Al Goldis/AP Photo; Bedrock; Samantha Lee/Business Insider
Dan Gilbert moved his mortgage company Quicken Loans to downtown Detroit in 2010 and founded his real-estate company Bedrock a year later, when the city was just a few years from bankruptcy.
Bedrock has invested or allocated a total of $5.6 billion across 100 or so properties in downtown Detroit and nearby neighborhoods, and said it has 98% occupancy of office and residential properties.
Gilbert’s family of companies employs 17,000 people and is the largest employer and taxpayer in Detroit. Its level of influence on a major American city is unprecedented.
With this influence comes critics skeptical of Gilbert’s ability or desire to transform the city in a way that is inclusive of its majority black and working-class populations — a criticism he’s responded to with increased outreach and partnerships.
Getting the lasting support of the local community is an ongoing challenge for Gilbert, and one that will take much more than money to solve.
This article is part of Business Insider’s ongoing series on Better Capitalism.
When Dan Gilbert was 11 years old he took a drive with his grandfather down Woodward Avenue in Detroit. He sat in the back seat of their 1971 Oldsmobile as his grandfather pointed at an empty retail location on Detroit’s main drag and said there “usta be” something over there. Then he pointed out how there usta be streetcars downtown, there usta be this, usta be that.
Gilbert says that memory captures how he saw the city while growing up in the neighboring middle-class suburb of Southfield in the 1960s, and he shared it in a keynote speech with several hundred real estate professionals gathered at the Urban Land Institute‘s annual meeting in May, at Detroit’s Cobo Center.See the rest of the story at Business Insider
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