Vote now for Best of Detroit 2021

Thursday, March 22, 2018

Preservation group questions WSU's plans to move Mackenzie House

Posted By on Thu, Mar 22, 2018 at 5:27 PM

click image Mackenzie House - COURTESY GOOGE STREET VIEW
  • Courtesy Googe Street View
  • Mackenzie House

We heard from Preservation Detroit that the group is taking a serious look at a plan to transform the Hilberry Theatre, which would sweep Mackenzie House out of the neighborhood.

It's of special interest not just because the house belonged to the founder of the university. It's also the headquarters for Preservation Detroit, and its preservation was the impetus for the group's founding, as well as its first battle with the university. (In 1975, the university, in its infinite wisdom, had proposed tearing down the old house to replace it with a brand-new sewer main.)

Now the university would like to move the house so the site can become the lobby for a new, improved “Hilberry Gateway.”

The university received $10 million in gifts for the project, voted to approve another $55 million in bonds to fund the project in February, and is voting at 3 p.m. Friday, March 23 on the project.

Preservation Detroit's president, Eric Kehoe, says the university has not even answered such questions as where the Mackenzie House would go, or whether engineers have even determined the house can be safely moved. (The university said it has determined it can be safely moved and that plans call for it to be moved to Forest Avenue on the same block.)

No doubt these are questions the group will bring up at the meeting. Other interested members of the public are invited to come speak as well. You don't even have to be a student. But if you were, and you were facing expensive tuition and other ballooning costs associated with higher education, you might be within your rights to ask why the university is spending $55 million on a performance venue.

The Wayne State University Board of Governors meets at 3 p.m. Friday, March 23, in Room BC at at McGregor Memorial Conference Center, 495 Gilmour Mall, Detroit.

Stay on top of Detroit news and views. Sign up for our weekly issue newsletter delivered each Wednesday.

Tags: , , , ,

We welcome readers to submit letters regarding articles and content in Detroit Metro Times. Letters should be a minimum of 150 words, refer to content that has appeared on Detroit Metro Times, and must include the writer's full name, address, and phone number for verification purposes. No attachments will be considered. Writers of letters selected for publication will be notified via email. Letters may be edited and shortened for space.

Email us at

Support Local Journalism.
Join the Detroit Metro Times Press Club

Local journalism is information. Information is power. And we believe everyone deserves access to accurate independent coverage of their community and state. Our readers helped us continue this coverage in 2020, and we are so grateful for the support.

Help us keep this coverage going in 2021. Whether it's a one-time acknowledgement of this article or an ongoing membership pledge, your support goes to local-based reporting from our small but mighty team.

Join the Metro Times Press Club for as little as $5 a month.

Related Locations

Most Popular

Read the Digital Print Issue

October 20, 2021

View more issues


Never miss a beat

Sign Up Now

Subscribe now to get the latest news delivered right to your inbox.

Best Things to Do In Detroit

© 2021 Detroit Metro Times - Contact Us

Website powered by Foundation