By on April 24, 2011

 

Ed and Bertel are spending this coming week in Detroit to talk to auto manufacturers.

First impression: I could get a nice fixer-upper in an up and coming neighborhood for a little more than the price of my ticket from Beijing to Detroit. Compared to Beijing prices, this is a steal.Second impression: When I asked the doorman of my hotel where the next cash machine is, a hotel shuttle drove me to it. The driver waited patiently until my business was conducted, then he drove me to the T-Mobile store for a cell phone refill. When I thanked him for the unusual courtesy, he answered: “We aren’t allowed to let our guests walk around here.”

If any Detroit area B&B want to get together, please let us know. Tuesday and Wednesday evenings look good on the calendar.

 

 

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32 Comments on “TTAC Imported To Detroit...”


  • avatar

    Just 2 weeks after the SAE Congress and you could have received press passes.  It would have been good to hear your comments.

  • avatar
    Dr. Kenneth Noisewater

    How much in property tax would you be paying on that fixer-upper?  Or, to put it another way, how frequently would you be “re-buying” that house from the State?

    There’s _reasons_ why Detroit is a shitty place.

  • avatar
    MBella

    First of all, you can buy a fixer upper for a lot less than your plane ticket from Beijing, although the neighborhood might not be so up and coming.

    Second, I would be probably be game again. If I have a say though, I would recommend the suburbs this time. I assume you will be at Chrysler headquarters at some point over your visit, so maybe after that somewhere in the Auburn Hills, Rochester areas.

    • 0 avatar
      joe_thousandaire

      Auburn Hills is a very nice area, also further north on M24 there is Oxford and Lake Orion, very attractive communities. St. Claire Shores is a good spot too, cheap waterfront homes – even an excellent yacht club. I’m sure there are several thousand Detroit-area realtors who’d love to show you around.

  • avatar
    the duke

    In which case I recommend Ann Arbor, 40 min west, as it has a nice downtown with some good restaruants.  And since I live here it means I wouldn’t have to hike to Detroit.  I could do Tues or Wed. evening – I’ll send an email.

  • avatar
    Da Coyote

    Actually, Detroit has a golden opportunity with all that uninhabited area – they could offer extremely low taxes, etc to entice entrepreneurs to move in and start businesses.

    Oh, forgot.  They’re infected by metastasized progressives.

    The only cure is massive radiation, extraction, and burning.

    Then those with creativity and talent can rebuild the city.

    It can be done.  Find your local liberal and union member and start now.

    Be careful, zombies can kill and reproduce.

    • 0 avatar

      Most entrepreneurs today require an educated workforce.  You think a software, biotech, or financial services startup is going to locate in Detroit?  Do you think they will easily persuade skilled people to move there?  Or would you put it in some place with better weather, more college graduates in a related field, and a place people are willing to relocate ti?

      Most entrepreneurs are placing big bets – a few dollars worth of local taxes won’t make or break the business, being able to get people to move there, will.

      And it turns out the places people most want to move to are often run by those filthy liberals: The San Francisco Bay Area (including Silicon Valley), Los Angeles, Seattle, New York.  People don’t seem to have a strong desire to move to those little rural states run by conservatives. No infrastructure, no educated work force: no innovative startups.

      • 0 avatar

        Gee, Ron, don’t get out much, do you? You should stop in fly-over country and see what’s really here.

      • 0 avatar
        Toad

        Ron, you are half right.  High tech companies often thrive where “creative types” congregate, and this is affordable to employers because start up costs are a leased office, internet access, and computer work stations.  These enterprises are knowledge driven, and the highest costs and scarcest resource are the people.
         
        However, we can’t all be employed making iphone apps for each other.
         
        In most other industries (like manufacturing) capital costs for machinery, plants, inventory and equipment are far higher, and higher property and sales taxes make a huge difference.  Throw in a difficult work force that few employers want to contend with and you have Detroit and the economic apocalypse it has become.
         
        Meanwhile, “those little rural states” are the only ones that have seen economic growth in the last decade or so, particularly for the middle class.

      • 0 avatar
        bikegoesbaa

        True, but when foreign-headquartered automakers invest in large manufacturing plants they seem to prefer “little rural states run by conservatives”.
         
        I don’t know exactly how many software startups it takes to equal BMW’s Spartanburg complex or the new $1 billion VW facility outside of Chattanooga; but I suspect the number is very large.

      • 0 avatar

        Most entrepreneurs today require an educated workforce.
         
        Yup, us folks are so god-damned dumb here in Michigan that only out-of-state students attend the University of Michigan, right? Considering that UofM is one of three or four elite public universities in the country, chances are that people around the Detroit area may be better educated than your own neighbors, but go ahead and perpetuate stereotypes.
         
        The truth is that the companies that operate “transplant” assembly operations in the southeast have discovered that the workforce in Michigan and other rust belt states is more adept at factory work. One of the dirty little secrets of the auto industry is the lower quality product coming out of transplant operations. Honda still builds most of its US assembled product in Ohio.
         
        You think a software, biotech, or financial services startup is going to locate in Detroit?
         
        Compuware moved its headquarters to downtown Detroit. Hantz Financial is expanding its operations inside the city (their CEO is big on urban farming) and biotech has been big in Michigan for over a century. Parke Davis was founded in Detroit and Pfizer, which bought P-D, still has significant operations in the state. Here’s a short list of biotech firms in Michigan: http://www.thelabrat.com/jobs/companies/BiotechMichigan.shtml
         
        Do you think they will easily persuade skilled people to move there?  Or would you put it in some place with better weather, more college graduates in a related field, and a place people are willing to relocate ti?
         
