The countdown clock has started.

In an April 21st hearing, the Detroit City Council has voted to raze the Michigan Central Depot and pass the demolition costs on to the owner.  In a previous hearing (April 7th) the council passed a resolution calling for the “emergency demolition” of the vacant structure.

This latest vote could allow the city to proceed with demolition in 30 days…

I’ve posted the April 21st article from the Detroit News below:

The city is moving forward with plans to demolish the Michigan Central Depot, calling in the owners this morning before the Detroit Building and Safety Engineering Department.

Officials from the Detroit International Bridge Co. pleaded their case, saying the structure that’s been vacant since 1988 should remain standing. Officials said their portion of the property isn’t open to trespass, and the only opening where people can get in is owned by the city.

“The most dilapidated part of the complex and the only entrance is through city-owned property,” said Dan Stamper, president of the company that owns the depot and the Ambassador Bridge. “We would expect the city would be protecting the property from trespassing.”

The Detroit City Council voted to raze the 96-year-old building and force billionaire Manuel “Matty” Moroun to pay the $3.6 million cost. Today’s hearing could clear the path for demolition within 30 days.

Last week, The Detroit News unearthed a little-known, 25-page deed showing the city of Detroit holds title to much of the unsecured land surrounding the Michigan Central Depot that plunderers and vandals have used to break into the landmark. According to the deed, the city is responsible for the upkeep of a Vernor Highway underpass adjacent to the depot and loading docks.

Consolidated Rail Corp. sold the land to the city for $1 in 1989. The deed lasts another 126 years and does not appear to permit demolition.

Mayoral spokesman Daniel Cherrin did not immediately know whether the city owns any property near the rail line the Detroit Bridge International Bridge Co. is referring to, and officials are investigating. Cherrin said the only portion the city owns is adjacent to the Mercury Bar near Michigan Avenue.

Last week, officials said the property near the Mercury Bar could be sold to the business.

A city spokesman said Wednesday that the city owns just three parcels in the vicinity, but none are adjacent to the depot, and they will be sold to the Mercury Bar as soon as today.

Source: Detroit News

My obvious question is, how can Detroit demolish something they do not own?   Apparently they own title, which does not permit demolition, to the land around and adjacent to it, but not the MCD itself.

I understand making a case for getting part of the stimulus money, but apply it to something that is actually worthwhile (i.e. vacant neighborhood homes?) and makes a difference in people’s lives.  I don’t hear a lot of complaints about the MCD being there outside from the desire for “Matty” Moroun to do something with it.  I do hear some criticism over this latest vote for the city to proceed with demolition.

Voice your concerns directly to City Council:

Complaints | You’ll have to hit “Complaints” just under the Detroit City Council title (I can’t believe they used frames on this web page – oh wait, it was made in 2001.)

I hate to say this, but I’m actually rooting for “Matty” to prevail in his attempt to prevent the city from demolishing the MCD.  For the records, I’m not a fan of his proposed twin span.

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