Help Detroit earn Amazon's $5-billion second headquarters

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(#AmazonDetroit video created by Dan Gilbert, owner of Quicken Loans, the Cleveland Cavaliers and many other great Rust Belt businesses)

Help Detroit earn Amazon's $5-billion second headquarters

Why? Because a thriving Midwest and Detroit is good for us all!

Bringing Amazon’s proposed $5 billion dollar second headquarters and its 50,000 new jobs would help revitalize Detroit, one of America’s former great industrial cities. When Detroit was booming, America was booming.

We can all help support our business and political leaders persuade Amazon that a second headquarters in Detroit would be great for Amazon and great for America. Let's all help to encourage Amazon to build its second headquarters in Detroit. The pitch to bring Amazon to Detroit is a group effort. Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan and Detroit businessman Dan Gilbert along with the 59-member bid committee including county executives, university presidents, politicians and prominent CEOs from across the metro Detroit region are all working together to bring Amazon's second Headquarters to Detroit.

Bringing Amazon to Detroit would be a great legacy for Amazon founder, CEO and Chairman Jeff Bezos, who could use his power and influence to join in and help to revitalize the Rust Belt. Inc Magazine stated that building the second Amazon headquarters, could be the "catalyst for the rebuilding of one of America's great cities." Inc further praised a move by Amazon to Detroit as a “triumph from a public relations standpoint” for Amazon. Metro Detroit is not only a sentimental choice but would also be a great choice from a business standpoint for Amazon and it's shareholders.

With Mr. Bezos choosing to come to Metro Detroit, who knows where Detroit and the region could go? Billionaire asset allocator Warren Buffett has expressed his admiration for both Mr. Gilbert (and Mr. Bezos) and is known to be looking for the right opportunity to invest Berkshire Hathaway’s immense war chest in Detroit. If Amazon were to come to Detroit, it’s a good bet that other exciting opportunities would follow. Growth in Detroit business is good for all Americans and would spur economic growth well beyond Detroit, like the auto industry did for many years when it was most productive. President Obama and our political leaders understood this tentacle effect well when they chose to prevent the failure of the auto industry during the Great Recession in order to protect the entire nation’s economic well being.

The unique partnership proposed between Windsor Canada and Detroit for Amazon is also a difference maker for us all. Love him or hate him, agree or disagree with him on NAFTA, all news outlets have reported that President Trump has ruffled some feathers with Canada. An Amazon Detroit headquarters could help further our relationship with Canada and help benefit both Americans and Canadians.  Detroit’s bid with its cross river neighbor Windsor, Canada means more workers and more land are available and with a much lower price tag then the same opportunity in a more expensive city like a Chicago or Miami or Toronto. In Detroit and Windsor, land is cheap, rental space is affordable and the cost of living is very reasonable throughout the area.  Windsor and Detroit are connected via a short bridge or tunnel ride and Mr. Gilbert, Windsor’s mayor and other visionaries envision that Amazon could have offices in both cities, connected by a gondola and cable cars across the Detroit River. Windsor’s Mayor sees future cable cars as “a tourist attraction -- a unique feature over the river”. Plus, why wouldn’t Amazon want to also provide the legacy of building and maintaining a strong relationship with Canada? Mr. Gilbert points out there is an inborn advantage to partnering Detroit and Windsor due to an established immigration relationship and further cites Canada’s “huge, deep talent base  ... and special universities”.

President Trump has made no secret that he is a big supporter of Detroit, Michigan and the rebuilding the Rust Belt. Perhaps an Amazon venture in Detroit would help smooth relations between President Trump and Mr. Bezos, two of the most powerful men in the world. We all benefit when President Trump works with our leaders and makes positive growth policies. Having President Trump in spats with Mr. Bezos, now the richest man in the world and owner of the Washington Post (referred to as "fake news" by our President), is probably not good for any of us. An Amazon Detroit headquarters could go a long way to healing the rift between these two powerful men and it would be great to see President Trump refocus on the Rust Belt and see this exciting opportunity with an Amazon move to Detroit.

Both President Trump and President Obama before him understand the importance of the Detroit economy to the nation. President Obama would not let General Motors and Chrysler fail during the financial crisis because he understood the ramifications of the economic ripple effect across the country. President Obama knew that Detroit’s success is the nation’s success. President Trump was elected in part because middle America wanted him to help put them back to work. 

 

Downtown Detroit has the land and space for Amazon and the Detroit Metropolitan area is uniquely situated to serve Amazon's employees. Dan Gilbert, owner of Quicken Loans, Rock Ventures and the Cleveland Cavaliers, amongst his wide and varied portfolio headquartered in Detroit has pretty much single handedly transformed the downtown area of Detroit by bringing his corporate headquarters downtown and has invested an estimated $1.6 billion in buildings and properties.  Mr. Gilbert has made it clear he would work hand in hand with Amazon’s founder, Jeff Bezos and Amazon’s team to help ensure a successful operation. Mr. Gilbert is heavily invested in Detroit and by all accounts, genuinely cares about the success of Detroit and the Rust Belt. Mr. Gilbert has said he would consider moving his own employees out of his buildings to accommodate Amazon’s hiring of 50,000 employees. Mr. Gilbert is quoted as saying that “we can give them real estate that they need with a concentration of ownership… if you go to some other urban cores, because they’re built up already, it’s hard to cobble together 8 million square feet. We can give them that with existing and proposed space”. Amazon can be up and running quickly and without the premium price tag it might face in other cities and regions.

