Editor’s note: Growth vs. cannibalization in the region
L. Brooks Patterson is a passionate advocate for his Oakland County constituents, and for that he is often accused of trying to derail the bandwagon that is downtown Detroit’s revival.
Patterson didn’t say much when the new Little Caesars Arena tempted the Detroit Pistons downtown, leaving Auburn Hills with an empty basketball arena and the challenge of redeveloping the Palace site. He says the county should have no trouble repurposing the Pistons’ old home, given its favorable location, but remember the Silverdome has been standing vacant for 11 years, and it isn’t that far away from the Palace site.
Patterson is a lot more touchy when it comes to what he sees as Detroit raids on his office buildings.
The county executive called out Detroit mega developer Dan Gilbert during an interview on my radio show last week for recruiting occupants for his new office space downtown from Oakland County’s commercial districts.
“Moving workers from one community to another isn’t helping the region,” Patterson said. “He should be focusing on bringing in people from out of state.”
Patterson has a point. Growth would help the region a lot more than shuffling the population. On the other hand, I said the same thing when Gilbert’s Quicken Loans left its Livonia headquarters for Detroit a decade ago.
It hurt the suburb for awhile, but not nearly as much as it has helped Detroit for the long term. But it’s understandable why Patterson would grumble about losing a tax base he’s worked so hard to build. Oakland County has bills to pay, too.
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