The Cornerstone restaurant on Woodward is a great place to stop before a game or concert at Comerica Park.
A few of us gathered there a few days ago to discuss the future of downtown. Places like the Cornerstone may not be there for long. It could disappear just like Henry the Hatter and other venerable downtown establishments.
The good news is Dan Gilbert and his Bedrock group have spruced up downtown with billions in improvements. The bad news is rent is sky rocketing downtown and some places won’t be able to afford it and will be forced to close.
The little guy will lose out and the big guy with the big name will prosper.
That’s the way gentrification works.
The word in the streets is that places with Hollywood names and national resumes get rent or tax breaks to relocate downtown. Henry from down the street does not.
“I don’t know what downtown is going to look like in five years,” said my friend James. “It might not have that Detroit feel.”
One guy lived in a one bedroom apartment that was going for $1,500 a month. He’s been told that price is going up to $4,000 although he will get a little big more room.
One business woman told me that her building is not owned by Bedrock, but her rent is going to go up anyway.
“The thing I appreciate is that they said they are willing to work with me,” she said. “And they are trying to delay it for as long as possible.”
I am not supportive of a downtown run entirely by outsiders. There has to be room for those who stood by the city when it was a shit hole. They’ve sunk millions into their buildings and should prosper when the city becomes paved with gold.
There needs to room for Henry the Hatter and the Cornerstone just as there should be room for Nike and Under Armor.
I root more for the little guy because he is more likely to make Detroit great again than the big-time outsiders. But the little guy is being pushed out and we need to keep an eye out for that.
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