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Rock Ventures Secures Master Lease For Key Storefronts Along Woodward Avenue

DETROIT, March 28, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- Rock Ventures LLC today announced it has signed master lease agreements with the Schostak Brothers and Farbman Group to manage more than 60,000 square feet of first floor retail space along the Woodward Corridor in downtown Detroit. The properties include 12 storefronts along the 1200 and 1400 blocks of Woodward Avenue.

"The Woodward Corridor has always been the heart of Detroit, and we know it is absolutely essential that we get the retail offerings in this area right," said Jim Ketai, Managing Partner, Bedrock Real Estate Services, a full service real estate firm specializing in purchasing, leasing, financing, developing and managing of commercial space.  "As the city continues to transform into a dynamic retail destination, it is vital to make sure that the businesses downtown reflect that energy, while remaining unique and filling the needs and demands of the downtown community."

The Schostak Brothers' master lease includes 45,000 square feet and nine store fronts on the 1200 and 1400 blocks of Woodward Avenue along the west side between State and Clifford Streets.  This includes the retail space below the Lofts of Merchant Row.

The Farbman Group master lease includes 15,000 square feet and three store fronts on the 1400 block of Woodward Avenue along the east side between Grand River Avenue and John R.  This is the retail space below the Woodward Lofts.

The move to bring exciting and unique businesses to the region got a great boost last year, when Rock Ventures recruited the New York City-based coffee shop, the Roasting Plant, to the First National Building and worked with Madison Heights outdoor outfitter MooseJaw to open a Woodward Avenue store, which has been so popular it has remained open and just announced it is signing a multi-year lease for its space at 1275 Woodward Avenue. 

The master lease is an important component of Downtown Detroit's placemaking and retail strategy.  It will help ensure the long-term success of critical blocks of retail along Woodward Avenue that is part of the grander vision to restore it as a retail destination. Through the agreement, Rock Ventures will have the option to hold the master lease for a total of 30 years.

"When a city reaches the critical mass that downtown Detroit has seen, it is vitally important that the service industry – restaurants, consumer goods and grocers – follow suit," said Craig Kaser, founder TerreMark Partners, a national retail expert and Kalamazoo native.  " Detroit is in a unique position where its cache is growing yet retailers can still enter the market affordably, while also being able to take advantage of a very strong, and underserved, consumer base."  

Rock Ventures has already been leveraging retail space along Woodward.  Several of the storefronts are currently occupied and others are being white-boxed to allow for quick conversion into retail spaces for companies looking to capitalize on the exciting opportunities that exist in Detroit.

About Rock Ventures LLCRock Ventures LLC is an umbrella entity managing a diverse portfolio of companies, investments and real estate. Rock Ventures' flagship company is Quicken Loans, the nation's largest online home lender and third largest overall residential mortgage lender.

About Bedrock Real Estate Services LLC Detroit-based Bedrock Real Estate Services LLC is a full service real estate firm specializing in purchasing, leasing, financing, developing and managing of commercial space. For more information, visit www.bedrockmgt.com.

Rock Ventures' Opportunity Detroit Chronology and Tenant List

The following is an Opportunity Detroit timeline followed by a listing of the more than 80 companies who in the past 30 months have moved to downtown Detroit in a number of Rock Ventures-owned buildings.

Opportunity Detroit Timeline

January 2007: Dan Gilbert founds Bizdom, a non-profit entrepreneurship accelerator for budding web and tech-based startups in Detroit.

January 2009: Gilbert and other business leaders invest in M-1 RAIL, a 6.8-mile light-rail system that will link key neighborhoods to Detroit's riverfront, the business district, and educational, cultural, entertainment and medical institutions along Woodward Avenue.

July 2009: Quicken Loans announces it will relocate its headquarters to the Compuware Building in downtown Detroit in 2010.

August 2010: Quicken Loans and five of its sister companies move 1,700 team members into the Compuware building in downtown Detroit.

November 2010: Gilbert, together with entrepreneurs Josh Linkner and Brian Hermelin, launch Detroit Venture Partners, a Detroit-based venture capital firm that invests in seed and early-stage technology companies to be located in the city.

January 2011: Rock Ventures, the umbrella entity formed to provide operational coordination, guidance and integration of Gilbert's portfolio of companies, investments and real estate purchases Detroit's historical Madison Theatre Building and begins transforming it into a collaborative tech hub to encourage partnership among local entrepreneurs.

April 2011: Rock Ventures acquires the 13-story Chase Tower located in Detroit's downtown central business district and immediately begins renovation to reflect Quicken Loans' culture.

April 2011: Rock Ventures buys Two Detroit Center, a 1,095-space parking garage located in the central business district.

May 2011: Skidmore Studio, a graphic design firm located in a nearby suburb, announces it will become the anchor tenant in the Madison Building when it opens in Fall 2011.

June 2011: Quicken Loans hires 200 interns to work in the Detroit office to expose students to the city and help end Detroit's "brain drain."

July 2011: Earvin "Magic" Johnson joins Detroit Venture Partners to help fund start-up tech companies.

