Monday, September 22, 2014

Detroit Homecoming as condo time share pitch

Posted By on Mon, Sep 22, 2014 at 4:19 PM

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We were talking this Monday morning about the Detroit Homecoming and its pitch to selected people who've left Detroit to return and invest in the city. What caught our eye was a piece on Curbed by Serena Marie Daniels about how these "guests" were pitched by Chris Ilitch on the idea of buying real estate, right around the land they own! It was cause for laughter, the idea of bringing in this captive audience to listen to feel-good speeches by local business leaders on how great it would be to buy some of the land that's right next to them. Surely the development is poised to spill over, yes? 
But which way? Certainly the Ilitches have self-serving reasons to make the pitch they do. The Ilitches and their "dazzling entertainment district" are as yet artists' renderings and happy talk. But if entrepreneurs were to invest in 100 land parcels surrounding the district and put any amount of money into developing them, then the land the Ilitches have at their disposal could become more profitable to develop. After all, if the Ilitches can cause $200 million in "spinoff development" to take place, they stand to gain a windfall of more than $70 million under the deal as it stands.
Given the spirit of self-interest wrapped in the language of a great deal for the select few, plus the idea of a captive audience that can't get away from the kindness of Detroit's billionaire benefactors, the image resolved into clarity for one of our co-workers who declared, "Oh my god! It's exactly like a condo time share pitch!"
The prevailing but quiet self-interested motives, the promises that are easy to weasel out of, all wrapped in buoyant language of honoring one's home and getting a good deal, yes, smacks of the famous high-pressure sales tactic. Kudos to a perceptive co-worker who had the insight to call it right.

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