The 2024 NFL Draft – What it Means for Detroit Investors


The 2024 NFL Draft – What it Means for Detroit Investors

The City of Detroit will be hosting the NFL draft for the first time this week.

This isn’t just big news for football fans, it’s also one of those things that should make property investors sit up and take notice.

So, although we don’t normally talk about pro sports here, this time we’re going to make an exception. Not because we’re Lions fans, but because this is a powerful indicator of what we can expect in the Detroit real estate market in the coming months and years.

The 2024 NFL Draft Comes to Detroit

The 2024 NFL Draft, presented by Bud Light, will be taking place in Downtown Detroit this Friday, April 25 – Sunday, April 27.

The Draft is expected to be viewed by at least 11 million people on TV, with a projected 400,000+ more flocking to the city center for the Downtown Detroit Partnership’s “Draft Day in the D” celebrations – an event taking place across several parks near the NFL Draft Theater.

To accommodate the event, there’s been a flurry of activity taking place Downtown. In addition to constructing an NFL Draft Theater near One Campus Martius where the ceremony will be held, there will also be dozens of food stalls, shops, games, and live entertainment stages along Woodward Esplanade and in Campus Martius Park, Capitol Park, and Cadillac Square.

When it was announced that Detroit had been selected to host the Draft, Claude Molinari, Visit Detroit President and CEO, called it “another exciting win for Detroit,” and said that “it will deliver a powerful economic impact” for the region.

But let’s try to quantify what all of this means in terms of potential returns for rental property investors.

The NFL & Detroit’s Rocky Past

First, though, let’s address the elephant in the room.

If you know a bit about Detroit’s history, you might be thinking, “We’ve been here before.”

If we look back at 2006, when Super Bowl XL was held at Ford Field, it was a very similar story. Millions were spent on development, the city was showcased in the national spotlight, and politicians assumed that it would be the start of more revitalization to come.

Only it wasn’t.

At the time, Detroit came under fierce criticism in the press for attempting to cover up or hide signs of economic difficulties. Eager to prove to the 100,000 people coming to visit for the Super Bowl that Detroit was on the up and up, programs were started to move homeless people into shelters and off the streets. Dilapidated buildings, like the Madison-Lenox Hotel, the Detroit Statler Hotel, and the Motown Building, were demolished, and others were concealed with signs reading “Premium Development Opportunity.”

Then, less than two weeks before the game, Ford announced that it would close 14 factories and eliminate 30,000 jobs, the Great Recession hit the following year, and the city was never able to fully capitalize on the reinvigoration efforts that the Super Bowl catalyzed.

So what makes us think it’ll be any different this time around?

Draft Day in the D: What it Means for 2024

Detroit in 2024 is a different animal than she was in 2006.

In January 2006, Detroit’s unemployment rate was 6.8% – the 2nd highest of any US metropolitan area.

Today, it’s at 3.9% – 198th in the country, according to the Bureau of Labor and Statistics.

But that’s not all that’s changed.

There are few if any, vacant lots or decaying buildings in Downtown Detroit. The only open spaces left are those that wealthy speculators are sitting on, waiting to develop in the future for sky-high profits. Downtown is fully developed, and it’s impossible to find property here without paying absolute top dollar for it.

And that’s becoming increasingly true for many other Detroit neighborhoods, too. Millions are being invested in building projects, economic development programs, and community regeneration efforts.

Here are just a few things that have changed in the city’s landscape since 2006:

  • More than $1 billion has been spent on building new affordable housing units since 2018.
  • The Campus Martius Park, the Riverwalk, and Comerica Park have been completely revamped.
  • Henry Ford Health is set to break ground this year on the $2.4B New Center
  • The District Detroit development is investing $1.5B, providing 12,000 jobs.
  • Ford’s Michigan Depot is opening after $1B+ of redevelopment to make it an EV campus.

What all of this means for investors is that this time around, we can expect to see a real, lasting impact from the NFL Draft coming to Detroit. Not only has it spurred even more capital injection into development projects, but it will bring a lot of positive attention to the region, which will attract more investors in the future.

A New Era for The Motor City

The 2024 NFL Draft is a sign of how far development in Detroit has come, how much is being invested right now, and how we can expect this upward trajectory to continue in the future.

This won’t just have a positive impact on real estate prices – it will also improve Detroit’s reputation, as the country sees just how far the Motor City has come in the past 18 years.

Want to visit The 2024 NFL Draft yourself? Register for a free ticket here.

Want to find out more about how we help Detroit rental property investors maximize their returns? Contact us to schedule a free consultation.

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