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Rock Ventures Wraps Up 2012 with Purchase of Five Downtown Detroit Properties

- The group's Detroit real estate portfolio grows to 15 buildings in the emerging technology corridor -

DETROIT, Dec. 18, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- Rock Ventures today announced the purchase of five additional properties, wrapping up a year in which it acquired eight buildings totaling 630,000 square feet of commercial space.

The newest acquisitions bring Rock Ventures' downtown Detroit real estate investments to 15 buildings totaling 2.6 million square feet of commercial space, and three parking structures for a combined 3,500 parking spaces.

In addition, Rock Ventures broke ground on a 33,000 square-foot specialty retail development and 10-story parking garage last month, renovated 633,000 square feet of commercial space, and located 45 companies to the city, including Twitter, Chrysler, Metro-West Appraisal, and numerous technology related start-ups. Rock Ventures' family of companies, including Quicken Loans and Title Source, has brought 7,000-plus people to work in downtown Detroit since August 2010.

"It has been an exciting year of opportunity in Detroit," said Dan Gilbert, Founder and Chairman of Rock Ventures and Quicken Loans.  "Our focus in 2013 will be on the three R's – residential, rail and retail – all of which are vital in creating the vibrant, thriving urban core that we all envision."

Rock Ventures' newest building acquisitions include:

  • 1201 Woodward - Kresge Building
    The 54,000 square-foot property built in 1891 was home to the former Kresge store. The nine-story building, located on the northwest corner of Woodward Avenue and State Street, will be renovated to accommodate first floor retail and either office or residential space above. A portion of the first floor currently houses The Detroit Shoppe and Detroit Artist Market pop-up stores.
  • 1217 Woodward
    This five-story 30,000 square-foot building is located on the west side of Woodward Avenue, immediately north of the Kresge Building. Built in 1891, the building will be renovated and used for first floor retail and either office or residential space above. A portion of the first floor currently houses Santa's Wonderland, a seasonal store specifically for children with proceeds benefitting Detroit Goodfellows, ensuring there is "No Kiddie without a Christmas."
  • 1412 Woodward
    Located on the east side of Woodward Avenue between Grand River Avenue and John R Street, this three-story building was built in 1916. The 6,000 square-foot building is currently unoccupied, but will feature first floor retail with office space above.
  • 1301 Broadway - Cary Building Lofts
    The 20,000 square-foot building, built in 1906, is located on the west corner of Gratiot Avenue and Broadway Street. The five-story structure will undergo extensive renovations to accommodate first floor retail space with residential space above.
  • 1521 Broadway - Small Plates Building
    The 9,300 square-foot building is 100 percent occupied by Small Plates restaurant on the first floor with four residential loft apartments above. The five-story building is located on the west side of Broadway Street between John R and Witherell Street.

The building purchases were brokered by Bedrock Real Estate Services, Rock Ventures' full-service real estate firm. Bedrock leases, develops and manages all of Rock Ventures' buildings, and has helped locate more than 65 companies to downtown Detroit since August 2010.

"The need for retail and updated office and residential space in downtown Detroit is keeping Bedrock extremely busy," said Jim Ketai, Managing Partner at Bedrock, adding that the firm has grown by nearly 60 percent in the past year to keep up with the demand."

For more information about Bedrock Real Estate Services, please visit

About Rock Ventures LLC
Rock Ventures LLC is an umbrella entity formed to provide operational coordination, guidance, and integration of Dan Gilbert's portfolio of companies, investments and real estate. Rock Ventures' flagship company is Quicken Loans, the nation's largest online home lender and fourth largest retail lender.

About Bedrock Real Estate Services LLC
Bedrock Real Estate Services LLC is a full service real estate firm specializing in purchasing, leasing, financing, developing and managing of commercial space. The company, a partnership between Quicken Loans Founder and Chairman Dan Gilbert and veteran real estate developer Jim Ketai, is based in downtown Detroit. For more information, visit

** Note to Editors: 
Below is Rock Ventures Detroit 2.0 Chronology, followed by a listing of the more than 65 companies who in the past 27 months have moved to downtown Detroit in a number of Rock Ventures-owned buildings.

Detroit 2.0 Timeline

January 2007: Dan Gilbert founds Bizdom, a non-profit entrepreneurship accelerator for budding web and tech-based startups in Detroit.

