On Tuesday, Oct. 28 , local business leaders announced and city officials announced a major expansion project in downtown Detroit. Fifth Third Bank will relocate its eastern regional headquarters along with 150 employees to the 1 Woodward building in downtown Detroit. The building is currently owned and operated by local entrepreneur Dan Gilbert’s Bedrock Real Estate Services.
The Fortune 500 company, whose eastern regional office is currently located in Southfield, MI, announced plans to make an $85 million dollar investment for small business and community development over the next five years, along with a partnership with the City of Detroit to redevelop Hart Plaza. “We’re going to make [Hart Plaza] the true heart of the city,” said Fifth Third Bank president and CEO David Girodat, adding “A world class region requires a strong vibrant core.”
The news comes on the heels of an announcement, less than a week ago on Oct. 22 that famed men’s fashion designer, John Varvatos will open a 4,000 square foot retail store at 1500 Woodward Ave. Gilbert also assisted with negotiating the deal and wooing the international designer to Detroit.
“Well it’s been a good week,” said Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan. “Yesterday the bankruptcy trial came to conclusion, and I cannot imagine a better way to kick off the post-bankruptcy era than for Fifth Third Bank to make this announcement this morning,” quipped Duggan.
Business leaders and economic experts have speculated that Detroit’s revitalization was beginning to take place and the city’s economic free fall would end this year.
Developer Dan Gilbert of Quicken Loans fame, also commented on the number of new business relocating to Detroit adding that a number of new business being created in the city. “Detroit is a phoenix, and I’m betting it will rise,” the billionaire owner of more than 9 million square feet of city property.
Mayor Duggan noted that his family and the Girodat family have long associations dating back to family businesses on by their grandfathers and fathers on Mack Avenue near Devonshire.