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Federal Courthouse in Detroit. Daily Detroit photo.

On Monday the U.S. General Services Administration (GSA) announced some large plans for two downtown Detroit buildings as part of a nationwide initiative.

First, the GSA purchased the large building at 985 Michigan Avenue for $1, as outlined in the lease that they had, and plans to invest $70 million and consolidate 700+ federal employees from around the region there. Currently, the 1995 structure local offices of the Internal Revenue Service and other agencies.

985 Michigan, building 1995. Daily Detroit photo.
985 Michigan, building 1995. Daily Detroit photo.

The plans outline interior changes, HVAC upgrades, parking garage repairs, electrical upgrades, safety upgrades, elevator repairs and plumbing upgrades. The government expects to save money over time as they will “avoid” paying an $11,000,000 annual lease cost.

Also, the historic Levin Federal Courthouse is in the process of getting $140 million in upgrades to improve the functionality of the space. The building, completed in 1934 at 231 West Lafayette, houses the “million dollar courtroom” that was disassembled from the old 1896 courthouse and reassembled in the new building.

DEGC's Roderick Miller at announcement today. Daily Detroit photo.
DEGC’s Rodrick Miller at announcement today. Daily Detroit photo.

On the to-do list are significant upgrades to the HVAC of the courthouse, the electrical system will be redone with cloth wiring removed and a new emergency generator, plumbing repairs, and restroom renovations for Architectural Barriers Act Accessiblity Standard Compliance. The public elevators will be replaced, a freight elevator added, as well as a basement loading dock modified.

The projects are part of a nationwide “Economic Catalyst Initiative” to better align the GSA’s building, leasing, and relocation plans with the economic development goals of local communities. Detroit was the launching city, where agency chief Denise Turner Roth joined with the Office of the Mayor and the Detroit Economic Growth Corporation’s Rodrick Miller. Other cities involved in this initiative are Cambridge, Mass. and Charlotte, N.C.

The GSA is an independent agency of the United States government that manages and supports the basic functioning of federal agencies.

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