city's history of violent crime and poor service delivery, but few promising opportunities come without risk.
(313) 222-2106
Daniel Howes’ column runs Tuesdays, Thursdays and Fridays.

From The Detroit News: http://www.detroitnews.com/article/20120410/OPINION03/204100324#ixzz1rksMDarD

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