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
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
SOURCE Detroit RiverFront Conservancy