Frank Witsil| Detroit Free Press

Detroit is now a part of Google’s Tech Hub Network, a group of innovation centers in seven cities in North America that will receive financial and technical support from the Mountain View, Calif.-based tech company.

Michael Miller, head of the Ann Arbor advertising office at Google, addresses the crowd Monday in the Broderick Tower.

This means the Motor City has symbolically arrived as a tech city, according to local tech leaders.

“This not only is an important economic investment, but a symbolic one as well,” Josh Linkner, the CEO of Detroit Venture Partners, said Monday. “When you have a giant like Google that says this is one of seven hot places in the country, that is, once again, reinforcing what we know.”

The six other centers in the Google network are in Minneapolis; Chicago; Waterloo, Ontario; Nashville, Tenn.; Durham, N.C., and Denver.

About 500 people — including entrepreneurs, financial analysts and students — attended the announcement downtown at Grand Circus, 1570 Woodward.

The tech area in Detroit — dubbed Madison Block — is anchored by the M@dison Theatre Building, which houses Detroit Venture Partners and two dozen tech start-ups. It is bordered by Woodward, Broadway, Witherell and John R.

The Tech Hub Network, an offshoot of Google for Entrepreneurs, is designed to connect communities and entrepreneurs — and to help foster their businesses outside Silicon Valley.

Mike Miller, director of business and industrial markets with Google in Ann Arbor, said Google would be offering an undisclosed amount of financial and technical support to the companies located in the Madison Block.

Dan Gilbert, the founder and chairman of Rock Ventures and Quicken Loans, joked that the @ symbol was deliberately missing from Madison Block because it was “too 2010,” when he first started opening downtown spaces for tech start-ups. He implied that the symbol wasn’t trendy today.

Gilbert, whose companies own much of downtown real estate, added that office space for tech companies is filling up so quickly, entrepreneurs “better get in before the going gets tough.”

Contact Frank Witsil: 313-222-5022

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