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Gilbert Activates Stealth Mode to Buy Entire City Block

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Just to be clear, we're going to make a leap here, but it's a very tiny leap: Dan Gilbert bought an entire city block downtown. It's a leap because it's technically not true -- 1000 Farmer Street LLC bought just part of that block, the Sachs Waldman building, but Crain's is reporting that sources say there's much more to it. Says Crain's:

The scuttlebutt around town among several well-placed sources is that the billionaire founder and chairman of Quicken Loans Inc. has purchased through a straw buyer a Detroit city block — the area bounded by Monroe, Farmer, Randolph and Bates streets. The name behind 1000 Farmer Street LLC is Jim Ketai, Gilbert's managing partner at Bedrock Management. Assuming that's the strategy, using Ketai as a straw buyer was meant to keep property owners from knowing MoneyBags Gilbert was scouting the area back in October, before Gilbert had set his eyes on buying a controlling interest in Greektown Casino. The last known pricetag on the Sachs Waldman--$2.25 million--may have gone up had the owners realized who was in the market.

The Sachs Building is a weird one and we don't know too much about it yet, other than it's got three stories and is around 18,000 square feet. Also, it's smack dab in the middle of Gilbert's now-targeted territory between Woodward and Greektown Casino. The block also includes a large parking structure, with a lot of retail space on the ground level (a Dan Gilbert favorite). We'll bring you more as we dig up details on this one.

UPDATE: Dan Austin of Historic Detroit pointed out to us two things:

1. This block contains the National Theatre, the only theatre ever known to have been designed by Albert Kahn. The theatre is in sad shape after many years abandonment, preceeded by many decades of porn and burlesque shows. A fascinating history is available here.

2. The Detroit Economic Growth Corporation asked for bids on demolishing the parking garage. There's no plan on what would take its place.

· Is Dan Gilbert Throwing a Block Party? [Crain's Detroit]
· 1000 Farmer LLC [LARA]
· The National Theatre [Historic Detroit]