New Detroit tech hub advances exec's downtown vision

Quicken Loans founder Dan Gilbert is making big investments in downtown Detroit. Check out his latest venture to bring entrepreneurs to downtown.

Quicken Loans founder Dan Gilbert owns the second most real estate in downtown Detroit behind only General Motors. Since his initial move to relocate the company's headquarters from the suburbs to the heart of downtown Detroit, Gilbert -- who serves as chairman -- has been buying up properties to turn around the city and realize his vision for Detroit 2.0 .

His most recent project? Converting a formerly vacant Madison Theater, in downtown Detroit, into an "entrepreneurial hub for tech-based start-up companies," Quicken Loans announced.

“Detroit 2.0 is well on its way,” said Gilbert. “The Madison building project is another step in the WEBward Avenue vision for a technology and web centered corridor of growth and activity up and down Woodward Avenue in the heart of downtown Detroit. This historic building will be molded into an exciting center where young entrepreneurial enterprises will collaborate, innovate and build the kind of 21st century businesses that the majority of our new economy in Detroit and Michigan will be based upon.”

Details for the new tech-hub are sparse, except that the renovation is expected to be complete this fall.

And despite the city's financial woes, it's just another sign that urban momentum is picking up as the city begins to make a comeback. Daniel Howes of The Detroit News puts it best:

Things change. The outmigration of people and industry for decades symbolizing the agonizing decline of Detroit is slowly reversing, recognition of enduring value and the fact that capital mobility doesn't always follow a one-way street.

Photo: Ralf_H./Flickr

Editor's note: The original version of this post indicated that Dan Gilbert is Quicken Loans' CEO. That is incorrect; he is chairman. We regret the error.

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