January 2009: Gilbert and other business leaders invest in M-1 RAIL, a 6.8-mile light-rail system that will link key neighborhoods to Detroit's riverfront, the business district, and educational, cultural, entertainment and medical institutions along Woodward Avenue.

July 2009: Quicken Loans announces it will relocate its headquarters to the Compuware Building in downtown Detroit in 2010.

August 2010: Quicken Loans and five of its sister companies move 1,700 team members into the Compuware building in downtown Detroit.

November 2010: Gilbert, together with entrepreneurs Josh Linkner and Brian Hermelin, launch Detroit Venture Partners, a Detroit-based venture capital firm that invests in seed and early-stage technology companies to be located in the city.

January 2011: Rock Ventures, the umbrella entity formed to provide operational coordination, guidance and integration of Gilbert's portfolio of companies, investments and real estate purchases Detroit's historical Madison Theatre Building and begins transforming it into a collaborative tech hub to encourage partnership among local entrepreneurs.

April 2011: Rock Ventures acquires the 13-story Chase Tower located in Detroit's downtown central business district and immediately begins renovation to reflect Quicken Loans' culture.

April 2011: Rock Ventures buys Two Detroit Center, a 1,095-space parking garage located in the central business district.

May 2011: Skidmore Studio, a graphic design firm located in a nearby suburb, announces it will become the anchor tenant in the Madison Building when it opens in Fall 2011.

June 2011: Quicken Loans hires 200 interns to work in the Detroit office to expose students to the city and help end Detroit's "brain drain."

July 2011: Earvin "Magic" Johnson joins Detroit Venture Partners to help fund start-up tech companies.

July 2011: Quicken Loans and four other downtown Detroit companies unveil the "Live Downtown" program, which offers financial incentives to team members who live in the city.

July 2011: Quicken Loans sponsors the debut of Somerset Collection's CityLoft, a pop-up shop open the last weekend of each month in downtown Detroit with mini-versions of upscale stores, to bring retail back to downtown Detroit.

August 2011: Rock Ventures purchases Detroit's First National Building to house more team members as well as other businesses.

August 2011: Rock Ventures acquires its fourth building, the 101-year-old Dime Building located in downtown Detroit, along with the Financial District Garage, a 983-space parking structure adjacent to the Dime Building.

August 2011: Rock Ventures purchases the Madison Parking Lot on Broadway, adjacent to the Madison Theatre Building.

September 2011: Quicken Loans hosts a job fair to fill 500 positions in Detroit within the Family of Companies, 2,500 people line up around the building to apply.

October 2011: An additional 2,000 Quicken Loans team members move into the newly renovated Chase Tower.

December 2011: Rock Ventures completes the acquisition of three additional properties in Downtown Detroit – the historic Wright-Kay brownstone, the Lane Bryant Building and the Arts League of Michigan Building.

January 2012: Rock Ventures adds two more buildings to its real estate portfolio - the Historic Federal Reserve Building, and 1550 Woodward Avenue, a one-story building to be utilized for retail or commercial use.

February 2012: To encourage Detroit's "brain gain," the Quicken Loans Family of Companies announces it will hire 600 paid interns - 500 to work in Detroit to discover all the great things the City has to offer.

April 2012: The Quicken Loans Family of Companies begins a recruiting campaign to hire more than 1,400 team members, and launches Valley to Detroit, a campaign aimed to bring laid off Yahoo technology professionals to Detroit from Silicon Valley.

April 2012: Rock Ventures and Chrysler hold a press conference to announce that Chrysler will lease the top two floors of Rock Ventures' Dime Building and rename the building Chrysler House.

June 2012: Quicken Loans partners with other Detroit businesses to create "IT in the D," a program to give local university students real-world experience to prepare them for tech jobs in Detroit.

July 2012: Title Source, the largest independent provider of title insurance, property valuations and settlement services in the nation, begins move of 1,500 team members to downtown Detroit's First National Building.

October 2012: Rock Connections, a strategic marketing company that provides experienced communications specialists, robust analytics, and targeted selling strategies, moves 115 team members into the Chase Tower Building in downtown Detroit's growing tech hub.

