The Michigan Land Bank Fast Track Authority has sold 16 acres of the former State Fairgrounds to Magic Plus LLC for potential development. The other 142 acres were sold to the city of Detroit.

The Michigan Land Bank Fast Track Authority has sold 16 acres of the former State Fairgrounds to Magic Plus LLC for potential development. The other 142 acres were sold to the city of Detroit.

Photo by Patricia O’Blenes


Detroit, private group close on sale of former State Fairgrounds

By: Mike Koury | Woodward Talk | Published May 7, 2019

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DETROIT — The former State Fairgrounds in Detroit that sits on the border of Ferndale has seen some of its land sold off to a private developer, while the rest will go to the city of Detroit.

The Michigan Land Bank Fast Track Authority has closed on a deal with Magic Plus LLC on a portion of the former State Fairgrounds land, located at the corner of Woodward and West State Fair avenues, for $472,464.

The sale was for 16 acres of the 158-acre land, with the remaining 142 acres being sold to the city of Detroit for $7 million.

“The effort was a collaboration between the city and Magic Plus and the state,” said Jeff Huntington, interim director of the Michigan Land Bank Fast Track Authority. “The amount came from an appraisal on the property, and I think it was about $29,000 per acre.”

The State Fairgrounds land was transferred to the Michigan Land Bank in 2012 after hosting the Michigan State Fair from 1905 to 2009. Huntington said they released a request for proposals back in 2013, which led to finalizing a deal with Magic Plus in March 2018.

“Our mission is … to recycle land and put it back into productive use,” he said. “We are looking to put property back on the tax roll, and we do that with scattered sites across the state of Michigan or larger sites like this.”

Magic Plus, a group that includes Michigan native and NBA Hall of Famer Earvin “Magic” Johnson, will look to develop the Woodward Avenue frontage into a comprehensive development project, according to a press release.

“I am pleased to announce the purchase of 16 acres for a mixed-use development at the historic site of the former Michigan State Fairgrounds,” Magic Plus LLC owner Joel Ferguson said in a statement. “With the development of this property, we are excited to be a part of Detroit’s continued economic renaissance and community revitalization.”

Weeks after Magic Plus closed on the sale of its purchase, Michigan Land Bank Fast Track Authority Communications Manager Gabby Abel said the city of Detroit deal closed on April 29, with the municipality paying $3.5 million at the sale date. She said the remaining $3.5 million will be paid as the property is sold for development space or in 10 years, whichever one comes first.

According to a press release, the city of Detroit will explore different development options in hopes of creating “real economic opportunities” for Detroiters.

“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,” city of Detroit Group Executive for Jobs and Economic Growth Thomas Lewand said in a statement.

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