By Veronica Grecu, Associate Editor
Dan Gilbert adds one million square feet of space to its real estate portfolio in Detroit
One Detroit center, an iconic office tower on Woodward Avenue, is now officially part of the giant real estate empire owned by Detroit’s own Dan Gilbert, founder and chairman of Quicken Loans Inc. and Rock Ventures.
The announcement was made by Gilbert himself during a press conference, but sources quoted by Crain’s Detroit Business indicated earlier in March that the sale was imminent. The deal—which according to Gilbert was one of the best kept secrets—is worth $100 million. iStar Financial, Inc. of New York City has a 90 percent ownership stake in the asset, Crain’s said. The company is expected to maintain a ground lease on the land on which the tower sits. Additionally, the Detroit Police and Fire Retirement System has a 10 percent ownership stake in the building. Crain’s reported that the deal was valued at $20 million and closed in 2007.
Completed in 1993 and designed by noted architects John Burgee and Philip Johnson, One Detroit Center was known as Comerica Tower until 2007, when Comerica Bank relocated its headquarters to Texas. It is the second tallest building in Detroit and the tallest office tower in the state of Michigan. Rising 43 stories above ground, the building located at 500 Woodward Avenue between Congress and Larned Streets encompasses nearly one million square feet of Class A office space, yielding an average rent of $22.58 per square foot per year. The building also includes an attached parking garage for more than 2,000 vehicles.
Ally Financial Inc. moves in and the building gets a new name
Not only did the tower change ownership, but it will also be renamed into Ally Detroit Center. Ally Financial Inc., a financial services company that has five locations in Metro Detroit, announced it signed a 12-year lease with Bedrock Real Estate Services—Dan Gilbert’s full-service real estate firm which orchestrated both the building acquisition and the brokering of the long-term lease with the new tenant. “It is becoming increasingly certain that the urban core of downtown Detroit is the place to be for businesses from large Fortune 500 companies to new economy high-tech start-ups and all kinds of businesses in between,” said Dan Gilbert during the press conference. Gilbert also mentioned that Ally’s lease brings the office tower’s occupancy rate to 100 percent, while pushing up the occupancy rate of all of the Gilbert-owned commercial properties in Detroit to 99 percent.
Ally Financial will leave its home next to General Motors in the Renaissance Center and move its headquarters and 1,300 employees into 321,000 square feet on 13 floors at the 500 Woodward Avenue landmark. Ally Financial will also employ approximately 200 independent third party contractors and vendors based in Detroit, the company announced.
The financial company will bring together 700 employees currently working in Detroit, along with an additional 600 team members from Ally’s four other locations in Michigan. The relocation is expected to complete in spring 2016, after a $55 million renovation and build-out process.
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Image courtesy of Ally Fiancial, Inc.