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Survey: Downtown Detroit good place to work, live, play

Louis Aguilar
The Detroit News

Detroit –

Downtown is an attractive place to work, play and live, according to a new survey of 4,685 area residents that found 8 out of 10 locals are upbeat about the core of Detroit.

Among those surveyed, 81 percent said they have an overall positive impression of downtown and 77 percent said their opinion was either significantly more favorable or somewhat more favorable compared to one year ago.

The survey comes at a time when downtown is on a rebound not seen in decades. The number of big empty buildings has declined from 48 to 13 in the past five years. There is a steady stream of new office workers and affluent residents. The number of downtown residents is expected to nearly double and reach 10,000 by the end of this decade, according to various projections based on housing demand and supply.

The survey was done on behalf of the non-profit Downtown Detroit Partnership, a coalition of corporate, civic and philanthropic leaders,

“We had broad and diverse participation,” in the survey, said Eric Larson, CEO of the downtown partnership. “Four times more people took the survey than we expected, and it’s wonderful to see that people are excited and optimistic.”

Three out of ten people said they visited downtown for non-work related activities more than 20 times during the last 12 months.

Among the findings:

■ 96 percent of the participants say Detroit has a lot of potential and is important to the region

■ 94 percent of Downtown Detroit residents say they would recommend living downtown

■ 92 percent say Detroit is a place they like to bring visitors. The top three favorite downtown destinations included Campus Martius, Comerica Park and Detroit RiverWalk.

The biggest concerns about downtown expressed in the survey are parking and public transit. Only 56 percent said finding a place to park was “convenient” and only 36 percent said public transit was safe.

The survey results are based on respondents who indicated they lived in the Detroit Metro area and were at least 18 years old.

Respondents’ answers remained anonymous and unattributed to any particular individual; 6,110 people started the survey, of which 4,685 completed the survey. Among those who finished the survey, a random sample of 3,632 was extracted to provide the results.

Downtown Partnership says it will conduct the survey annually and it will serve as a benchmark to measure progress.

Millennials between the ages of 18 to 34 are the most likely to have positive attitudes about downtown. Downtown residents had much more favorable opinions followed by Detroit residents, with non-city residents trailing overall.

Twitter: LouisAguilar_DN