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Downtown Detroit Stages a Rally

Like its beloved baseball team, downtown Detroit is on an upswing, writes Bill Morris. The area's rise as a desirable neighborhood can be attributed in no small part to new sports facilities located in close proximity.
October 20, 2012, 9am PDT | Jonathan Nettler | @nettsj
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For the hundreds of thousands who fled the city of Detroit for its suburbs in the later half of the 20th century, a trip downtown would likely be for one of two things - to go to work or attend a sporting event. Now, says Morris, "[t]he reverse exodus has become so pronounced that downtown Detroit can now be fairly accused of imitating such desirable New York addresses as Chelsea or TriBeCa. Yes, it's gotten so bad - or good - that it's now nearly impossible to find a vacant apartment to rent in downtown Detroit."

An army of (mostly) young people, like Mandy Davenport, are flocking to downtown for the benefits of city living. "'The only thing I used to know about downtown Detroit was Tigers games,' says Davenport, 30, who moved from tiny Williamston, near Lansing, about six weeks ago to take a job as office manager in the Broderick Tower, an elegant 34-story tower on Woodward Avenue that is being converted into luxury apartments. 'My friends in California told me I was stupid to move here, I'm going to get killed. Frankly, I thought it was going to be scarier. There's a lot to do - bars, restaurants, concerts, games, the Eastern Market. It's a lot of young people, people moving in from the suburbs. A lot of people want to walk to work.'"

For Morris, the most valuable players in the area's comeback are the city's sports franchises, who built new facilities in the city, and business leaders, who moved their headquarters downtown. 

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Published on Thursday, October 18, 2012 in The New York Times
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