Here There and Everywhere

Expat wanderer

Why Not Pensacola?

Big article in AOL news about Dan Gilbert going to Silicon Valley to pitch moving their offices to Detroit because it’s way cool.


Excuse me?

While I appreciate his loyalty to Detroit, the things he is pitching all apply to Pensacola – AND. And in Pensacola you don’t have harsh winters. And in Pensacola you are minutes from one of the most beautiful sugar-white sand beaches, uncrowded, in the world. And Pensacola is family oriented. And Pensacola has affordable housing. And Pensacola has a way-cool culture, with parades, symphony, ballet, opera, theatre and restaurants, and world class National Naval Aviation Museum. And people spend thousands of dollars to come visit Pensacola when they could be living the dream – in Pensacola.

Dan Gilbert is a powerful man – in Detroit. Now he wants to convince Silicon Valley to move to America’s Motor City where they’ll have wide open offices, inexpensive living, and access to amazing talent.

Gilbert, the chairman of Rock Ventures and the owner of Quicken Loans, owns 60 buildings in downtown Detroit that house 12,000 employees. He is also an active backer in startups and has been inviting small companies to come bloom in Detroit over the past half-decade.

Why should you move to Detroit?

“The perception doesn’t do it justice. You have a huge talent pool,” said Gilbert. “And the people are way cooler.”

Gilbert believes that the Midwest work ethic isn’t a myth. He said that, despite the rumors to the contrary, the city has an innovative city government and, thanks to his extensive purchases in Detroit, there is space to spare for new startups. He is also working hard to reduce blight around the city, ensuring that city doesn’t look like it does in the popular “desolation porn” that characterizes the city.

The result is a smaller, more compact city that allows smaller companies to gain a foothold in the tech economy.

The city is, arguably, entering a period of renaissance. Thanks to Quicken Loans and Gilbert’s work in the city, most of the blight has been converted to cheap office space. While it does still seem like a wasteland to the average graduate, we saw a city reborn when we visited in 2012 and things are improving immensely.

In short, he said, Detroit is all about opportunity.

“We have great bones,” said Gilbert.

Detroit has good bones? Pensacola has office space, room to grow, a population of workers that can be trained to fill high tech jobs, several colleges, a university, and low stress living. It’s such an easy sell.

September 10, 2014 Posted by | Arts & Handicrafts, Beauty, Bureaucracy, Community, Cultural, ExPat Life, Family Issues, Financial Issues, Interconnected, Living Conditions, Local Lore, Pensacola, Quality of Life Issues, Values | Leave a comment