– In a move mystifying just about everyone, Whole Foods is opening a store in a “scruffy” area of downtown Detroit, one of the country’s most depressed cities. The median income is only $28,357. The Wall Street Journal reports (article behind paywall):
Whole Foods is locating in a section of Detroit rebranded Midtown. The neighborhood encompasses some important demographic anchors—Wayne State University, the Detroit Institute of Arts, and the Detroit Medical Center, among others. From that core, and fueled by business investment and economic-development incentives over the past couple of decades, a notable if nascent urban rebirth has taken root. It stretches piecemeal from Midtown to downtown and the river front.
Today, there are many more vacant lots. But there are also more than 800 community gardens using some of that space to grow vegetables and fruit for home use. That also caught Whole Foods’ attention. As did the city’s bustling Eastern Market, one of the oldest and biggest farmers markets in the country. It draws in produce from throughout the region and sells it to supermarkets and restaurants. Up to 40,000 people shop at its Saturday Market. The new Whole Foods plans to buy there as well.
The arrival of Whole Foods is expected to boost property values:
Studies have shown that valued local amenities are attractive to house hunters and add to the belief that an area is up-and-coming. “It’s a chicken-and-egg issue,” says Stuart A. Gabriel, director of UCLA’s Richard S. Ziman Center for Real Estate.
Homebuyers choose neighborhoods because of the low crime rate and good public schools – but an equally big factor is the presence of a brand like Whole Foods, real estate analysts say.
And economists say once one big chain like Whole Foods moves in, other businesses and commercial offices may follow.
A place called Midtown. A busy public market. Community gardens on vacant lots. A riverfront. Economic development incentives.
You see where I’m going with this. So who’s going to take the gamble?
– A Wayne County father is pleading for help for his son, a military veteran with PTSD who is facing serious charges in Wayne County.
– A bizarre off-stage drama is unfolding at Shea’s Theatre in Buffalo. The ushers – many of them elderly – have been told not to sit during many performances.
– An executive penned an editorial in the New York Times called “Why I am Leaving Goldman Sachs.” It has spawned a number of hilarious parodies and tweets. The slam dunk goes to Jason Gay at the Wall Street Journal for “Why I am Leaving the New York Knicks.”