JA Staes – Daily Detroit http://www.dailydetroit.com What To Know And Where To Go In Metro Detroit Tue, 20 Feb 2018 21:26:07 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=4.9.4 LISTEN: The Future Of Downtown Detroit, A New Detroit Zoo Nature Center, Rally’s Expansion And More http://www.dailydetroit.com/2018/02/15/listen-future-downtown-detroit-new-detroit-zoo-nature-center-rallys-expansion/ http://www.dailydetroit.com/2018/02/15/listen-future-downtown-detroit-new-detroit-zoo-nature-center-rallys-expansion/#respond Thu, 15 Feb 2018 06:13:11 +0000 http://www.dailydetroit.com/?p=40860

Welcome to your Daily Detroit News Byte podcast for February 15, 2018!

Here are your stories:

  • Nearly 350,000 people in Michigan have had their Driver’s Licenses suspended and the Driver Responsibility Fees will be erased.
  • The Detroit Zoo is going to build a new Great Lakes Nature Center in Macomb County
  • Federal funding for keeping the Great Lakes clean is in danger
  • A Ferndale Comic Book shop is closing
  • The Former DPD Headquarters designed by Albert Kahn may see new life
  • Detroit’s a happy place to work
  • Rally’s/Checkers is looking to expand in Metro Detroit
  • There will be a new shopping district by Little Caesars Arena
Eric Larson of the Downtown Detroit Partnership being interviewed at Little Caesars Arena.

Our feature interview is with Eric Larson of the Downtown Detroit Partnership on the future of downtown Detroit, what will happen to Joe Louis Arena, increasing rental rates in Detroit and decreasing property crime rates.

Thanks to our show sponsors:

MILO Digital – 

From strategization to execution, the digital marketing experts at MILO Digital ensure that your brand is a step ahead of the rest. http://www.milodetroit.com

The Detroit Regional Chamber – 

In today’s polarized environment, is it possible to instill civility in Detroit as a necessity in all that we do, and not simply a response in times of crisis?

The Detroit Regional Chamber’s Detroit Policy Conference returns on Thursday, March 1 at MotorCity Casino Hotel and will focus on creating a culture of civility in Detroit. Learn more about the Conference and see the full agenda at http://www.detroitchamber.com/dpc

And of course, as always, thanks to Podcast Detroit: http://www.podcastdetroit.com

If you like the show, don’t forget to subscribe for free in Apple Podcasts or wherever fine podcasts are found. Here’s a link.

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The Man Who Saved Detroit’s Thanksgiving Parade, Art Van Elslander, Dies http://www.dailydetroit.com/2018/02/12/man-saved-detroits-thanksgiving-parade-art-van-elslander-dies/ http://www.dailydetroit.com/2018/02/12/man-saved-detroits-thanksgiving-parade-art-van-elslander-dies/#respond Mon, 12 Feb 2018 17:01:41 +0000 http://www.dailydetroit.com/?p=40853 A local legend as far as business and philanthropy, Art Van Elslander, has died. He was 87.

The founder of Art Van’s in 1959, he grew a store where he was the only employee into a furniture powerhouse based in Warren, Michigan.

Born in 1930 in Detroit, Michigan, Van Elslander was the son of a Belgian immigrant. He grew up in Detroit, selling newspapers and working in his father’s bar as a young boy. At age 14, he discovered his love of fashion when he took a job working at a local haberdashery, Square Menswear. After graduating from Denby High School in 1948 and serving in the U.S. Army, Mr. Van Elslander married, started a family and took a job at Gruenwald Furniture.

He opened his first store in 1959, the sole proprietor of a 4,000 square foot shop on Gratiot Avenue in East Detroit, and headed Art Van Furniture to nearly 4,000 associates and more than 100 Art Van Furniture locations.

The chain was sold to a private equity company in January of 2017 for an undisclosed price.

Van Elslander was also very active in philanthropy, supporting a variety of organizations and received a Max M. Fisher Outstanding Philanthropist Award from the Association of Fundraising Professionals in 1992. He supported organizations like St. John Providence Health System, Focus:HOPE, Forgotten Harvest and the Capuchin Franciscan Province of St. Joseph, among others.

