'Giving it a shot downtown'
After decades of decline that saw Detroit declare bankruptcy in 2013, the Motor City is making a comeback—and Gilbert has been a driving force behind this renewal. In 2010, he decided to abandon his company's suburban office space and consolidate his entire Michigan operation in Detroit's then-languishing downtown.
Today, Rock Ventures, his umbrella company of more than 100 businesses, accounts for 17,000 jobs in Detroit, making it the city's largest employer and taxpayer. UBS is opening a new office in one of Gilbert's buildings, becoming the first major wealth management firm to move back downtown in nearly a decade.
Asked why he decided to take a chance downtown, Gilbert replied: "We didn't do it for the investment. We did it for our business. But then it sort of grew from there."
In this video, he discusses his initial decision to relocate operations in 2010. "There still is a feeling in an urban core that you just don't get if you've worked in a suburban office park your whole life," Gilbert said. "I can't even explain it until you're there."