Old Michigan Inn site in legal tug of war between owner and city of Southfield

SOUTHFIELD, Mich. – It’s hard to believe by looking at its battered and decaying exterior but this shuttered hotel on J.L. Hudson Drive and and Northwestern Highway was once the very happening Michigan Inn in the 1970s.

The decades and different owners and names for the property have seen it go from a destination to a run down shell of what it once was. 

The last 10 years have been especially rough. The property was bought by Shefa LLC at the height of the economic downturn and was soon shuttered for failure to pay taxes and water bills, eventually it went into bankruptcy. 

“It has the potential to become Southfield’s train station, yes, I’m very worried,” Southfield City Manager Fred Zorn said.

Zorn referencing the Michigan Central Train Depot which stood as the ultimate symbol of Detroit blight for decades. Southfield and Oakland County have wrangled in court for the last ten years over the property to get the bills paid. They’re current but there has been no improvement to the property itself. 

In a legal filing the LLC blames Southfield’s Downtown Development Authority for its demands and claims its scuttled potential deals.

“The building in its bankruptcy was supposed to make a $2.1 million investment that to this day, 5 years later hasn’t happened,” Zorn said.

Lawyers for the LLC claim the city is trying a land grab here. Zorn says no, but Wednesday will be asking a judge to appoint a Receiver for the property in order to get another entity that will invest in it.

The shuttered hotel sits on the edge of the Northland redevelopment project. 

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