Detroit's Builder

 
Series: EDITORIAL | Story 1

DAN GILBERT

Over the past decade, Detroit has earned the nickname"America's Comeback City"-a hard-fought but well-deserved title following years of struggle. Many have contributed to our city's renaissance, but since 2010, Dan Gilbert has made it his mission to ensure Detroit could be a place to work, live and grow-like his grandfather used to tell him about. Over the past decade, the philanthropist and businessman has played a leading role in Detroit's rebirth, helping shepherd billions of dollars worth of investments in a place many across the country perhaps wrote off.

While others overlooked Detroit, Gilbert remained undeterred to help restore the prestige of his hometown. He saw the potential of Detroiters, seeing firsthand how resilient its residents are in the face of adversity and hardship. Gilbert took a chance, and in 2010, moved the headquarters of Quicken Loans to Detroit, choosing to build and develop in a city that desperately needed it. Through his real estate firm Bedrock, a company that specializes "in the strategic development of urban cores" Gilbert focused his attention on revitalizing downtown though his real estate company, Bedrock. To date, his company owns more than 100 properties in Detroit, located mostly in the seven mile area downtown. The New York Times even highlighted the praise for his work in bringing back the energy to downtown.


Bedrock is the city's largest employer, minority employer and taxpayer. Any criticism that Gilbert does not "care" about Detroit is misguided From his development deal with Detroit in 2007, to developing Brush Park City, Gilbert and Bedrock LLC are committed to seeing the city's success. Years after creating a multibillion dollar company and creating thousands of jobs, it is clear that Gilbert has accomplished his once-lofty goal.


The Detroit City Council has worked collaboratively with Gilbert's company's and is currently considering the opportunity to continue supporting one of Detroit's most prominent proponents with a project to continue this spirit of invigoration. The project will include an upscale hotel, thousands of square feet of office space and an upscale residential tower with condominiums. It will provide nearly 7,500 construction jobs and once it is built, will bring nearly 2,000 jobs. If approved, it will help ensure construction workers remain on the job, which means they won't have to worry about putting food on their tables. These jobs are yet another example of Bedrock (and the Gilbert family's) commitment to supporting Detroit.


Gilbert's commitment to ensuring equitable economic growth reaches all across the city runs deep. Last year, Gilbert and his family, announced a $500 million investment in Metro Detroit, over the next decade. The first $15 million will be put toward paying off property tax debt of low-income homeowners and rental assistance for the lowest income residents of Detroit's neighborhoods. And just last month, the Gilbert Foundation announced that it would donate in order to help low-income Detroit residents facing eviction. The fund supports the Community Housing Coalition, Michigan Legal Services and Lakeshore Legal Aid, providing legal representation for renters for children.


Bedrock's plan to revitalize the vacant Hudson lot will bring homes, a hotel and office buildings. In a time when many shy away from investing in downtowns, this project highlights how important they are to communities in the state of Michigan and nationwide.


Helping fund the Hudson site project will continue this reinvigoration of Downtown Detroit, something championed by Gilbert and Bedrock and evidenced by their work in bringing Americans back to the city, to live, work and enjoy it.

The upcoming vote in the City Council is crucial to the continued economic development in Detroit. The project is creating jobs and leading to downstream economic and fiscal impacts, and despite criticism, the Hudson site will bring increased tax revenue in the future. Upon completion, it will create $2.6 million a year in local taxes, and once the 10-year tax abatement is complete, the site will generate $10 million per year in new taxes.


In a 2018 article , Gilbert remarked about how his grandfather discussed how there "usta" be streetcars, liveliness and retail stores lining the streets of Detroit. Four years later, and a little more than a decade after his investment, Gilbert and Bedrock have taken a place where there usta be vacancies and crime, and reinvested into a vibrant downtown American city.


The Detroit City Council can ensure this project continues by voting yes on the upcoming vote. Bedrock. It is the next step forensuring the success of Detroit's builder.

 

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