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FERNDALE, MI-The city of Ferndale is working with the Department of Military Affairs to buy the downtrodden, 8-building 60-year-old Detroit Artillery Armory.

The city wants to buy the property from the state for $2.5 million, says Mike McReynolds, Ferndale’s director of technical and planning services. The 73-acre site, along Eight Mile Road east of Greenfield Road, would then be sold for the same price to the Schostak Brothers and Co. development firm. “They want to tear down the buildings and build commercial retail development on the front 30 acres, and light industrial in the rear,” says McReynolds.

First, the developers must work with the city to change the zoning, since the entire parcel is zoned for industrial use. “We have a preliminary site plan, it’s not etched in stone,” McReynolds said. “We just want to work with the state to acquire the property. Then we can leverage our desires for a quality development.”

The Armory was built during World War II for the U.S. Navy, and included a manufacturing facility where submachine guns were produced. There is also an airfield on the property that was used extensively during the war. After the war the Armory was used for various military purposes. The National Guard reportedly mustered there during the Detroit riots in 1967. The site has been vacant for more than 10 years.

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