New Center's government employees complain about Bedrock parking squeeze

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Dan Gilbert isn’t making many friends with state employees this week. Beginning June 1, many government workers in Cadillac Place will bid farewell to familiar and convenient parking. Although a source tells us that employees at the Supreme Court, Court of Appeals, Judicial Tenure Commission, Attorney General’s office, and Governor’s office will be allowed to keep their parking spaces, some will have to find new places to park.

We were notified of this today when we heard from “Brenda,” a state employee who called us up to chat. (She prefers not to be identified in this article by her real name.)

She tells us that Gilbert’s real estate company, Bedrock, bought the parking structure situated on the block bounded by West Grand Boulevard, Woodward, Milwaukee, and Cass. She says she was informed that the structure, which has a skywalk that leads straight into the state of Michigan building, was to be reserved for Gilbert’s employees only, and that state workers will have to park farther away.

“If Dan Gilbert has something you want, you stand to be in trouble because he’s gonna get it,” Brenda said.

She’s concerned that the change presents challenges to disabled state employees who could have trouble finding a place to park and then walking the rest of the way. Sources say there’s very little parking that isn’t already reserved for such institutions as the hospital and other large enterprises.

Brenda recognizes Gilbert’s freedom to do what he pleases with the structure, but wishes a compromise could’ve been reached for some of the people with special needs.

Bedrock released a statement downplaying Brenda's concerns, saying, "Our plans are also to continue to allow access to various New Center and Midtown parkers to these facilities," and that Bedrock, along with Ultimate Parking Management, "will work with the state to find accommodations in other locations for the remainder of their employees’ parking needs who currently park in these garages." Bedrock stressed that "any handicapped parker will be allowed to continue to lease their parking space in the Lothrop and Cass parking garages." 

This carefully crafted statement seems to never have made it to employees like Brenda, who were simply told they wouldn't be able to park in the structure anymore. It left scores of government employees feeling brusquely dismissed, including Brenda, who says. “It’s like, whatever Gilbert wants, he just snatches it. … Very short notice, and then it’s like — move.”

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