Motown. Motor City. But there’s another nickname that suits Detroit's character best of all, these days: Renaissance City. Certainly, the past 50 years haven’t always been kind to this once-mighty industrial capital. But while Detroit’s fortunes have risen and fallen, thanks to a startling new surge in Detroit tech, in the arts, in design and in independent business, the city is now poised at the start of a brilliant period of regeneration. Welcome, ladies and gentleman, to the new Detroit.
Michigan’s biggest city has been closely associated with the spirit of innovation for more than a century, and no one person was more influential in shaping its dedication to invention than Henry Ford. The unveiling of his iconic Model T in 1908 was the first major step in cementing Detroit’s status as a capital of progress, and other automotive leaders soon followed Ford’s move. By the 1950s, Detroit was a flourishing boomtown, a symbol of American technological ingenuity and a cultural capital full of Art Deco theatres, sweeping avenues, and grandiose architecture.
Now, that same spirit of technological innovation is helping to foster Detroit’s phoenix-like rebirth. The city’s proliferation of available office spaces and low overhead costs has created welcoming turf for a new generation of start-ups and entrepreneurs. According to recent statistics, Detroit is growing at a faster pace than Silicon Valley – and is currently home to some of the country’s most-watched start-ups.
Nowhere encompasses that spirit better than TechTown: a business accelerator and hub of innovation, it’s at the heart of the Detroit tech start-up boom. Situated in New Center, it has served 1,026 companies and contributed more than 1,000 jobs to the local economy since 2007. Not to mention that the very history of Detroit-brand innovation infuses its on-trend, open-plan office: located within a renovated Albert Kahn building that once housed Chevrolet offices, the Corvette was designed on its third floor.
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