The rest of the country does not need to worry about population growth in Michigan, as Michigan's vast shorelines don’t flood and natural disasters are not an issue for the state. Michigan is unlikely to need federal monies for environmental disaster relief. Michigan’s weather is beautiful, enjoying four seasons but not the extremes we see around the country. Michigan is surrounded by freshwater and does not suffer severe drought. Michigan does not have much in the way of earthquakes, no hurricanes, manageable flooding, rare wildfires and rarer coastal loss. Amazon’s headquarters would be safe in Michigan from natural disasters (which taxpayers often pay to fix) and Michigan is a great state for population growth. In fact, Michigan welcomes newcomers! Detroit is one of the most affordable big cities in the country and yet still has a bucolic feel as we are a city of trees and green everywhere, accompanied by many days of bright blue sky year around.

Detroit is no San Francisco, Silicon Valley, New York, Miami or Chicago in terms of the price tag. Detroit’s cost of living is comparatively very affordable, yet Detroit Metro has great schools for the children of Amazon’s workforce. Detroit has beautiful older homes and suburbs filled with newer construction. Detroit boasts historically affluent areas like the Grosse Pointes, Grosse Ile, Huntington Woods and gems like Detroit’s Palmer Woods and Indian Village. Bloomfield Hills, Franklin and Bingham Farms rival any affluent suburb in the country (yet for a fraction of the price). Detroit has great diversity and housing for every budget. Detroit metropolitan area has award winning school districts in Novi, Troy, Northville, Birmingham, Bloomfield Hills, West Bloomfield, Lake Orion, Berkley, Rochester, Plymouth-Canton, Brighton and more. The International Academy is a tax payer funded international baccalaureate and one of the highest ranked high schools in the country. Detroit Metro is also home prominent Catholic and religiously affiliated schools and home to prestigious private schools including Detroit Country Day, Cranbrook, University Liggett and Roeper. Detroit’s Cass Tech has a decades old reputation for excellence and intense efforts are underway to transform Detroit's public school system.

Perhaps even more exciting is the miles and miles of empty abandoned land in Detroit proper. Detroit has a lot of vacant land that could be developed, so much land that urban farms have been developed throughout the city. The land is dirt cheap, the houses are a some of the most inexpensive in the country and the city is prime to be reoccupied by a thriving workforce like it once had.

Yes, Metro Detroit lacks a state of the art mass transit system to transport Amazon's employees. But Metro Detroiters want mass transit to connect us all and make our commutes easier.  Detroit Metro residents understand the need for better commutes and frequently have voter initiatives in hopes of further developing a better mass transit system. Without a doubt, red tape could be cut and better mass transit built to help Amazon, Detroiters want it, we all know we need it and we have the land and space to build it. Detroit’s mayoral candidates understand the need and are pushing hard on the need for better transit infrastructure, with one of the candidates envisioning an elevated, high-speed rail system known as Skytran in the city. Detroit’s new light rail project has connected the new sports arenas and downtown offices to Wayne State University and the new hip housing developments that Millennials are flocking to.  Mass transit itself is one of the most exciting industries today as Asian cities continue to grow and experience traffic congestion. Perhaps with the Amazon Headquarters catalyst, Detroit could be a model for mass transit and maybe put some of those abandoned factories back on line to help build out mass transit infrastructure so desperately needed throughout the world.

Detroit Metropolitan Airport could get Amazon’s people to Detroit in comfort. DTW is new, modern and one of the nicest airports in the country. It is a Delta hub and services many other airlines so it is easy to get from Detroit to anywhere. Delta has established non-stop daily flights to Seattle.  In addition, Detroit is not far from the mean center of population of the United States and when considering the United States and Canada, Detroit is very geographically desirable for headquarters in the middle of the continent.   With the beautiful state of the art  airport and reasonable flight routes throughout the continent from Detroit, Amazon’s employees, vendors and visitors would be well serviced by a second headquarters in Michigan. Coleman A. Young International Airport,  a smaller airport in Detroit, could further provide service to private corporate jets and would be a very short distance to a new Amazon downtown Detroit headquarters.

