Black developers breathe new life into hulking, abandoned Fisher Body plant in Detroit

click to enlarge Fisher Body Plant No. 21 in Detroit has been vacant for nearly 30 years. - SHUTTERSTOCK
Fisher Body Plant No. 21 in Detroit has been vacant for nearly 30 years.

The hulking, abandoned Fisher Body No. 21 plant in Detroit has long been a symbol of the city’s industrial decline.

If all goes as planned, that's about to change.

Dubbed the largest Black-led development in the city’s history, a recently announced $134 million project calls for transforming the decaying, six-story building into a large mixed-use building with 433 apartments, 28,000 square feet of commercial and retail space, and 15,000 square feet of co-working space. At least 20 of the units will be considered affordable housing.

With sweeping views of downtown and New Center, the building’s 2-acre roof is planned to include a quarter-mile walking track, indoor lounge, and fitness center.

click to enlarge Rendering of the project to redevelop Fisher Body Plant No. 21 - MCINTOSH PORIS ASSOCIATES
McIntosh Poris Associates
Rendering of the project to redevelop Fisher Body Plant No. 21

“For almost 30 years, Fisher Body 21 has loomed over the I-94 and I-75 interchange as an international poster child for blight and abandonment in our city,” Mayor Mike Duggan said at a news conference Monday. “For much of that time, demolition seemed like the likely outcome because the idea of finding a developer willing to renovate and reuse it seemed impossible.”

The Black-led development team of Gregory Jackson of Jackson Asset Management and Richard Hosey of Hosey Development is working on the project with Lewand Development. McIntosh Poris Associates designed the redevelopment.

"This project is being done by Detroiters and for Detroiters,” Jackson said. “This project is proof of the potential of Detroit, its spirit, and its people. We are honored to become stewards of this forgotten piece of the city’s storied past and turn it into a key piece of its future, bringing catalytic investment, quality housing, and destination retail to this proud neighborhood.”

If the Detroit City Council approves the project, construction could begin next year and be finished in 2025.

With dozens of large, abandoned buildings in Detroit, the project “will become a road map” for future redevelopments, Hosey said.

“Just as it is hard to overstate the effect of this highly visible Detroit challenge being unmet, it is also hard to overstate the effect the successful redevelopment will have on Detroit’s momentum,” Hosey said.

click to enlarge Inside the Fisher Body Plant No. 21 in Detroit. - STEVE NEAVLING
Steve Neavling
Inside the Fisher Body Plant No. 21 in Detroit.

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About The Author

Steve Neavling

Steve Neavling is an award-winning investigative journalist who operated Motor City Muckraker, an online news site devoted to exposing abuses of power and holding public officials accountable. Neavling also hosted Muckraker Report on 910AM from September 2017 to July 2018. Before launching Motor City Muckraker,...
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