Don’t count Detroit commercial real estate as down and out. In fact, the Motor City is on the verge of becoming one of the greatest comeback kids the nation has ever seen – thanks, in no small part, due to the efforts of a small group of commercial real estate investors.
Detroit is still a long way from its heyday. In the 1950s, Detroit was the wealthiest city per capita in the entire world. The strength of the auto industry bolstered the local economy, and the population swelled to an estimated 1.85 million people. In the decades that followed, de-industrialization crippled Detroit’s economy. As industry fled, so did residents. The population shrunk to just over 670,000. By 2013, Detroit’s economy had weakened to the point where the city was forced to file for Chapter 9 bankruptcy protection – the largest city to file for bankruptcy in U.S. history.