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Not All The News About Detroit Is Bad

This Detroit store's neon sign sends a message.
Bill Pugliano
Getty Images
This Detroit store's neon sign sends a message.

Even as newscasts and newssites are using Detroit's bankruptcy filing to talk about Motown's "meltdown," we've found these stories:

-- "What Detroit Has Going For It." Brookings Institution fellow Jennifer Bradley tells The Washington Post that in the city's "downtown/midtown area, along the Woodward corridor spine ... there's a lot of good stuff happening."

"There's new small businesses, there's business incubators, there's a rental occupancy of 97 percent," she says. "There's Dan Gilbert investing a billion dollars in buying up these great old properties in the downtown, and repurposing them for small businesses and start-ups."

-- "For Detroit, This May Be A Real Comeback." MSN News writes that "described as the epitome of dire straits and decimated by financial ruin, the city is actually steeped in a promising revival. Really." The story continues:

"Quietly, while some have sounded its death knell, Detroit is beginning to make a comeback, aided by an diehard group of entrepreneurs who see the city as a potential tech hub and a cadre of investors who long to witness the bright lights (especially the traffic lights) shine over Detroit again. ... Leading the investment drive in Detroit is native son Dan Gilbert, who owns Quicken Loans and is worth $3.5 billion, according to Forbes. Gilbert has made it his mission in recent years to lead the city's revitalization efforts. So far, he's invested a staggering $1 billion, according to The New York Times, in downtown Detroit, purchasing and refurbishing real estate with the intentions of making it home to forward-thinking corporations and tech operations."

-- "City Benefits From Strength Of Orr's Preparation." Detroit Free Press columnist Stephen Henderson looks at the work done by the city's state-appointed emergency manager, Kevyn Orr, and writes:

"I was hopeful that bankruptcy could be avoided for Detroit. But I'm not fearful that it will alter the plan to put residents and services first — and, for the first time ever, move creditors and employees down on the priority list. Orr's presence here is costing us a fortune. And the people he's hiring — the consultants, the bankers, the lawyers, including from his former firm, Jones Day — are costing us even more. But when we get to bankruptcy court, the work they put in on this deal will begin to really show its value — and Detroit's future might really start to take shape."

-- "5 Reasons Not To Give Up On Detroit." MarketWatch takes a detour from the serious financial issues to focus more on cultural matters. Detroit, it declares, is 1) a great sports town; 2) a great music town (from The Supremes to Kid Rock and more); 3) home to "glorious, if often desolate, art deco high-rises; 4) a great party town; and 5) the place for "the best Greek food this side of Heraklion."

Copyright 2021 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Mark Memmott is NPR's supervising senior editor for Standards & Practices. In that role, he's a resource for NPR's journalists – helping them raise the right questions as they do their work and uphold the organization's standards.
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