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October 16, 2013

Gilbert-Owned Companies Snag Two More Office Buildings, Invite Artists to Color Garage Building

By Veronica Grecu, Associate Editor

Detroit’s filing for bankruptcy is not that big of an obstacle for Dan Gilbert, the second largest private real estate investor in Detroit after General Motors, who seems to be on the right track to control the entire downtown area.

Rock Ventures LLC, the real estate development arm of Dan Gilbert’s business empire Quicken Loans, this week purchased two more properties as part of the company’s investment and expansion strategy in the city. Both deals were brokered by Rock Ventures’ sister company Bedrock Real Estate Services, who will also oversee renovations, management and leasing of the spaces.

1505 Woodward Avenue Detroit

The two buildings, 1505 Woodward Avenue and 1265 Griswold Street, have a combined square footage of 84,000. According to a Quicken Loans spokesperson quoted by MLive.com, the facilities are currently vacant and will be renovated and transformed into mixed-use buildings.

1505 Woodward Avenue is an eight-story, 48,000-square-foot structure designed by famous architect Albert Kahn that was built in 1931 to house Richman Brothers, a Cleveland-based clothing company.

Originally known as the Bamlet Building, the six-story, 36,000-square-foot structure located at the southwest corner of Griswold Street and Grand River Avenue was built in 1896 by architectural firm Spier & Rohns.

The company hasn’t disclosed the purchase prices, but Crain’s Detroit Business suggests that the buildings could have fetched a combined amount of $4.23 million.

Almost three years after acquiring the historic Madison Theatre and renovating it into The M@dison to provide creative office space for startups, Rock Ventures’ real estate portfolio in Detroit has reached nearly 40 properties, or 8 million square feet of commercial and parking space.

The Z Detroit

“We are as bullish as ever on the future of Detroit and will continue to invest in properties we believe strategically fit our mission to transform the city,” said Matt Cullen, president and CEO of Rock Ventures, in a statement for the press.

To stress the “city transformation” aspect of this aggressive investment strategy, Rock Venture’s sister company Bedrock Real Estate Services teamed up with Library Street Collective, an art gallery based in Detroit, and recently invited 27 international artists to spice up a Z-shaped retail/garage facility in Detroit’s Central Business District. By the end of the year, when construction is scheduled for completion, The Z’s interior walls should be covered by graffiti and murals offering a unique shopping and parking experience for those living, working and visiting Downtown Detroit.



1505 Woodward Avenue image via Google Maps; The Z Detroit picture courtesy of Bedrock Real Estate Services

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