Dan Gilbert's latest Detroit purchase, One Woodward, may be his crown jewel

Rock Ventures LLC buys Detroit's One Woodward which was designed by Minoru Yamasaki

By Mara MacDonald - Reporter


Dan Gilbert's latest real estate purchase in downtown Detroit is the building known as One Woodward, but it wasn't always called that.

Longtime Detroiters know One Woodward first was the headquarters for Michigan Consolidated Gas and that it has international significance.

Its clean, simple, elegant lines are constructed of the finest materials one could find in 1962. It was and is a landmark designed by world-renowned, Michigan-based architect Minoru Yamasaki whose legendary firm designed buildings which became monuments around the world, including New York's iconic World Trade Center twin towers. One Woodward's narrow windows became a trademark for the twin towers, but the windows were first used on the Detroit building.

"It was probably the largest commission for his office. It was the first high-rise that was done by that office. It has significance. It was an impact not just on that office but on this city," said Modris Pudists, former member of Yamasaki Design Principle.

Gilbert and his partners at Rock Ventures LLC announced the purchase on Monday. They say it will have a 90 percent -- or more -- occupancy rate. They plan to populate it with new technology firms.

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The building already houses major tenants such as the Detroit Regional Chamber.

The jewel of a building now goes in the crown of a man who says he will continue to bet on Detroit.

"Mr. Gilbert, let this building represent what Detroit was and what it could be," said Pudists.

Gilbert now owns nearly a dozen downtown Detroit buildings. He founded Rock Financial in 1985 and purchased Quicken Loans and Title Source, Inc. in 2002. He moved the Quicken Loans headquarters in 2010 to downtown Detroit.

One Woodward stands at the corner of Woodward Avenue and Jefferson Avenue in downtown Detroit.

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