Owner of former Cantrell Funeral Home building clarifies plans after Detroit residents' outrage

Naveed Syed says building will be made into community center


DETROIT – The new owner of the former Cantrell Funeral Home in Detroit is clarifying his plans for the building after residents and business owners in the area expressed outrage over word that the site would be turned into a drug rehab center.

Naveed Syed's drug rehab business owns four centers around Metro Detroit. One of those centers is just up the street from what used to be Cantrell Funeral Home.

"We took the whole ceiling down to see if there was anything left," Syed said.

On Friday, he gave Local 4 a tour of the building he's rehabbing. He said he's expecting to spend about $200,000 to turn it into a community center that offers GED and job skill training.

"This is not going to be any kind of drug treatment center," Syed said. "No inpatient, no outpatient, nothing of the sort. We will be providing this place as a community center only."

Syed claims he wants to provide services for people who go without basic plumbing or even housing.

"This will be the shower area -- the back is for the men, women are on the other side of the other back," Syed said. "(They can) clean themselves up, wash and get free clothing, new socks, underwear, boots and shoes and things like that, and (they) can come bring dirty laundry; (we have) machines, washers, dryers."

Syed said he wants to be a great neighbor.

"They are more than welcome to come here and get a tour like the one I gave you," Syed said.

He said he doesn't have an occupancy permit, so nothing but building work is being done. Workers are installing a full range of security cameras because of break-ins, he said.

Local 4 spoke with neighbors, and they said they're still skeptical.

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