Historic government building in downtown Detroit to be sold to New York buyer

Jul 18, 2014

I know what you’re thinking.

This building that once housed Wayne County’s administrative office is perhaps "one of the nation’s finest surviving examples of Roman Baroque Revival architecture, with a blend of Beaux-Arts and some elements of the Neoclassical style."

I was thinking the exact same thing.

Well, I was really thinking it’s a beautiful building in downtown Detroit and I hope it gets some attention.

Now it looks as if that might happen. The Detroit Free Press’ Marlon Walker reports the building is being sold to a “yet-to-be-named New York purchaser” for $13.4 million:

The Economic Development Corporation is expected to vote on the sale at its board of directors meeting at 9:30 a.m. on Tuesday.

Moshe Oppenheim, a New York attorney representing the buyers, said last week during a committee of the whole meeting that the group had a two-stage plan for the building, including spending about $5 million on leaks, damages and facade issues and up to $10 million to get the space ready for companies interested in leasing the property.

The Old Wayne County Building was put on the National Register of Historic Place in 1975.
Credit Lester Graham / Michigan Radio

Crain's Detroit Business' Kirk Pinho reported earlier that it’s the buyers first purchase in the Detroit area. A spokesman said the group has “multiple Class A real estate holdings in Manhattan.”

Wayne County left the building after legal disputes with the building’s owner, the Farbman Group. Pinho reports that Wayne County’s Executive filed the lawsuit:

Ficano filed a $40 million lawsuit against the owners, accusing them of billing for unnecessary expenses, not returning a security deposit and not paying a debt of $35 million. 

"This (sale) will resolve any outstanding litigation between the county and Old Wayne County Building LP," Layne said.