Stepping Up

When Detroit’s Thanksgiving Parade company was on its back financially, he was the man who wrote a personal $200,000 check in 1990 to keep it alive after The Parade Company had lost their primary sponsor.

The parade had seen a series of issues. Hudson’s stopped sponsoring in 1980. Later in the decade, in 1988, television network CBS pulled the plug on carrying it nationally.

Van Elslander also helped rebuild the organization, according to reports at the time. Fixing issues with creditors, and putting together more fundraisers. It’s now called America’s Thanksgiving Parade and has events like the Hob Nobble Gobble Presented By Ford and the Strategic Staffing Solutions Turkey Trot. The Parade Company also offers tours for organizations.

A family man, Art Van Elslander leaves behind 10 children, his wife Mary Ann, and several grand children and great grand children.

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Detroit’s Airbnb Ban Wasn’t A Mistake. It Passed City Council Unanimously And With Direct Questions http://www.dailydetroit.com/2018/02/09/detroits-airbnb-ban-wasnt-mistake-passed-city-council-unanimously-direct-questions/ http://www.dailydetroit.com/2018/02/09/detroits-airbnb-ban-wasnt-mistake-passed-city-council-unanimously-direct-questions/#respond Fri, 09 Feb 2018 21:06:37 +0000 http://www.dailydetroit.com/?p=40822 We are starting to figure out how exactly an ordinance banning Airbnb — and people renting their homes to family friends — came to be on the books in the city of Detroit.

It’s clear the ordinance targeted Airbnb, and it was not a side effect. How do we know?

The council hearing that occurred October 5, 2017 is here, but let’s step through this. The action starts at a bit after two hours in, citing concerns from the Boston Edison neighborhood.

Council member Scott Benson (3rd District) asked specifically if the ordinance would restrict Airbnb, and officials affirmed in a public meeting that this would be correct.

BENSON: “So are we saying that me, at 19000 Pelkey, can’t rent my home on Airbnb?”

RORY BOLGER, PLANNING STAFF: “That is correct. That is a home occupation. There’s currently no licensing scheme that’s in place to allow such a [inaudible].”

BENSON: “So that doesn’t answer my question.”

BOLGER: “You can not.”

BENSON: “So I can not legally utilize Airbnb. So if I go on Airbnb right now, and I will find dozens of units for rent, entire homes, lofts, or even bedrooms. Those are all illegal?

BOLGER: “That is correct.”


Then questioning moves to councilmember Mary Sheffield (District 5).

SHEFFIELD: “Illegal only in the R1-R2, or all over, in every single zoning within the city? Because I know it’s huge in the Boston Edison area, really, like you said, city wide … any zone?”

BOLGER: “If we look at similar uses within the ordinance, Bed and Breakfast Inn itself is first permitted once you get into the R3 zoning district classification. Whether or not something qualifies as a short term rental and it’s also operating as an Airbnb, I think, ends up being a question of rental registration and other things like that. But in R1 and R2, what this is attempting to say is that’s not one of the permitted home occupations that would be allowed.”

The ordinance was later passed in November of 2017 by a vote of 8-0 with councilmember Mary Sheffield being absent. The bill was sponsored by Gabe Leland (District 7), who is the target of an FBI investigation around towing contracts.

For her part, Councilmember Sheffield released a statement, that reads in part:

There was never any intention on behalf of my colleagues or myself to limit Detroiter’s ability to use their homes or property to supplement their income. In fact, we have been assured by the Building Safety Engineering and Environmental Department, which is responsible for enforcement, that there is no “crackdown,” as reported, on Airbnb and none planned. With that said, my colleagues and I will be re-examining the zoning law changes to ensure there aren’t any unintended and inequitable consequences negatively impacting Detroiter’s ability to derive an income from their property.

But as you can see in the hearing above, the question was directly asked, with Sheffield present.

Additionally, here’s a screen shot of a recommendation letter from September 8, 2017 of the pertinent information, obtained by Daily Detroit, that clearly outlines the purpose of the ordinance change from the City Planning Commission.

In the meantime, the Mayor’s office, responsible for enforcing ordinances, is not ticketing while the ordinance is under review, though residents have received notices from the city.

One community advocate says that this points to a larger problem in the city.

