According to the Detroit Free Press, family-owned surface parking lots in downtown Detroit are becoming a sought-after commodity due to boom times in the Motor City. Of 800 listed parcels of land located between the downtown expressways and the Detroit River, about half of them are devoid of buildings and nearly all of them are currently dedicated to parking. "I get a million calls a day," said Greg Tremonti a parking lot owner. "Everybody’s been chasing it. My mother’s very happy and the property value just keep going up and up."

The Tremonti holdings are a tiny part of the answer to an increasingly important question: Who owns downtown? The answer will help define public policy for years to come, and it will shed light on who benefits and who doesn't from today's downtown revitalization.

Broadly speaking, downtown ownership is spread among hundreds of people and entities large and small, who collectively hold many different attitudes and approaches.

"In the past there was a perspective that the highest and best use of land in downtown was surface parking lots," said Eric Larson, CEO of the civic group Downtown Detroit Partnership. "However, as the overall market conditions and demand improves, lot owners are motivated to become more progressive and proactive. But there are some owners who have been around for a long time, who have followed the same operating formula and have been slow to adjust requiring more direct encouragement."

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