12/18/2012 03:25 pm ET Updated Dec 31, 2012

Dan Gilbert Buys 5 Downtown Detroit Buildings, Bringing Total To 15

Dan Gilbert just made another big investment in Detroit.

Quicken Loans founder, Cleveland Cavaliers owner and all-around busy billionaire announced through company Rock Ventures the purchase of 5 downtown Detroit properties on Tuesday, bringing Gilbert's total up to 15. Eight were purchased in 2012.

Gilbert's five new assets on Woodward Avenue and Broadway Street, a mix of occupied and unoccupied buildings including the Kresge building, will house retail on the ground floor and a mix of office and residential space above.

The five buildings purchased were:
  • The Kresge Building at 1201 Woodward, home to the former Kresge store. It was built in 1891. It will be renovated for retail and office or residential space above. The Detroit Shoppe and Detroit Artist Market pop-up stores are at the building.
  • A five-story building at 1217 Woodward, just north of the Kresge building. It will be used for retail and office or residential space as well. Santa’s Wonderland, a seasonal store geared toward children, is currently located on the first floor.
  • A three-story building between Grand River Avenue and John R Street at 1412 Woodward. Currently unoccupied and built in 1916, it will have retail below and office space above.
  • The Cary Building Lofts at 1301 Broadway. The 1906 building will be renovated for first floor retail space.
  • The Small Plates building at 1521 Broadway, currently occupied by the restaurant with four residential lofts above.

It's been an expensive winter for Gilbert (perhaps his take on holiday shopping?). Earlier this month, he purchased the One Woodward building, a 26-story office building designed by architect Minoru Yamasaki. Rock Ventures plans to renovate it in an effort to attract tech-oriented companies. In November the company announced they would be getting into the construction game, too, and broke ground on a Z-shaped development downtown. The 33,000 square-foot development will house 10 stories of parking and have space for 10 retailers.

Rock Ventures' downtown Detroit properties now total 2.6 million square feet of commercial space and 3,500 parking spaces in three garages.

"It has been an exciting year of opportunity in Detroit,” Dan Gilbert said in a statement. “Our focus in 2013 will be on the three Rs –- residential, rail and retail -– all of which are vital in creating the vibrant, thriving urban core that we all envision."

From the looks of it, Gilbert already has big plans for two of the "Rs." And with new legislation paving the way for the creation of a regional transit authority, we have our fingers crossed "rail" isn't too far behind. But if not, here's hoping Gilbert buys Detroit a workable transit system next Christmas.

CORRECTION: Of the five buildings purchased by Rock Ventures, the third listed is at 1412 Woodward Ave. An earlier version of the story listed the address as 412 Woodward.



Captions courtesy of Lonely Planet.

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