Buffett does Detroit

  @FortuneMagazine January 16, 2014: 10:02 AM ET
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Warren Buffett (in red tie) and Quicken Loans chief Dan Gilbert (second from left) look over a model of downtown Detroit.


In late November, Warren Buffett met with Dan Gilbert, founder and chairman of Quicken Loans, and took a tour of his latest investment: the distressed and bankrupt city of Detroit. The pair climbed into a chauffeured Chevy Suburban and headed downtown to the hulking Compuware Building, where Quicken Loans (No. 5 on Fortune's Best Companies to Work For list) has been headquartered since 2010. It's boom times at Quicken Loans -- the firm is the fourth-largest lender in the nation and has grown considerably (in 2006 it was the 34th-largest lender).

Gilbert also heads Rock Ventures, an umbrella company comprising more than 100 businesses (mostly in Detroit) and the Cleveland Cavaliers basketball team. It was through basketball that Buffett and Gilbert first met. Lately his energy has been channeled into reviving his beleaguered city. Inside the cavernous Compuware lobby, glass elevators whisked us up to the 10th floor. A meticulous scale model of downtown dominates the big boardroom. Gilbert turned to Buffett and said, "This model -- I'm not kidding -- it cost more than 30 of the properties."

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