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Gilbert’s Rock Ventures Buys Two More Buildings Downtown

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1265 Griswold. (credit: Bedrock Real Estate Services)

1265 Griswold. (credit: Bedrock Real Estate Services)

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DETROIT (WWJ) – It appears downtown Detroit’s skyscrapers are still on sale.

Rock Ventures and its real estate arm, Bedrock Real Estate Services —  both part of the business empire of Quicken Loans whose founder Dan Gilbert once famously remarked that he was buying Detroit’s skyscrapers because they were on sale — announced the purchase of two more buildings in downtown Detroit, at 1505 Woodward Ave. and 1265 Griswold St.

The purchases add 84,000 square feet to the companies’ growing real estate holdings.

In nearly three years, Rock Ventures has acquired more than 40 properties totaling nearly 8 million square feet of commercial and parking space in Detroit’s urban core.

“Detroit’s bankruptcy does not deter our downtown Detroit investment strategy,” said Matt Cullen, president and CEO of Rock Ventures. “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.”

The 1505 Woodward building is at the northwest corner of Woodward Avenue and Clifford Street. The eight-story, 48,000 square foot structure was designed by renowned architect Albert Kahn and built in 1931. Its original tenant was the Richman Brothers clothing store.

1505 Woodward Ave. (credit: Bedrock Real Estate Services)

1505 Woodward Ave. (credit: Bedrock Real Estate Services)

The 1265 Griswold building, at the southwest corner of Griswold Street and Grand River Avenue, borders Capitol Park. The 36,000 square foot, six-story structure was originally known as the Bamlet Building and was built in 1897 by the architectural firm Spier & Rohns.

Bedrock Real Estate Services brokered the acquisitions and will oversee renovations, management and leasing of the currently unoccupied mixed-use spaces.

“Demand for state-of-the-art retail, office and residential space in Detroit continues to grow,” said Jim Ketai, Bedrock’s managing partner. “Our plan is to transform these abandoned and neglected buildings into creative, thriving spaces to accommodate the growing demand of businesses that are joining the ‘Opportunity Detroit’ mission and locating their operations downtown.”

Rock Ventures is an umbrella entity that also includes Quicken Loans, a leading residential mortgage lender.

In a “60 Minutes” segment about Detroit that aired last Sunday, Gilbert was referred to as the man largely responsible for a recent resurgence in the downtown area.

In a Tweet, Gilbert took issue with the feature. “Expected more of @60minutes. Is a ‘me too’ story of mostly ‘ruin porn’ news? A city’s soul that will not die was the story & they missed it,” he wrote.

The Detroit-born Gilbert, who owns the Cleveland Cavaliers and Horseshoe Casino, jumped more than 100 spots on this year’s Forbes 400 Richest Americans list, with an estimated net worth of $3.9 billion.

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