Dan Gilbert: Detroit neighborhoods need to thrive or 'you're not going to have a thriving downtown'

(WXYZ) - He's the man with the billion dollar vision and big plans for Detroit.

But Dan Gilbert rarely sits down with the media to talk about the future of the city.

He’s bought a lot of buildings and done a lot to improve downtown; however, his work is reaching into the neighborhoods in a big way as well.

Minutes after announcing WXYZ-TV's new downtown studio, Gilbert sat down and shared his vision for Detroit. 

“There’s great investments to be made down here and you don’t want to want to miss it in your own backyard," Gibert says.  "We call it ‘doing well by doing good’ and we don’t think they’re in conflict.”

Right now, Gilbert says Detroit's biggest issue is blight. 

“If Detroit is blight free, than the other three challenges, which are crime, education and jobs, will be a much, much easier road to hoe,” he says.

While Gilbert has done much to revitalize Detroit's downtown, he says it shouldn't be called 'Gilbertville.'

“We’ve taken some significant action, but so many others prior to us ever even being down here,” he says. “It keeps gaining momentum, and certainly having you guys here and channel 7, having a permanent TV studio, which is a window to the whole area to show everybody what’s happening is very, very important.”

All those efforts have led to a year long waiting list for people wanting to move downtown.

 “It’s crazy, crazy to fathom that, but it’s true. We’re at 100% occupancy in residential, both in downtown and in Midtown,” Gilbert says.

However, he says time and effort must be spent on the city's neighborhoods. 

“Eventually, if you don’t have thriving neighborhoods, you’re not going to have a thriving downtown,” Gilbert says.

You can watch the entire interview in the video player above.

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