New development plans in works for old Eloise hospital in Westland

Property to be split into 5 parcels

Eloise hospital complex in Westland
Eloise hospital complex in Westland

WESTLAND, Mich. – New plans are coming together for redevelopment of the old Eloise hospital property in Westland.

The historic Eloise property was sold by Wayne County back in 2018 for just $1. At the time, the county said the complex needed about $4 to $5 million in rehabilitation. The county saw it as a bargain.

John Hambrick, who purchased the property, pitched new plans to the Westland Planning Commission, which includes splitting the 16-acre property into five parcels to house a different use.

Hambrick’s development plans include a hotel and event space on the property, using the historic Kay Beard building, complete with a 1930s-themed restaurant and bar in the basement, as well as a haunted attraction and a public space serving light fare like coffee and ice cream, according to the City fo Westland.

Westland mayor Bill Wild says the Regional Transit Authority is planning a bus stop nearby, as the county invests in what has been dubbed the “Michigan Avenue Corridor.”

“The City of Westland is extremely excited to see this project get off the ground as it will bring a new sense of vibrancy and revitalization to the southern portion of our community and will also be a premier destination, helping to put Westland on the map,” said Mayor Wild.

The cemetery at Eloise will not be removed and will be preserved. The plan also creates proper zoning for the Samaritas Family Center.

History of Eloise

The Eloise began as the Wayne County Poorhouse, which opened in 1839 in the now defunct Nankin Township.

Nankin was a part of Wayne County, originally named Bucklin Township, and it included what are now the cities of Livonia, Inkster, Dearborn, Redford, Wayne and Westland.

Eloise was one of the first hospitals to use x-rays for diagnosis. It was also home to the first kidney dialysis unit in Michigan. The complex eventually expanded — spanning 902 acres, with more than 70 buildings.

The facility had a radium treatment for cancer patients, and the sanitarium was one of the first to use “open air” treatment for tuberculosis patients. Psychiatric patients underwent electroshock and insulin shock therapy.

After the Great Depression, the population of the complex started to decrease, as reports of violence, questionable conditions, misconduct and overall neglect surfaced.

Farm operations ceased in 1958, and the psychiatric division began to close in 1977 when the state took over. The main hospital closed in 1984.

Ghost stories

Visitors have reported odd occurrences on the hospital grounds for years after it was closed.

There have been reports of people finding medical waste and other strange items. Some have reported finding jars containing human body parts, as well as documents outlining strange medical procedures.

Paranormal investigators have conducted numerous investigations on the grounds. A group recently claimed to have seen a spirit of a woman wearing white, often seen on the upper floors and roof.

In 2018, Detroit Paranormal Expeditions hosted several public tours of the facility. They also captured various pieces of evidence. Check it out here.

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