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Detroit sues another landlord over blighted building, hopes court orders demolition

The Mammoth Building on Detroit's west side.
City of Detroit
Michigan Radio
The Mammoth Building on Detroit's west side.

The City of Detroit has filed another lawsuit against the owners of a blighted building that they say has been an eyesore for more than 20 years.

Detroit officials want a court to order the Mammoth Building, a former shopping center on Detroit's West Side, to be demolished. And they want to ultimately own the property and develop it.

Detroit’s Buildings, Safety Engineering, and Environmental Department has declared the building structure unsafe, with more than 80 city code violations.

Since March 2022, the buildings department has conducted at least eight inspections of the Mammoth Building and issued eight correction orders for the violations, the majority of which remain unresolved, according to a press release.

The Mammoth Building has been vacant since the early 2000s and is now crumbling and spackled with graffiti.

"This is not how major cities ought to be operating. Suing landowners in order to get people to comply with the law. Who has to do that? You know, nobody should have to do that. But we will," said Detroit’s lawyer Conrad Mallett Jr.

Mallett said there are 100 commercial buildings in Detroit that need to either be demolished by the owners or by the city.

He said the city has filed 17 nuisance abatement lawsuit and is preparing to file five more.

Detroit City Council President Pro Tem James Tate was at the press conference where the lawsuit was announced. He said the building has been dragging down the community for decades.

"The suit essentially says that we are demanding that this structure be demolished and torn down so we can at this point bring something new that the community deserves," said Tate.

Briana Rice is Michigan Public's criminal justice reporter. She's focused on what Detroiters need to feel safe and whether they're getting it.