Southwest Detroit Hospital sits near the interchange between I-96 and I-75, just on the edge of Corktown and a few blocks away from the massive Michigan Central redevelopment. The hospital has been closed since 2006, and continues to fall apart, its metal scrapped, with a sign in front of it that says "Mixed-Use Development Coming Soon." It's owned by Dennis Kefallinos, who's being sued by the city for four of his blighted properties.
One of the other properties sits a few blocks in the other direction of Michigan Central, at 1448 Wabash. Keffalinos bought the massive former cold-storage warehouse from the Morouns in 2018. The two additional buildings in the lawsuit are a theater on Kelly Road and a church on Grand River. Keffalinos notoriously owns several blighted properties around the city.
It's the latest in the city's crackdown on blighted properties, the Blight to Beauty initiative. Earlier this year, owners of the unfinished Perfecting Church development at 7 Mile and Woodward were also sued by the city.
Detroit's Corporation Counsel Conrad Mallett tells WXYZ,
"This is simply a situation where we have people holding properties, holding it in a condition that is injurious to the health and safety of people who live in the neighborhood and are really waiting for a moment where based on the progress the city has made, which by the way they’re holding back, but based on the progress the city is making for them to get a higher price for which they paid,"
Keffalinos tells Crain's,
"I like to preserve buildings and save them instead of demolish them. I know it takes too long, but we're going to continue working on it."
Crain's also reported this week that the city filed a lawsuit late last year against Michael Higgins, the owner of downtown's Leland Hotel. The building has faced issues recently; the Detroit Free Press reported that a design firm sued the owners for non-payment last year. An announcement was made in 2018 that the property would be rehabbed, but the work has been slow and a lot of the major work has not happened yet.
WXYZ reports that 17 additional lawsuits are currently in progress.