From Crain’s Detroit Business:
The name of the new M-1 Rail streetcar line in Detroit will be QLine, Dan Gilbert’s Quicken Loans Inc. announced Thursday.
The name was one of several trademarked by Quicken, as first reported by Crain’s last year.
Quicken is paying $5 million over 10 years for the naming rights to the line.
Quicken Loans Inc. purchased the naming rights on the $137 million streetcar project, now called Qline.
“The launch of QLine marks a significant moment in the development of Detroit,” said Jay Farner, president and chief marketing officer of Quicken Loans. “Quicken Loans is proud to play our part in the beginning stages of modernizing the transit system in our burgeoning urban core.”
The first QLine car is expected later this year followed by safety testing.
Crain’s first reported in May that Quicken purchased the naming rights on the $137 million streetcar project, which is under construction and scheduled to be complete in the first quarter of 2017.
“Community after community has benefited from the economic benefits of urban rail systems,” M-1 Rail CEO Matt Cullen said in a statement. “Each day we are getting more excited for the launch of QLine and all the possibilities it will open for our community and our residents.”
QLine was one in a series of rail-related trademark registrations by Quicken in the last 17 months. In December, Quicken trademarked RocketRail, one month after trademarking the names Quickline, QLink and QLine, according to the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. In February 2014, Quicken trademarked the name QRide.
RocketRail appeared to be a play off a series of products tied to Gilbert-related ventures that use the words rock and rocket.
In October, Quicken unveiled a new service for desktops and smartphones called Rocket Mortgage. Gilbert’s Rock Ventures LLC also plans to install fiber-optic cable to provide ultrafast Internet access called Rocket Fiber in downtown Detroit and Midtown.
Quicken is the largest single corporate contributor in the streetcar line at $10 million, an increase made last year from its previous $3 million capital contribution. The $5 million for the naming rights is in addition to that.
The naming rights are for only the 3.3-mile loop now under construction, and don’t cover any future expansion of the line up Woodward or potential spur lines on streets such as Michigan and Gratiot avenues, M-1 Rail organizers said.
The rail line will run from Congress Street downtown to Grand Boulevard in the New Center area with what organizers project will be 5,000 to 8,000 riders per day.
In June, M-1 said it had signed a $32 million contract with Pennsylvania-based Brookville Equipment Corp. for six streetcars, which will begin to be delivered later this year.
Construction of the mostly curbside fixed-rail streetcar line, which will be commingled with traffic, began in 2014. It will have 20 stations at 12 stops between Grand Boulevard and Congress Street, and it will run in the median at its north and south ends.
M-1 Rail has said expected annual operations costs will range from $5.1 million to $6.5 million. Backers said the plan is to have 10 years of operating money banked, after which time the public Regional Transit Authority will assume control of it.
Construction is being funded by a mixture of corporate, foundation and public money, and the intention is that future government investment would expand the line north as far as Pontiac and onto other streets (while linking into other transit systems along the route).
Gilbert and Roger Penske are co-chairmen of the nonprofit project. M-1 Rail CEO Cullen is also president and CEO of Gilbert’s Rock Ventures.