I-94 freeway expansion could roll over studio where Motown legends recorded

United Sounds Systems in Detroit could be torn down to make way for freeway project

By Shawn Ley - Reporter

DETROIT - The future for a piece of Motown history remains uncertain as plans for a freeway expansion take shape.

United Sound Systems in Detroit is where Marvin Gaye recorded cuts for the song "What's Going On?" Located at Second Avenue and Antoinette in Detroit, the studio plays a big part in Detroit's Motown history.   

Wayne State University student Desmond Mack remarks on the history inside the building every day that he parks in front of it.

"It's kind of cool to know that I park in front of a Detroit historic landmark. Every day I get to see it and just look at all of this history," said Mack.

The studio is boarded up, but an all-star line up has recorded at United Sound Systems from Aretha Franklin to Eminem.

Mack doesn't like the idea that the expansion of Interstate 94 could put the United Sound System building in the direct path of a bulldozer.

"It takes away so much, so much from the city," said Mack.

The Michigan Department of Transportation plans to add a lane to each side of I-94 from I-96 to Conner to relieve major congestion and to add a free flowing service drive.

United Sound Systems building could be in the path of demolition to make way for the freeway project.

"To a certain degree it is one of the properties that were identified for demolition," said Rob Morosi, of MDOT

Morosi said MDOT is aware of the historic value of the building and could design around it, or pay to move it to another location, but it's ultimately up to the owner.   The owner could want to sell the building to MDOT and allow it to be destroyed.

Local 4 could only find a P.O. box for the building's owner, Danielle Scott, for comment on this story.

"If the owner of the building says 'I have no interest in relocating this, continuing to pay taxes, continuing to rehabilitate this building.' That's it.  It's up to the owner," Morosi said.

The group Detroit Sound Conservancy is looking into ways to save the building.

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