State Approves Massive Redevelopment Project Backed by “Magic” Johnson
By Veronica Grecu, Associate Editor
The Michigan Land Bank Fast Track Authority voted unanimously in favor of a redevelopment plan that was proposed last year by a group of investors including basketball star Earvin “Magic” Johnson.
Considered to be one of the most ambitious revitalization projects proposed for Detroit in recent years, the plan aims to transform the Michigan-owned State Fairgrounds site located at Woodward Avenue and 8 Mile Road into a mixed-use development that would feature an Amtrak station, multifamily townhomes, senior housing, retail and office space, as well as a high-end theater complex anchored by several restaurants. The 164-acre property has been vacant since 2009, when Michigan officials decided to cut the budget for the annual fair, despite the fact that the state had to cover annual losses of around $1 million.
The $160 million proposal submitted by Magic Plus LLC, the joint venture made up of local investors Joel Ferguson and Marvin Beatty and Lansing native Earvin “Magic” Johnson, was the only one to meet minimum financial requirements, according to MLive.com.
As previously reported here, most of the existing buildings at the historic Michigan State Fairgrounds will be demolished to make room for the proposed revitalization process. The only structures that will remain are the Coliseum, Joe Dumar’s Fieldhouse, the State Fair Band shell and the Dodge pavilion.
Image of the Coliseum Building at the Michigan State Fairgrounds courtesy of Wikipedia user Andrew Jameson