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Sunday, November 27, 2011

Ideas for Train Depot?

A column by Rochelle Riley in today's Free Press highlights some of the ideas bouncing around about what to do with the Train Station:

While I had read earlier that the Moroun's were open to suggestions, I didn't realize that they had setup a website for people to submit their ideas:

If you have any thoughts on what they could turn Michigan Central Station into, please share them with Matty Moroun!

Some ideas I have:

  • Turn it into a Union Station type food plaza with cuisines from all over the world

  • Turn it into a nexus for all consular offices in Metro Detroit (e.g., honorary consulates, official consulates) and a free trade zone

  • Turn it into a dedicated museum to show a portion of Nasser David Khalili's extensive art collection from the Middle East and Arab lands on permanent display

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Second fastest recovery in Michigan?

I'm not sure if this news is bittersweet or ironic or what: Michigan is recovering from the recession faster than any state other than North Dakota (which never really fell into the recession): The index tracking this performance is basing the ranking on growth since 2008, so the high ranking for our state is mostly because of how bad it was in 2008, not how good it is now. Things are better now, but still not too great. As Patrick Anderson notes, "I sense a very cautious optimism in my home state."
Some even better news around the City: Matty Moroun is pumping some money into the Depot and looking at options for redevelopment ( and the Birmingham-based Collaborative Group is building momentum with its Challenge Detroit to help bring young folks back to the City ( These stories go to show that a little imagination and initiative can go a long way in this City. I had similar ideas about possible uses the train Depot, but this guy from NYC, Griffin, just wrote to the Morouns and basically that is how its renaissance started - kudos to him (of course, he had some relevant background, but still, a cold call of ideas can work, despite some of my experiences to the contrary). It might take a few years, but it looks like the Depot has a future! As for Challenge Detroit, I had heard about it about six months back, so I'm glad it is finally moving forward. Detroit really is the most interesting place in America right now, in terms of the ability of young folks to change the future. Occupy Wall Street has its place, but it is not necessarily productive per se. That much energy could have a tremendous impact in a place like Detroit.