“In Detroit, we have a culture of band-aids and temporary fixes. This goes much deeper than Airbnb. Whether we agree that this is bad law, what we’ve uncovered is a culture of miscommunication and inadequate data access,” said Chase L. Cantrell, executive director of Building Community Value who also has been researching the timeline of events. “If we fix this particular ordinance without doing a root cause analysis of the structural issues, we’ll find ourselves here again.”

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Detroit Will Not Get Amazon HQ2, Gilbert And Duggan React http://www.dailydetroit.com/2018/01/18/detroit-will-not-get-amazon-hq2-gilbert-duggan-react/ http://www.dailydetroit.com/2018/01/18/detroit-will-not-get-amazon-hq2-gilbert-duggan-react/#respond Thu, 18 Jan 2018 15:40:51 +0000 http://www.dailydetroit.com/?p=40529 Detroit is not getting the Amazon HQ2 project.

238 proposals were submitted from across North America the company’s second headquarters in North America.

The HQ2 project is a plan to invest over $5 billion and hire as many as 50,000 people in high-paying jobs. The company says that construction and ongoing operation of Amazon HQ2 is expected to create tens of thousands of additional jobs and tens of billions of dollars in additional investment in the surrounding community.

Metro Detroit did not make the cut of the top 20, based on criteria in their Request For Proposals that included areas of more than one million people, mass transit, and a stable business environment.

Here are the top 20 in alphabetical order:

  • Atlanta, GA
  • Austin, TX
  • Boston, MA
  • Chicago, IL
  • Columbus, OH
  • Dallas, TX
  • Denver, CO
  • Indianapolis, IN
  • Los Angeles, CA
  • Miami, FL
  • Montgomery County, MD
  • Nashville, TN
  • Newark, NJ
  • New York City, NY
  • Northern Virginia, VA
  • Philadelphia, PA
  • Pittsburgh, PA
  • Raleigh, NC
  • Toronto, ON
  • Washington D.C.

“Thank you to all 238 communities that submitted proposals. Getting from 238 to 20 was very tough – all the proposals showed tremendous enthusiasm and creativity,” said Holly Sullivan, Amazon Public Policy in statement. “Through this process we learned about many new communities across North America that we will consider as locations for future infrastructure investment and job creation.”


So what did local leaders have to say? Here’s Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan.

We would have loved to have made it into the next round for Amazon’s second headquarters but everyone here is incredibly proud of the proposal we submitted. It showed a clear vision for the future of our city and brought out the very best of our city and our region.

I want to thank Dan Gilbert, the Governor, County Executives, Windsor Mayor Drew Dilkens and the entire bid team for an extraordinary effort in a short period of time. We learned a great deal from this process and it was a very valuable experience. We’re going to keep building on the progress we’ve made and keep pursuing major developments. I expect that the lessons we learned in the Amazon process will help make us more successful on a number of other major potential investments that we are currently pursuing.

We’re going right back to work today to work on those other projects.

And Dan Gilbert, who has been investing in Detroit in many ways during the last few years:

Obviously, we are all disappointed Amazon did not name Detroit as one of the 20 cities they will be further evaluating for their new “HQ2”.

We are not deterred in any way, shape or form. Detroit is the most exciting city in the country right now and the momentum continues to build every single day.

All you have to do is spend an hour walking around town and you will have a very clear and deep understanding of the opportunities, optimism and future of the motor city.

We have no doubt our best days are ahead of us. There are numerous large and small deals you will continue to see develop into reality in the months and years ahead.

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Could Buddy’s Pizza Go National? Company Takes Investment Cash To Expand http://www.dailydetroit.com/2018/01/03/buddys-pizza-go-national-company-takes-investment-cash-expand/ http://www.dailydetroit.com/2018/01/03/buddys-pizza-go-national-company-takes-investment-cash-expand/#respond Wed, 03 Jan 2018 17:32:03 +0000 http://www.dailydetroit.com/?p=40305 Could Detroit-style pizza from blue steel pans be a hit across the nation?

The Michigan-based local chain with 12 locations in southeastern Michigan just announced that they’ve taken an undisclosed investment from CapitalSpring to recapitalize the company.

The express goal was to “accelerate new store growth across the Midwest and beyond.”

CapitalSpring is a private investment firm based out of New York that focuses on the restaurant industry. They firm manages assets of more than a $1.3 billion and has worked with brands like Taco Bell, Hardee’s and Denny’s.

