Some corporations are so committed to restoring Detroit to the great American city it once was that they're actually paying employees to move downtown. The companies have banded together in a $4 million "Live Downtown" initiative that will provide cash incentives to employees who choose to move to Downtown Detroit, and actually live where they work and go to ballgames and cultural events.
The companies involved are Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan, Compuware Corporation, DTE Energy, Quicken Loans Inc. and Strategic Staffing Solutions. Combined, they have about 16,000 full-time and part-time employees who are eligible for moving perks that could include:
- A $20,000 forgivable loan toward the purchase of a primary residence for new homebuyers.
- $2,500 toward the cost of an apartment in the first year, followed by additional funding of $1,000 for the second year for new renters.
- A $1,000 allowance for renewing a lease in 2011 for existing renters
- Matching funds of up to $5,000 for exterior improvements for projects of $10,000 or more for existing homeowners to help them fix up their homes.
The object of the initiative is to "increase tax revenues, spark retail development and enhance the downtown Detroit area," according to Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan President and CEO Daniel J. Loepp. Neighborhoods that are eligible for this program include Corktown, Downtown, Eastern Market, Lafayette Park, Midtown and Woodbridge.
In spite of bad press that the Greater Downtown area has been getting, it experienced a 59 percent increase in the number of college-educated residents under the age of 35 in the last decade, according to a recent article in The New York Times.
The mayor's office claims that Detroit is becoming a destination for jobs, especially in IT and health care, which is investing approximately $2 billion in new jobs, improved facilities and neighborhood improvements around Detroit's hospitals. Mayor Bing also says that more than 7,000 jobs and $120 million in investment have come into Detroit since 2010.