Site Selection 2004 

City of Detroit  |  Detroit Metro Convention & Visitors Bureau
Detroit, MI
"...Detroit will deliver to the Democratic Party a convention that will set new standards for the future."

"Detroit is enjoying an urban renaissance with infrastructure developments including a new $1.2 billion highly advanced and user-friendly airport terminal, corporate development in the heart of downtown, new major sporting venues, and rehabilitation of historic business, entertainment and retail districts.  Detroit is not prepared to rest on these accomplishments."

Overview.  "...a city that embraces the core values of the Democratic Party ... cosmopolitan ... a city built by immigrants... a city with a strong union presence ... a city with an entrepreneurial spirit and a dedicated workforce that produces the best America has to offer."

Convention Complex.  "A key element within Detroit's proposal is our ability to present a choice of venues for the Convention.  A combination of the Cobo Conference and Exhibition Center and Joe Louis Arena offers a venue located on the Detroit River with an international view of Windsor, Ontario...  The second venue is the new Ford Field (opening in Fall 2002), a 1.3 million square foot stadium complex offering 113 suites."

  • Joe Louis Arena.  Constructed in 1979.  Gross square footage: 666,400.  20,000 seats, 79 first class suites located on 2 levels available to the DNCC.  Outdoor covered walkway connects Joe Louis to the proposed Convention Complex of Cobo Conference and Exhibition Center just 375 feet away.  Connected with other downtown venues via the Detroit People Mover, a 1.8 mile above ground rail system.
  • Ford Field.  Due to open summer 2002.  Gross square footage of 1.3 million.  "This proposal includes funds to convert the stadium through decoration to a facility that seats 20,000 people instead of capacity of 65,000."
Host Committee.  "Dave Bing, CEO and Founder of The Bing Group will serve as the Chairman of the Detroit 2004 Host Committee.  With over 1,500 employees (80% of whom are African-American) The Bing Group is approaching gross sales of $400 million.  Before establishing the 10th largest African-American industrial company in the United States, Mr. Bing played professional basketball for 12 years with Detroit..."

Hotels. "Metropolitan Detroit boasts 31,000 sleeping rooms with more than 12,000 within 20 minutes of the downtown core."

Security.  "The entire Detroit Police Department, 3,969 sworn members, operates with the goal of professional public service to the residents and visitors of Detroit."

Transportation.  "The Detroit Metro area is served by two airports located within the 45 minutes travel either Convention Complex proposed."
Delivering the Bid: Detroit Mayor Kwame M. Kilpatrick and other Detroit officials present the city's bid to DNC Chairman Terry McAuliffe on April 12, 2002.
Detroit Mayor Kwame M. Kilpatrick and other officials presented the city's bid, complete with metal briefcase, to DNC chair Terry McAuliffe at DNC headquarters in Washington, DC on April 12, 2002.  The bid itself was 79 pages; with 13 letters of support from political and labor leaders and over 150 pages of technical exhibits it weighed in at a total of 257 pages.  The bid also included a CD-ROM with brief video message from the Mayor.

-In the first three weeks in May, in advance of the Site Advisory Committee's first meeting (May 22), Detroit sent members of the committee an introductory pitch.  First came a portable CD player accompanied by a CD on the themes of diversity and capacity; two subsequent CDs focused on community and labor and on political and corporate support.  Each CD had soundbites from relevant leaders and Motown music.

-At the beginning of July, Detroit sent each member of the site committee an authentic individualized Red Wings jersey autographed by Scotty Bowman (the all time winningest NHL coach, he retired after leading the Red Wings to the Stanley Cup in June).

-Site Advisory Committee visit, July 23-25, 2002

-Following the visit, Detroit sent members of the committee a DVD with highlights from the visit.

Observations.  Detroit hosted the 1980 Republican convention; in fact that convention was one of the first events at the Joe Louis Arena.  In the decade that followed, the population of Detroit and the Detroit metropolitan area actually decreased, but from 1990 to 2000 there has been a modest 4-5 percent increase.  According to the 2000 Census, the Detroit-Ann Arbor-Flint consolidated metropolitan area has a population of 5.5 million (eighth biggest metropolitan area), and the primary Detroit area is home to 4.4 million people.  The city is seeing considerable new development and boasts a young, energetic mayor, Kwame M. Kilpatrick (D), elected in November 2001.  The choice of two convention venues is one of the more interesting aspects of the city's proposal.  In 2000, Michigan was a battleground state; Gore ended up winning it by 51 to 46 percent.  With 17 electoral votes, Michigan will again be important in 2004. 

Copyright © 2002 Eric M. Appleman/Democracy in Action.