One of the ways that our staff is working to change perception of Flint & Genesee, as well as bring in new business investment, is to invite “influencers” to the region. When I say “influencers,” I’m referring to top business decision-makers, opinion-shapers or individuals of a certain celebrity status.
Last week, we hosted select Michigan developers, architects and contractors at the Flint & Genesee Chamber’s first Developers Conference. The purpose of the conference was to allow these influencers to experience, firsthand, some of the revitalization and economic progress that is shaping the city into a vibrant urban center; and, importantly, market some of the available properties that are prime for development.
Fifteen investors – from outside of Genesee County – and three local investors participated in the event, which featured an overview of recent investment and jobs wins, a brief update on the FAST Start pipe replacement initiative, an overview of available properties, tour of the community, and a dynamic panel discussion with leadership representing local business and the energy sector, the state of Michigan, the county and the city of Flint.
Today, Flint is at a tipping point. What happens in the next three years could significantly increase or slow down the growth trajectory. Developers who attended the conference saw some of Flint’s bright spots as well as some of our challenges. And, afterward, I strongly urged them to be part of the solution – to invest in Flint’s recovery and ultimate comeback.
Along those lines, several developers expressed an interest in properties and our economic development team is working with them one-on-one. Others said they would like to come back to learn and experience more of Flint. And while investment in our region is very important, I’m also pleased at the opportunity to showcase Flint’s assets, the positive reactions and how public and private leaders came together for the greater good of the community.
Time will tell whether any deals can be linked back to the Developers Conference but I must tell you, that based on the personal interaction I had with a few of the investors as well as my staff, I’m optimistic that there will be great outcomes.
Thanks to all our partners who helped to make the Conference possible. I’m looking forward to our next venture!