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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. 

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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."

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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.

Dan Gilbert, Quicken Loans Founder and CEO
Quicken Loans

A story by Detroit Free Press Business writer, John Gallagher outlines a host of improvements and attractions coming to Detroit. Quicken Loans founder and Chairman Dan Gilbert described the high points of his vision:

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A gaming company run by Detroit billionaire Dan Gilbert has announced plans to move into the city’s casino business.

Quicken Loans founder Gilbert owns Rock Gaming, which already owns
several gambling sites in Ohio.

Now, one of the group’s subsidiaries has announced it will buy a
majority stake of the company that runs Detroit’s Greektown
Casino-Hotel.

Gilbert says in a statement they envision a “significant investment”
in the Greektown casino, “as well as the enhancement and growth of the
existing entertainment district.”

The Michigan Gaming Board will need to sign off on the deal.

They hope to grow that area as well, building on what Gilbert calls
“the positive momentum” now going in downtown Detroit.

Gilbert himself is partly responsible for that momentum.

He’s been buying up much of the major commercial real estate in
downtown Detroit in pursuit of a vision he’s dubbed “Detroit 2.0.”

The vision is a vibrant downtown district to “live, work, and play,”
centered around tech start-ups along Woodward Avenue, which Gilbert
calls “Webward” Avenue.

Dan Gilbert purchases historic One Woodward building

Dec 3, 2012
mikerussell / wikimedia commons

Quicken Loans founder Dan Gilbert and his Rock Ventures LLC, have added another Detroit landmark to their real estate portfolio.

The investment group announced Monday it had purchased the One Woodward Avenue office tower.

The Detroit Free Press has more:

The 333,000-square-foot, 26-story building is about 60% occupied. Major tenants include the Detroit Regional Chamber and the law firms Fraser Trebilcock Davis & Dunlap, and Kitch Drutchas Wagner Valitutti & Sherbrook.

As with Gilbert’s other downtown buildings, Rock Ventures plans to renovate the building to accommodate what Gilbert envisions as the city’s emerging roster of technology employers.

Built in 1962, One Woodward was designed by famed architect Minoru Yamasaki and was originally built for the Michigan Consolidated Gas Co., now part of DTE Energy. The design is often called an early predecessor of the Yamasaki design for New York’s World Trade Center.

The building is the tenth downtown property acquired by Gilbert and Rock Ventures since January 2011.

“We continue to bet big on Detroit, and this purchase reinforces our commitment to the exciting entrepreneurial action on Woodward Avenue,” Gilbert said in a statement.

Gilbert now owns nearly 2.5 million square feet of office space in Detroit, making him the second-largest private owner of downtown property behind General Motors, Crain’s reports.

- Jordan Wyant, Michigan Radio Newsroom

Everybody running a business or a government knows they can make painful spending cuts that may balance the budget.

But you can’t cut your way to prosperity. You have to attract new growth and new investment, and the trillion-dollar question is: How?

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500 new employees moved into downtown Detroit’s First National Building Wednesday. City officials and business leaders say it’s yet another sign of Detroit’s resurgent business district. 

They held a pep rally of sorts to welcome the new employees downtown. They’re from the title insurance and property valuation company Title Source, which has plans to move another 1000 employees downtown  from the suburbs soon.

Dan Gilbert
Quickenloans.com

Another Dan Gilbert company will probably move into downtown Detroit, bringing 1,500 more employees from the suburbs into the city.

Gilbert's Title Source provides title insurance, property valuations and settlement services.

The Detroit Free Press reports the company scheduled a news conference for Wednesday morning to announce the move to the Gilbert-owned First National Building in Downtown Detroit.

Title Source is moving locations from the Detroit Suburb of Troy. About 500 of the company's employees will move in immediately, with the remaining 1,000 moving in over the next six months, reports the Freep.

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Chrysler will start renting office space in a downtown Detroit skyscraper later this year.

Chrysler’s CEO and other business leaders have already re-christened the building “Chrysler House.”

Chrysler will move only about 70 employees into the former Dime building in the heart of downtown Detroit. But CEO Sergio Marchionne says it reflects Chrysler’s commitment to “put down roots” in the city and the region.

Marchionne says the resurgent Chrysler sees its own fortunes tied to Detroit’s.

“The people of Detroit and this region have contributed to making our country great again with their talent, their commitment, and their sweat," Marchionne said. "Detroit is the place that we feel at home. That’s why we’re proud to say that from now on, this building is going to be known as Chrysler House.”

Marchionne also noted Chrysler’s plans to “substantially expand” its industrial presence in the city. The automaker plans to re-open one Detroit assembly plant, and up production at two others by next year.

The move is also another win for the city’s central business district, which has announced some major new tenants in the past few months.

Quicken Loans CEO Dan Gilbert has been one of the key figures pushing to revitalize downtown with his Detroit 2.0 initiative.

“Together we are creating an urban core in downtown Detroit, that will be a spark of the entire region, that will have jobs, growth, and excitement,” Gilbert said.

Marchionne says Chrysler employees will move in once the space is refurbished, likely sometime this summer.

The Detroit Free Press also reports that Chrysler has now committed $3.3 million to help build a light rail project in downtown Detroit. The M-1 rail project will jumpstart with funds from private backers. It's still awaiting approval from city, state, and federal officials.

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