Abstract: This article examines the prominent growth discourse that today characterizes Midwest rust belt cities. We extend present work on this topic by investigating how these Midwest coalitions construct their two central themes: an accelerated city competition in new global times and the need for leadership by entrepreneurial-minded developers. Our study of St. Louis, Indianapolis, and Cleveland looks at the key ingredients found in these discourses, and show how they are used to legitimate the urban redevelopment plans promoted by growth coalitions.