Nearly a decade later, Super Bowl XL’s bequest lives on in redeveloping Detroit

February 1, 2015 - bbq set

DETROIT, MI – Super Bowl XL drew 100,000 people and millions of dollars in outward spending to Detroit as a world’s courtesy quickly focused on a Motor City and Ford Field for a NFL’s vast event.

The city spent years scheming for a 2006 diversion and many of those preparations live on in Detroit scarcely a decade after a Pittsburgh Steelers degraded a Seattle Seahawks. While a Super Bowl and a national spotlight didn’t flip a city itself, some brace it as a matter for today’s swell of redevelopment in Detroit.

Jeanette Pierce, executive executive of Detroit Experience Factory and a downtown proprietor given 2003, pronounced a Super Bowl compulsory city leaders to set deadlines for things officials had been articulate about for some time. She speaks from experience.

Pierce founded Inside Detroit (which after became Detroit Experience Factory) on Jan. 6, 2006, only underneath a month before Super Bowl XL kicked off during Ford Field on Feb. 5, 2006. While Inside Detroit wasn’t started given of a Super Bowl, Pierce pronounced a eventuality illuminated a glow to get her debate association adult and running.

Super Bowl XL was like a vast celebration Detroit was hosting, she said.

“You set a date and you’ve got to get things done,” Pierce said. “That’s what happened with a lot of projects.”

What Super Bowl XL did to Detroit

Some of a biggest empty buildings in Detroit were ripped down in a year or so heading adult to Super Bowl XL, Pierce said.

In 2005, a Madison-Lenox Hotel, a Detroit Statler Hotel and a Motown Building were all razed. It wasn’t dark that a empty buildings were demolished due to a Super Bowl entrance to town.

In a years heading adult to a game, Detroit saw Campus Martius Park turn a destination, a Compuware Building go adult and a YMCA Building downtown built. In a years following Super Bowl XL, a Detroit River Walk was revamped and a Westin Book Cadillac was redeveloped, to name a few things.

There was work on a ground, too. Programs like Clean Downtown were determined to bedeck a downtown area, and subsequent weekend’s Meridian Winter Blast was started in 2005 as a countdown to a Super Bowl.

But not all of a Super Bowl prep work as clearly positive. The bid to “clean up” Detroit enclosed gimmicks like facades to censor blighted conditions, and programs dedicated to relocating people off downtown streets to make a city some-more gentle for Super Bowl visitors.

Justin Petrusak, module manager for a Neighborhood Service Organization’s Recovery Services in Detroit, pronounced it’s no tip that Super Bowl XL postulated now-defunct Project Helping Hands adequate income to start homeless overdo downtown. Whether totally good or bad, he couldn’t say. The indicate is a NSO was means to get a vast array of a Detroit homeless into shelters in a months heading adult to a game.

“There was a unequivocally tiny module … that was combined given of a media attention,” he said.

The organisation was a four-person response group combined to rivet with “individuals experiencing homelessness” in downtown Detroit. Essentially, Project Helping Hands was combined to forestall people from panhandling to visitors to a city, improving Detroit’s image, Petrusak said.

The efforts did assistance people find shelter, yet might also not have been a right solution.

“The city didn’t know how to respond,” Petrusak said. “It’s not as yet they’re a bad guys here. … It only wasn’t unequivocally a suitable response,” given a homeless aren’t always panhandlers, and panhandlers aren’t typically homeless.

And while some noticed a pierce to train those on a streets to a NSO’s Tumaini Center and other shelters as cold-hearted and ill-willed, Petrusak pronounced there was another side to that.

“It was also an event for those experiencing unsheltered homelessness to knowledge a Super Bowl” given there were TVs to watch a diversion during a shelter.

Between Oct 2005 and Mar 2006, a group helped 518 people in downtown Detroit, Petrusak said. By 2009, only before their appropriation was cut by a state, a NSO had grown to be a 24-hour response group that staffed 35 people.

View full sizeProject Helping Hands in 2009, only before appropriation to a module was roughly wholly cut by a state.  

In 2009, they helped 893 people benefit entrance to shelters and mental health care. But only 3 years after a Super Bowl packaged adult and left town, appropriation was cut by $2.7 million, Petrusak said. Project Helping Hands was radically close down.

Today, a mobile overdo arm of a NSO, The Road Home, staffs 3 people. It could die off by Apr due to miss of funding, Petrusak said.

Looking back, he doesn’t error a city or state for holding movement while in a inhabitant spotlight.
“That’s a ideal time to act,” he said. “We were handling homelessness behind then.”

Petrusak jokes that in sequence to unequivocally assistance a homeless in Detroit, a city needs another Super Bowl. “The spotlights have continued to come, they only have not been as bright,” he said.

