Old News building gets new life for healthcare workers

Louis Aguilar The Detroit News

Detroit — Not so long ago, when a downtown Detroit office building went empty, it had the potential to stay vacant for years.

But that decades-long trend is now reversing, and latest proof of that is 125 healthcare workers who have set up in the former Detroit News building at 615 W. Lafayette.

Molina Healthcare will make the W. Lafayette building its new home in downtown Detroit as the company rapidly expands in Michigan,

Molina Healthcare of Michigan is leasing 30,000 square feet, which amounts to the top floor in the building, that was bought by Dan Gilbert’s Bedrock Real Estate Services Inc. last year.

The historic former newspaper building became vacant when the News and the Free Press moved to another building downtown.

Molina Healthcare of Michigan is one of the state’s largest Medicaid HMO plans. Its parent company is Long Beach, California-based Molina Healthcare Inc. Last year, it bought a building in Troy to keep up with its rapidly growing workforce tied to expanding Medicaid business in Michigan.

The fifth floor remodel for the offices of Molina Heathcare with exposed ceiling that used to be covered by drop ceiling in the former Detroit News building

“It still took some convincing for us to move downtown,” said John Molina, chief financial officer of the healthcare company on Thursday. “But all the concerns about it not being safe, or that not much was going on here, it was untrue,” Molina said, who lives in California.

Molina added that the company may take up another floor of the downtown building. The rest of the building remains empty but is undergoing renovation.

laguilar@detroitnews.com

Twitter: LouisAguilar_DN