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Gilbert buys 10th building downtown, One Woodward

Rock Ventures purchased it's 10th building in downtown Detroit yesterday, picking up the iconic One Woodward at the corner Woodward and Jefferson avenues.

World famous architect Minoru Yamasaki designed the 26-story office building, which was built in 1962. Yamasaki's work includes the former World Trade Center towers in New York City. One Woodward is considered an early version of the World Trade Center, which was built in the early 1970s.

Rock Ventures is the real-estate arm of the Quicken Loans family of companies, which are controlled by Quicken Loans Founder and Chairman Dan Gilbert. The billionaire-owner of the Cleveland Cavaliers has bought and refurbished nine other buildings in downtown Detroit over the last few years, moving thousands of his employees into these office towers and helping spearhead the Central Business District's rebirth.

"The office space downtown is not abundant anymore," says Jim Ketai, managing partner of Bedrock Real Estate Services, the real-estate management company of the Quicken Loans family of companies that is overseeing the renovation of One Woodward. "We need more space."

One Woodward is 60 percent occupied with existing tenants. Ketai expects that number to hit the 90 percentile within the coming months as Bedrock Real Estate Services renovates the building and recruits new companies to fill it. Work began earlier this week and the first new tenants are expected to begin moving in within four weeks.

One Woodward is also an expansion of the footprint of Gilbert's cluster of downtown office towers. Gilbert has purchased buildings in the Lower Woodward corridor between Grand Circus Park and Campus Martius as part of an effort to turn that area into a hotbed for tech firms being branded as WebWard. That footprint now stretches south of Campus Martius to Jefferson, and more acquisitions are possible in the near future if the right opportunity presents itself.

Ketai says his team is looking for ways to better connect Gilbert's cluster of buildings with the nearby Riverwalk and Renaissance Center. "We would love to figure out how to bring everything together," Ketai says.

Source: Jim Ketai, managing partner of Bedrock Real Estate Services
Writer: Jon Zemke

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