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Chrysler working to gain foothold in downtown Detroit with Quicken tycoon Gilbert?

Posted Feb 22nd 2012 11:29AM

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Detroit's Dime BuildingWord has it Chrysler is looking to establish a base of operations in downtown Detroit in a move that would strengthen its "Imported from Detroit" image. The company is based in Auburn Hills, Michigan, a short hike from downtown proper, but reports say the automaker has signed a lease for 1,850 square metres in the Motor City. (There's no indication that Chrysler is contemplating moving its headquarters and the space on offer wouldn't be enough to do so anyhow). Despite this, according to a bit of rumormongering in Crain's Detroit Business, Chrysler will set up camp in downtown's Dime Building, but not before unleashing an impressive renovation on the structure.

That's not all there is to the story, however. You see, the Dime Building is owned by none other than Dan Gilbert, the founder of Quicken Loans and majority owner of the NBA's Cleveland Cavaliers. Gilbert was one of a handful of individuals who came together to purchase the $225 million loan against Chrysler World Headquarters back in 2010. Rumors immediately began circulating that Gilbert used his position with the headquarters loan to coerce Chrysler, and more importantly, CEO Sergio Marchionne, into leasing the Dime Building instead of alternative locations within the city. Gilbert, who has been on a real estate binge as of late, is said to be the third largest land owner in Detroit behind General Motors and the city itself.

Quicken Loans has since stated the Dime deal was the result of little more than a strong pitch and Chrysler has also denied any behind-the-scenes influence on the decision.

News Source: Crain's Detroit Business

Image Credit: Femme Facetious via Flickr C.C. 2.0

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