A sign announces the availability of Hakim Fakhoury’s Golden Gateway building at the southwest corner of Military and Michigan Avenue. The same signs were posted in the windows at most of Fakhoury’s downtown west Dearborn properties.
By J. PATRICK PEPPER
DEARBORN — Local developer Hakim Fakhoury announced last week that he would put up for sale every property in his sizable west downtown portfolio.
Fakhoury said he was compelled to put the properties up for sale after his bank received a copy of a Times-Herald report that centered on a special meeting in February between Fakhoury and city council members.
The contentious gathering ended with council members and Fakhoury agreeing that the prospect of a development was nowhere closer to being reality than it was in 2005 — when Fakhoury was first granted preferred developer’s status for the city-owned parking lot between Howard and Military.
“(The bank) showed me the article and they said either you start renovating these buildings and getting tenants in there now and we don’t care if it’s a dollar store or what, or you put them up for sale,” Fakhoury said.
He chose the latter option and said he now is in the process of looking for brokers who would be able to effectively market what would be a massive real estate package, including more than a dozen properties and roughly $100 million in state tax credits for the parking-lot project, if it ever was built.
“My hope is that a developer sees the opportunity and picks up on the work that I’ve already done,” Fakhoury said.
In the early going, several brokers have expressed interest in selling the individual properties, he said, but so far none have demonstrated the expertise necessary to sell the whole thing in one shot.
With signs reading “The Dream is Over. For sale,” posted in the windows of the buildings, the news all but ends any prospect of the ambitious development plans that led the Edsel Ford High School graduate to begin acquiring the properties in the first place.
Fakhoury purchased many of them in anticipation of a district rebirth that would result from his proposed Dearborn Village projects – between Howard and Military on the north side of Michigan Avenue and between Mason and Monroe on the south side of Michigan, respectively – and the sizable Burton Katzman Development Co. project, the West Village Commons.
But West Village Commons never was completed, and the Dearborn Village projects have been unable to get off the ground due to tight credit markets, a generally poor economy and frequent disagreements between Fakhoury and city officials.