The Michigan District Council of the Urban Land Institute has selected Dan Gilbert, founder and chairman of Quicken Loans and Rock Ventures in Detroit, as its 2014 Placemaker Award recipient. The award dinner will be held at 6 p.m. May 15 at the Westin Book Cadillac Detroit.
In making the announcement, ULI Michigan cited Gilbert “for his visionary work in the transformation of downtown Detroit, his commitment to the community, and his civic, charitable, and philanthropic endeavors.” In 2010, Gilbert began moving some 3,500 employees from the suburbs to downtown Detroit, and has since hired or added another 8,500 workers (12,000 total).
The event co-chairmen — Robert S. Taubman, chairman and CEO of Taubman Centers Inc. in Bloomfield Hills; Nate Forbes, managing partner of The Forbes Co. in Southfield; and Mark LoPatin, principal of LoPatin & Co. in Farmington Hills — listed several of Gilbert’s accomplishments as part of the selection. Among them:
- Rock Ventures has invested more than $1.3 billion to purchase and renovate some 40 properties in downtown Detroit that collectively total 8 million square feet of space, including the First National, Federal Reserve, One Woodward, and Chase buildings.
- In 2007, Gilbert, majority owner of the Cleveland Cavaliers (Forbes is vice chairman), launched Bizdom, an entrepreneurial accelerator in Detroit. He also launched Detroit Venture Partners in the Madison Building with Earvin “Magic” Johnson, Josh Linkner, and Brian Hermelin.
- Last September, Gilbert was named co-chair of the Detroit Blight Removal Task Force, a nonprofit which is creating a detailed plan to remove all blighted structures in Detroit. Some demolition has already taken place.
Past recipients of ULI Michigan awards include Sidney Forbes, Wayne Doran, A. Alfred Taubman, Jerome Schostak, Robert Larson, Edsel B. Ford, and Peter Karmanos Jr.
Tickets for the May 15 event are $350 per person, and sponsorship opportunities are available for between $3,500 and $25,000. For more information, call Shannon Sclafani at 248-807-1600.