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Rockbridge Growth Equity to Acquire America’s Leading Video Network at the Pump: Gas Station TV (GSTV)

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(DETROIT) – Rockbridge Growth Equity, LLC, a Detroit-based private equity firm, announced that it has signed a purchase agreement to partner with management in acquiring Gas Station TV (GSTV), one of the fastest-growing media networks for reaching on-the-go consumers.

Founded in 2006 and located in Birmingham, Michigan, GSTV is America’s No. 1 video network at the pump with 50 million monthly viewers. GSTV engages, influences and drives consumers to action with exclusive content from ESPN, CNN’s Headline News and Buzz Today, Bloomberg TV, and AccuWeather at fuel retailers across the country. Its growing viewership continues to solidify video at the pump as an exemplary platform to reach a captivated, real-time audience.

Rockbridge Growth Equity is leading the transaction. Other investors include Falcon Investments and Michigan Growth Capital Partners, co-managed by Grosvenor Capital Management and Beringea. The deal is expected to close in the coming weeks pending regulatory approval.

Rockbridge was founded in 2007 by partners Brian Hermelin, Kevin Prokop and Dan Gilbert, who is also founder and chairman of Rock Ventures LLC and Quicken Loans Inc. The firm invests in companies that specialize in financial and technology services, as well as digital media and consumer-direct marketing.

“Investing in an industry-leading and growing company like GSTV is a natural fit for Rockbridge,” said Prokop, who also serves as managing director. “GSTV’s management team have proven video at the pump to be a successful media growth category, and GSTV has emerged as the clear leader in the space.”

GSTV has grown its gas station network from a five-station pilot in Dallas to more than 2,600 stations in 42 states. The company has increased its revenues 35 percent annually since 2009. In addition, GSTV has tripled its advertiser base and counts numerous Fortune 500 companies in the automotive, retail, consumer packaged goods, and personal finance industries among its clients. The partnership will leverage the Rock Ventures Family of Companies’ expertise in technology, marketing services and digital media to further accelerate growth.

“Partnering with Rockbridge empowers us to build upon our leadership position in the industry and bring a GSTV screen to every community in the country,” said David Leider, GSTV CEO. “Together with Rockbridge we’ll continue to drive strong return on investment for our advertisers and gas station retailers, while providing an exceptional content experience for our viewers.” David Leider leads GSTV along with the management team of Stephen Kuehn, CFO and COO, and Mo Alcaptan, Executive Vice President.

“We were happy to help support Rockbridge Growth Equity in their acquisition of Gas Station TV. The transaction represents an important milestone for another rapidly growing Michigan firm,” said Beringea senior managing director and co-founder Charles Rothstein. “With its expanding network of locations and advertisers, GSTV presents an exciting investment opportunity.”

Barclays PLC served as the exclusive financial advisor to GSTV. RBS Citizens arranged the senior debt facilities in partnership with First Merit and Flagstar Bank.

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Quicken Loans breaks ground on new technology center

DETROIT, May 20, 2014 – Quicken Loans Inc. and Bedrock Real Estate Services LLC, today began construction on the state-of-the-art Quicken Loans Technology Center, a 66,000-square-foot data center and office complex located at 1401 Rosa Parks Boulevard in Detroit’s up-and-coming Corktown district. The new facility will feature two 10,000-square-foot server rooms in addition to training, office and support space. Half of the data center will be occupied by Quicken Loans’ technology team. An equal-sized 33,000 square foot portion of the building, including the second 10,000 square-foot server room, will be available for lease when the center opens.

Scheduled for completion in January 2015, the modern cement and glass structure will boast an impressive 1.4 megawatts of redundant available power, an energy efficient design and a complex, next-generation air conditioning system to cool its server rooms. The building, Bedrock’s second ground-up development in the city of Detroit, will also feature a comprehensive security system.

“Detroit is experiencing an exciting technology revolution, so it only made sense to look in our own backyard when we decided to pursue a new home for our application and data systems,” said Linglong He, Quicken Loans Chief Information Officer. “We invest heavily in technology – both in our infrastructure and in the training we provide our talented, 1,100-member IT team.”

