Tying his own recovery to Detroit's, billionaire Dan Gilbert spoke Thursday on "CBS This Morning" about his comeback from a stroke nearly two years ago — and made an announcement to invest $500 million over the next decade in Detroit.
The first $15 million is earmarked to help cover delinquent property tax in the city, a problem he said contributed to blight, vacancies, and foreclosures.
"We'd like to see the people of Detroit benefit," he said, describing his plan, which he hopes will continue to rebuild the city. "When you're at the energy level of downtown right now, we can carry that to the neighborhoods," which would give the whole city a boost.
The money is expected to pay taxes for about 20,000 homes, with the aim of creating wealth in the city.
Billed as his first major — and exclusive — TV interview, Gilbert and his wife, Jennifer, spoke at their suburban Detroit home to CBS correspondent Dana Jacobson.
The 59-year-old owner of the Cleveland Cavaliers and co-founder of mortgage giant Quicken Loans has made few public appearances since his hospitalization at Beaumont's Royal Oak hospital in 2019. According to news reports, He had an ischemic stroke in the right side of his brain, according to news reports.
As a result, he said he experienced paralysis of the left side of his body and is undergoing physical therapy.
"Luckily," he joked, "I'm a righty."
Gilbert, an enterprising businessman who started making money as a kid selling candy and pizzas he cooked in his kitchen, has been credited with helping to rejuvenate downtown Detroit, which for many years seemed to lack vitality.
In 2010, he moved his company's headquarters from the suburbs to downtown, and since then has purchased and developed more than 100 Detroit properties, rehabbing them and filling them with retailers, renters, and office tenants.