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Duggan: Detroit has deal to demolish, re-develop former AMC headquarters site

City of Detroit

Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan said Thursday that the city has a deal to bring down one of its most infamous “ruin porn” sites — the long-vacant former American Motors headquarters complex on Detroit’s west side.

On Thursday, Duggan announced that the city had a deal to sell the site and some surrounding land parcels — more than 50 acres altogether — to Kansas City-based industrial developer NorthPoint.

NorthPoint said it will demolish the building, do environmental remediation on the site, and build a new, 730,000-square-foot “state of the art industrial facility” there.

Duggan said he was confident the site would attract a new industrial business, like an auto supplier. “I am convinced within a couple years, you’re going to see a manufacturing facility that’s going to employ three or four hundred people, [and] be a source of employment to this neighborhood instead of a source of embarrassment,” he said.

NorthPoint Vice President Tim Conder said he’s already getting interest from the auto industry.

“I’ve had some preliminary discussions with some of the suppliers, and some of the OEMs, and they’re very interested in this location as well as this product,” he said.

Duggan has made demolishing both industrial and residential blight, as well as assembling land tracts to attract new manufacturing facilities, a centerpiece of his administration. Officials say this deal will not cost the city anything directly, but NorthPoint will qualify for tax abatements. The project also qualifies for Detroit’s community benefits ordinance.

But first, the deal needs some city approvals, including sign-off from the Detroit City Council.

Sarah Cwiek joined Michigan Public in October 2009. As our Detroit reporter, she is helping us expand our coverage of the economy, politics, and culture in and around the city of Detroit.