Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Loan Firm Owner Acquires Buildings in Downtown Detroit

Dan Gilbert buys 5 more downtown buildings as part of 'Detroit 2.0' vision

4:25 PM, December 18, 2012
By John Gallagher
Detroit Free Press Business Writer

Dan Gilbert isn’t done yet.

The Quicken Loans founder and chairman announced Tuesday he has bought five more buildings in downtown Detroit to add to the 10 he already owns.

The buying spree brings the total bought by Gilbert and his partners to 15 buildings in the city’s core totaling 2.6 million square feet of commercial space, plus two parking garages with a combined 3,500 parking spaces. Last month, the Gilbert team also broke ground on a 33,000-square-foot specialty 10-story parking garage with ground floor retail downtown.

The partners operate through Rock Ventures, the umbrella entity that oversees Gilbert’s portfolio of companies, investments, and real estate, of which the flagship part is Quicken Loans, the nation’s biggest online home mortgage lender.

Gilbert has said many times that he is buying so much real estate to help launch what he calls Detroit 2.0 – a lively live-work-play district in the heart of the city based around entrepreneurial companies in the digital economy. He has already filled up most of his major purchases, like the Chase Tower and First National buildings, with employees of Quicken or its various spin-off firms.

“It has been an exciting year of opportunity in Detroit,” Gilbert said in a statement released by Quicken. “Our focus in 2013 will be on the three R’s – residential, rail and retail – all of which are vital in creating the vibrant, thriving urban core that we all envision.”

The five buildings named Tuesday were:

The nine-story building at 1201 Woodward, former home of a Kresge store. Built in 1891 and measuring 54,000 square feet, the building will be renovated for first-floor retail and either office or residential space on the upper stories. The first floor already houses the Detroit Shoppe and Detroit Artist Market pop-up stores.

The five-story 1217 Woodward building. Meansuring 30,000 square feet, this building adjacent to the Kresge Building also dates to 1891. Like the Kresge, it will be renovated for ground-floor retail with office or residential space above.

The three-story 1412 Woodward building. Dating to 1916, this 6,000-square-foot building is currently vacant but will see ground-floor retail with office space above.

The five-story 1301 Broadway building. Known as the Cary Lofts, this 20,000-square-foot building dates to 1906 and will see “extensive renovations” for first-floor retail with residential space above.

The five-story 1521 Broadway building. Currently the site of the Small Plates restaurant on the ground floor and rental apartments above, the building measures 9,300 square feet and is 100% occupied.

Bedrock Real Estate Services, Rock Ventures’ real estate firm, handled the purchases.

“The need for retail and updated office and residential space in downtown Detroit is keeping Bedrock extremely busy,” Jim Ketai, Bedrock’s managing partner, said in a statement.

Contact John Gallagher: 313-222-5173 or gallagher99@freepress.com

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