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Detroit News’ former home nominated for historic status

The Detroit News

The former home of The Detroit News is one of eight locations around the state nominated Wednesday for designation as a historic site.

The building opened in 1917 and The News was published at the site on West Lafayette until October 2014 when it moved to the Federal Reserve Building on West Fort Street.

The State Historic Preservation Review Board sent the nominations to The National Register of Historic Places, part of the National Park Service. The nomination of the Detroit News Complex includes the original building, a paper storage warehouse addition built in 1918-19, a garage addition built in 1921 and 1924 and a separate, five-story parking structure across the street that was built in 1924.

The complex originally housed the newsroom, business offices, presses and circulation operations. Printing and distribution of the paper moved to a plant in Sterling Heights in 1973 while the other operations remained downtown.

The exterior of the Detroit News building from an aerial position at Second Avenue and Lafayette in1955.

The building also housed the Detroit Free Press, which is run under a joint business agreement with The News, after the Free Press moved out of its building down the street from The News in 1998. The Free Press building has been vacant ever since and a number of development plans have stalled.

The News building is now owned by Bedrock Real Estate and is being extensively renovated. Molina Healthcare of Michigan occupies the top floor of the six-story building. Quicken Loans said it expects to move 1,100 employees into the building and Rocket Fiber, an ultra-high-speed Internet service planned for downtown and Midtown is expected to open a data center in the complex.

“I work with Michigan’s historic resources every day, and I continue to be impressed by the variety of historic sites in our state,” State Historic Preservation Officer Brian Conway said in a press release.

The other sites nominated: Belle Isle park, Elk Rapids First Methodist Episcopal Church, Saugatuck Pump House, Bewabic State Park in Iron County, Hart Downtown Historic District, Centennial Block in Alpena and the James and Jean Douglas House in Friendship Township, Emmet County.