October 2012: Rock Ventures and Quicken Loans launch "Opportunity Detroit" with a national commercial narrated by Kid Rock on the Fox television network during the fourth game of the World Series.

November 2012: Rock Ventures breaks ground on 33,000 square-foot specialty retail development with 10-story parking garage in downtown Detroit.

December 2012: Rock Ventures purchases One Woodward, the 26-story, 333,000 square-foot building located in Detroit's Central Business District.

December 2012: Metro-West Appraisal, the nation's largest independent residential real estate appraisal company, announces it will move its national headquarters to downtown Detroit's Chrysler House in March 2013.

December 2012: Rock Ventures adds five buildings to its real estate portfolio - 1201 Woodward (Kresge Building), 1217 Woodward, 1412 Woodward, 1301 Broadway (Cary Building Lofts) and 1521 Broadway (Small Plates Building) for a total of 120,000 square feet of space.

Businesses located to downtown Detroit by Rock Ventures since August 2010

More than 65 companies have located in Rock Ventures-owned buildings in downtown Detroit over the past 27 months:

M@dison Building

- 50,000 square feet
- 100 percent occupied

  • Twitter: A real-time information network that connects people to the latest stories, ideas, opinions and news
  • Skidmore Studio: A leading creative design firm occupying 9,780 square feet of space
  • Detroit Venture Partners (DVP):  A venture capital firm specializing in funding early stage technology businesses
  • Detroit Labs: A leader in the development of Android, iOS and web-based applications
  • UpTo: A new social platform focused on the future tense, allowing users to easily share calendar events
  • A website that brings the word-of-mouth referral process online
  • Chez Zara: A full-service espresso bar that specializes in exceptional espresso drinks and organic teas
  • Bizdom: A non-profit entrepreneurship accelerator for budding web and tech-based startups in Detroit and Cleveland (Bizdom Detroit was previously housed in Wayne State University's Tech Town)
  • Are You a Human: The answer to frustrating CAPTCHA entries, Are You a Human uses fun games to verify the authenticity of people completing online forms
  • Doodle Home: An online interior design destination serving customers, designers and manufacturers of luxury home furnishings
  • TextsFromLastNight (Detroit office): An accidental startup born out of a viral sensation, now one of the leading user-generated content sites for 20-somethings
  • FLUD: A news-reader application for iPad, iPhone, and Android devices that helps users save time by delivering content they're most interested in
  • Ludlow Ventures: An angel and seed-stage venture capital firm investing in web and digital technologies
  • Roqbot: A social jukebox app that lets you be the DJ at your favorite bars, restaurants, gyms, and stores
  • LevelEleven: Developed SalesContestBuilder, a hybrid of a Facebook, fantasy football, and online gaming, to create goal-based competitions
  • Exxodus Pictures: A production company whose first feature film, Jinn, is now in post-production
  • Cup of Zup: Uniquely amusing pop-culture e-newsletter and website
  • Quikkly: Short-term deals exclusively for college students
  • Wedit: A fun, easy, and affordable way to capture, edit, and share wedding memories through the use of HD Flip cameras
  • Tapjoy:  A mobile ad network that lets you discover apps and get in-app rewards when you engage with ads
  • Thrillist Detroit: Free weekly email that finds the best of what's new in your neighborhood and on the web
  • Facility Matrix Group (FMG):  The area's pre-eminent provider of office furniture
  • Apigee:  Enables businesses and developers to deliver well-designed, scalable APIs and apps, drive developer adoption, and extract business value from their API ecosystem
  • Dandelion Detroit: A venture philanthropy consultancy and civic innovation lab
  • 1st & Goal Recruiting: Provides advanced statistical analytics and performance prediction for college football recruiting
  • A website that allows you to have real-time rap battles around the world
  • Backstitch: Provides a clean and consistent experience for managing your personal web
  • Whip Hand Cosmetics: Cosmetic company that celebrates today's modern women while being manufactured in Detroit, Michigan
  • Brys & Edgewood: A company that produces DIY fondant kits and cupcake kits that are easy enough for anyone to make at home
  • Chalkfly: An office and school supply company that is rooted in giving back to teachers across the nation while providing customers with quality office supplies, innovative technology, and exceptional service
  • eBabEx: Cloud-based international foreign language translation and interpreters marketplace
  • GuidesMob: A mobile app company that creates college guides for iPhones and Androids

