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dan gilbert

Q-Line streetcar on Woodward Avenue in Detroit.
Bryce Huffman / Michigan Radio

Detroit’s first street car in over 60 years is officially open to the public.

The QLINE will run for 3.3 miles, or 6.6 miles both ways, along Woodward Avenue connecting Detroit’s downtown and midtown.

Matt Cullen, the CEO of M-1 Rail, which owns and operates the QLINE, knows that several Detroiters don’t think the QLINE goes far enough to help residents outside of the downtown area.

“We agree with that and we understand that perspective but we remain confident that this can be the first step in a broad regional transit system,” Cullen said.

Jodi Westrick / Michigan Radio

Formerly nicknamed the “Dan Gilbert bills” after the prominent Detroit businessman and developer, legislation to give developers a tax incentive for building on blighted land sailed through a full Senate vote and is now awaiting a hearing in the House.  

The same kind of incentives came up in Lansing last year. But they didn’t go anywhere, because some lawmakers were worried it would only help big cities like Detroit.

This time, supporters on both sides of the aisle say the legislation is for cities big and small.

The incomplete Wayne County jail.
Wayne County

Plans for Wayne County's unfinished jail site in Detroit could get scrapped if the county accepts a proposal from billionaire businessman Dan Gilbert.

The county is considering Dan Gilbert's Rock Ventures' offer to build a jail at a new location in Detroit. In exchange, Gilbert would get the current jail site.

He and Detroit Pistons owner Tom Gores hope to put a Major League Soccer stadium there.

You have to admire many things about Mike Ilitch. The son of Macedonian immigrants, in the classic American success story, failed to become a major league baseball player, but instead became a true player on a much bigger stage.

He grew up with essentially nothing.

When he died Friday he was worth more than $5 billion, owned a major league hockey and baseball team, a massive national fast food pizza empire, stadiums, theaters, and lots of other stuff.

The incomplete Wayne County jail.
Wayne County

In his column for the Detroit News this week, Daniel Howes analyzed an interesting proposal offered by billionaire Dan Gilbert to Wayne County officials. Gilbert wants to secure a Downtown Detroit site where an unfinished jail currently stands.

The Quicken Loans leader says he will build Wayne County a brand new jail and court offices just east of Midtown in exchange for the site. Wayne County officials are currently vetting the offer. 

Jack Lessenberry
Michigan Radio

After Senate hearings, debates, protests, a Saturday Night Live parody, and an unprecedented tie-breaking vote by the vice president, Betsy DeVos is now the U.S. Secretary of Education. This Week in Michigan Politics, Morning Edition host Doug Tribou and senior news analyst Jack Lessenberry talk about what her confirmation process reveals about the state of affairs in Washington.

The incomplete Wayne County jail.
Wayne County

Robin Boyle is astonished at the pace of development in metro Detroit -- development that is largely the result of public-private partnerships.

But the professor of urban studies at Wayne State University worries it's all happening too fast.

Take the proposed land swap between businessman Dan Gilbert and Wayne County.  The deal would let Gilbert build a major league soccer stadium on the site of the county's partly-finished jail - and in return Gilbert would build the county a new jail for $300 million. 

Jack Lessenberry
Michigan Radio

A Senate committee approved Betsy DeVos' nomination to become U.S. Secretary of Education yesterday, despite strong opposition from Democrats and a tense vetting process. This Week in Michigan Politics, Morning Edition host Doug Tribou and senior news analyst Jack Lessenberry discuss how DeVos' positions on charter schools and school-choice could keep her in the spotlight if and when she's confirmed in a full Senate vote.

They also discuss what's at stake in Michigan following President Trump's executive order on immigration, whether state Attorney General Bill Schuette's support for Trump's immigration order puts him at political risk, and Dan Gilbert's plan to turn the Wayne County jail site into a soccer stadium.

flickr user Bernt Rostad / http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

Detroit businessman Dan Gilbert says he was in Toronto recently, and the view from his hotel featured numerous construction cranes.

He figures that will be a reality for Detroit, too - and soon.

Gilbert says there is almost no office space available in the growing downtown.

One of the signs at the anti-Gilbert protest in downtown Detroit Monday.
Sarah Cwiek / Michigan Radio

Donald Trump’s fundraiser at a Dan Gilbert-owned Detroit building raised some eyebrows last week.

It also drew a small group of protesters to the mortgage-and-real-estate tycoon’s downtown headquarters Monday.

The Reverend William Wylie-Kellerman was one of them.

Kellerman says Detroit is facing a “corporate takeover,” facilitated by the city’s bankruptcy and led by Gilbert’s mass real estate acquisitions in and around the city’s downtown.

People drop off recycling at Recycle Here! in Detroit.
screen grab from YouTube / Model D TV

A couple weeks ago, Jay from Detroit submitted this question to our MI Curious project:

Why doesn’t Detroit have a public recycling system?

