State Fairgrounds Development Coalition files lawsuit against city of Detroit over Amazon land deal

The State Fairgrounds Development Coalition on Tuesday sued the city of Detroit in an attempt to halt its proposed sale of the largely vacant site to developers for a $400 million Amazon.com Inc. facility.

The group has railed against the deal, which Detroit City Council approved Tuesday and is expected to close next Friday. In the lawsuit filed in Wayne County Circuit Court, it alleges that the city, Mayor Mike Duggan and other officials violated local law by failing to abide by Detroit’s community benefits and outreach ordinances before selling the land.

Tonya Myers Phillips, a coalition steering committee member and attorney with the Sugar Law Center in Detroit, filed the lawsuit on behalf of the coalition and its co-chairs, Frank and Karen Hammer. The group had been pushing for a grassroots, publicly usable redevelopment of the fairgrounds site for eight years.

In the land purchase that City Council approved

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Detroit City Council approves sale of former state fairgrounds site for Amazon development

Detroit City Council on Tuesday approved the sale of the former Michigan State Fairgrounds site for construction of an Amazon.com Inc. distribution center.

The vote came after weeks of lengthy discussions over the pivotal deal to turn over a publicly owned site for private use on what Mayor Mike Duggan called the city’s largest property still open for redevelopment.

City Council members who voted in favor are Scott Benson, Roy McCalister, Gabe Leland, James Tate, André Spivey and Janeé Ayers. Member Raquel Castañeda-López and Council President Brenda Jones voted against the sale of the property at 20110 Woodward Ave. Council President Pro Tem Mary Sheffield was not present.

Detroit-based Sterling Group and Dallas-based Hillwood Enterprises LP agreed to pay $9 million for the 142-acre site, 78 acres of which Seattle-based Amazon has pledged to lease. It would be the e-commerce giant’s largest facility in metro Detroit, 3.8 million square feet

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Group protests sale of state fairgrounds to Amazon

DETROIT – A group protested Friday morning against the sale of the Michigan State Fairgrounds to Amazon.

The State Fair Development Coalition says the sale price is too low and questions the number of jobs that will be available to Detroiters if it goes through, WXYZ Detroit reports. They gathered at the fairgrounds to make their voices heard.

Amazon is looking to buy a portion of the fairgrounds at Woodward Avenue and 8 Mile from the city of Detroit for $9 million. The plan is to build a $400 million mega distribution center – 3.8 million square feet – that would create 1,200 new jobs for Detroiters. If the project goes ahead as planned, the center will open in 2022. The plans were announced in August, after more than a decade of failed development attempts at the site.

RELATED: Amazon to build distribution center at Michigan State Fairgrounds in Detroit

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