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Quicken Loans founder buys Detroit’s Book Tower skyscraper

Detroit Abandoned BuildingsDetroit Abandoned Buildings
DETROIT, MI - MAY 01: The unoccupied Book Tower stands in the downtown skyline on May 1, 2013 in Detroit, Michigan. The skyscraper was completed in 1926 and housed retail, galleries and businesses until the last tenant left in 2009. (Photo by Ann Hermes/The Christian Science Monitor via Getty Images)Photograph by Getty Images

Dan Gilbert, the founder of mortgage lender Quicken Loans, is full-steam ahead on his revitalization plans for Detroit with his newest acquisition: the unique Book Tower skyscraper.

Gilbert will pay around $30 million for a three-building complex in downtown Detroit that includes the 36-story Book Tower, the 17-story Book Building and another two-story building, sources told the Detroit Free Press. Both the Tower and the Building have been vacant since 2009.

The Book Tower is notable both for its facade and its history. Built in 1926 and designed by architect Louis Kamper, its Renaissance-style architecture and elaborate top has led some to compare the limestone building to a wedding cake. The neighboring Book Building was originally designed as an 81-story tower, and was meant to be the tallest office building in the world before the Great Depression laid those ambitions to rest.

Gilbert’s real estate firm, Bedrock, now owns or manages 80 buildings in downtown Detroit totaling more than 13 million square feet. Reports have estimated that Gilbert has invested more than $1.7 billion in the city.

Detroit is still recovering from the largest municipal bankruptcy in U.S. history, accruing a debt of around $20 billion. They have received encouraging news recently on their recovery from rating agencies Moody’s and Standard & Poor’s, both of which upgraded the city’s credit status and outlook.