Detroit's Fisher mansion goes back up for sale after one year
The opulent Fisher mansion in Detroit's Palmer Woods area is going back up for sale, its owner confirmed late Tuesday, after he couldn't reach an agreement with a homeowners association to locate a "spiritual retreat" for drug addict patients in the home.
"The Palmer Woods neighborhood association spoke loud and clear that they simply do not want any sort of ministerial work with people in recovery in their neighborhood, so I have made the difficult decision to relocate," Breathe Life Healing Center founder Brad Lamm said in a statement.
The 28-room tudor Revival-style home on Balmoral Drive was bought in August 2014 for $1.6 million. The asking price now is $1.575 million.
The mansion was built in 1926 by auto baron Alfred J. Fisher, one of seven brothers who founded the Fisher Body Corp. Nestled on three acres, it features an indoor swimming pool, two kitchens, lavish gardens, a billiard room, a paneled library, a ballroom with stage, an eight-car garage, Pewabic tile throughout; a sunroom with leaded and stained glass, and a hand-forged gateway.
California-based Breathe Life Healing Centers operate in Hollywood and Gramercy Park in New York and cater to upscale clients. Those facilities have manicured grounds, reflection pools and similar amenities.
The Detroit mansion was supposed to provide services to patients but a spokesman said last year there wouldn't be medical care there. A separate facility on Seven Mile near Livernois was supposed to handle clients for chemical dependency, nicotine addiction and compulsive overeating.
The 15,000-square-foot house also was supposed to be the primary home for Lamm, a self-help guru.
But neighbors in the upscale neighborhood were concerned when Beathe Life announced its plans in 2014, and those worries were never quelled.
"Palmer Woods is ... not zoned for commercial use or a group home," Rochelle Lento, a board member for the Palmer Woods Association told The News last year.
Lamm blamed the city of Detroit in part for his company's inability to reach a compromise to operate in the neighborhood, even though the company said the state of Michigan has granted it a clinical license to provide substance use disorder services. Mayor Mike Duggan used to live in Palmer Woods before he was elected in 2013 and moved into the Manoogian Mansion in 2014.
"Serving those recovering from eating disorders and substance use disorders in a clinically sound, spiritually robust program is my mission – not battling neighbors," Lamm said. "I felt led to Detroit knowing that the under-served population struggling with addiction deserve the quality of care that Breathe Life has to offer."
Breathe Life apparently still plans to open a facility elsewhere in the city.
"Breathe is looking forward to working together with the community to provide our insurance-friendly programs to help families recover," Chief Operating Officer Deborah Hughes said in a statement.
The company said it would set an opening date in the "near future."
Lamm said last year that he moved to Detroit because Quicken Loans founder and real-estate magnate Dan Gilbert convinced him that "opportunity and need intersect in Detroit."
The Fisher mansion has a storied history. The Fisher family donated the estate in 1968 to the University of Detroit Mercy.
George and Christine Michaels bought it in 1979, but Lento said in August 2014 the mansion had been vacant for about four months and maintained by a caretaker.
The home was sold following an "ugly, weird foreclosure," said Matthew Duffield, a Keego Harbor agent who brokered the sale.
He said he "purposefully tried to avoid the buyer's business" during the sale.