According to the Detroit Free Press, Dan Gilbert, who founded Quicken Loans and runs the real estate firm Bedrock, recently broke ground on a new $800-million-plus development of four to five commercial and residential towers in downtown Detroit. Gilbert justifies the move by saying that the existing buildings in the urban core are full or nearly full and demand is insatiable. Six years ago, downtown was full of vacancies as the city teetered on bankruptcy. Since then, Gilbert has been purchasing, renovating, and finding tenants for much of the empty space.

“We have to build to continue to grow. There’s no other way to grow, but to build," Gilbert said during Thursday's groundbreaking event, which was held on the site in a large event tent. "We’re at full."Speaking afterward, Gilbert said he isn't worried about getting financially overextended from all of his firm's ongoing construction and renovation projects in Detroit. “No, we don’t have any concerns about that," he said. "We have all that planned out."

Bedrock's so-called Monroe Blocks project will take shape on what is now about 3.6 acres of surface parking lots spread over two city blocks at the corner of Monroe Street and Campus Martius. Divided into parts Block A and Block B, the project includes a 35-story glass and terra cotta office tower that will be the first new high-rise office development in Detroit since 1993. Block A also will have a 17-story, 148-unit residential tower with 66,000 square feet of retail space, aimed at attracting unique shops and restaurants. Block B, situated at Monroe and Randolph streets, will mostly contain residential units. There are plans for three Block B buildings, but some of them may be combined as the project proceeds.

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