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Parade Co. gets the OK to buy long-vacant Brodhead Armory to turn it into new HQ

The Detroit City Council approved the sale of the R. Thornton Brodhead Naval Armory to the Parade Co. on Tuesday, paving the way for the nonprofit behind Detroit’s Thanksgiving Day parade to turn the long-vacant building into its new headquarters.

At a meeting Tuesday the council approved amending the city’s Master Plan to make way for any redevelopment of the site and the sale to The Parade Co. for $300,000.

Tony Michaels, president and CEO of The Parade Co., said it could take a year to raise the $40 million needed to redevelop the site, with construction expected to start in a year and a half to two years.

“It’s an iconic organization,” Michaels said about The Parade Co. “We’re going to do everything right.”

The approval marks the end of a long pursuit by the city for a buyer of the property along the Detroit River. The armory once housed the largest collection of federally funded Depression-era artwork of any building in Michigan, according to, but it has been hit hard by scrappers and vandals.

“There is a very clear reality that the city for whatever reason, the financial situation being the primary one, we have not been able to maintain this building in a fashion that was warranted,” Marcell Todd, director of the City Planning Commission, said at the meeting.

“And now we find ourselves in a situation where the administration has put forward a developer who has what appears to be the greatest intent to see to it that this building can be preserved,” Todd said.

City Council members asked at the meeting about the building’s sale price, the fact that an appraisal of the land wasn’t done and the future of murals located on the southern portion of the building that is set to be demolished under the Parade Co.’s plan.  Michaels said the Parade Co. plans to move and preserve the murals.

City officials defended the sale price for the armory, calling it a “preservation deal to a nonprofit entity” not a “business for profit,” said Scott Brinkmann, director of development and special projects for the city of Detroit.

Brinkmann said the city is retaining 66 feet of land on the Detroit River with the purpose of continuing the Detroit Riverwalk.

Since August, when the Parade Co.’s plans were made public, the project has  faced opposition from the Brodhead Association, a group of veterans with their own plans to restore the building, and the project even appeared to be in jeopardy after a tense exchange between Michaels and the now former chair of Detroit’s planning commission during an online meeting, which Michaels called a misunderstanding.

Detroit City Council President Brenda Jones voted no on both the Master Plan amendment and the sale to The Parade Co., while Councilwoman Raquel Castañeda-López voted no on just the sale.


Posted By: Detroit Free Press on June 1, 2021.  For more information, please click here to read the source article.

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