        As pointed out in my post on the SAE congress, right now firms are hiring thousands of engineers, including software engineers, for positions that are currently open in southeastern Michigan.
         
        The San Francisco Bay Area (including Silicon Valley), Los Angeles, Seattle, New York.
         
        Business are departing California, its high taxes and its entitled public employees and their onerous regulations, in droves. The same has started to happen in New York state.

      • 0 avatar
        pgcooldad

        The metro Detroit area has the largest per capita population of engineers of anywhere in the world. And “we” took our money with us (away from the city) and created some very desirable suburbs all around the Detroit.

      • 0 avatar
        Jerome10

        This last point about the suburbs is the key point here.

        “Detroit” as in Metro Detroit is not poor.  Far far from it.  I’m sure it has probably changed but I believe at one point within the past 10 years that Oakland county (county north of 8 Mile, adjacent to Wayne County and the City of Detroit) was the 2nd wealthiest county with 100,000+ population in the nation per capita.

        I love Detroit.  I’ve got lots of family and friends there.  But the problem is the city has been run into the ground by 40 years or more of inept government.  Even today its a circus at the Coleman Young Building.  High taxes (check property taxes for some of those beautiful old homes), city income tax, extremely high union rates, and I’d argue even straight up racism (in Detroit?! Noooo….) still plague the city.  Throw it together, and you get wealth in the burbs where things are well run and Detroit gets a population of about 2 million in 1950 to a hair over 700,000 today.  Once the 4th largest city in the country is now, what, barely in the top 20?

        I hate to say it, because its funny that some of the most enjoyable places to spend time, NY, SF, LA, Seattle etc, also end up being some of the most expensive.  I think many times wealth allows you to put in place government spending and programs that make places nice to hang out.  Question is do you want them taking your money for it?  And the other kicker, people like nice cities.  Michigan is well educated.  Get outside SE Michigan, and you’ll find a seriously beautiful state, with amazing resources of all kinds.  But I know, personally, that I would never choose to move to Detroit.  I want a city with at least some vibe, a life, etc.  Otherwise why live in cities?  So, unfortunately, Detroit’s death I suspect causes it to lose further investment on a massive scale.  Its sad.  

        But I wouldn’t call Detroit down for the count just yet.  I just wish it would have hit bottom and begin the upturn.  I suspect I will live my entire life never knowing a “great” Detroit.

  • avatar
    Doc

    Name the place. I will be there.
    Probably near your hotel would be most convenient.

  • avatar
    supremebrougham

    Of all the weeks….
     
    I live three hours north of Detroit, and my car is in the shop!
     
    One of these days I’m going to make it!!!

  • avatar
    tbp0701

    This is stating the obvious, but be sure to set aside some time for The Henry Ford Museum.  For those who have never been, it’s an excellent view into not only Ford’s history, but auto manufacturing and development in general, as well as transportation and American industry.  I was glad I set aside a few hours when I passed through.

    • 0 avatar
      hakata

      Yes. Do not miss. Apart from cars, they have a great collection of sinister 18th and 19th century industrial “engines.” And the Buckminster Fuller Dymaxion House is an amazing streamlined acid flashback.

  • avatar
    BuzzDog

    One of these days I’d like to visit Detroit. In addition to the automotive sites of interest, I’ve read that the museums benefited from some well-heeled benefactors during the 20th century, such as Edsel Ford and his sons.
     
    By the way, the supply of affordable housing in the area has not gone unnoticed. This may be isolated, but I know of people whose jobs allow them to work from home, and just about anywhere. One lives in Detroit, and another has mentioned moving there. Still another works for Kellogg’s, and tells me that a lot of people are commuting to Battle Creek because the prices are better as you move closer to Detroit.

  • avatar
    relton

    Actually Ann Arbor is a very nice place to meet. It’s about 40 miles from the center of detroit, longer from the northern suburbs.

    If you want, I can set up a place at a local restaurant.

    And, if you’re really nice, I’ll give you a tour of the car I’m building.

    Bob elton

  • avatar
    Educator(of teachers)Dan

    I lived and taught in Detroit for two years (2000-2001) but I don’t have any advice, just can’t wait to see what you report.

  • avatar
    Mark MacInnis

    Detroit is a corpse in need of a decent burial.  I wouldn’t sentence my worst enemy to live there.  And, yes, I was born there, grew up there, have family still there.  I got out while I could, could never convince my family to join me.  I pray for their safety daily.  I know it is the HOME of the American auto industry, but it is the land that time and America forgot.  Liberal politics killed the city and the country just left the carcass to rot in the open.  Sad.

  • avatar
    colin42

    Ed and Bertel are spending this coming week in Detroit to talk to auto manufacturers

    Please elaborate? Are you there as TTAC or as consultants? i.e. are you being talked to or doing the talking!

  • avatar
    handplane

    Another vote for Ann Arbor!

  • avatar

    Just stay at the Royal Park Hotel in Rochester, MI. You won’t be disappointed and you can walk around safely. It’s why I moved my family there from 8 Mile and never looked back.

  • avatar
    mtymsi

    For those readers not familiar with metro Detroit (Detroit’s suburbs) please don’t confuse them with the city of Detroit. There is a night and day difference especially the communities that do not border Detroit.
     
    Detroit itself is except for the downtown area a dangerous wasteland. Unfortunately the suburbs are often thought of in the same way by those who have never been here. Nothing could be further from the truth. Our suburbs are as nice as anywhere I’ve been in the country.


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