“We are thrilled to support the Buddy’s team and look forward to working together to grow the brand over the coming years,” said Erik Herrmann, Managing Director at CapitalSpring. “It’s rare to find a restaurant concept with such signature food, deep-rooted brand equity, and passionate customers, and we are honored to be their partner in accelerating the business.”

The exact terms of the financial deal were undisclosed.

“This partnership is a significant opportunity for us to introduce Buddy’s iconic pizza, rich culture and community roots to new customers in Detroit and beyond,” said Robert Jacobs, CEO of Buddy’s.  “We are extremely excited for this new chapter and to have found a partner that can not only maintain our commitment to quality food and an exceptional guest experience, but also offer substantial restaurant expertise.”

Buddy’s was founding in 1946 in Detroit and they’re preparing to open their 13th location at the Detroit Zoo this spring.

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Hello And Goodbye To Berkley’s Beloved Becky’s Nip ‘N Tuck Diner http://www.dailydetroit.com/2017/12/21/hello-goodbye-berkleys-beloved-beckys-nip-n-tuck-diner/ http://www.dailydetroit.com/2017/12/21/hello-goodbye-berkleys-beloved-beckys-nip-n-tuck-diner/#respond Thu, 21 Dec 2017 21:17:47 +0000 http://www.dailydetroit.com/?p=40200 It was on the list for a while. Get up to Eleven mile road and experience the Nip ‘N Tuck for myself. Driving by in warmer months, the simple building would stand out in a somewhat industrial area with vivid flowers.

It’s the kind of diner that has legends attached to it. Legendary word of mouth, after all, I had been told not less than three times to go. Legendary stories about a beloved owner, Becky Bone, who as a person is almost one with the space she has occupied. A space adorned with Tigers memorabilia and patrons affixed to old-style round bar stools.

See, before “curated menus,” you went to a diner. A diner that had eggs, sausage, burgers, fries, bacon and your counter neighbor up in your business.

And that’s it. A natural simplicity without pretension.

By default, Nip ‘n Tuck was “curated” and “focused,” and even though they will never win a culinary award made of gold, the heart of the place is full of the precious metal.

The original “community table,” the laminated diner counter has a magic to it. The pink four walls housed years of bonds, like Marlene Smith who has been coming here for more than two decades.

“My husband used to come and have breakfast all the time here before … he brought me,” said Smith. “There’s this nice little place on Eleven Mile honey, come on I’ll take you to breakfast.”

Eventually, Smith came every single day. For a period, Eleven Mile between Griffith and Gardner was her place to go for a second time each day to help clean at the end of service to do something.

Filling salt shakers and sugar bowls. Washing baseboards. In fact, the only things Smith hasn’t volunteered to do, according to her, is mop the floors or clean the ladies room.

And Nip ‘n Tuck showed the love back. When Smith’s husband died, this was the place she could put herself back together again over conversation and coffee.

That is just one example. The place has clearly meant something special for decades to a cadre of area residents.

It should be no surprise that Nip ‘n Tuck feels like family. It’s been a true family business.

Becky Bone’s father, Bob, founded the place and Becky started working there when she was 11. A picture of her and her dad still sits high on the wall reminding us all of Becky’s more than 40 years behind the counter.

It was sold last month to someone with plans. Plans I’m told from talking to a few people that don’t include the old name but do include a remodel. Beyond that, they are being kept pretty close to the vest. Bone is retiring and will visit family in Florida for a well-deserved vacation. New chapters will turn. The cook will still have a job at the new place, so that’s a plus.

Friday, December 22 is the last day. I hear Paws, the Detroit Tigers mascot, might come by to send off someone who is clearly Berkley’s number one Tigers fan.

You may have noticed that I haven’t included a word from Becky, though I got bits and pieces as she was a whirling service dervish of activity behind the counter. This story is mostly told from the stories of a few people who loved the place.

Becky herself? Well, there were always two or three more customers in the door.

I didn’t feel offended. I was a mere visitor to someone else’s important gathering. It’s only appropriate that up to the last day family came first.

