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Neighborhoods Attractive To Millennials Will Grow Detroit’s Economy

Gensler's John Waller, The Platform's Dietrich Knoer and Arte Express's Fernando Palazuelo

If Detroit wants to attract more companies and jobs to downtown, city planners need to focus on creating livable, walkable neighborhoods where people in their 20s and 30s can afford to live. Talent is driving where companies locate, so if Detroit creates neighborhoods that attract young professionals, employers will follow, said John WallerGensler managing director and senior associate in the Detroit office, at Bisnow’s Detroit State of the Market event last week.

Gensler is advising the city on how to make this happen. With clients worldwide, Waller said Gensler can be bring a global perspective to Detroit’s redevelopment efforts.

“We are working with the city to bring lessons learned from around the world on creating affordable neighborhoods," he said.

He said this will take partnerships with the right developers and contractors willing to create projects with three or four types of mixed-income units.

Bedrock Vice President of Finance R.J. Wolney, Benzinga founder Jason Raznick and Colliers Executive Vice President Randall Book

Benzinga founder Jason Raznick said small businesses are critical to developing desirable neighborhoods. Benzinga is a financial news service focused on investors.

"Detroit is very industrious, very entrepreneurial — it’s amazing what people are doing with food, everything from ginger tea to jams," Raznick said.

He said there is a tremendous opportunity to create small-scale, local retail storefronts in neighborhoods.

Unlike national brands, neighborhood retail services do not compete with Amazon, and they are not going away, as people still like browsing in stores and handling items before they make a purchase, he said.

“It's important moving forward for us all to be engaged,” Raznick said. “You might not make the most money in a neighborhood, but it’s critical for all of us be creating affordable and desirable places to live in or adjacent to downtown.”

Related Topics: Jason Raznick