Dan Gilbert announces $500 million to revitalize Detroit neighborhoods
Dan Gilbert, the billionaire business owner and driver behind the redesign of downtown Detroit over the past decade, said Thursday he plans to invest $ 500 million in the neighborhoods over the next 10 years.
The founder of Quicken Loans Inc. and owner of Cleveland Cavaliers announced this during an interview that aired on CBS This Morning Thursday.
“I’d love to see how it benefits the Detroit people,” Gilbert said. “You are now looking at all the levels in the city center and we have to take that into the neighborhoods and make sure the whole city has that energy.”
The business titan told CBS that efforts will begin with $ 15 million in overdue property taxes. It will cover approximately 20,000 homes, said Jay Farner, CEO of Rocket Mortgage.
Carman Harlan, a former longtime anchor at WDIV, held the press conference Thursday at 10 a.m. in Detroit to announce the initiative.
Harlan acknowledged that the COVID-19 pandemic is not over yet, but is nearing its end, calling this “a chance to start all over with more loving and caring”.
“This time around, we have a chance to get it right, and that’s the real gift.”
Farner said the gift would “remove the burden of property tax liability”.
He praised Quicken for playing a “small role” in the city’s rebirth since moving his headquarters downtown 11 years ago, but said that “systematic and generational” problems the city is facing will not have “quick fixes”.
Property taxes were an issue that residents were concerned about, Farner and Gilbert said on CBS.
“It was very clear to us that it was property taxes that caused most of the disease in Detroit, and the vast majority of citizens were in foreclosure at one point,” Gilbert said in an interview with CBS. “With interest and penalties, that debt kept building up and in some cases it was more than what you owed on the mortgage and people just left their homes because they couldn’t afford it anymore.”
Warren County Executive Warren Evans announced that the county will provide an additional $ 5 million in funds to help prevent foreclosures.
“Is it a complete solution to the foreclosure problem? Absolutely not, ”said Evans. “Is it a step in the right direction? It is. It leads us down the path. “
Evans described foreclosure as a “social process”, not just an economic one.
“Sometimes you wonder how people struggle through?” Said Evans. The house is “the biggest investment most people make,” Evans said. The stabilization of home ownership will stabilize families, he said.
Gilbert also talked about recovering from a stroke on May 26, 2019 and spending months in rehabilitation.
“You are beginning to appreciate everyone and everything more than you do,” he said. “When you have a stroke, it’s like the whole family has had a stroke.”
CBS reporter Dana Jacobson said a few weeks ago prior to the interview that Gilbert goes to the office about two days a week and uses a wheelchair to improve his mobility. In addition, he has hours of physiotherapy almost every day.
At the Detroit event, Gilbert walked to the lectern wearing a light blue sweater with the help of a cane and an aide.
“Nice morning for a walk,” said Gilbert.
Gilbert said the more he and his team got into Detroit’s issues, the more they believed that property tax foreclosures were causing them, leading to “mass cycles of plague.”
“This is not a scant problem,” said Gilbert. “It’s massive and contagious. And big problems require big solutions. “
Jennifer Gilbert, dressed all in black, stood slightly behind Gilbert during both of her remarks, with her right hand on his right shoulder.
“Detroiters need better access to economic opportunity,” she said. Property tax debts are “the root of the problem”.
In 2010, the mortgage mogul and real estate developer moved Quicken Loans’ headquarters from Livonia to downtown Detroit. His company Bedrock owns more than 100 properties in the city center. The company and its subsidiaries are the largest employer in Detroit with more than 17,000 employees.
Gilbert’s companies have invested and pledged more than $ 5.6 billion in their efforts to revitalize Detroit.