Gilbert-owned buildings downtown racking up new tenants, creating jobs

As Dan Gilbert continues to expand his downtown real-estate portfolio, the Quicken Loans Chairman is filling those buildings with more and more businesses.

Four of his principal buildings that are the furthest along (the [email protected], Dime, Chase and First National buildings) are either at capacity or are projected to be near capacity by the end of this year. All of this growth has prompted Bedrock Real Estate Services, Gilbert's real-estate development fund, to rapidly expand its workforce from four employees to 52 employees over the last year.

Quicken Loans public relations team recently released a long laundry list of companies that have moved into these buildings, representing hundreds of new jobs moving into the Lower Woodward Corridor between Campus Martius and Grand Circus Park. Most of these businesses are newer start-ups and the creative-based companies or investment firms that support them.

"It's a lot of these technology companies on that list," says Jim Ketai, managing partner with Bedrock Real Estate Services. "We are getting a lot of different people looking at spaces, such as advertising agencies, law firms and a ton of retailers."

The [email protected] building, an entrepreneurial hub for tech start-ups overlooking Grand Circus Park, opened last fall and is at 100 percent capacity. The Chase building (the building by Campus Martius that looks like a cheese grater) is also at 100 percent with employees from Quicken Loans and Gilbert's family of companies.

The Dime Building, on Griswold just west of Campus Martius, is at 54 percent occupancy. "We're working with a couple of tenants that will bring it up to 85 percent (by the end of this year)," Ketai says. The First National Building, also overlooking Campus Martius, is at 58 percent capacity. "It will be at 90 percent shortly," Ketai says. "We're working on a couple of big deals."

Ketai adds that his company has been in touch with a number of retailers interested in Gilbert's buildings. He expects to place a few of them, such as a coffee shop, soon. He also says that Gilbert's team is still debating whether it will make the newly acquired Federal Reserve building as a single-tenant structure or split it up into multiple spaces for other companies. 

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

Read more about Metro Detroit's growing entrepreneurial ecosystem at SEMichiganStartup.com.
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