det-qline The QLINE, one ofthe many factors bringing change to Downtown Detroit, recentlybegan operating.

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DETROIT—This city's downtown has been on the rise for a numberof years, and high-tech firms and workers have played a key role. CBRE justreleased its latest Tech Talent Scorecard, part of its sixth-annualScoring Tech Talent Report, and placed Detroit at #20among the top 50 US and Canadian markets, the first time it brokeinto the elite group.

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“It's finally a recognition of what's happening in DowntownDetroit,” Mark Collins, executive vice presidentwith CBRE, tells GlobeSt.com. And the investment taking placedowntown is not merely in the office space. All commercial realestate sectors in the CBD, including retail and multifamily, areshowing increased momentum, with rising rental ratesand values, along with steep falls in vacancy rates.

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“I don't think Detroit is unusual in this respect,” Collinsadds, as many Midwest CBDs have undergone similar transformations. But Detroit, whichbecame the poster child of urban dysfunction, had a much longerroad to travel back than most other US cities.

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Tech workers increased steadily in Detroit from 2012-2017,experiencing a 24.6% expansion and now totaling 84,910, accordingto CBRE. “A key contributor to Detroit's increase in tech workersand rise in the rankings was the growth of its millennialpopulation.” And “the population of millennials in their 20s grewby 14,119 (10.4%) since 2011. Detroit is the fourth-fastest growinglarge market for millennials.”

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The auto industry continues to be an important driver ofhigh-tech demand. Cars today utilize more high-tech features thanever before, and the top companies, including the many partssuppliers in the region, are expected to keep recruiting young,tech-savvy talent.

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That recruitment will be made easier by the many topuniversities in the state, Collins adds. The University ofMichigan at Ann Arbor, along with MichiganTechnological University in Houghton, MI, in the UpperPeninsula, are both considered top performers. And today's techgraduates are less likely to move to Chicago, New York or the WestCoast after graduation. “They're beginning to stay home, and theones that left are beginning to come back.”

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Between 2011 and 2016, Detroit each year added an average of5,241 new tech graduates, according to CBRE. “This makes Detroit atop 10 market in the nation for tech degree completions.”

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The top five markets for tech talent in 2018 were the SanFrancisco Bay Area, Seattle, Washington, DC, Toronto and New York,all large markets with a tech labor pool of more than 50,000.

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Brian J. Rogal

Brian J. Rogal is a Chicago-based freelance writer with years of experience as an investigative reporter and editor, most notably at The Chicago Reporter, where he concentrated on housing issues. He also has written extensively on alternative energy and the payments card industry for national trade publications.