As Quicken Loans Chairman Dan Gilbert continues to rack up more property on his downtown Detroit Monopoly board, Bedrock Real Estate Services (Gilbert's real-estate management firm) has been growing just as quickly.
The 2-year-old company, based in the Compuware Building, has hired 45 people over the last year, expanding its staff to 84 employees and one intern (the number of interns balloons to nearly a dozen during the summer). The expansion prompted Bedrock Real Estate Services to open a second office in the Firth National Building.
"It's obviously grown faster than any of us here anticipated," says Jim Ketai, founder & managing partner of Bedrock Real Estate Services
. "We need another developer to help take responsibility for this growth."
That new developer is Eric Larson who just joined Bedrock Real Estate Services as co-managing partner. Larson had been non-executive president of Olympia Development, the real-estate company owned by the Ilitch family. Before that Larson ran Larson Realty Group where he developed, financed, owned and managed more than $3.5 billion in real estate, including General Motors' purchase and development of the Renaissance Center and Millender Center, and development of One Detroit Center and the Taubman Center at the College for Creative Studies in New Center.
Larson will focus on the master planning, acquisitions, development and leasing activities for Bedrock Real Estate Services and its sister company Rock Ventures, which serves as the umbrella company for Gilbert's real-estate holdings. Gilbert currently controls 2.6 million square feet of office space and 3,500 parking spaces in 15 office buildings, two parking garages and one surface lot in downtown Detroit that are under various stages of developers. The addition of the Z Lot parking garage will bring another 1,300 parking space and 33,000 square feet of retail space online. And Ketai's team has plans to continue that expansion.
"It will depend on how the growth and demand continues," Ketai says. "It's getting to the point that we don't have enough hardware (buildings) for the people who are interested in coming down here."
Source: Jim Ketai, founder & managing partner of Bedrock Real Estate Services
Writer: Jon Zemke
Read more about Metro Detroit's growing entrepreneurial ecosystem at SEMichiganStartup.com.