BREAKING: Detroit To Sell Michigan State Fairgrounds

WWJ News
August 11, 2020 - 8:50 am
state fair animals

(Photo: Michigan State Fair)


**UPDATE: Amazon Expected To Locate New Distribution Center At Fairgrounds Site In Detroit - Click for the latest details


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(WWJ) It's been a long time since there was a bird or a cow at the venerable Michigan State Fairgrounds at 8 Mile and Woodward and we'll find out today what will go there next.

A press conference is set for 11 a.m. where officials are expected to announce that Detroit is selling the fairgrounds to a developer. There's no word yet on what's included in the development plans, though the land has been shopped around for years. Initial reports say the new development will bring 1,200 jobs. 

Related: Michigan State Fair To Be Online Only This Summer

The property was last in the headlines when Magic Johnson and a team of investors purchased 16 acres of the land to develop for $472,000. The remaining property was purchased by the Detroit Land Bank to shop around for development plans. Magic's team has delayed breaking ground for years, though initial plans called for retail and office space. That was altered altered for light industrial use.

While that plan plays out, Detroit purchased 142 acres of the old fairgrounds for $7 million in 2018.

The cost disparity between what Detroit paid -- $49,300 per acre -- and the cost for Magic -- $29,500 per acre -- raised eyebrows. 

If the city unloads the property, it will get taxpayers off the hook for $1 million a year they pay on the property now.

As the region awaits details on the future of the fairgrounds, the fair, which was held the last 10 years indoors at the Michigan Suburban Showplace, announced plans to go virtual for 2020. 

The fairgrounds were most recently used as a mobile coronavirus testing site.