There is a recycling program in the city, so I reached out to Jay in order to understand what, exactly, he was asking. (Jay has asked to be referred to only by his first name, for reasons that will become clear.)

The former Hudson's site, prime real estate along Woodward in the heart of downtown Detroit, has been a city-owned underground parking garage since the Hudson's building was demolished in 1998.
Sarah Cwiek / Michigan Radio

A state Senate committee gave its unanimous approval this week to a package of state tax incentives that could allow developers to capture state sales and income taxes to help pay for large development projects in Michigan.

This "brownfield legislation" is something that developers like Dan Gilbert are pushing hard for as the package goes to the full Senate for consideration. Brownfield sites are often abandoned industrial sites that would require a significant clean-up and a major financial investment. 

How would this legislation work? And since it appears to be a case of "picking winners and losers," is this something Gov. Rick Snyder will support? 

Rich Evenhouse / Flickr - http://bit.ly/1rFrzRK

Picture a tree. It has two branches. One bears green leaves. The other struggles to remain viable.

That tree is Detroit and those two branches represent the two very different narratives that we've seen play out this week.

Detroit News business columnist Daniel Howes joined Stateside to talk about these two approaches to rebuilding the city of Detroit.

Wayne State Univiersity Law School in Detroit, Mich.
Google Maps street view

Two businessmen will donate $5 million each to Wayne State University's Law School.

Cleveland Cavaliers owner Dan Gilbert and Miami Dolphins owner Stephen Ross will donate a sum of $10 million to honor the school's dean Jocelyn Benson, who is leaving at the end of the month.

Benson is leaving her post as dean to become the chief executive officer of the Ross Initiative in Sports for Equality. (Read more about that here.)

Last Thursday, there were huge headlines that Dan Gilbert, the billionaire who has bought much of Detroit, wants to invest a billion dollars to build a major league soccer stadium and complex in the city’s downtown.


The former Hudson's site, prime real estate along Woodward in the heart of downtown Detroit, has been a city-owned underground parking garage since the Hudson's building was demolished in 1998.
Sarah Cwiek / Michigan Radio

An iconic spot in downtown Detroit is one step closer redevelopment.

The former Hudson’s department store has been a city-owned underground parking garage since the Hudson’s building was demolished in 1998.

But officials with Detroit’s Downtown Development Authority gave the tentative go-ahead for a new high-rise development there Wednesday.

Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan said the deal still needs a few final approvals. The City Council still needs to OK elements of the deal, including the transfer of the parking garage to the developer for $15 million.

Flickr user william stuben / Flickr

Dan Gilbert has added One Detroit Center to his impressive portfolio of downtown Detroit properties, making it more than 70 downtown properties that Gilbert and his partners now own.

The purchase has caused Ally Financial with its 1,300 employees to move to One Detroit Center instead of Southfield. This announcement was accompanied by Ally's CEO conceding that the downtown location will be more expensive than the suburbs.

User: Sean_Marshall / Flickr

Developers say they will turn the Wurlitzer building and the Professional Plaza building into a hotel and apartment complex, respectively. 

Detroit's historic Wurlitzer building was deemed one of the city's 'most dangerous structures' because it's been raining bricks onto neighboring buildings, such as 1515 Broadway Cafe. Comically, the cafe responded with a sign that reads 'Free coffee with purchase of Wurlitzer Building'. 

Dan Gilbert, Quicken Loans Founder and CEO
Quicken Loans

There was some recent sand-throwing between Oakland County's feisty executive, L. Brooks Patterson, and Dan Gilbert, who is arguably Detroit's No. 1 booster, both in terms of buying, building, and enticing companies to move to Detroit. 

Dan Gilbert, Quicken Loans Founder and CEO
Quicken Loans

Dan Gilbert, founder of Quicken Loans, has become synonymous with downtown Detroit. 

He's been called "Detroit's savior" by the national media because of his purchase of about 60 buildings downtown, but two new articles argue for a more dynamic depiction of Gilbert.

Ryan Felton recently wrote a piece titled "Dan Gilbert, downtown Detroit's demigod" for Detroit MetroTimes. 

Anna Clark authored "Detroit's Dan Gilbert and the savior complex" for the Columbia Journalism Review.

Both articles question how Gilbert has been framed in the media and scrutinize this portrayal of Gilbert as Detroit's guardian angel.

"Journalists can sometimes conflate a private business person with a charity or philanthropic figure," Clark says. He says it's important to remember Gilbert is still an individual working for his own self-interest.

Mitt Romney
(courtesy of MittRomneyCentral.com)

This Week in Review, Jack Lessenberry and Rina Miller discuss Mitt Romney’s recent Michigan visit, billionaire businessman Dan Gilbert’s testimony in Detroit’s bankruptcy trial and allegations that Ferndale police are issuing a disproportionate number of tickets to black drivers. 

