By Jeffrey Buck
Watch USA take on Germany tomorrow in Cadillac Square starting at noon. It is open to everyone and the weather looks amazing. #IBeleiveThatWeWillWin
For more information check out @BlocalDetroit.
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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.
DETROIT – Quicken Loans, the nation’s largest online mortgage lender, today was named a top-five place to work nationwide in FORTUNE Magazine’s annual ranking of the “100 Best Companies to Work For.” This marks the 11th consecutive year Detroit-based Quicken Loans has ranked in the top-30 of FORTUNE’s benchmark workplace culture study.
Quicken Loans’ culture goes far beyond its storied bright colored offices and fun, collaborative work environment. The company’s team members consistently express an appreciation for the inclusive and creative culture, nurtured by leaders who encourage them to innovate without fear of failure along the way.
“It’s incredible to see what’s possible when you hire great people, empower them and set them loose to innovate and create,” said Quicken Loans Chief Executive Officer Bill Emerson. “It is an absolute honor to work alongside our more than 10,000 team members who bring their passion and energy to the office each and every day.”
In 2013, Quicken Loans continued its explosive growth, closing a company record $80 billion in home loan volume, becoming the third largest overall lender in the country. The company also grew its loan servicing capabilities to become the 11th largest mortgage servicer in the nation, with more than $138 billion in home loans in its portfolio.
Quicken Loans, for the fourth consecutive year, was named by J.D. Power as the highest in customer satisfaction among all home loan lenders in America.
While busy setting records for its client service and growth, Quicken Loans invested substantially in its hometown of Detroit, finalizing the move of all Michigan-based team members to the city and playing a large role in the city’s ongoing revitalization. Team members set their own record in the community, volunteering more than 36,000 hours of their time at hundreds of non-profit organizations.
“Of everything we accomplished last year, what makes me the most proud is that our team still took time to lend a hand to those in need in the communities where we live, work and play. It is that passion for doing the right thing and caring about others that lays the groundwork for our success,” Emerson added.
According to FORTUNE’s survey, 98 percent of Quicken Loans team members said they feel good about how the company gives back to the community. Additionally, 96 percent of team members say they have the opportunity to have fun at work.
FORTUNE Magazine partners with the Great Place to Work Institute to develop a comprehensive team member survey that examines team member satisfaction through questions about compensation, empowerment, and training to rank the companies. The survey is randomly distributed to team members, with the results of the survey accounting for two-thirds of the overall company score. The remaining company score is determined through the Great Place to Work Institute’s Culture Audit, a series of questions and surveys on benefits, hiring and recognition.
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DETROIT – Shopping at Detroit-area boutiques has become easier with the launch of Styleshack, a customizable website designed to give busy consumers a personalized shopping experience with local retailers — all at their own convenience.
Detroit-based Styleshack allows users to search local retailers online based on their personal style and location.
“Shopping online can become overwhelming, and it’s not as personalized of an experience as people would like it to be. At Styleshack, we simulate the experience of working with in-store stylists by learning about our shoppers’ preferences and delivering relevant results,” said Rachel Schostak, founder of Styleshack. “By creating a customizable, local shopping experience online, we can help drive business to the local economy.”
Currently, Styleshack offers products from 18 Detroit-area stores and designers. Consumers are matched to products from these businesses after taking a personal style quiz that identifies a shopper’s preferred stores, brands and style genre. Once registered, the user can search for products, and put items on hold for up to 48 hours if a nearby retailer has the item in stock.
“A lot of people want to shop locally, but often don’t have the time to go from store-to-store looking for the exact product they are seeking. Our website allows them to hop on their computer and start searching to see what is out there,” added Schostak.
Schostak’s interest in unique local products sparked the idea to start Styleshack. Originally from Detroit, she has experience in the fashion industry following stints working in Chicago and New York.
Schostak moved back to Detroit, started her business, and applied to Bizdom, the startup accelerator for tech-based businesses in the urban cores of Detroit and Cleveland.
“It was while working for a retailer in metro-Detroit that the idea came to me. It should be easier for local retailers to be discovered online; Styleshack will do just that,” said Schostak.
Styleshack is a customized fashion and style search engine that enhances shopping experience by allowing users the ability to shop locally-based stores that match their personal style preferences. For more information, click here.
Bizdom is a non-profit start-up accelerator that helps entrepreneurs launch, fund and grow innovative, tech-based businesses in the urban cores of Detroit and Cleveland. The nonprofit was founded in 2007 by Dan Gilbert, Founder of Rock Ventures and Quicken Loans, and Majority Owner of the Cleveland Cavaliers. For more information, click here.
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DETROIT —Neighborhood Service Organization (NSO) announced Wednesday a partnership with Quicken Loans, the nation’s largest online home lender, as part of its efforts to fight homelessness in Detroit.
Focused on being “always within reach,” NSO is a private, non-profit human service agency providing accessible and innovative human service programs designed to support and strengthen individuals and families and empowering communities. As part of its commitment to Detroit’s neighborhoods, Quicken Loans has partnered with NSO to help finish renovating the former Michigan Bell Building into permanent, supportive housing for homeless adults as well as a health clinic for the community.
