Fifth Third Bank Moves into One Woodward, Pledges $85 Million Toward Detroit’s Revitalization Efforts

A Fortune 500 company and one of Michigan’s largest financial institutions announced plans to join the growing wave of businesses that populate the urban core of Detroit. Fifth Third Bank will relocate its regional eastern operations from its current headquarters in Southfield, MI, into Dan Gilbert’s One Woodward building.

A Fortune 500 company and one of Michigan’s largest financial institutions announced plans to join the growing wave of businesses that populate the urban core of Detroit. Fifth Third Bank will relocate its regional eastern operations from its current headquarters in Southfield, MI, into Dan Gilbert’s One Woodward building.

Fifth Third Bank at One Woodward

Fifth Third Bank at One Woodward

To make the move even more profitable for the long term—both for the bank and the financially challenged city—Fifth Third agreed to commit $85 million toward charitable donations, Community Development Corporation tax credit investments, small business lending and economic impact contributions that are expected to help Detroit’s revitalization efforts over the next five years. The bank’s generous commitment is part of an initiative called “5/3 (Five Three) in the D,” which includes more than $1 million in renovations and upgrades at the Northwest Activities Center located at 18100 Meyers, according to a blog post by Opportunity Detroit. Furthermore, the bank will “adopt” Hart Plaza and transform it into a bustling public space along the Detroit riverfront.

The bank will start relocating more than 150 full-time employees into the new regional headquarters in March 2015, and the move is expected to be complete by mid-2016. According to a statement for the press, Fifth Third will occupy 62,000 square feet of space on four floors of the building, which will be renamed  Fifth Third Bank at One Woodward.

Located at 1 Woodward Avenue, the 29-story Class A office building was formerly known as MichCon Building. The structure was completed in 1962 as the first skyscraper designed by architect Minoru Yamasaki, who later created the design for the World Trade Center Twin Towers in New York City. In late 2012, the 333,000-square-foot building was purchased by Dan Gilbert’s Bedrock Real Estate Services for an alleged $8.5 million.

The building was only 60 percent occupied at the time of purchase, but after less than two years Crain’s Detroit Business reported that the vacancy rate at One Woodward was 95 percent.

“Fifth Third Bank’s relocation to downtown Detroit is further confirmation that the center of southeast Michigan’s business community is in the urban core. A well-respected Fortune 500 company moving its large regional headquarters to the city is a major statement,” Gilbert said in a press statement. “Fifth Third Bank has come to the same conclusion as many other small and large businesses: To compete for the best talent, to inspire your people in the most creative and innovative environment possible, and to be exposed to numerous close-by exciting growth businesses who are all potential customers, it just makes sense to locate in downtown Detroit.”

Since 2011 Dan Gilbert’s Bedrock Real Estate Services has invested more than $1.3 billion on more than 60 properties that account for over 90 million square feet of real estate located in Detroit’s central business district. Click here for an in-depth analysis of the city’s transformation efforts.

Image via Flickr author pinehurst19475