I am writing this blog because I want to encourage all residents and workers in the Downtown, and nearby neighborhoods, to come out and support this effort. It is certainly not because of a love for Somerset – nor a desire to denigrate businesses that have already discovered the importance of locating in the city. Rather, it comes from my desire to show that retail in downtown will be supported! I remember former Mayor Archer saying that he finally realized, after attending a number of International Shopping Center conferences, that retail attraction can only come with employment and residential density downtown. Well – we appear to be on the cusp of that – with the recent moves of companies downtown, the tremendous development in Midtown, and the wonderful live local campaigns that have come under the umbrella of Midtown Inc. and Sue Mosey.
I need to take a moment to applaud those who have come first and are the vanguard of business – the salon pictured above that is at Merchant’s Row; Avalon Bakery; Bureau of urban Living; City Bird; Canine-to-Five; and many more. Let us build upon that throughout our city. While shopping is not one of my favorite pastimes, I will buy something this weekend and encourage my staff to do so as well.
As I was quoted in that same Free Press article, “A true downtown is defined by high concentrations of employment, a strong element of residential, restaurants, services and a reasonable mix of retail. To be a major city you need more than just a lot of residents, you need a downtown.” Many of us truly believe Detroit is a major city – we just need to fill in a few gaps.