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).