The Skidmore Studio advertising and design firm is close to a deal to move the 52-year-old firm from Royal Oak to Detroit, taking space in the Dan Gilbert-owned Madison Theatre building.
President, CEO and owner Tim Smith confirmed this morning that a deal is imminent. Quicken Loans Inc. vice president of communications Paula Silver confirmed that the signing is expected by tomorrow.
Smith said the company has been exploring a move to Detroit from Royal Oak for more than a year and is excited about the deal.
“Skidmore was established in 1959 in Detroit,” he said. “We want to get back to our roots and we want to be part of this resurgence in Detroit.”
The firm will take 10,000 square feet and will move all 23 employees to the Madison Theatre building at 1555 Broadway St. Skidmore is currently leasing space at 301 W. 4th Street in Royal Oak, with the lease up in September.
Skidmore designs print materials, websites and motion graphics for large advertising companies and directly for clients.
Among its clients is Quicken Loans. Smith said it is a bonus to be doing a real estate deal with a client and getting a great office location.
The deal also marks the first deal for Gilbert as a landlord. He purchased the building in January as part of a plan to attract other companies to the city.
The office building was once attached to the Madison Theatre. The theater has been demolished and is now a parking lot, while the office portion of the structure remains, according to buildingsofdetroit.com. The theater sat 1,800 people and opened in 1917.
Quicken, leasing space for its headquarters in the Compuware building, still has about 2,000 employees in the suburbs whom the company has said it plans to move downtown. The company recently purchased the Chase Tower building on Campus Martius and is reportedly interested in other buildings, including the First National Building.
Smith said Skidmore has applied for money through the Creative Corridor Incentive Fund, a set of incentives being given to businesses in the city. The Detroit Economic Growth Corp. administers the program, funded through grants by the New Economy Initiative for Southeast Michigan.
By Daniel Duggan, Crain’s Detroit