The long-vacant Michigan State Fairgrounds on the border between Detroit and Oakland County could soon see new life.
On Monday morning, the state’s Land Bank Fast Track Authority announced that it had closed on a deal with real estate firm Magic Plus LLC to acquire 16 acres of the disused fairground. The city of Detroit, meanwhile, is expected to close later this month on the property’s remaining 142 acres.
Magic Plus LLC, which is owned by basketball legend and Lansing native Earvin “Magic” Johnson and Joel Ferguson, a Lansing real estate developer and Michigan State University trustee, paid $472,646 for its portion. The company is expected to redevelop the portion as part of a “comprehensive development project.”
The city’s portion of the site is expected to cost $7 million upon closing.
“I’m proud of the collaborative work we’ve done with Magic Plus and the City of Detroit to bring new jobs and economic opportunities to the community,” Michigan Land Bank Director Josh Burgett said in a statement.
“The State Fairgrounds is one of the largest developable properties in Detroit and we’re excited for the economic prosperity this brings to their community and Michigan taxpayers.”
Ferguson said the company is “excited to be a part of Detroit’s continued economic renaissance and community revitalization.”
It’s unclear what the city might do with its portion of the site, but it “will explore different development options to ensure the project creates real economic opportunities for Detroiters as well as ensuring the project benefits the surrounding neighborhoods,” according to a statement.
The site hosted the Michigan State Fair from 1905 until 2009 when it was shuttered during the Great Recession, and has sat mostly unused since that time.
“We are pleased to see this deal with Magic Plus close, as it paves the way for the redevelopment of this strategically located Woodward Avenue property,” Tom Lewand, the city of Detroit’s group executive for jobs and economic growth, said in a statement. “We also look forward to closing on the city’s purchase of the other 142 acres of the State Fairgrounds property in the next several weeks.”