In a study published in January by the Detroit Economic Growth Corporation (DEGC), Detroiters were found to spend $2.6 billion outside of the city on goods and services. “Detroiters, by and large, are going out of the city to buy goods and services because those goods and services aren’t here,” said Mike Rafferty, vice president of small business services for DEGC. “It’s a lot of money.” The money is there to be spent, but the businesses haven’t arrived yet. The study analyzes thirteen areas of the city, including Banglatown, Islandview – Greater Villages, Livernois – 6 Mile, and the West Vernor Corridor and compares the amount of space currently occupied by certain retail niches and the amount of space the area can potentially support. In a mere 21-block area surrounding Grand River Avenue in Northwest Detroit, for example, there is the spending capacity for 1.3 million square feet of new retail.
A similar study in 2010 was used as a pitch to attract a Whole Foods in Midtown and two Meijer grocery markets in the city limits; DEGC is hoping to use the 2018 study to show investors and developers the massive retail potential in specified neighborhoods around the city. Areas like Islandview and Livernois – 6 Mile already have big projects underway (like the St. Charles School redevelopment and the Fitzgerald neighborhood revitalization) but $2.6 million is still a lot of money to be captured. Movie theaters, more chain grocers and chain fashion retailers, arcades, pharmacies, spas, and swimming pools are just a few of the businesses that Detroiters have been asking for. With the information presented in the 2018 study, the DEGC has a compelling case to bring to the table when meeting with retail chains, entrepreneurs, and developers.
By Jared Hoffman
Research Associate, JMJ Phillip Group