Here’s a heads up if Dan Gilbert comes calling on you. He’s chairman of Quicken Loans, the nation’s largest online retail mortgage lender, he’s very persuasive, he’s just decided to move his company’s headquarters to downtown Detroit, and he’s determined to recruit other companies to follow. So if you are starting a company, growing a company or thinking about relocating your company, you may know what Gilbert wants when you pick up the phone.
I’ve closed a lot of deals for the City of Detroit in the last five years and Gilbert’s enthusiasm for creating what he calls “Detroit 2.0” is one of several reasons this deal is probably the best one yet. Quicken will move 4,000 employees to its downtown offices, where they will join the growing number of “knowledge workers” employed by Compuware, EDS and other great companies. That in itself is huge. Quicken Loans has repeatedly been cited as one of the best companies in the country to work for, and its employees as a group tend to share their chairman’s energy and enthusiasm. They will make great contributions to the vibrant atmosphere downtown, making it an even better place to live, work and play.
But that’s not the end of it. We have given Quicken Loans time to choose either one of two outstanding sites. Why would we lock up two prime locations for one company? Because Gilbert has agreed to develop both properties – one for Quicken and the other one as a 450,000 sq. ft. commercial office complex with a capacity to house 1,500 employees. And that may not even be enough for what Gilbert sees coming downtown, so we have given him options on two other properties downtown to develop as residential, retail, commercial, restaurant or entertainment. Detroit was already blasting off – but Gilbert and company have just strapped on four booster rockets to launch the city and the region to a whole new orbit. When all is said and done the deal we made is likely to bring a total of 6,000 or more people downtown.
So go ahead and take the call if you hear from Gilbert. After all, he didn’t do all this just to be a Detroit booster – he did it for solid business reasons. We offered him a package of incentives that made sense for Quicken Loans, and we can make one that makes sense to your enterprise.
George W. Jackson
Jackson is president and CEO of Detroit Economic Growth Corporation, a non-profit organization that works with businesses, government and other organizations throughout Detroit to encourage and manage economic development projects.