Blog: George W. Jackson

The Tigers are at bat in the American League Series, and it's no stretch to say the city of Detroit is going to bat for a variety of businesses. This week, George W. Jackson, CEO of the Detroit Economic Growth Corporation, discusses the city's investment, job numbers, and its game plan for the Belleview site and extension of downtown's RiverWalk.

Post 1: Baseball Writers, Welcome Back!

The Detroit Tigers are playing postseason baseball for the first time since 2006, and since they are playing the New York Yankees in the first round, there's bound to be quite a bit of media attention for the series. It's also possible that there are sportswriters visiting Detroit who haven't been here since 2006. To all of those visitors, welcome back, because we've got a lot of new stuff to show you.

You probably are seeing a lot more people around. That's because thousands of new people have started coming to downtown Detroit to work. Some examples:

  • General Motors consolidated offices, bringing the number employed in its Renaissance Center headquarters to 4,400.
  • Quicken Loans has moved its headquarters downtown with its first phase of 1,700 employees.
  • Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan is moving 3,000 employees downtown.
  • GalaxE Solutions has hired about 150 people to date for its IT business.
But those are just our first inning hits. Since 2006, GM and Chrysler together have reinvested approximately $700 million in Detroit and Hamtramck assembly plants that build Chevrolet Volts and Jeep Grand Cherokees, among other vehicles.

Also in the same timeframe, DEGC has managed nearly $50 million in new construction. Some examples downtown or nearby:
  • The Rosa Parks Transit Center
  • Downtown streets and streetscapes
  • Capitol Park
  • Paradise Valley street and park improvements
  • The Dequindre Trail bike and pedestrian path
Other major projects:
  • The 457-room Westin Book Cadillac Hotel opened after a $190 million renovation and restoration that required 22 layers of financing.
  • Doubletree Guest Suites Fort Shelby opened as a business conference hotel with 200 suites and state of the art meeting amenities.
Brownfield incentives have supported $3.2 billion in potential investments in manufacturing, industrial, retail, commercial and residential redevelopment of blighted or obsolete properties – many of them vintage buildings.

DEGC-led business incentive and support programs have granted more than $6.5 million for energy conservation, creative enterprises and grocery store improvements through its targeted programs.

In this year alone, companies assisted by DEGC are investing $15 million in the city and have created or retained more than 400 jobs.

So don't be surprised if you hardly recognize us. We are still the Motor City – and a lot more. And don't expect to stay away as long next time. The Detroit Lions could be playing for the NFC Championship here on January 22, 2012. We'll leave a light on for you. It's no trouble because we are installing 500 high-efficiency LED streetlamps downtown between now and then.