The Super Bowl XL aftershock

The perfect volume of people that would be flocking to a city in a weeks heading adult to a diversion was adequate to coax some movement from city and state officials as good as internal business owners, according to Pierce

“Super Bowl was unequivocally a initial time in a prolonged time that a inhabitant mark light was on Detroit,” Pierce said.

There was a arrange of popcorn outcome in a city, Pierce said. Once one plan was successful, a integrate others started, and so on.

Pierce pronounced that while she doesn’t credit a Super Bowl as a categorical means in all that’s happened for Detroit in a final 9 years, it’s unequivocally a indicate of reference.

In serve to all being built or rebuilt, people began holding an seductiveness in a city.

“You had people entrance who hadn’t been downtown in a prolonged time,” she said. “Everyone was agreeably astounded … amazed, if we will.

“It unequivocally kind of showed of a city. It was a good kind of entrance out party.”

There was a sense, Pierce said, that Detroit was removing a possibility to showcase something that had remained dark divided for a prolonged time.

But she said Detroit already had some movement behind it heading adult to a 2006 showcase. Another downtown business owners agreed.

Tony Piraino, owners of Firebird Tavern in Greektown, pronounced Super Bowl XL’s mark on a Detroit timeline was coincidental.

“What it did was it brought a extensive volume of courtesy to Detroit,” Piraino said.

He non-stop a bar, Pulse, not distant from Firebird Tavern’s plcae in 2005, yet he pronounced he’d been looking to get something non-stop in downtown Detroit for some time. While 2006 had been a best year for Pulse, a liquid of activity in Detroit isn’t a approach outcome of a Super Bowl that year.

“It started a review off a small bit,” he said. “There were all of these intensity projects – all these imagination renderings, businesses, bars and restaurants.”

Really, all a activity showed that Detroit had a “tremendous volume of promise.”

Pierce pronounced that Super Bowl XL was unequivocally a step along a line of investments and destiny growth projects in a city.

A array of vast events entrance to a city, all within 18 months of Super Bowl XL, combined to a fact that Detroit was already a heart of activity, Piraino said.

He non-stop adult emporium in Detroit given he wanted to be a partial of everything.

And Detroit seems to have strew a training wheels given 2006, things like a annual Winter Blast are still around to remind everybody of what Super Bowl XL helped bolster.

Where would Detroit be yet a vast game?

Piraino and Pierce differ on their opinions of where Detroit would be in 2015 had Super Bowl XL never come to town.

“Maybe 6 months to a year behind on some projects,” Pierce said. “It did yield a common belligerent for people to start from.”

Pierce pronounced that behind when all a initial growth was happening, she remembers wishing she could look brazen in time a few years to see what Detroit would become.

“But afterwards that’s (the redevelopment) only continued,” she said. “It only hasn’t slowed down.

“Once people saw Detroit…in an authentic way, it was unequivocally formidable not to like it.”

With buildings like Broderick Tower and a David Whitney Building being redeveloped into upscale housing, and other once-sore-thumbs like The Wurlitzer being bought, there’s a still a feeling of fad in a city.

Even Pierce’s business has grown from display 75 people around a city on their initial debate in 2006, to heading 12,000 people on tours final year.

Piraino pronounced Detroit would have been excellent yet a Super Bowl, though. In fact, a city would be accurately where it is currently regardless.

“There was some residual (effect) after a Super Bowl,” he said. “After that, it was behind to business as normal.

“At a finish of a day, man, it got things going…it got people down to a city,” yet that was starting to occur anyways.

After all, 2008’s retrogression did means a city to take a hit, melancholy to pull Detroit behind to block one.

Quicken Loans noble Dan Gilbert revitalizing a city and changes in a city supervision are dual of a categorical reasons Detroit is “where it is currently and where it’s going tomorrow,” Piraino said.

Admittedly, Super Bowl XL did make people get adult and purify adult a city, he said.

Piraino had a possibility to take his business anywhere in a universe in 2013 when a strange plcae of Pulse was ripped down, he said, yet he didn’t leave.

“We chose to stay downtown yet question,” he said. “We felt we had unprepared business. We saw discernible justification of shovels in a ground, people relocating downtown (and) people vital downtown…”

Both Pierce and Piraino pronounced there is copiousness of work left to be done.

“More people need to live downtown,” Piraino said.

Pierce pronounced there are a array of things she’d like to see occur in a city, including serve redevelopment of Capitol Park downtown, and something, anything, finished to save a empty National Theater building.

She’s many vehement to see a Detroit neighborhoods see some investment entrance their approach now. The fad downtown is palpable, though.

“We are still progressing, we are still relocating forward,” Pierce said. “There’s a lot of work to be done. Downtown isn’t finished.”

Ian Thibodeau is a party and business contributor for MLive Media Group in Detroit. He can be reached during, or follow him on Twitter.

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