Ian Freimuth / Flickr

Recent years have seen a number of corporate heavyweights do their part to revitalize Detroit. One of many examples: Henry Ford II powered the Renaissance Center from blueprints to skyscrapers towering over the Riverfront.

But there are two names that stand well above all the others: the names of Ilitch and Gilbert.

Detroit Free Press Business writer John Gallagher explored the impact of Mike Ilitch and his family and of Dan Gilbert in a recent front-page story entitled "One downtown, two empires: Mike Ilitch and Dan Gilbert reshape Detroit."

Dan Gilbert owns several dozen buildings in the greater downtown area, including some skyscrapers. The Ilitch family plan to redevelop the entire Arena District.

“The downtown has become ‘Gilbertville’ and the area just north of downtown is on its way to becoming ‘Ilitchville,’” said Gallagher.

“I have not seen any other two major corporate leaders accumulate as large a percentage of land as have Dan Gilbert and the Ilitch Organization,” said John Mogk, a law professor at Wayne State University. He teaches a course on Property, Energy, Land Use and Urban Development.

Lester Graham / Michigan Radio

DETROIT (AP) - Businessman Dan Gilbert's real estate arm says it's bought the home of The Detroit News and the Detroit Free Press.

Bedrock Real Estate Services made the announcement Friday about its purchase of the Detroit Media Partnership building. The News says the purchase price wasn't disclosed.

The 400,000-square-foot building was built in 1917 and designed by famed architect Albert Kahn.

Detroit Media Partnership President Joyce Jenereaux says she's "thrilled that Bedrock will be the new owner of our building."

en.wikipedia.org

Global financial giant JPMorgan Chase is bringing Wall Street money to the Motor City.

JPMorgan CEO Jamie Dimon formally unveiled his company’s plans to put $100 million into a range of targeted initiatives at a Detroit luncheon Wednesday.

Dimon called the effort a “long term investment” in a rebounding city.

“We believe in Detroit’s future, and we want to see the city recover its economic strength,” said Dimon.

If you’ve been following what’s been going on in Wayne County government, you may be either scratching your head or banging it against the wall. There was the case of the country employee who got a two hundred thousand dollar severance to move from one well-paid job to another running the airport, something for which she had no experience. Eventually she was fired, but they then had to pay her another seven hundred thousand.

Then, there is the jail. County Executive Robert Ficano and the Wayne County Commissioners decided they needed a new one. Unfortunately, they apparently decided to allow the contractors and subcontractors to approve their own cost overruns. In June, the half-built jail was so far over budget that the county canceled the project, meaning taxpayers are out $155 million dollars.

You would think the people who approved this project would either be arrested or at least forced to resign in disgrace. But no, they’re at it again. Last night I was on a television show with Kevin McNamara, one of the commissioners. 

He wasn’t exactly hanging his head in shame, he was excited. Seems they are about to sell the abandoned jail to billionaire Dan Gilbert, the Rock Financial and Quicken Loans guy, who has been buying large amounts of property in downtown Detroit.

Wayne County

Downtown Detroit real estate mogul Dan Gilbert wants to buy the site of Wayne County’s botched jail project.

Rock Ventures has offered a total of $50 million to build an entertainment district where the half-built jail and other county facilities now sit. Wayne County abandoned the jail project in August because it was hugely over-budget.

Dave Hogg / Flickr

If you're in Detroit, and you drive south down Woodward from Midtown to downtown, you’ll see things that weren’t there four years ago: new developments, pop-up businesses, more people, a new demographic, a Whole Foods,

Dan Gilbert, Quicken Loans Founder and CEO
Quicken Loans

Dan Gilbert’s Rock Ventures just purchased two more buildings on Woodward Avenue. This adds to a growing number of property that Gilbert owns in Detroit’s downtown.

So far, Gilbert’s Rock Ventures and Bedrock Real Estate Services have purchased around 30 buildings and parking garages.

CDI / YouTube

Remember when they blew up the building that once held the world's second largest department store?

In 1998, with the push of a button, former Mayor Dennis Archer ceremonially blew up Hudson's department store in downtown Detroit (taking part of the People Mover with it).

The site has sat empty ever since.

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Dan Gilbert.

The founder of Quicken Loans.

A man with deep pockets.

Taking advantage of what he calls Detroit's "Skyscraper Sale."

He owns three million square feet of downtown commercial space.

His stated goal is to breathe new life into downtown Detroit.

The Sunday New York Times business section calls him the "Motor City Missionary."

So what does Dan Gilbert's "Opportunity Detroit" plan mean for the city and its people?

We asked George Galster - professor of urban studies and planning at Wayne State University - author of "Driving Detroit" - and Toni Griffin - founder of Urban Planning and Design for the American City - director of the Technical Planning Team for the Detroit Future City Plan - and professor of architecture at the City College of New York.

They've got credibility. We asked them questions.

You can listen to the full interview above.

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