DETROIT (WWJ/AP) – Detroit plans to sell seven unused firehouses and a renovated but long-vacant police facility that once housed horses as part of an effort to raise money and encourage redevelopment.
The administration of Mayor Dave Bing wants developers to come forward with creative ideas for reuse of the buildings, most of which have been closed in recent years as the city downsized its fire operations.
According to officials, the buildings are structurally sound, but have been vandalized and, in some cases, stripped of hardware, metals and other materials. Some date to the 1920s. The city plans to accept bids through May 24, and tours of the buildings are planned.
The city said it has heard from developers looking to bring restaurants, wineries or micro-distilleries creating locally crafted liquors.
“The ultimate bid winners are going to be those who come up with the best ideas,” Brad Dick, director of the city’s General Services Department, told the Detroit Free Press.
The combined total in minimum bids for the buildings would be $637,000. One firehouse, on the city’s west side, has a minimum bid listed at $128,000; the former home of Detroit Fire Department Ladder No. 10 was among a number shut down last year.
Detroit’s finances are being run by a state-appointed emergency manager. According to Bing, the planned firehouse sales are a step toward encouraging redevelopment and ridding the city of buildings and properties it no longer needs and that generate no taxes.
“We need to raise money,” Bing said in a statement. “These are the kinds of developments, the kinds of people we need to attract.”
Detroit’s budget deficit stands at $327 million and the city has a long-term debt of more than $14 billion that includes retiree and other obligations.
The buildings will not be the first Detroit firehouses to be sold. A developer and the city are finalizing a sale of the old Detroit Fire Department headquarters in downtown, across the street from Cobo Center. The developer wants to create a boutique hotel.
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