whatever he could do to help Detroit, he would.
“One thing we need for Detroiters right now are job opportunities. Jobs that you have a high school degree, and you are willing to work hard and learn some new skills and raise your standard of living,” Duggan said. “The apparel industry has enormous potential.”
The idea is to grow the companies that have already started out and bring in more to lead to “good paying jobs,” which Duggan added is “what we need in Detroit.”
“Now we’ve got an apparel, fashion, luxury strategy, and we’re going to keep on trying to add different sectors of jobs in the city,” Duggan said.
Both Aronsson and Duggan said the concept includes a concentrated campus where multiple businesses would be located together. Figures on the anticipated investment and job creation are still being worked out.
Among the city-based companies Aronsson plans to partner with are Detroit Denim Co. and Detroit Vs Everybody, which is already part of his steering committee, he said.
Aronsson, who went to the University of Michigan and Wayne State University, currently is based in New York. He intends to add an additional residence in Detroit.
Separately, Duggan on Thursday talked about the competitive effort to get a proposal to Amazon, which is looking for a North American city to build its massive second headquarters. The deadline for submissions is Oct. 19.
Duggan said billionaire investor Dan Gilbert is leading the effort that’s engaging state and regional partners for a bid committee including Gov. Rick Snyder, Wayne County Executive Warren Evans, Oakland County Executive L. Brooks Patterson and others.
“We’ve got five weeks. We’re going to try and draw on all the talents across this community to put together a proposal,” Duggan told reporters after his address. “We’re up against really tough competition from really good cities.”
In his Thursday pitch to a crowd of expats, Duggan touted the implementation of 65,000 new LED streetlights, improved bus services, the demolition of blighted homes and some 5,000 additional housing units in the city.
The mayor also stressed the need for “intense” neighborhood and commercial redevelopment, reiterating his strategy for “20 minute neighborhoods” to provide nearby residents with close, walkable access to grocery stores and other amenities.
Duggan noted progress in several areas under Detroit’s Strategic Neighborhood Fund, a philanthropic partnership that aims to transform vacant homes, empty lots and storefronts. It’s now being expanded, he said, to seven additional areas.
The Thursday talk comes amid more positive news for the city: the latest U.S. Census Bureau figures were released, showing poverty went down last year in Detroit and incomes rose. The income increase was the first significant gain in the city since the 2000 census.
Duggan, however, said he knows there’s more work to do. Among the areas of concern are the city’s public schools. The mayor was hopeful about the district’s changing leadership and its programs to improve opportunities.
“If you look at where we’ve come in four years, we need the schools to make the same progress over the next four years,” he said.
This year’s homecoming kicked off Wednesday night and features more than 230 expatriates seeking to explore business opportunities in Detroit. More than $300 million has been invested in city projects and businesses since the program launched in 2014, organizers said. stains, if at all? We’re about to find out. “This is a no-lose proposition for southeast Michigan,” says Baruah of the Chamber. “Best case is we prevail under some very heavy competition. Even if we don’t win, but come close. It’s still a win for us. We learn how to do this well.”
Whatever happens, business and political leaders arguably are more aligned around the economic way forward than any time in decades. The Democratic mayor of Detroit and the Republican governor coalesce around common problems, and more often than not so do their respective lawmakers.
Business leaders are more predisposed to dig into civic problems, with a dozen or so of their top leaders coming together in a new, still-unnamed group to champion reform. For the first time in a decade or more, Detroit’s automakers are led by longtime Michiganders — Mary Barra at General Motors Co. and Bill Ford and Jim Hackett at Ford.
None of that is enough to guarantee success in the campaign for Amazon. But it should give southeast Michigan a chance to earn a win that could change its economic trajectory.