Detroit Regional Chamber > Media Coverage > Detroit Policy Conference to Talk Downtown’s Future

Detroit Policy Conference to Talk Downtown’s Future

January 5, 2023

Crain’s Detroit Business
Jan. 4, 2023
Arielle Kass

Detroit Policy Conference BannerNext week’s Detroit Policy Conference will focus on the future of the city’s downtown, with discussions related to development, the return to the workplace and property tax reform, among other topics.

The Tuesday event at the MotorCity Casino Hotel is hosted by the Detroit Regional Chamber. Devon O’Reilly, the senior director of community engagement and leadership development there, said he expected more than 700 attendees. Advance tickets cost $189 for chamber members and $239 for non-members.

The conference is one of the chamber’s signature events, O’Reilly said, and has been happening for more than a decade. This year’s speakers will include Lt. Gov. Garlin Gilchrist, Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan and Kofi Bonner, the CEO of Bedrock.

“There’s so much going on here, we feel like we’re at an inflection point,” O’Reilly said. “What is the future of downtown going to be?”

With major events returning downtown, new construction picking up and some employers bringing people back to offices — while others continue to work from home — O’Reilly said there was “so much to talk about” regarding return-to-work and what the “new normal means for businesses down here.”

He said the conference will be of interest to people in the suburbs and in Detroit’s neighborhoods who come into the city’s core.

“The future of Detroit is tied into the future of the region,” he said.

O’Reilly said it’s “simply not the case” that Detroit isn’t lively following years of the coronavirus pandemic.

The conference’s focus will include the greater downtown area, he said, including Midtown, Eastern Market, Corktown and the Riverfront. It will also have a focus on diversity in the city, including a panel on empowering Black-owned businesses and another on efforts to create an inclusive downtown.

Other discussion topics will include the Chevrolet Detroit Grand Prix’s return to the city, the future of small businesses, workplace design and placemaking.

“The future of downtown Detroit is really bright,” O’Reilly said. “It’s going to be a great day with a lot of really great discussions.”

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