Berry Gordy’s ‘Motown Mansion’ for sale again

Evan Carter
The Detroit News

Anyone with a couple million bucks to spare and a love for classic mansions and Motown hits should listen up: the former home of Motown founder Berry Gordy is on the market again after being taken down last summer.

The 10,500-square-foot Boston-Edison District home sits on 2.2 acres and is listed for $1.595 million, making it the third-most expensive house for sale in Detroit right now.

Deborah Smith, who is overseeing the sale as a real estate agent withKeller Williams, said the estate has garnered interest from celebrities as well as foreign and local business owners.

“Just based off of the response we’ve gotten from the market, I think it will be a successful sale,” Smith said.

Smith said the estate, currently owned by Detroit lawyer Cynthia Reaves, attracted a similar amount of interest last year, but had to be pulled off the market in August after only three months because Reaves had to focus on a new legal practice she started in Los Angeles and a death in her family.

This year the estate is listed for $300,000 more than last year, which Smith said is due to renovations done by Reaves over the past year and the sale of Detroit’s Fisher mansion to General Motor’s President Daniel Ammann in September 2015.

The estate was also up for sale in 2010, listed at nearly $1.3 million. This time around, said Smith, things have changed with the economy and the city, and that could encourage buyers to take the plunge.

Reaves has completed an award-winning restoration of the home since she purchased it in 2002 and billed it as the "Motown Mansion." She kept as much of the original architecture and structure as possible.

The estate has European-influenced architecture with 10 bedrooms over the 10,500 square foot main residence, a 1,100 square foot apartment with 3 bedrooms, a 5 car Carriage House, and athletic facilities.

Gordy was the fourth owner of the estate and during his time as owner, made a large financial investment in the property, including a complete kitchen renovation.

Gordy was the owner until February 2002, when he transferred the property to Vintage LLC, a Los Angeles company, according to a quit claim deed filed with the Wayne County Register of Deeds. Nine months later, Vintage transferred ownership through a warranty deed to Reaves, who lived in Los Angeles at the time, according to the deeds.

After gaining ownership, Reaves took out two mortgages — one in November 2002 and another a year later — for a total of $700,000, according to the records.

As the Motown Mansion, the home was used to host social and political gatherings, including events for then-Sen. Barack Obama, then-Gov. Jennifer Granholm and U.S. Sen. Debbie Stabenow.

The primary residence was built by Nels Michelson, the owner of the successful Grayling Lumber Company, in 1917.

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