$8M renovation planned for local Church of Scientology

Candice Williams
The Detroit News

The Church of Scientology is planning an $8 million renovation of its building in downtown Detroit.

The building, owned by the church for nearly a decade, will house Church of Scientology of Detroit, moving staff from a Farmington Hills location. That location is for sale.

The Los Angeles-based church was issued a permit on Monday to perform exterior and interior work on its building at 1 Griswold, according to city permit records. The permit for $8 million in renovations was first reported by Crain’s Detroit Business.

The nearly 50,000-square-foot site at the corner of West Jefferson and Griswold was formerly the Standard Savings Building and was last occupied by Raymond James investment company.

The Church of Scientology bought the property in October 2007, said international church spokeswoman Karin Pouw.

Plans for the project include a chapel, study rooms and public meeting space for community meetings and activities, Pouw said.

“The Church of Scientology has been experiencing a renaissance over the last decade with greater expansion than in the previous 50 years combined,” Pouw said in an email. “In the last year alone, we have opened new churches in Copenhagen, Miami, San Fernando Valley, Auckland, Budapest, Sydney, San Diego and Harlem, adding to the more than 50 new churches opened in recent years.”

Pouw said renovations would start soon, but did not provide a time frame. She said the project does not yet have a completion date.

The church’s 15,500-square-foot building at 28000 Middle Belt in Farmington Hills is for sale for $1.5 million, according to a listing from CBRE Inc.

According to the Church of Scientology website, “more than 10,000 Scientology Churches, missions, related organizations and affiliated groups minister to millions in 165 countries” since the first church formed in 1954.

The church counts actors John Travolta and Tom Cruise as members.


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