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Recent MSU graduates flock to Detroit to start careers

May 17, 2016

Like many Rust Belt cities, Detroit has been slowly rebuilding from decades of neglect and the catastrophic recession in 2008 that nearly destroyed the city's auto industry, the lifeblood of its economy.

On top of that, the housing market crash that kicked off the recession hit Detroit the hardest, carrying the highest number of foreclosures nationwide during that period.

In spite of these setbacks, Detroit has been seeing a new kind of renaissance as of late. The Midtown region has been slowly revitalizing with new businesses and property prices returning to pre-2007 levels. Young adults just starting their careers or families have been flocking to the Motor City as new businesses move in to be a part of the city's cultural and economic revival.

"It's almost like a duty, if you're from Michigan, to move to Detroit now because it kind of needs us more than ever," Andrew Meftah, a media and information graduate moving into a place on 7 Mile Road and Woodward Avenue, said.

Aside from growing up in the metro Detroit area, Meftah's reasoning to settle in Detroit comes from his own interests in DJing and producing. Given Detroit's long history with electronic music and hip-hop, it only made sense that Meftah would want to be a part of that returning scene.

"A lot of the community of people that I produce for and DJ, you know they all live out in Detroit, so I personally, you know, it's a lot to always drive out from Lansing to Detroit," Meftah said. "I'd just like to be in the middle of all the action."

Younger residents have also been drawn to the city not just for its arts scene but also for more practical purposes such as new job opportunities or to continue their education at one of the nearby universities, Keller Williams realtor Hulya Erol-Garvett said.

"There are a lot of the historic district houses that are great," Erol-Garvett said. "Universities, hospitals, insurance companies, everybody's there. Of course the place has been very cheap, I think, because a lot of people didn't care for it. But since there have been a lot of improvements going on and the companies are not moving out. If they're not going to move out it only makes sense to buy if you're working there and it's right on the freeway, so why not?" she said. "It's definitely a great city, it has a lot of history and a lot of potential."

Even non-Michigan residents have found reason to move to the Detroit area. John Shaughnessy, who graduated in the spring of 2015 in advertising, originally came from Chicago yet has made Ferndale his home now. For him, Ferndale offers a comfortable place to live that's close to both necessities like grocery stores as well as the city's emerging cultural center.

"There's a lot of art going on, there's a really healthy artistic community, lot of things going on in the Detroit area that you wouldn't be able to afford in a place like LA or Chicago," Shaughnessy said. "You wouldn't be able to afford the rent, so all the artisan stuff that people are moving in from all over the world to Detroit because they can do their thing here."

Though Shaughnessy wouldn't personally recommend Ferndale for someone fresh out of college, saying it's "a little bourgeoise, a bit pricier than other places," he was quick to emphasize that the city of Detroit as a whole is an ample area for someone looking for the perks of big city life at an affordable rate.

"You can get all the atmosphere and all the culture you can get in any other big city but you don't have to spend big city money," he said. 

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