The other day Tom came home from the Green Garage and said, “I love working with the city of Detroit!”. What immediately pops into your mind? Do you think he was being sarcastic? With Detroit’s reputation, I’m guessing most of you would. In this case, however, he was quite sincere. He and Tom Bradley had just returned from a series of 4 meetings with different departments in Detroit that dealt with our Brownfield submission (we’re applying for Obsolete Property Tax Abatement on the costs of construction). At each office they entered, people were ready and waiting for them, and went out of their way to help with the process. Both Toms were impressed.
This isn’t the only time we have been surprised by our dealings with the city. When we submitted our 25-page construction plans to the city engineering department for review, we hunkered down for a long wait, only to discover that our plans were approved in 7 business days. That’s unheard of. We have done many other construction projects in both Florida and northern Michigan, and have never had this kind of turnaround. Most times they haven’t even looked at our submissions for at least 2 weeks.
Keep in mind that we were warned against starting a project in the city because of its reputation as an inefficiently run business/government environment. Time and again this is not what we have found. Is it because we have done our homework? Perhaps. Is it because this is the right project for the right time here in Detroit? Could be. Or maybe it’s a case of self-fulfilling prophecy (people’s behavior rises up to expectations). Irregardless, I’m going to suggest – and I’m going out on a limb here – that the city works better than we think. New concept.
I think, then it’s time to spread a new rumor about the city of Detroit. Bring your business here…this city is pretty easy to work with! Now here’s the hardest part…will you believe me?