Detroit RiverFront Conservancy Announces West Riverfront Property Purchase
Purchase of Former Printing Plant Site Will Allow RiverWalk to Continue
from Bridge to Bridge and Beyond
DETROIT, Dec. 3 /PRNewswire/ -- The Detroit RiverFront Conservancy (DRFC) announced today that it completed the purchase of the West Riverfront property located at 1801 W. Jefferson Avenue from the Detroit Media Partnership. The property is the site of the closed Detroit Free Press printing plant. The purchase of the 26-acre property marks the DRFC's first significant move on the West Riverfront. Since the organization's inception in early 2003, the focus has been on completing the East Riverfront project - 3 1/2 miles from Joe Louis Arena to Gabriel Richard Park, just east of the Belle Isle Bridge. In June 2007, the DRFC announced that more than 75 percent of the East Riverfront -- including two plazas and pavilions and close to 2 1/2 miles of RiverWalk -- were completed and open to the public. The overall vision for the Riverfront encompasses an additional 2 miles on the West Riverfront -- from Joe Louis Arena to the Ambassador Bridge -- which includes the Detroit Media Partnership property. "This is a significant milestone for the Conservancy -- moving us closer to completing our vision of 'bridge to bridge and beyond,'" said Faye Nelson, DRFC President & CEO. "Our advancement would not be possible without the support of our terrific partners at the Detroit Media Partnership as well as the tremendous support of Senator Carl Levin, and the entire Michigan congressional delegation, who helped us secure funding to make this purchase -- and our progress -- possible." Senator Levin, along with the entire Michigan congressional delegation, was instrumental in securing $40 million in federal money for the Detroit Riverfront project, with $37 million designated for the West Riverfront. "The Detroit Riverfront is one of Michigan's finest assets, and we have been working hard to recapture the riverfront for the people of Detroit," said Levin. "Acquiring this property not only allows the Detroit Riverfront Conservancy to continue its work on the RiverWalk, but will spur adjacent economic development including housing, retail and recreation facilities." The DRFC and the Detroit Media Partnership first entered into a purchase agreement for the property on January 24. Following a due diligence period to review legal and environmental details, the purchase has been made final. Due to a confidentiality agreement between the DRFC and the Detroit Media Partnership, the purchase price of the property was not released. David Hunke, chief executive officer of the Detroit Media Partnership and Free Press publisher, said he was very pleased the media partnership is part of the rejuvenation of the riverfront. "We know this very valuable property will be put to excellent use, cared for by the conversancy and made available for so many people to enjoy." The property contains a dormant printing plant that was built by the Detroit Free Press in 1979 and expanded in 1986. When printing operations were consolidated in Sterling Heights in 2005 by the Detroit Media Partnership, the building was closed down. Final plans for the development of the property have not been completed, but the DRFC expects the purchase of the property to ultimately allow significant public access and green space enjoyment for the community. The DRFC did confirm that the printing plant building on the property will be demolished. Demolition of the building, to be handled by Adamo Demolition along with Hayes Excavating, Farrow Group and the National Environmental Group, will begin this winter and will focus on environmentally sound methods and optimizing salvage and recycling opportunities. "Our first step is to take care in removing the building from the property in the best and most responsible methods possible," said Nelson. "While our plans have not been finalized for the property, we know that this purchase will provide us with important land control on the West Riverfront as we continue to work towards our ultimate goal of a continuous RiverWalk and public space." The DRFC was formed as a 501 (c) 3 public-private partnership in early 2003 with the mission of developing public access on the Detroit International Riverfront. The completed project will span 5 1/2 miles of riverfront property, from the Ambassador Bridge to Gabriel Richard Park, just east of the Belle Isle Bridge, and will include a continuous RiverWalk along with public parks and green spaces. Once completed, the DRFC is responsible for the establishment, improvement, operation, maintenance and security of the Detroit International Riverfront. Detroit Media Partnership, L.P. manages the business functions of the Detroit Free Press and The Detroit News. As the largest newspapers in Michigan, with two of the largest web sites in the market, the Free Press and The News combine to reach a weekly audience of 2.2 million people; 59% of adults in this market see our products.* Gannett Co., Inc., owner of the Free Press, is the general partner in DMP; MediaNews Group, owner of The News, is the limited partner. *
SOURCE: 2007 Scarborough Report - August 2006 - July 2007 - Detroit DMA
SOURCE Detroit RiverFront Conservancy
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