The Detroit Region has the people to help make Amazon a success and employing Michigan's underemployed and the newly educated is great for all Americans. Arguably, no state has such an educated and available workforce quite like Michigan. Unemployed people are not good for anyone in America. It’s bad for social policies, unemployment raises taxes and causes much of the bickering and trouble in Washington DC.  Michigan’s educated are ready to go to work. The University of Michigan, Michigan State University and Wayne State University would be feeders of talent directly to Amazon. Michigan boasts perhaps the best public universities in the country when considering the population size of the state. Downtown Detroit is home to Wayne State University, which has a premier law school, medical school, engineering, business and urban planning programs to name a few. Year after year, the University of Michigan consistently is ranked along with the Ivy League schools as one of the top schools in the countries and is a 45 minute drive from Downtown Detroit, boasts 200 undergraduate majors, 100 doctoral and 90 master's program’s. Michigan State University is the 7th largest university in the US by student body with students represented from all 50 states and about 130 other countries. Michigan’s college graduates would like to stay and work in Michigan if given the opportunity. Detroit is also home to U of D Jesuit and Michigan college students hail from Grand Valley State, Western Michigan University, Central Michigan and Northern Michigan Universities and the many liberal arts colleges who call Michigan home and who would welcome the opportunity to work in an Amazon ecosystem. Simply put, Detroit Metro has a deep pipeline of talented technical and college educated workers and thriving Michigan colleges and universities means more opportunities for more Americans.

Michigan also has the blue collar labor force to support Amazon’s operations due to the unemployed and underemployed who formerly worked for the Big 3 automobile manufacturers and the many suppliers who call Detroit Metro home. This workforce is ready to work for Amazon and the cost of hiring Michigan's workers is reasonable. Getting these workers back to work is great for all as the unemployed no longer need federal taxpayer funded government assistance.

Detroit Metro is a true melting pot which could supply and create a diverse, interesting workforce for Amazon and whose residents are so much more than what some media outlets have characterized as "angry white men from the Rust Belt". Yes, Detroit does have the middle America family who has lost their auto job and needs help. Yet Detroit also has a rich African American history and is home to one of the largest immigrant Middle Eastern (Muslim and Christian) populations outside of the Middle East. Detroit Metro also has other thriving immigrant populations including eastern Europeans from Poland, Russia, Ukraine, Albania, Armenia, Greece, Italy and more. Detroit Metro has thriving Indian, Chinese and Jewish populations and French, Japanese and ex-pats from around the world who come to work for the auto industry. Many Detroiters are 4th and 5th generation families who moved to Detroit for auto work and have deep histories in the automotive industries. In short, all Detroiters of all backgrounds are ready, willing and able to work and help Amazon grow and prosper.

 

Amazon in Detroit benefits America as it could help re-ignite excitement for the auto industry, bring President Trump and Mr. Bezos together to collaborate and possibly even contribute to a more stable political environment in Michigan if the state moved toward greater prosperity. Detroit still has an large auto industry, but we all know it has lost its way (though there are some exciting signs of progress at GM, Ford and Chrysler and the GM corporate offices downtown are fantastic). Sure California based Tesla makes beautiful American cars, but Detroit based GM, Ford and Chrysler all but collapsed during the Great Recession. All Americans benefit when American cars are the most desired cars on roads around the world. Perhaps bringing Amazon and high tech jobs would not only bring Amazon jobs to Detroit, but also help to further propel and inspire the automobile industry in a more exciting innovative direction. An Amazon headquarters would without a doubt bring interesting innovative thinkers to Detroit. Who knows what exciting collaborations could happen when you mix one of America’s newest great companies with the companies of our longest, most established industry? The "Amazon effect" on the retail industry is astounding. What are the possibilities of the Amazon effect on the American auto industry? When American cars are the most desired cars on the planet, we all benefit.

As Michigan is a swing state, it has special importance during election season. Michigan goes red and Michigan goes blue and most Michiganders just want growth and prosperity for all. It's no good for our country when a few counties in one state decide the election, but Michigan voters do sometimes have that power. A stable economic and business environment in Michigan could help stabilize the state politically. Michigan’s business environment is plenty friendly. Michigan's Supreme Court and judiciary are conservative and overwhelming side with big business. Michigan’s legislature has drastically reduced tort liability in the state. Governor Rick Snyder now calls himself a Republican, but has a successful background as a businessman who wanted to take his entrepreneurial skills to the Governor’s office to build a business friendly climate, while setting politics aside. Yet Michigan has a blue state mentality too, particularly on the east side of the state with Detroit’s blue state approach to social issues, supported by Michigan's two Democratic US Senators. In short, Michiganders just want action and generally tolerate and accept liberal and conservative viewpoints. Amazon Headquarters in Detroit means greater economic prosperity for Michigan and perhaps Michiganders can then contribute to a more settled, less partisan political climate throughout the country.

 

Detroit is already on it's way, let's all help. Detroit is also trying to have some fun and would welcome tourists and visitors. From movie studios to Ben Affleck to Mark Wahlberg, Kid Rock and Eminem, there are celebrities and Hollywood types who pull for Detroit. Detroit in one of the few cities in the U.S. to boast all four major sports teams, all who could help to keep Amazon employees happy. The Detroit Pistons, Detroit Red Wings, Detroit Lions and the Detroit Tigers all have new beautiful stadiums downtown partially funded by Detroit’s business leaders to attract and keep talent happy in downtown Detroit.

Please support this petition and let’s help Metro Detroit and Windsor’s business and civic leaders bring Amazon’s second headquarters to the Detroit region and help revitalize this once thriving city for the benefit of all Americans (and Amazon’s shareholders).



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