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Plans Become Clearer For Big Boy Site By Belle Isle http://www.dailydetroit.com/2017/12/20/plans-become-clearer-big-boy-site-belle-isle/ http://www.dailydetroit.com/2017/12/20/plans-become-clearer-big-boy-site-belle-isle/#respond Wed, 20 Dec 2017 15:45:31 +0000 http://www.dailydetroit.com/?p=40165 When you look across the Detroit River from Belle Isle, you’re going to see a new building that may be as many as ten stories tall come the summer of 2020. That’s the plan according to The Platform, a development group that’s behind some iconic projects as of late, including a renovation of the Fisher Building.

Earlier this year we brought you word that the Big Boy at Grand Boulevard and Jefferson at the foot of the Belle Isle (properly called MacArthur) Bridge was purchased and closed. That’s where this new project is going.

The $50 million plan calls for:

  • A multi-family residential development
  • 11,000 square feet of ground-floor retail with on-site parking
  • 240 apartments, with 20% of them set aside for affordable housing

“Our vision for this major residential development is one that is both transformational and contextually sensitive,” said Dietrich Knoer, president and CEO of The Platform. “We look forward to engaging with our neighbors and community stakeholders about future programming and what they’d like to see come to Islandview.”

The location has some of the best potential in the city. Across Jefferson is Gabriel Richard Park, and the plan is to connect the Belle Isle Bridge to the Riverwalk so you could bike downtown very easily. There are also protected bike lanes going in on Jefferson. Not to mention, Belle Isle is just across the bridge and there are various improvements going on there.

Ground is expected to be broken on the Islandview project in the fourth quarter of 2018 with opening set for mid-2020.

As we’ve previously shared, that same development company The Platform also controls five contiguous parcels just north of the site on East Grand Boulevard and plans to use some of the buildings mixed-income residential properties.

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It’s Great To See Detroit’s J Dilla Get Some Of The Recognition He Deserves http://www.dailydetroit.com/2017/12/13/great-see-detroits-j-dilla-get-recognition-deserves/ http://www.dailydetroit.com/2017/12/13/great-see-detroits-j-dilla-get-recognition-deserves/#respond Wed, 13 Dec 2017 16:51:26 +0000 http://www.dailydetroit.com/?p=40066 J Dilla was a musical genius. The Detroit artist who died way too young at 32 years old in 2006 made the beats behind a variety of big hits and helped define the sound of a whole genre.

If you don’t know who James Dewitt Yancey was, it’s time for a little primer. After all, two of his beat machines – his Minimoog and his MPC 3000 – are in the Smithsonian’s African American History Museum in Washington, D.C.

Here are a few tracks you might know he was a part of, if you didn’t already.

And my favorite Dilla-only track (he of course had a discography of his own).

There’s a lot more to the story, of course.

Vox did a great job with a video highlighting just why Dilla’s sound was so delicious and it’s worth a watch, including how the MPC is an instrument – just like a violin or a piano. And I think it is.

We’ve embedded it at the top, and think it should get some local love.

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Hispanics Outpace National Average For Home Ownership In Metro Detroit, African Americans Lag Behind http://www.dailydetroit.com/2017/12/12/hispanics-outpace-national-average-home-ownership-metro-detroit-african-americans-lag-behind/ http://www.dailydetroit.com/2017/12/12/hispanics-outpace-national-average-home-ownership-metro-detroit-african-americans-lag-behind/#respond Tue, 12 Dec 2017 21:08:01 +0000 http://www.dailydetroit.com/?p=40060 When it comes to minorities and home ownership, new data out shows that there are significant disparities between different racial groups around what is usually the largest asset a person or family has — owning a home.

The data, culled from U.S. Census data and other sources and compiled by the real estate site Abodo, paint a very interesting picture.

It’s one of the most clear numbers that illustrates wealth inequality. Nationally, 63% of Americans own homes.

Whites in America have the highest rate of home ownership. This plays out locally as well. 78% of the white population owns home here in Metro Detroit, compared to a national average of 71.3%.

When you dig deeper, more details start to emerge.

One is that Hispanic home ownership far outpaces the national average in Metro Detroit. Nearly 59.7% of Hispanics own a home in Metro Detroit. That’s far above the 45.6% nationally.

African Americans haven’t fared so well. Only 40% — nearly the half of of whites — own their own home. That’s also slightly below the national average of 41%. Both nationally and locally, the wealth gap is large between African Americans and the rest of the country.

