Dan Gilbert’s planned new retail, parking complex another step toward critical mass in Detroit

Dan Gilbert’s planned new retail, parking complex another step toward critical mass in Detroit

A rendering of the new five-story parking deck and retail development planned for downtown Detroit. | Courtesy Rock Ventures

The news that Quicken Loans founder and Chairman Dan Gilbert plans to construct 33,000 square feet of new retail space in downtown Detroit is great news and further evidence of the solid momentum under way in the city.

The new retail space will be included in the ground floor of a 1,300-space parking deck that will rise on the site of two surface parking lots. It adds to the news that Michigan-based outdoor equipment retailer Moosejaw will open a pop-up retail location on Woodward Avenue for the holidays and is another step toward establishing a critical mass downtown, where businesses are opening new offices and demand for housing outstrips supply.

“Downtown Detroit’s population is growing every day, as new start-ups launch and other companies move downtown,” Gilbert said in a release. “In two years alone, the number of people who work in the central business district has increased by more than 10,000 people. These folks need parking, and more places to eat and shop. Our new development will help meet some of this demand.”

Here’s how one retail consultant interpreted the announcement for The Detroit News:

“If he is confident of building that kind of superstructure, he is confident that there will be more expansion of businesses coming downtown,” said Ken Dalto, a Farmington Hills-based retail consultant. “And he is doing it the right way, where the retail is being driven by the necessity to service people who are already there.”

It’s tough to overstate the impact that Gilbert is having rebranding downtown Detroit as a new technology hub and moving the needle on the public’s perception of this long-suffering city. He’s a great partner to all of us who see extraordinary value in investing in the city.

Read more about Gilbert’s planned new development in the Freep, News, or from Quicken’s press release.

Daniel J. Loepp is president and CEO of Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan and chairman of the executive committee of the Downtown Detroit Partnership.

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