Amy Schneider, P.E. Project Manager
As Board members of CREW (Commercial Real Estate Women’s Network), Sheila Suppes, CREW President, and I had the pleasure of attending the CoreNet Michigan 2015 Economic Forecast meeting last week, which provided a great snapshot of real estate and construction in the metropolitan Detroit area.
Bottom line of the meeting: Michigan IS Detroit and Detroit is in a global spotlight. All of us need to recognize this and create our own opportunities to shine there. The city is transforming – take a drive down Woodward Avenue to see it. Businesses are committing and recommitting to long-term leases and more and more people, especially younger people, want to live in the city.
Speakers recognized that there is still lots left to do in Detroit. The city is approximately 137-square-miles and the development activity is largely limited to 7 square-miles in Midtown and downtown. The other 130-square-miles need to be addressed. Schools need to be improved. Neighborhoods need to be cleaned up and made safe. Mass transit needs to be expanded and improved. The M1 line is a great start within the heart of the city, but it’s just a three mile run. More businesses need to be attracted to town and more people, people with jobs and disposable income, need to be attracted and wooed.
But that didn’t stop the enthusiasm about the good things that are already happening in the city. The CoreNet panel was comprised of four people actively and enthusiastically involved in Detroit – Matt Cullen, President and CEO of Rock Ventures, Roderick Miller, President and CEO of Detroit Economic Growth Corporation, Sam Munaco, President of Advocate Commercial Real Estate Advisors, and Bob Riney, President and COO of Henry Ford Health Systems (HFHS).
Cullen said that Rock Ventures is focusing on four key priorities in 2015 – rail, residential, retail and intervention at the neighborhood level. Riney said that HFHS is set to announce a 300-acre development adjacent to the Henry Ford Hospital campus that will provide opportunities for people to stay, shop and eat near the hospital.
“The discussion left little doubt that the panelists agree that Detroit is not only on the verge of but in the midst of a boom and that new opportunities are there for everyone,” said Sheila Suppes following the meeting. “It was exciting to hear the discussion and it’s exciting to be part of this new Detroit. It gives our CREW members a lot to think about. 2015 should be a great year for our businesses.”
I agree. I can’t think of a better place to be in the real estate or construction business in 2015. Detroit is on a roll and we all have an opportunity to be part of it!
*In addition to her role as CREW president, Sheila Suppes is director of business development & marketing at Sachse Construction in Detroit.