Chase Tower

- 505,000 square feet
- 100 percent occupied

  • Quicken Loans: The nation's largest online mortgage lender
  • In-House Realty: A real estate services company matching clients with pre-screened real estate agents in their local community across the country
  • Rock Connections:  A strategic marketing company that provides experienced communications specialists, robust analytics, and targeted selling strategies

First National Building

- 800,000 square feet
- 93 percent occupied

  • Title Source: The largest independent provider of title insurance, property valuations and settlement services in the nation
  • Aerotek: A leading staffing agency that matches qualified candidates with top companies worldwide
  • Roasting Plant:  New York-based coffee company with unique Javabot roasting technology (opening in January 2013)

Chrysler House

- Former Dime Building
- 330,000 square feet
- 89 percent occupied

  • Quicken Loans: The nation's largest online mortgage lender
  • Chrysler Group LLC: Automotive company that produces Chrysler, Jeep, Dodge, Ram, Mopar, SRT and Fiat vehicles and products
  • Metro-West Appraisal: The nation's largest independent residential real estate appraisal company
  • Just Baked: Specialty cupcake shop and bakery
  • Rehmann: A company offering accounting, tax planning and financial consulting services
  • Allied Printing Company: Provides printing, information management, and warehouse & fulfillment services
  • Hubbard Snitchler & Parzianello PLC: Provides world-class legal service
  • Professional Moving company that specializes in providing local, long distance, and international relocation services for people and businesses
  • Elite Fire Safety: A one-stop-shop for fire safety needs
  • EverStaff: Recruits the most skilled and qualified professionals for organizations of all sizes
  • FNC Holding Company: Provides insight into the property backing a loan with its data and analytic solutions
  • GSI: A company specializing in security, network and system integration
  • Metro Consulting:  A full service civil engineering and land surveying consultancy
  • Reliance One: A full service staffing firm
  • SCI Marketview: A lead management company for automotive dealers
  • Corby Energy: Providing construction, engineering and support services to utilities and related businesses
  • Campus Commandos: Connects clients with the college demographic through the use of student brand ambassadors
  • Core Merchant: Easy and convenient credit payment solutions for businesses

One Woodward

- 333,000 square feet
- 60 percent occupied (90 percent when Quicken Loans moves into the space it is currently building out)

  • Quicken Loans: The nation's largest online mortgage lender

1528 Woodward

- Former Arts League Building
- 45,146 square feet

  • Sachse Construction: Offering premium commercial construction services nationwide

Rock Ventures-related companies leasing space in downtown Detroit:

Compuware Building

- 1,088,000 square feet
- Rock Ventures-related businesses leases four floors (244,000 square feet)

  • Quicken Loans: The nation's largest online mortgage lender
  • Rock Ventures: An umbrella entity formed to provide operational coordination, guidance, and integration of Dan Gilbert's portfolio of companies, investments and real estate
  • Fathead: The Real.Big. brand of officially licensed sports and entertainment graphics products
  • Bedrock Real Estate Services: Rock Ventures' full service real estate firm, specializing in purchasing, leasing, financing, developing and managing of commercial space
  • Rockbridge Growth Equity: A Detroit-based private equity firm that invests in mid-stage financial and business services, consumer-direct marketing, and sports, media & entertainment industries
  • Rock Gaming: A gaming partnership formed with an initial focus to develop full-service casinos in two of Ohio's largest cities, as well as to explore other potential gaming opportunities elsewhere
  • Rock Companies: A real estate investment, development, construction and management company focusing on commercial, residential single and multi-family investments in Florida, Michigan, North Carolina and Ohio
  • Quizzle: Website that gives consumers a complete understanding of their credit so they can make better financial decisions
  • BodyPartChart:  Over-sized graphics that can be used to explain illnesses and procedures and bring new life to dull medical offices and classrooms

One Detroit Center

- 957,355 square feet
- Rock Ventures leases three floors (75,000 square feet)

  • Quicken Loans: The nation's largest online mortgage lender
  • One Reverse Mortgage: The largest reverse-only mortgage lender in America and second largest retail provider of reverse mortgage home loans


SOURCE Rock Ventures

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