Construction and management of the Quicken Loans Technology Center will be conducted by Bedrock Real Estate Services, a Quicken Loans affiliated full-service real estate firm specializing in purchasing, leasing, financing, developing and managing commercial space in Detroit. Bedrock will also lease the available 33,000 square foot technology center space.

“Developing real estate that meets the needs of our Family of Companies and our tenants in the city of Detroit is our top priority at Bedrock,” said Jim Ketai, Bedrock Real Estate Services CEO and Managing Partner. “We are extremely proud to be bringing the Quicken Loans Technology Center to life and creating a secure, cutting-edge facility for one of the premiere IT companies in America. This is also a great opportunity for another top technology company to secure prime server and training space in Detroit.”

Quicken Loans has been recognized as one of Computerworld magazine’s ’100 Best Places to Work in IT’ the past nine years, ranking No. 1 in 2013, 2007, 2006 and 2005.

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Shorpy Saturday – Cadillac Square: 1902

By Jeffrey Buck

Cadillac Square continues to transform even in 2013, with the recent announcement of the 16-story office building by Schostak Bros. & Co. The building would be the largest undertaking since the renovation of the beloved Campus Martius Park and revamp of Cadillac Square Park.

Take a look at the photograph entitled “Cadillac Square: 1902“:

Cadillac Square - 1902

Detroit circa 1902. “Cadillac Square and Wayne County building.” The rigging is for one of the “moonlight tower” arc lamps that provided nighttime illumination, an example of which can be seen behind the Rajah Coffee sign.

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Shorpy Saturday – Snow Globe: 1902

By Jeffrey Buck

The cold weather has arrived and Michigan will soon see its first substantial snow fall. As the temperature continues to drop in Detroit there is still plenty of hot new development going on downtown. Grand Circus Park, seen below in 1902, is witnessing a rebirth of its many surrounding buildings as work continues at the Whitney Building.  Once completed it will join the Madison Theatre and Broderick Tower, along with several other buildings, in the growing downtown area.

Take a look at the photograph entitled “Snow Globe: 1902“:

Snow Globe - 1902

Detroit circa 1902. “Winter study, Grand Circus Park.” 8×10 inch dry plate glass negative, Detroit Publishing Company.

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Enter for a chance to perform at the Oakaloosa Music Festival

Rapt.com | Freestyle with anyone.

Rapt.com | Freestyle with anyone.

By Jeffrey Buck

If you haven’t heard already, the Detroit’s Historic Fort Wayne will be playing host to Oakaloosa Music Festival on Saturday, July 27. This first ever event is showcasing some of Detroit’s newest and brightest musicians and one of those musicians could be you!

Rapt.fm, a rap/tech startup in Detroit with backing from Quicken Loans founder Dan Gilbert, will be holding a contest now through July 24 with the winner getting to perform at the festival along with artists like Girl Talk, Royce Da 5’9 and Bone-Thugs-n-Harmony. Rapt.fm is currently accepting rap submissions by uploading videos to Youtube and filling out the accompanying form by clicking here.

Having already been featured on Fox 2 News, Tech Crunch, VentureBeat, Crain’s Detroit and BBC Radio, Rapt.fm hopes to bring people together from all over the world to freestyle against each other and have a good time doing it. Its goal is to be an outlet for those unsigned artists to get discovered. Rapt.fm will also focus on being a gathering place for popular artists – rappers and non-rappers alike – to be able to interact directly with their fans.

Oakaloosa Music Festival will take place from noon to midnight on July 27 and feature two stages full of music, the Sachse Construction Stage (along the River) and the Budweiser Stage (inside the Fort). The proceeds from the festival will not only support the non-profit Historic Fort Wayne Coalition, but also Defeat the Label, the Detroit Recreation Department and the festival’s non-profit producer, Detroit Sports Zone, Inc.

Festival tickets are currently on sale through Oakaloosa.com for $45 for general admission and $55 for a VIP ticket, which includes a VIP entry, bar area and viewing location during the festival. Parking will be available in the Oakaloosa Festival parking lot for $10 a car. Free bicycle valet will be provided courtesy of Wheelhouse Detroit.

