Detroit has had a remarkable recovery. Motor City filed the nation's largest ever municipal bankruptcy just three years ago, after suffering from an unemployment rate that reached a staggering 28 percent. Since then, the city has battled its way back from a Chapter 9 filing and unemployment has recovered to a low six percent.
But Detroit is still plagued by one fact: Its population is dwindling.
Detroit covers 143 square miles and is roughly the size of San Francisco, Boston and Manhattan combined, but it is inhabited by under 700,000 people. For the first time since 1850, the Motor City ranks outside the nation's top 20 largest cities.
Now the city is banking on at least one project — a $627 million new arena that the National Hockey League's Detroit Red Wings will call home — to lure investment, and people, back downtown. Detroit's Downtown Development Agency is providing $250 million in financing through tax-exempt municipal bonds, with the remaining costs absorbed by a subsidiary of the Red Wings-owning billionaire family the Ilitches, who also own the Detroit Tigers and founded Little Caesars Pizza.