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Detroit developer gets $6M in state funds for renovations to century-old apartment building

The latest in millions of public money spent on a vacant building

A Detroit real estate firm is receiving $6 million from state taxpayers in the 2024 Michigan budget, with the stated purpose of restoring a building that opened in 1927 but has been closed for years. The developers of Lee Plaza have so far received $50 million in various financial incentives to revitalize the vacant building, which will be used for housing.

Lee Plaza is a 16-story high-rise apartment building that has sat abandoned since 1997. It has gone from a symbol of wealth to one of decay, as noted by Historic Detroit. The building was last used for senior housing, according to the Detroit Free Press.

The Roxbury Group and Ethos Development Partners bought the property from the Detroit Housing Commission for $350,000 in 2019, more than a decade after the commission looked to sell it to prospective buyers for a dollar.

Current plans call for the building, which has been ravaged over the years by vandals, thieves, and the elements, to have a mix of market-rate and subsidized apartments.

The Roxbury Group has received financial support from numerous sources, according to the city of Detroit. These include $7 million from the federal American Rescue Plan, a $9.3 million federal tax credit, a mortgage and a grant from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, and funds from the Michigan State Housing Development Authority.

Plans call for renovations to continue into 2025.

Michigan Capitol Confidential is the news source produced by the Mackinac Center for Public Policy. Michigan Capitol Confidential reports with a free-market news perspective.