The percentage of Asian home owners (57.4%) is also slightly behind the national average (58.5%), but closer to the white average.

“When analyzed specifically by the largest minority groups in the country, the breakdown of home owners is very interesting in Detroit. Clearly, all across the country, including Detroit, home ownership among minorities is far behind the home ownership rates of white people,” said Sam Radbill of Abodo.

When minorities do own homes, there are still differences. The median value of a minority-owned home in Detroit is $90,000 while for the region as a whole it is $142,700.

The number of minority renters of all races is also high in Detroit.

“When it comes to minority home ownership in Detroit, the metro area ranks No. 76 among all cities in the U.S. In Detroit, 44.7% of minorities own homes, while the other 55.3% are renters,” said Radbill.

Don’t Forget Detroit’s Hispanic Community

It’s often ignored by mainstream media, but at least in the city of Detroit, the one population group that grew during some of Detroit’s most challenging times were Hispanics.

History & Context Matters

It’s important to acknowledge the Detroit area as a whole has a long history of segregationist housing policies. From Grosse Pointe’s point system that enforced racial and religious restrictions; to subdivision deeds with racist covenants that only stopped being enforced a couple decades ago; to the impact of Federal policy where white veterans after World War II received home loans while minorities did not. The after effects of these actions and divisions have had real impact for generations.

We even have a wall that was built to keep black and white neighborhoods apart so that financing could happen for new suburban homes.

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Could Detroit (And Michigan) Be The Leader For Autonomous Vehicles? Survey Sees Opportunity http://www.dailydetroit.com/2017/12/06/detroit-leader-autonomous-vehicles-survey-sees-opportunity/ http://www.dailydetroit.com/2017/12/06/detroit-leader-autonomous-vehicles-survey-sees-opportunity/#respond Wed, 06 Dec 2017 16:07:57 +0000 http://www.dailydetroit.com/?p=39998 One of the things that’s talked about a ton is the perception of the state, city and region. After all, there’s a lot of money and effort spent by government, businesses and others to influence and help shape how the country sees us.

But, what is that perception, specifically when it comes to jobs? After all, there’s so much focus by the mainstream media on the splashes high-profile people and companies like Dan Gilbert make (because by putting the name in there, like we just did, more people will pay attention), when it’s nowhere near the entirety of the picture.

The 2017 Automobility Career Perception Survey put together by MichAuto, a project of the Detroit Regional Chamber, sampled 900 youth (ages 17-24) and adult influencers both inside and outside of Michigan. Influencers, to be clear, were defined as parents with kids ages 12-17, adults in leadership roles of youth organizations, high school and college-level educators, career counselors and academic advisors.

It was presented today at the MichAuto Summit in Midtown, Detroit.

Michigan has some significant work to do when it comes to national perceptions around having innovative companies in general. From those in the state, the data is better.

41% of Michigan youth respondents believe that innovative companies are in Michigan, while only 4% of those nationally.

When it comes to influencers, 54% of Michigan-based ones say those companies are here, where 5% nationally think that.

Regardless, California leads the pack.

What about Ann Arbor and Detroit? Turns out, again, that the perception shifts depending on whether you’re from the state or not from the state.

Autonomous Opportunity

Diving deeper into autonomous vehicles — a growth area of the future and the focus of a lot of investment — it’s interesting in that there isn’t a perceived place leader for the industry among the majority of respondents. According to the survey creators at MichAuto, this provides a real opportunity.

More than half of both youth (57%) and influencers (53%) say that they don’t know which location in the United States that they would choose as leading the development of autonomous/driverless vehicles.

Ford also stands in good stead. Although Tesla and Google are the top two companies that both youth and influencers think are leading the development of autonomous/driverless vehicles, Ford comes in at number three.

Our Two Cents: When it comes to the future of the region, our ability to not only go with the flow but lead the pack when it comes to autonomous vehicles, ridesharing, apps, all of that — it’s going to be crucial for our future. Not only the investment, but talent staying in the state and attracting more people to the region that as far as population has stayed basically flat for most of the last half century.

Ed Note: Today we’re live blogging from the 2017 MichAuto Summit at the College for Creative Studies. 

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