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For The First Time In Ages, The Outlook Is Optimistic In Detroit

A revived real estate market is largely built on optimism — business, consumer and investor optimism. It is a feeling that has returned to the Detroit real estate market, according to some heavy hitters in the industry.

Gensler Detroit Managing Director John Waller

Gensler Detroit Managing Director John Waller said he is optimistic about the market — emphatically so, in fact.

"From the Gensler Detroit perspective, the city is in a rising phase. While we experience highs and lows, we aren't peaking nor are we bottoming in the diversity of opportunities Downtown and in our neighborhoods," he said. 

He said the recent opening of the Randolph Career Technical Center is one example of Detroit rising. Gensler designed the facility, working closely with Randolph, the mayor's office, Detroit Public Schools, DTE Energy, Barton Malow.

"It took all of us to be successful. The results show how powerful we can be when we come together," Waller said. "A city is only as strong as its neighborhoods. It’s a quote sitting on my desk and reminds me that our future as a city is in our collective hands. The city, the corporations, the nonprofits, the designers, the people — this is our city and it’s our responsibility to make a difference."

The Platform President and CEO Dietrich Knoer

The Platform LLC President and CEO Dietrich Knoer is also optimistic about Detroit’s future.

"We have political leadership with passion for our city, the economic base continues to grow and diversify, and millennials and empty nesters seeking an urban lifestyle are driving migration into the city."

Also, he said, demand for space in all sectors of real estate continues to outweigh supply, creating a robust development market that Detroit has not seen in decades. Moreover, Detroit’s rich history and culture is being noticed once again by tourists from around the country and the world.  

"The Platform seeks to participate in this overall resurgence, with a particular focus on Detroit’s neighborhoods, by pursuing inclusive growth, preserving existing structures where possible, and building communities," Knoer said.

"All real estate markets experience cyclicality, and Detroit will be no different. However, we believe the current momentum will remain strong and our immediate outlook is positive." 

Find out more about the temper of the Detroit market at Bisnow's first-ever Detroit State of the Market event, which will be Sept. 21 at the Max M. & Marjorie S. Fisher Music Center. Both Waller and Knoer will be speakers, along with other industry experts.