Momentum slowing in Detroit’s commercial real estate market? No evidence of that

Dennis Bernard, founder and president of Southfield, Michigan-based Bernard Financial Group, said that the Detroit commercial real estate market continues to gain momentum.

And the future looks bright, both in the heart of downtown Detroit and in the city’s outer neighborhoods and suburbs, he said.

For one thing, demand is high. Bernard said that the Detroit market is especially under-supplied in the industrial sector. Companies are eager to build new warehouses in the market. Others are seeking modern industrial space that is in too short of a supply here.

The multifamily market in Detroit remains hot, too, Bernard said, especially in the urban core. Demand is increasing for office space in the central business district. And even retail, while going through what Bernard calls a seismic change universally, is growing in the city and its suburbs.

“Overall, the Detroit real estate market is as healthy as it’s been in 25 or 30 years,” Bernard said.

What’s behind this growth? Bernard points to the political leadership in both Detroit and the state of Michigan. He said that Gov. Rick Snyder has promoted a business-friendly environment for the entire state, a benefit that has trickled down to Detroit. It’s simply easier today for developers and investors to work in the city, Bernard said.

“We are friendlier state in which to do business,” he said. “There aren’t as many regulations. There are lower taxes. We have had a greater focus on technology and research-and-development. We have attracted businesses.”

Detroit itself has benefitted, too, from the capital of two key business leaders. Mike Ilitch, who died in 2017 and was the founder of Little Caesars Pizza, played a key role in the early efforts to revitalize downtown Detroit.

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