Wayne County has made a historic move with the purchase of the landmark Guardian Building in downtown Detroit. The Wayne County Commission approved issuing $60 million in bonds to buy the property, in a 10-5 vote in December. The bonds will also be used to buy a nearby vacant bank building and parking structure.
The county now spends more than $5 million a year to lease the old Wayne County Building, where a number of government employees have been housed for decades.
The county is planning to house government employees in the Guardian Building. Currently, the employees are scattered at several sites in Detroit.
“There will be a consolidation of departments,” says spokeswoman Vanessa Denha-Garmo. The county is also negotiating to buy the Wayne County Building, and hasn't yet determined whether the executive staff would remain there.
“We still have some build-out to do,” with the Guardian Building, Denha-Garmo says. “We have to design it for our needs.”
The 40-story, 750,000 sq. ft. Guardian building, built in 1929, is one of Detroit's highest towers. Commercial tenants occupy 48% of the space and are expected to generate at least $2 million in annual revenue.
County leaders say purchasing the buildings will save taxpayers millions of dollars.