Quicken to add 1,100 workers in old News building

The Detroit News

Detroit —The former Detroit News building may be home to 1,100 Quicken Loans Inc. workers and a data center for Rocket Fiber, an ultra-high-speed Internet service planned for downtown and Midtown.

The owner of the historic building at 615 W. Lafayette is Dan Gilbert’s Bedrock Real Estate Services Inc., one of the largest private owners of downtown properties. Bedrock officials informed Detroit City Council of the plans..

Gilbert is founder of Quicken Loans, the online mortgage company, and Rocket Fiber is being bankrolled by the billionaire.

At a council session on Thursday Quicken vice president David Carroll said that 1,100 Quicken employees would be new hires. No timetable was given.

The building owners are seeking a property tax abatement, called a Commercial Rehabilitation District, for up 10 years for renovating the historic building.

The former newspaper building was vacated last year by The News and the Free Press, which moved to the former Federal Reserve Building, also owned by Bedrock.

The former Detroit News building is not empty. Molina Healthcare of Michigan is leasing 30,000 square feet, which amounts to the top floor in the building, that holds 125 workers.

Molina Healthcare of Michigan is one of the state’s largest Medicaid HMO plans. Its parent company is Long Beach, California-based Molina Healthcare Inc. Last year, it bought a building in Troy to keep up with its rapidly growing workforce tied to the expanding Medicaid business in Michigan.

“It still took some convincing for us to move downtown,” said John Molina, chief financial officer of the healthcare company, on Thursday. “But all the concerns about it not being safe, or that not much was going on here, it was untrue,” said Molina, who lives in California.

Molina added that the company may take up another floor of the downtown building. The rest of the building remains empty but is undergoing renovation.


Twitter: LouisAguilar_DN