Monday, June 17, 2024
Urban Planning

Detroit Awards Development Package to the Dark Lord Sauron

At a press conference this morning , Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan announced a new public-private partnership financing package issued to the Dark Lord Sauron and the armies of Mordor. The package, which includes transformational brownfield credits as well as tax increment financing (TIF), will provide at least $714 million to the residents of Barad-dûr over the next 20 years to build affordable, mixed-income housing, mixed-use housing in major corridors, and to transform public space with complete streets, parks and other green space, and green stormwater infrastructure.

“This unprecedented collaboration with the Dark Lord Sauron is a significant step forward in our efforts to spur economic growth and development in the city of Detroit,” said Mayor Duggan. “We’re going to rebuild Barad-dûr,” Duggan said, to thunderous applause from an audience of mostly Orcs and a handful of Men loyal to the armies of Mordor.

An interpreter of the Dark Lord Sauron (left) and Mike Duggan (right) present at a press conference on a recently approved development financing package awarded to the Dark Lord for a new mixed-use development in Barad-dûr. The development will be the first of its kind in Mordor. (Image generated by MIdjourney AI).

The Department of Public Works, in partnership with MDOT, will oversee the infrastructure improvements needed to support the development, including road and sewer upgrades. The project is expected to create thousands of new jobs and provide an economic boost to the region. SmithGroup will provide engineering consulting services, and Hamilton Anderson will provide master planning and architectural design for the project.

“When I first ran for mayor, we spent a lot of time in Barad-dûr,” the mayor said, flanked by a smiling Orc family. “I knocked on– I think it was 900 doors. We had families come up to us and tell us, ‘Mike, nobody has ever come to our neighborhood before. Nobody has ever come to Barad-dûr.’ Well, we’re changing that today. We’re coming to Barad-dûr, and we’re sticking around.”

Media, though sparse, possibly owing to the last-minute announcement of the press conference, challenged the mayor on some of the yet-unresolved questions about the deal. Muckracking journalist Charlie LeDuff asked why the package was not put to a vote with the entire city council, and whether the mayor wasn’t worried about the implications of a partnership with a controversial figure like the Dark Lord Sauron. Numerous Orcish attendees in the audience hissed at the comment, but the mayor was able to maintain order in the briefing.

“You know, Charlie, I realize that there’s some skepticism, and I understand that,” Duggan said, maintaining a perpetually cool, smug grin. “We’re committed to making this project a success for Detroiters without negatively impacting the financial wellbeing of the city. As you know, since we came out of bankruptcy, we’ve been required to balance the budget, and we’re continuing to do that.”

The Dark Lord himself said a few words, translated from his native tongue of Black Speech by an Orcish interpreter (Sauron does not speak English).

“For too long have the people of Barad-dûr waited for others to fix our problems. We are thrilled to be working with the city of Detroit on this exciting new development, which will allow us to stand on our own two feet and build wealth locally,” said the immortal necromancer through his interpreter, who spoke in a hissing, gravelly voice. “This project will help to establish Barad-dûr as a vibrant, thriving community and bring prosperity to the people of Detroit and Barad-dûr.”

“We are grateful for the support of the Department of Public Works, which will be critical in ensuring the success of this project,” Sauron added.

A community benefits package being currently negotiated will be worth no less than $83 million, and will focus on supporting families in need and also providing early childhood education and after school programming to Orcish children.

Duggan concluded: “We’ve got a lot of work to do, rebuilding streets, sewers, and dark fortresses, and we’re ready to hit the ground running. Nampat, people! Let’s get out there!”

rendering of mixed-use housing in mordor
Rendering by SmithGroup of mixed-use, 15-minute neighborhoods in Barad-dûr. A project was just announced by Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan and the Dark Lord Sauron that will add 10,000 housing units and rebuild complete streets through Mordor, focusing on sustainable, walkable neighborhoods in Barad-dûr.

Happy April Fools, people.

Nat M. Zorach

Nat M. Zorach, AICP, MBA, is a city planner and energy professional based in Detroit, where he writes about infrastructure, sustainability, tech, and more. A native of Lancaster, Pennsylvania, he attended Grinnell College in Iowa, the Kogod School of Business at American University, the POCACITO transatlantic program, the SISE program at the University of Illinois Chicago, and he is also a StartingBloc Social Innovation Fellow. He enjoys long walks through historic, disinvested Rust Belt neighborhoods at sunset. (Nat's views and opinions are his own and do not represent those of his employer).

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