From Forbes: Dan Gilbert on Giving Back to Detroit

Just had to share this here on Zing.

Anyone following this blog knows that we’re (Quicken Loans) dedicated to rebuilding Detroit. Any anyone who’s ever read my posts knows that I grew up and went to high school right here in downtown Detroit and I would like NOTHING more than to see my hometown return to its days of glory.

I’m serious about that. I remember when many of the buildings that today sit vacant were thriving places of life and commerce. I remember when there were large department stores downtown. I remember when a vacant building down here looked out of place.

So does Gilbert. He remembers the Detroit of his youth and he’s doing a big part to bring it back.

Recently, Forbes ran a story on Dan Gilbert’s Detroit efforts. Here’s a part of that story:

In 2010, Quicken Loans moved its headquarters to downtown Detroit from the suburbs, and since then founder Dan Gilbert has invested more than $300 million purchasing and renovating nine office buildings to encourage other companies to follow him downtown. In all, Gilbert owns 2 million square feet of office space and 1 million square feet of parking, nearly all of it occupied.

Gilbert was born and raised in metro Detroit  — his father and grandfather were born in the city, and owned a bar there — so he feels a personal stake in helping the city recover. But rebuilding Detroit is also important to his company, which he describes as a technology and marketing firm that happens to sell mortgages. “If you want to attract the kind of brains to grow your business — and there are a lot of them around this area, with dozens of great universities — you need a strong urban core. It’s no secret that people in their 20s and 30s want to be in a vibrant, exciting, urban core. We’re not going to get those people if we’re in a nice building in the suburbs,” he said.

“The good news for us is there was a skyscraper sale going on,” he quipped, a reference to the bargain basement prices he paid — as little as $5 per square foot. “They are beautiful buildings, built by great architects. They just need a little bit of love.”

Read the rest of the article here, and then let us know what you think. Is Detroit coming back? Is this really the beginning of a new era of Detroit prosperity and growth? Will the empty buildings of downtown Detroit be replaced with thriving places where people live, work and play?

I think so.  Oh yeah, and watch a video from Forbes below (or check it out right here if you’re on a mobile device and can’t see it).


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