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Scooped by Deb Nystrom, REVELN!

Taking the Bet: Dan Gilbert’s Investment Gamble on Downtown Detroit

Taking the Bet:  Dan Gilbert’s Investment Gamble on Downtown Detroit | Change Leadership Watch |
Against tall odds, Dan Gilbert, the Quicken Loans chairman, is putting down money to revive a two-square-mile area that was once Detroit’s core.

...His plans, according to academics like Brent D. Ryan, author of “Design After Decline: How America Rebuilds Shrinking Cities,” amount to one of the most ambitious privately financed urban reclamation projects in American history.

Opportunity Detroit, as Mr. Gilbert has branded it, is both a rescue mission and a business venture....   When he started buying in 2011, the city was having what he has described as a “skyscraper sale.”

Related posts by Deb:


Deb Nystrom, REVELN's insight:

I've covered some of Dan's Gilbert's 2011 intentions about downtown Detroit at FutureMidwest, 2011, a photo essay here.   Our cities could be the Amazon rain-forests are to the earth, regulating our air, our weather, our ocean health, as well as our own economic & community future shared with the region and state.  

What I shared on twitter as I listened to Dan Gilbert at FutureMidwest 2011:

  • 25 Things I Learned in 25 Years of Business by Dan Gilbert @quickenloans: #5 Building anything great is messy.  ~  D
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Scooped by Deb Nystrom, REVELN!

Las Vegas Points to Our Crumbling Past and a "Triumph of the Cities" Future

Las Vegas Points to Our Crumbling Past and a "Triumph of the Cities" Future | Change Leadership Watch |

The first American city of the new century is a dazzling metaphor for our collapse & may point the way to a glittering triumph of the cities.


I thought I'd never want to visit Vegas.  EVER.  

Then it turns out I'm on the panel and a facilitator for an Open Space event at a global change practitioner's conference this past April.  With that, and a fabulous 5 days in Vegas in mind, this Atlantic article resonates change.  Perhaps it will for you as well.  ~ Deb



"Vegas was the rest of the country, but with its foot on the gas," ~ Robert Lang, Brookings Mountain West at UNLV."




Recall the classic scene in Michael Lewis' "The Big Short" at a subprime mortgage conference at the Venetian hotel on the Las Vegas Strip. While being served by the very type of cocktail waitresses who had likely been given subprime loans they couldn't afford, Lewis's hero Steve Eisman discovers how insane Wall Street had gone in its love affair with subprime, and with collateralized debt obligations and credit default swaps.


WE ARE ALL VEGAS industry critics have taken to calling Wall Street a giant casino.   ...The Las Vegas economy remains a basket case, with an unemployment rate of 12 percent, plus clogged bankruptcy courts and a ravaged real estate market. The American economy isn't doing much better.


And ...champagne of the good times had castor beans in it anyway.



Wall Street and Vegas became locked in a lover's embrace that wasn't always healthy for either. ...MGM Resorts International has $12 billion in debt; Caesars Entertainment a staggering $23 billion.


"Vegas was the rest of the country, but with its foot on the gas," says Robert Lang, director of Brookings Mountain West at UNLV.


This being America though ...Las Vegas might be coming back. There's a recognition among elites that the good old days aren't returning. (And ...champagne of the good times had castor beans in it anyway.)

Gov. Brian Sandoval, a Republican increasingly distinct from the national party's pre-New Deal orthodoxy, unveiled an economic plan earlier this year that leans heavily on education as a way to diversify the economy into potential growth sectors beyond tourism and gambling, including health care, information technology infrastructure, renewable energy, mining, transportation, aerospace and defense.


The governor's brain trust hopes the Nevada economy will look different in a couple decades, just as Denver and Dallas, the poster children of the excesses of the S&L debacle, have become innovative, prosperous and stable economies.

Tony Hsieh, the CEO of Zappos, the big online apparel company now owned by Amazon, struggled to find workers in the Bay Area who understood the customer service mission. So in 2004, the company moved to suburban Las Vegas, where it found cheap real estate and workers, schooled in casino culture, who were familiar with the customer service ethic and the 24 hour workday.

The company has thrived in Las Vegas, and now Hsieh ...a passionate urbanist, [is] given to handing out copies of Harvard economist Edward Glaeser's book, Triumph of the City, to anyone in shouting distance.  



"Downtown Las Vegas is the four minute mile."


Silicon Vegas? 

 GigaOM recently profiled five Vegas tech companies to watch, a development that would have been unheard of even two years ago. Hsieh has rented out 50 units of a downtown condo tower and turned it into a freewheeling tech and culture salon, like a college dorm for a Vegas Ted conference.


...Half of the world's population live in cities, and three-fourths will in our lifetimes, he notes.


"If you can make downtown Las Vegas the most community driven and learning-focused place in America, it's like the four minute mile.

Downtown Las Vegas is the four minute mile."

See the full article in The Atlantic here.

DN:  With the passage of the Detroit Institute of Arts millage by Metro Detroiters this past Tuesday keeping the museum open and accessible, Dan Gilbert's (Quicken Loans)  and others' support of Detroit, a Triumph of the Cities, may be possible in the USA.



Deb's mothership website, REVELN Consulting.

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