Chrysler commits $3M in light-rail funding after Dime Building conference

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Courtesy of The Detroit News

Chairman of Rock Ventures Dan Gilbert, left, and Fiat-Chrysler CEO Sergio Marchionne announce the renaming of the historic Dime Building to "Chrysler House" (Chrysler will lease 33,000 square feet of the building's top two floors) during a press conference at the Dime Building in Detroit on April 30, 2012

Chrysler Group LLC is giving $3 million for the privately backed Woodward Avenue light-rail project, known as M-1 Rail, agreeing to sponsor of one of the stations on the 3.3-mile route from downtown Detroit to New Center.

Chrysler CEO Sergio Marchionne made the commitment Monday to Quicken Loans chairman and M-1 rail contributor Dan Gilbert. It followed Monday morning’s announcement that Marchionne and 70 Chrysler officials will move into Gilbert-owned Dime Building downtown, which will be renamed Chrysler House.

The M-1 Rail group said last week a group of private firms and philanthropic foundations had committed $84 million toward the light-rail project, which has an estimated cost of $137 million.

The Dime Building announcement marks the first time in history Chrysler has had a Detroit office.

The company used to be headquartered in neighboring Highland Park before moving to Auburn Hills in 1994. Marchionne will still keep an office at the Auburn Hills headquarters.

“This is such, such a major move,” said Dan Gilbert, chairman of online mortgage company Quicken Loans Inc., whose Rock Ventures firm bought and operates the former Dime Building.

Most of the employees are from the Auburn Hills automaker’s Great Lakes region sales and marketing organization.

General Motors Co. has its headquarters downtown in the Renaissance Center.

Chrysler will move into two floors in the 23-story office tower. It is among nine buildings bought by Gilbert in the past year and a half in the downtown area.

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