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Rock Ventures purchases prominent Detroit building

A Michigan company owned by Dan Gilbert, the founder and chairman of Quicken Loans, recently announced that it had signed a contract to purchase Detroit's One Woodward office tower. Rock Ventures, the entity responsible for overseeing Gilbert's various investments and companies, bought the property for an undisclosed amount and has planned a large-scale renovation in the hopes of housing Detroit's burgeoning technology industry.

The deal represents the latest in a series of prominent real estate contracts involving Rock Ventures, which has bought 10 buildings since January 2011. The company recently began work on a 10-story parking garage in downtown Detroit in anticipation of what it expects to be a resurgence of "entrepreneurial action" in the city, which has suffered numerous financial setbacks in recent years. The transaction was co-brokered by two real estate firms, one of which is a subsidiary of Rock Ventures.

"The One Woodward building is located in the heart of Detroit's technology core and provides us more space to further accommodate our growing family of companies and the increasing number of companies that want to leverage the opportunities made in Detroit," said Gilbert. "We continue to bet big on Detroit," he explained.

The 26-story building currently has an occupancy rate of 60 percent. However, the property is expected to be 90 percent occupied after Quicken Loans leases eight floors in January. A subsidiary of Rock Ventures will be responsible for leasing additional office space and will also oversee all planned renovations.

The One Woodward building was designed by architect Minoru Yamasaki and has been referred to as a prototype for Yamasaki's later World Trade Center design. The 333,000 square foot tower was constructed in 1962 for the Michigan Consolidated Gas Company, which has since been absorbed by DTE Energy.

Source: Detroit Free Press, "Dan Gilbert's Rock Ventures buys One Woodward office tower in downtown Detroit," John Gallagher, Dec. 4, 2012

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