DETROIT (WWJ/AP) – Add one more property to Dan Gilbert’s real estate portfolio.

Gilbert’s Bedrock Real Estate has purchased the landmark building One Detroit Center on Woodward Avenue in the city.

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“This is going to be a very special thing for the city,” said Mayor Mike Duggan. “Instead of losing 700 jobs which it looked like we would 60 days ago – we are actually having headquarters and moving (another) 800 hundred in.”

The Detroit-based automotive financial services company announced Tuesday its headquarters will remain in the city’s resurgent downtown rather than move to the suburbs.

Ally Financial Inc. signed a 12-year lease to move its headquarters and 700 employees a few blocks from the Renaissance Center to the One Detroit Center on Woodward Avenue.

L)Dan Gilbert and Mayor Mike Duggan. (WWJ/Stephanie Davis)

L)Dan Gilbert and Mayor Mike Duggan. (WWJ/Stephanie Davis)

The company also said it will consolidate its southeastern Michigan operations and move 600 workers from other offices to downtown. Another 200 contractors and vendors also will work in the building which will be renamed Ally Detroit Center.

The move comes about three months after the city of Detroit restructured or erased $7 billion in debt through the largest municipal bankruptcy in U.S. history. But the city’s downtown continued to improve and attract business even during Detroit’s financial crisis.

“In Detroit, we need to start getting used to success, because this is going to keep happening,” Mayor Mike Duggan said at the Ally announcement. “There’s a different attitude and different level of cooperation.”

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Ally will occupy 13 floors and 321,000 square feet in the 43-story One Detroit Center. Its lease comes with 2,000 parking spaces in an attached garage and another 550 spaces through Detroit’s Downtown Development Authority.

“Like the city of Detroit, Ally is continuing to evolve and build upon a strong heritage,” said Jeffrey Brown, the company’s chief executive. “This is an exciting time for our company, and bringing all of our southeast Michigan-based associates together in one impressive building in the heart of the city sets the stage for our next chapter, which will be rooted in innovation, creativity and a strong and vibrant culture.”

Ally’s automotive services include new and used vehicle inventory, consumer financing, leasing, vehicle service contracts, and commercial loans. Ally Bank, the company’s direct banking subsidiary, offers certificates of deposit, savings accounts, money market accounts, IRA deposit products and interest checking.

The company was all but set on leaving Detroit for more space when Duggan convinced its leaders to allow the city to put together a proposal to stay downtown.

Duggan said he contacted Dan Gilbert, founder and chair of Detroit-based online mortgage lender Quicken Loans to help. The lease was put together through Bedrock Real Estate Services, part of Gilbert’s Rock Ventures and Quicken Loans family of companies.

Bedrock owns more than 70 properties downtown and announced Tuesday that it had purchased One Detroit Center.

“This is another exciting day here in Detroit,” Gilbert said. “As days go on things will continue to get more and more exciting.”


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