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A new “House” for Chrysler

by Bill Cawthon on

Confirming previous reports, Chrysler announced that for the first time in its history, it will have an actual office presence in downtown Detroit.

In a nod to CEO Sergio Marchionne’s preferred term for his car companies, Chrysler will rename the historic 23-story Dime Building – it now becomes Chrysler House – as it plans to move its Great Lakes Business Center and several corporate functions into the top two floors of the structure.

Chrysler Group will lease nearly 33,000 square feet of space in the century-old building. The space will accommodate about 70 employees who will be located in the new offices. Alterations and refurbishments will begin immediately with completion expected by late summer.

“The future of Chrysler Group and the City of Detroit are inextricably tied,” said Marchionne. “In order to reflect this we want to go beyond spiritual or symbolic evidence of our faith in the City’s future by establishing a physical presence people can see and be proud of.”

The Dime Building is owned by Rock Ventures LLC, Quicken Loans founder Dan Gilbert’s umbrella company that handles his portfolio of companies, investments and real estate.

“It’s very exciting that a company with the legacy and brand of Chrysler is joining the many other companies opening shop in Detroit, as we together help build downtown into the energetic, job-producing, high-tech corridor it is quickly becoming,” said Dan Gilbert, Chairman of Rock Ventures and Quicken Loans. “Chrysler has always been synonymous with Detroit, but today they can truly say they are ‘Imported from Detroit,’ as their presence makes them an important participant in the positive transformation of a great American city.”

Located in the heart of Detroit at 719 Griswold Street, the Dime Building was built in 1912 by the Dime Savings Bank. It was designed in the Neo-classical style by Daniel Burnham, the famous Chicago-born architect whose other works are known worldwide, led by his famous Flatiron Building in New York City. The Dime building underwent extensive renovations in 2002.

Bill Cawthon grew up in the auto industry in the 1950s. His Dad worked for Chrysler and Bill spent a number of Saturdays down on the plant floor at Dodge Main in Hamtramck. Bill is also the U.S. market correspondent for, a British auto industry publication, and a member of the Texas Auto Writers Association, which has named the Jeep Grand Cherokee the “SUV of Texas” several times and named the Ram 1500 as the “Truck of Texas” two years running.

Bill has owned five Plymouths (including the only 1962 “Texan”), one Dodge and one Chrysler and is still trying to figure out how to justify a Wrangler. He also has owned at least one of every 1:87 scale model of a Chrysler product. You can reach him directly at (206) 888-7324 or by using the form.

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