“Today we are celebrating the one-year anniversary of the residential opening of the NSO Bell Building,” said NSO President and CEO Sheilah Clay. “Quicken Loans’ generosity will take us closer to completing the restoration of this historic building while the people living here are working daily to restore their lives. Together, with partners like Quicken Loans, our community can truly put an end to homelessness in Detroit.”
Quicken Loans has contributed $350,000 to NSO to support the renovation of the historic Michigan Bell building. NSO and Quicken Loans are also teaming up to provide Bell Building residents with professional development initiatives that will help them be successful. Quizzle (part of the Quicken Loans family of companies) team members have already begun educating residents on credit ratings and how to improve them. “NSO is doing incredible work to give homeless individuals a second chance at success,” said Quicken Loans CEO Bill Emerson. “We are proud to support NSO’s efforts to reduce homelessness in Detroit and are looking forward to partnering further with NSO to help Detroit residents.”
The NSO Bell Building includes 155 furnished 500 square-foot apartments, as well as a gym, library, computer room, library, art and music rooms and a chapel. NSO provides intensive case management, mental health and addiction treatment, financial literacy, community engagement activities, and other on-site support in one location to better help residents restore their lives. NSO’s headquarters are also now located within the Bell Building along with their Older Adult Services and Emergency Telephone Crisis and Suicide Prevention Services programs.
About Neighborhood Service Organization
Since 1955, Neighborhood Service Organization (NSO) has been reaching out to people across metropolitan Detroit by strengthening and empowering neighborhoods, supporting families and helping people in need. Over the years, the scope and variety of services offered have grown into a network of sophisticated, vertically integrated programs that have received local, statewide and national recognition. For more information about NSO, visit http://www.nso-mi.org.
About Quicken Loans
Detroit-based Quicken Loans Inc. is the nation’s largest online home lender and the country’s third largest retail home mortgage lender. The company closed a record $70 billion of volume across all 50 states in 2012. Quicken Loans generates loan production from web centers located in Detroit, Cleveland and Scottsdale, Arizona. The company also operates a centralized loan processing facility in Detroit, as well as its San Diego-based One Reverse Mortgage unit. Quicken Loans ranked #1 in customer satisfaction among all home mortgage lenders in the United States by J.D. Power and Associates in 2010, 2011 and 2012.
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DETROIT – Zagster, one of the nation’s first bike sharing companies, announced it has partnered with Rock Ventures/Quicken Loans to launch Detroit’s first bike sharing program. Rock Ventures’ 9,200 team members in downtown Detroit can reserve and ride comfortable, city-friendly cruiser bikes, allowing them a healthy, convenient, sustainable and fun way to run errands, grab lunch, get to meetings or just exercise.
“With the success of public bike sharing programs around the world, more and more employers, real estate developers and universities are looking to offer a more customized, convenient and flexible program for tenants and employees,” said Timothy Ericson, co-founder and CEO of Zagster. “Rock Ventures and Quicken Loans have really stepped up to show the world that the Motor City is ready for a new set of wheels.”
Based in Cambridge, Massachusetts, Zagster has successfully launched bike sharing programs in large cities including Chicago, Boston and New York and is now doing so in Detroit’s burgeoning urban core.
Initially, 48 Breezer bikes will be available on-demand to Rock Ventures’ team members, and will be parked outside eight properties in and around Detroit’s central business district: Compuware, M@dison, One Woodward, 1528 Woodward Avenue, Chase Tower, Financial District Garage, 1001 Woodward Garage and Two Detroit Garage. Additional locations may be launched in future months.
After registering on Zagster’s website, riders simply text ‘start’ plus the bike number (e.g. ‘start 46’) to Zagster. A confirmation message with the access code for the lock box is texted back. This action reserves the bike for the remainder of the day or until the bike is returned. Riders text “end” to the same number, which releases the bike for the next rider. Bike reservations last up to 24 hours.
The Breezer Uptown bikes used by Zagster have won numerous awards for their lightweight yet durable frames. They are outfitted with spacious baskets ideal for transporting laptops and computer gear, take-out food or groceries. Riders can park their bikes anywhere they want using the included lock, allowing the ultimate in convenience. When done with their bike, riders simply return the bike back to the Zagster bike rack.
“The launch of Zagster in Detroit is another way we are activating our streets and helping our team members explore Detroit – on two wheels versus four,” said Jay Farner, Quicken Loans’ President and Chief Marketing Officer, adding that the company is sponsoring Zagster memberships for its team members. “Bike sharing fits in with our placemaking initiatives; we hope other downtown companies will follow our lead and consider bringing this perk to their team members.”
Founded in Philadelphia in 2007 as CityRyde and now headquartered in Cambridge, Mass., Zagster is one of the nation’s first bike sharing companies. Zagster is uniquely focused on contracting with property managers, hotels, businesses, and universities across North America to make bike sharing programs available to tenants, employees, guests and students. This highly efficient and unique model allows Zagster to offer services in areas that traditional city-wide bike sharing systems can’t reach. More information about Zagster is available online at www.Zagster.com.
About Rock Ventures
Detroit-based Rock Ventures LLC is an umbrella entity managing a diverse portfolio of companies, investments and real estate. Rock Ventures’ flagship company is Quicken Loans, the nation’s largest online home lender and third largest overall residential mortgage lender. To learn more visit www.opportunitydetroit.com.
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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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