With all the downtown craziness lately, we sort of forgot about the downtown block that Dan Gilbert *allegedly* purchased in secret last last year, using his pal Jim Ketai as a straw buyer. It's known around our office as the Gil-Block, and it's now the site of some exciting action: Workers have begun tearing down the Gil-Bock's derelict parking structure, the Bates Garage. Seeing as the Bates covers nearly half of the block's area, we're about to have a giant hole across the street from Compuware/Quicken HQ. What's the plan, Dan?
Unlike the Sachs Building or the National Theatre (the other two buildings in the GilBlock), as far as we know the Bates Garage was never confirmed as having been bought by Gilbert's people. If Dan Gilbert really is calling the shots here, it'll be interesting to see what he does with a large building site perfectly situated between Campus Martius and his Greektown empire.
The undisputed gem of the Gil-Block is the National Theatre, the only theatre ever known to have been designed by Albert Kahn. Currently in ruins, the 102-year-old theatre closed in the 1970s after a long porn-induced decline. Ready for a cool rumor? Someone pinged the Curbed Tipline yesterday evening, claiming a worker on site said that the National Theatre was slated for restoration. It's not the first time we've heard that. Keep your eyes and ears open, everyone.
· Gilbert Activates Stealth Mode to Buy Entire City Block [Curbed Detroit]
[National Theatre image by dreaminofbeadin via Flickr]