Is there an Apple Store in the future for downtown Detroit's Chase Tower?

Posted at 11:44 AM, May 05, 2011
and last updated 2016-05-06 17:11:35-04

When Dan Gilbert looks out the windows of his company’s headquarters, he sees an Apple Store. The 49-year-old founder and chairman of Quicken Loans envisions one in downtown Detroit’s Chase Tower.

During an interview that will be televised today as part of WXYZ’s Detroit 2020 project, Gilbert pointed out a window in the Compuware Building, toward the nearby Chase Tower. He revealed that his own company is talking to Apple about bringing a retail store to the building.

Gilbert is passionate about Detroit. In August of 2010, he moved 1,700 Quicken Loans employees into office space in the Compuware Building, right across Campus Martius Park from the Chase Tower.

“We announced recently that 2,000 more will come down from the suburbs,” Gilbert said last week.

When all is said and done, the Quicken Loans chief says his company will have about 4,000 employees working in Detroit.

“They’ll all be downtown, here,” he said. “A lot of them will be in this Chase building.”

As he looked out across Campus Martius Park, Dan Gilbert said his company would, “Try and get an Apple Store on the corner.”

“We’re talking to them,” he revealed as he spoke to WXYZ’s Carolyn Clifford.

Apple currently operates retail stores in Troy’s Somerset Collection, Novi’s Twelve Oaks Mall, Ann Arbor’s Briarwoord Mall and at Partridge Creek in Clinton Township.

Like Apple’s products, the stores are all remarkable in their simple, but elegant and functional design. They are also often crowded with local shoppers and Apple users asking questions of their “genius” staff.

Fittingly, the Chase Tower is a sleek and simple example of mid-century modern architecture. Built in 1959, its office space floats above a first floor whose walls are mostly glass. Retail space would occupy that floor.

Quicken Loans has made additional downtown Detroit building purchases.

“We bought the Madison Building up on Grand Circus,” Gilbert said of his January former-theatre purchase. “We have a couple of buildings we’re close to getting under contract around here,” he added.

Of course, you can’t envision new employees and retail space in downtown Detroit without also taking parking into account. Quicken Loans also purchased Two Detroit Center, a garage that is only a few blocks away from the site that could house a downtown Detroit Apple Store.