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More details revealed in Detroit’s bid for Amazon HQ2

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The east Riverfront would look a lot different

Photo by Michelle & Chris Gerard

Detroit submitted its bid for Amazon HQ2 in October, and we’ve only known some of the details. Now, Crain’s Detroit Business has acquired a copy of the 242-page proposal, and we have a clearer idea of what Dan Gilbert and co. pitched to try to get Amazon to set up shop in metro Detroit.

Dan Gilbert’s pitched basically “sold” Detroit to Bezos, using terms like “Lowest Prices,” and “Biggest Selection.” Hey, real estate is still relatively cheap in the Motor City! Here are a few key takeaways:

  • The tax incentives are substantial. According to Crain’s, “The proposal to Amazon and its CEO, Jeff Bezos, says the company could operate for 30 years without paying real estate and personal property taxes, the city of Detroit's 2 percent corporate income tax or the city's utility users tax under the state's Renaissance Zone Program. Under the Renaissance Zone Program, Amazon would still have to pay local property taxes for public debts, such as school buildings. Prospective Amazon employees would still be subject to paying Detroit's 2.4 percent income tax for residents and 1.2 percent tax for nonresidents.”
  • Much of the new development would take place along the east Riverfront just east of the Ren Cen. This would include the addition of 20 new buildings along 28 acres. Office, residential, retail, and public space are all included in the massive developments.
  • More Riverfront development would include the site of the former Ford Auditorium.
  • Sites along Gratiot would also see new construction, including the site of the fail jail.
  • Existing buildings pitched for office space include One Campus Martius, Chase Tower, the Chrysler House, One Woodward, and interestingly, some Ilitch-owned buildings including the office space at the Fox Theater and the Women’s City Club building.
  • The Monroe Blocks and Hudson’s site would also be available at a later date.
  • How would employees get around? Perhaps a ferry between Detroit and Windsor would do the trick.
  • Detroit’s expanding bus service would also serve workers. Additionally, the QLine would be extended to 8 Mile and down East Jefferson.

Basically, Amazon would take over a good chunk of downtown.

More details and renderings can be found here. Thoughts about the Detroit of the future?