LINCOLN PARK – The Downtown Development Authority will spend $90,000 to purchase the Mellus Newspapers building, 1661 Fort Street and its sister structure, the adjacent Pollak Building, 1667 Fort.
Authority officials made the announcement at their meeting March 12. The buildings had been on the market for $175,000 as a package deal for both buildings and were listed with commercial brokerage firm Signature and Associates of Southfield.
DDA attorney David Tamsen recommended that the board hire an architect and perhaps a historic preservation consultant to get some preliminary information to determine what can be done with the building. Members will seek proposals from architects to determine an in-depth evaluation of the structure and to determine the costs to perhaps gut and rehabilitate the structure.
Lincoln Park City Manager Steve Duchane, who was at the meeting, recommended that the DDA go through the Building Department for architect referrals. The nonprofit alliance is in the process of submitting names of architects, along with grant and incentive information, to the DDA, Duchane and Economic Development Director Gib Turner.
The Mellus building has been on the National Register of Historic Places since 2005. Alliance officials say it is an intact example of eye-catching but affordable porcelain-enameled moderne commercial buildings.
Alliance members have been working to raise funds to save the two buildings in hopes of turning them into a retail incubator for an art gallery, a coffee house and other small business spaces.