Detroit, long known as the Motor City, and during more dire times the “Murder Capital,” can add the moniker of “the Coolest City” to its image portfolio. Forbes magazine, which recently released its Top 10 list of coolest cities to visit in 2018, named Detroit the number three urban locale, behind Louisville and Philadelphia.
According to Forbes, “Detroit’s renaissance is a testament to the city’s resilient, creative locals who’ve revived the once moribund metropolis and set the stage for a compelling, quirky place to explore.”
The article mentions the Heidelberg Project, described as “a remarkable outdoor art space, (that) has taken over vacant lots and abandoned homes, creating
beauty in an unexpected place.” The impressive architecture of residential and commercial structures like the once opulent Michigan Central Train Station and the Inn on Ferry Street are, along with more contemporary gems like Shinola Detroit, “done (their) part to bring industry to the area and has expanded its offerings beyond watches and into an ambitious, and impressive, new hotel due to open soon.”
Shinola and Detroit-based real estate company Bedrock will open the first Shinola Hotel, at 1400 Woodward Ave. in downtown Detroit. The boutique hotel is a new lifestyle concept which will combine the best of both brands – Shinola’s high-quality, American built craftsmanship and Bedrock’s development and urban revitalization expertise.
“While Detroit has seen the launch of new hotels over the last few years, we still see a gap in the boutique hotel market,” said Dan Mullen, executive vice president, Bedrock. “The Shinola Hotel will be strategically located in the now bur- geoning shopping district on Woodward Avenue. We know out-of-town visitors will appreciate the central location and unique expe- rience the hotel will offer, while local Detroiters will want to stop in for a dinner or drink while shopping downtown.”
The Forbes article ref- erences “the palpable au- thenticity to Detroit,” an observation that is heard more frequently in every corner of residential and business development.
“Detroit is a global city with a proud history and people. Its full recovery depends on the strategic leveraging of all assets, including its legacy as one of the nation’s origi- nal centers for innovation and entrepreneurship, and its position on one of the richest trade cross- ings in the nation,” said Julie Egan, an Obama era deputy director of the White House’s Detroit Federal Working Group. “It is time to tell the De- troit story, to put Detroit back on the global map, and to encourage inno- vators from around the world to come join the entrepreneurial move- ment in Detroit led by Detroiters. As the mayor of Detroit (Mike Duggan) said, entrepreneurs are rebels, and entrepreneurs from Detroit are extreme rebels.”
The Forbes Top 10 designation is especially noteworthy, considering that Detroit only emerged from bankruptcy three years ago, and since that time dozens of major development projects have been constructed around the city, encouraging expats to return and providing career opportunities and enhanced quality of living options for a growing number of young people.
The opening of the QLine and plans for extended mass transit services in the region have also helped generate billions in construction-related economic development projects along the Woodward Corridor and surrounding neighborhoods. Plans are under way for improving the transit system in Detroit, connecting with DDOT, SMART, the People Mover and Amtrak to give Detroiters easy access to work and leisure, as well as hospitals, shopping and educational institutions. Amazon officials cited the lack of regional transportation as a key factor in Detroit’s elim- ination as a contender for the retail giant’s new world headquarters.
The Top 10 Coolest Cities, listed in order of coolness, are Louisville. KY; Philadelphia, PA; Detroit, MI; Savannah, GA; Portland, ME; Columbus, IN; Richmond, VA; Lancaster, PA; Baltimore, MD and San Antonio, TX.