July 2011: Quicken Loans and four other downtown Detroit companies unveil the "Live Downtown" program, which offers financial incentives to team members who live in the city.

July 2011: Quicken Loans sponsors the debut of Somerset Collection's CityLoft, a pop-up shop open the last weekend of each month in downtown Detroit with mini-versions of upscale stores, to bring retail back to downtown Detroit.

August 2011: Rock Ventures purchases Detroit's First National Building to house more team members as well as other businesses.

August 2011: Rock Ventures acquires its fourth building, the 101-year-old Dime Building located in downtown Detroit, along with the Financial District Garage, a 983-space parking structure adjacent to the Dime Building.

August 2011: Rock Ventures purchases the Madison Parking Lot on Broadway, adjacent to the Madison Theatre Building.

September 2011: Quicken Loans hosts a job fair to fill 500 positions in Detroit within the Family of Companies, 2,500 people line up around the building to apply.

October 2011: An additional 2,000 Quicken Loans team members move into the newly renovated Chase Tower.

December 2011: Rock Ventures completes the acquisition of three additional properties in Downtown Detroit – the historic Wright-Kay brownstone, the Lane Bryant Building and the Arts League of Michigan Building.

January 2012: Rock Ventures adds two more buildings to its real estate portfolio - the Historic Federal Reserve Building, and 1550 Woodward Avenue, a one-story building to be utilized for retail or commercial use.

February 2012: To encourage Detroit's "brain gain," the Quicken Loans Family of Companies announces it will hire 600 paid interns - 500 to work in Detroit to discover all the great things the City has to offer.

April 2012: The Quicken Loans Family of Companies begins a recruiting campaign to hire more than 1,400 team members, and launches Valley to Detroit, a campaign aimed to bring laid off Yahoo technology professionals to Detroit from Silicon Valley.

April 2012: Rock Ventures and Chrysler hold a press conference to announce that Chrysler will lease the top two floors of Rock Ventures' Dime Building and rename the building Chrysler House.

June 2012: Quicken Loans partners with other Detroit businesses to create "IT in the D," a program to give local university students real-world experience to prepare them for tech jobs in Detroit.

July 2012: Title Source, the largest independent provider of title insurance, property valuations and settlement services in the nation, begins move of 1,500 team members to downtown Detroit's First National Building.

October 2012: Rock Connections, a strategic marketing company that provides experienced communications specialists, robust analytics, and targeted selling strategies, moves 115 team members into the Chase Tower Building in downtown Detroit's growing tech hub.

October 2012: Rock Ventures and Quicken Loans launch "Opportunity Detroit" with a national commercial narrated by Kid Rock on the Fox television network during the fourth game of the World Series.

November 2012: Rock Ventures breaks ground on 33,000 square-foot specialty retail development with 10-story parking garage in downtown Detroit.

December 2012: Rock Ventures purchases One Woodward, the 26-story, 333,000 square-foot building located in Detroit's Central Business District.

December 2012: Metro-West Appraisal, the nation's largest independent residential real estate appraisal company, announces it will move its national headquarters to downtown Detroit's Chrysler House in March 2013.

December 2012: Rock Ventures adds five buildings to its real estate portfolio - 1201 Woodward (Kresge Building), 1217 Woodward, 1412 Woodward, 1301 Broadway (Cary Building Lofts) and 1521 Broadway (Small Plates Building) for a total of 120,000 square feet of space.

January 2013 : Rock Gaming, Rock Ventures' Detroit-based gaming partnership announced one of its affiliated companies, Athens Acquisition LLC, has entered into an agreement to acquire a majority interest in Greektown Superholdings Inc., owner of the Greektown Casino-Hotel located in downtown Detroit The acquisition is pending Michigan Gaming Control Board approval.

February 2013: The Roasting Plant, a unique and innovative coffee shop, opens in the Rock Ventures-owned First National Building.  The Detroit location marks the first outside of New York City for the company.

March 2013: Rock Ventures acquires the 23-story 1001 Woodward office tower, located in the heart of Detroit's emerging tech district. The building was built in 1965 for the First Federal Savings and Loan of Detroit and features 275,000 square-feet of Class-A office space.

March 2013: Rock Ventures, The Downtown Detroit Partnership (DDP), and the Detroit Economic Growth Corp. (DEGC) announces an extraordinary placemaking plan for Detroit's urban core.  As part of the plan, Rock Ventures launches Opportunity Detroit's international design competition for a new signature project that will sit on the historic Hudson's Department Store site. 

March 2013:  Rock Ventures acquires the historic 12-story Albert Kahn-designed Vinton Building.  Built in 1917, the 44,000 square foot building was added to the Michigan Register of Historic Places in 1982 and the National Register of Historic Places in 1983.

March 2013:  Rock Ventures signs master lease agreements with the Schostak Brothers and Farbman Group to manage more than 60,000 square feet of first floor retail along the Woodward Corridor in downtown Detroit. The properties include 12 storefronts along the 1200 and 1400 blocks of Woodward Avenue.

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