The City should have a plan that has been developed with wide community participation and input before further development deals are negotiated for the downtown. The Greater Detroit Downtown Partnership employed a world-renowned urban planning firm to formulate such a plan, including an economic analysis, as a basis for making investment decisions. This is sound public policy. However demolition of the Hudson' s Building will now occur before such a plan is even sketched out by the planning firm thereby foreclosing certain planning opportunities and losing historic tax credits for renovation. Most importantly, the public was cut out of this decision as the benefit of public comment will only be heard after the facta completely indefensible process.
Major urban cities across the country have long recognized the economic benefits of preserving their historic structures. Presently, New York and Chicago have successfully renovated severely deteriorated historic buildings on Wall Street and in the Loop. Moreover, since we did not have the benefit of written comparisons between renovation and demolition we remain uninformed as to how much further public monies, after demolition, will be required to prepare the land and to assist in a new development. There is no credible evidence suggesting that we have reached the days when development is entirely privately financed in this city; particularly in the downtown. We have already gone the route of demolition before a development is in place and we should take a lesson from the fact that these sites remain vacant today.