Sale of iconic Old Wayne County Building OK’d

Photo courtesy of the Wayne County Commission
The iconic Old Wayne County Building and adjacent parking lot were sold to a New York family for $13.4 million Thursday. The family plans to renovate and lease the structure.

DETROIT — The Wayne County Commission approved the sale of the Old Wayne County Building and a nearby 120-space parking lot to New York developers who plan to renovate and lease the historic structure.

The commission voted 12-2 Thursday to approve the $13.4 million sale of the building at 600 Randolph and adjacent parking lot at 400 E. Fort St. in Detroit.

The buyer is 600 Randolph SN LLC of Great Neck, N.Y., an undisclosed family that has purchased and developed more than $250 million in real estate in Manhattan, plus projects elsewhere, over the past few years. The Old Wayne County Building is its first purchase in Detroit, said Moshe Oppenheim, an attorney representing the family.

The developers plan to spend between $4 million and $5 million on structural improvements and another $5 million to $10 million on tenant build-out.

The sellers are Wayne County, the Wayne County Economic Development Corporation (EDC) and the Old Wayne County Building Limited Partnership. The EDC Board of Directors is expected to approve the sale July 22.

Wayne County owns the parking lot at 400 E. Fort St., adjacent to the building. The county, through the EDC, owns the land on which the building sits at 600 Randolph. The partnership owns the building.

“I’m glad we finally got this matter resolved and, most importantly, the historic building and all of its great character will remain intact,” said Commission Chairman Gary Woronchak (D-13th District). “It was very important to the commission that this architectural jewel be preserved. It is such an iconic building in downtown Detroit.”

The Old Wayne County Building was constructed between 1897 and 1902, and received a National Register of Historic Places designation in 1975. Wayne County operations were moved in December 2009 from the building after the county purchased the Guardian Building, at 500 Griswold in Detroit.

Under terms of the sale agreement, all litigation between the county and partnership that transpired since the county left the building will be dropped.