Monday, May 07, 2012

Whole Foods Breaks Ground. Will It Deliver?

Will Doig published an article on Salon.com over the weekend, which made the argument that the opening of a Whole Foods is the best indicator of a neighborhood being ready to explode. This article has since been shared dozens of times on Facebook by Detroiters who are hopeful that the new one coming to the Midtown neighborhood will produce a similar effect.

Since I previously posted about the new Whole Foods - and, in particular, the $4.2 million in incentives that were given to them by our state and local governments - I feel a need to comment once more.

Quite frankly, I doubt that Whole Foods will produce spin-off development that is anywhere near the hype, let alone comes close to justifying the $4.2 million in incentives that were given to them. However, the project is schedule to break ground next week regardless of what one feels about the incentive strategy.

If I'm wrong then we'll soon see new development in the area that is independent of another round of incentives. I hope I'm wrong on this one. It would be great to see one new project after another pop up anywhere in Detroit without the massive government subsidies that are driven economic development in Detroit for the past 50 years.

I would love to be wrong, but I doubt that I am. I predict that any new development in that area will still require the same level of government subsidies that they did before the Whole Foods deal was announced. If I'm wrong, we should start to see results in the next 6 - 12 months.
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