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Neumann/Smith Architecture headed downtown

Neumann Smith Architecture

By Jeffrey Buck

The historic Wright Kay Building, located at 1500 Woodward Avenue, is filling up its entire third floor. The architect behind many of downtown Detroit’s most recent renovation projects, including the M@dison Building, the First National Building, One Woodward Avenue Office Tower and Chrysler House, is moving its headquarters to Detroit. Neumann/Smith Architecture, one of Michigan’s most distinguished design firms specializing in architecture and interior design, has announced it will open its new space by June of this year.

“We are excited about opening up a studio space downtown where we can be closer to our clients and the incredible revitalization taking place,” said Joel Smith, AIA, Neumann/Smith partner. “The new Detroit office will provide an opportunity for more face-to-face meetings, foster a closer client experience, and increase our involvement in the community.”

Neumann/Smith, currently headquartered in Southfield, is following in the footsteps of its latest client, Campbell Ewald. They will be designing their new headquarters in the former J.L. Hudson Co. warehouse attached to Ford Field.

“As a creative company, nothing is more inspiring than to work in a city like Detroit, with its rich history of architectural design,” said Firm Principal and Historic Preservation Design Leader, J. Michael Kirk, AIA.  “Our employees are looking forward to the opportunity to work in a downtown urban core.”

The Wright Kay Building was bought by Dan Gilbert’s Rock Ventures in December of 2011. Bedrock Real Estate Services, the real estate arm of Rock Ventures, brokered the lease.

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Moving company leases space in Dime Building

Professional Movers.com with Spirit of Detroit

DETROIT – People and businesses moving to downtown Detroit won’t need to go far to find a moving company as Professional Movers.com today announced it is opening an office in the city’s historic Dime building, a 23-story skyscraper located at 719 Griswold.

The award-winning home and office moving company is one of several businesses slated to move into the Dime, purchased in August 2011 by Rock Ventures LLC, an umbrella entity formed to provide operational coordination, guidance, and integration of Dan Gilbert’s portfolio of companies, investments and real estate.

Professional Movers.com will move by the end of the month into its eighth-floor sales office, housing multiple full- and part-time moving consultants who will design and build custom quotes and schedule movers. The company, based in Walled Lake, Michigan, will be aggressively looking to add team members as it continues to grow its Detroit clientele.

“We are returning to Detroit, the city where we were founded, because we want to be part of the transformation going on in the city,” said Andrew Androff, Co-Owner and Director of Marketing, Professional Movers.com. “The number of people and businesses moving to Detroit is growing every day, and our downtown office will provide the moving services to help get them down here.”

The deal was brokered by Bedrock Real Estate Services LLC, Rock Ventures’ full service property management firm, specializing in purchasing, leasing, financing, developing and managing of commercial space. As a result of Bedrock and Rock Ventures’ collaboration, nearly 40 businesses now call downtown Detroit home.

“We are thrilled to have Professional Movers.com join the growing list of companies moving to Detroit,” said Matt Cullen, CEO of Rock Ventures. “With the large influx of people and businesses opening up shop in downtown Detroit, it makes sense for a moving company to be the latest to join the Detroit 2.0 movement.”

Professional Movers.com is doing its part to help repopulate the city by being the first and only moving company to offer discounted moving services for those relocating to Detroit. More information on the program can be found by clicking here.

“Our Detroit Moving Incentives Program is our way of providing that final nudge to help encourage more people and businesses to make downtown Detroit their home,” said Androff. “The program has been an overwhelming success.”

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About Professional Movers.com

Professional Movers.com is an award winning, customer focused moving company that specializes in providing local, long distance, and international relocation services for people and businesses. In addition, they have a delivery and freight division that offers courier, flatbed, lift-gate, and general freight delivery services. The company first opened in 1978 in Northwest Detroit and is known for providing intelligent, friendly, and highly trained movers. The company has been featured in the Best Selling Customer Service Book, “Who’s Your Gladys” and was voted Best Moving Service in 2011.  For more information, please visit www.ProfessionalMovers.com or call 248-926-9999.

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