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DETROIT — About 16,000 employees at five Detroit-based companies will be offered $4 million in loans and rent subsidies to move in or near the city’s downtown under an incentive program announced Monday aimed at rebuilding the city’s residential base.

Officials with Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan, Compuware Corp. ( CPWR – news – people ), DTE Energy Co. ( DTE – news – people ), Quicken Loans Inc. and Strategic Staffing Solutions announced “Live Downtown.” It’s the second such incentive program.

“Our young, smart and energetic professionals want to live downtown and be where the action is,” Dan Gilbert, chair and founder of online retail mortgage lender Quicken Loans, said in a news release. “This program will provide the opportunity for them not only to work and play in Detroit, but also live in what is becoming an exciting, technology-focused urban core.”

The plan would stretch over five years and offer $20,000 forgivable loans to new homeowners and matching funds of up to $5,000 for exterior improvements to current homeowners.

Renters would receive $3,500 over two years toward the cost of a new apartment. Current renters will receive $1,000 for a lease renewal in 2011.

Midtown has seen growth in home sales and small businesses in recent years, and is home to museums and cultural institutions. But that growth comes after a decade in which Detroit’s population dropped by more than 200,000 people to 713,777


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