By SUE SUCHYTA
Sunday Times Newspapers
MELVINDALE – The owner the vacant former plating facility on Clarann Street announced at the April 17 city council meeting that he plans to open a job-creating manufacturing operation on the site.
Ali A. Anani of Dearborn Heights, who operates Dynamic Glazing Systems Inc., an architectural glass and glazing business in Detroit, has owned the building for six years and has done little to the building in that time. At the council meeting he said he hired an architecture firm’s services on March 15, and is ready to “move ahead.”
He said the site will manufacture windows for commercial buildings, such as schools and hotels. He said his Detroit facility manufactures storefront glass.
The building is southeast of the former trailer park bounded by Dix, Rose and Clarann, which is slated for retail and residential development by Musa Shohatee of National Construction Inc.
Anani said his architect is looking at ways to divide the distressed building, which has been gutted, so full use can be made of it.
He said he plans to use 30,000 of the 60,000 square feet initially, and initially employ 15 to 20 people, with the hope of eventually employing 100 workers, who will be new hires as opposed to transferred workers.
“We will train people to do the jobs,” Anani said. “It is basically an assembly line.”
Mayor Stacy Bazman said that since the building is functionally obsolete, she recommends that he seeks brownfield redevelopment funding, since the site is previously developed industrial land which was abandoned, has the potential to be developed, and which may have low levels of hazardous waste and pollutants.
“I know that one of the concerns is that the building, not being completely secured, may have some squatters in there, so we just want to make sure that it is safe,” Bazman said.
Anani said that since he purchased the building, it has been repeatedly broken into and damaged.
He said he plans to have the facility renovated and in use for manufacturing within six months.
“Obviously, I will be in contact with the proper departments in the city to see what we can do and make sure we are meeting all of your requirements,” Anani said.
He said he will secure and close off the part of the building that he will not be using for at least the next 18 months.
City Attorney Lawrence Coogan advised Anani to have his architect meet with the city’s building department officials, and added that the city council has charged him with filing a nuisance action with respect to the long vacant structure.
Anani said he understands the pressure the city council faces with buildings like the one he owns, to either tear it down or do something with it. He said he has three buildings on one block in Detroit, but they are not under the same roof, which is an advantage of the Melvindale building.
Coogan reiterated the importance of the building being safe and secured from further trespassing.
“The Building Department is concerned about it, because the windows are busted out, and kids are getting in and out of there,” Coogan said. “I know that is not only a problem for you, but it is a problem here, so you need to secure that building.”
Building Department official Brad Burns reiterated the need to secure the building, and said he gets calls from the Police Department about the abandoned building “all the time.”
Police Chief John Allen also urged Anani to secure the building more effectively.
Bazman said she appreciates Anani’s response, and she is pleased that he plans to use the building for manufacturing and create jobs.
Anani said he has equipment at his current site in Detroit which is not in use, which he hopes to use in the Melvindale facility, and said he recognizes that he is losing money by not using the equipment or the building.
(Sue Suchyta can be reached at [email protected])