MSU Purchases Majority Stake in Historic Fisher Building, Known as Detroit’s ‘Largest Art Object’

Dig Downtown Detroit/Wikimedia

By Isaac Constans

June 14, 2023

The deal further grows Michigan State’s presence in Detroit and the New Center neighborhood.

One of Michigan’s most iconic buildings has come under new ownership. The Michigan State University Endowment purchased a majority stake in the Fisher Building, a 1930s skyscraper in Detroit’s New Center neighborhood which has been called “Detroit’s largest art object.”

Michigan State paid $21 million on Monday to acquire 79% of the building, as well as several nearby parking lots that can be developed. The university’s chief investment officer, Philip Zecher, said to Crain’s Detroit Business Journal that the university has been looking for ways to participate in “the rebirth of Detroit.”

Constructed in the 1930s, the Fisher Building contains a number of revered art deco features, from detailed reliefs on the exterior of the building to a stunning mural that runs along the ceiling of the arcade. Designed by famous architect Albert Kahn, the building steadily declined in value until recent reinvestments.

There are no immediate plans for MSU to take over some of the space in the Fisher Building, Zecher noted, but that is a possibility in the future. MSU has also linked up with the Henry Ford health system in plans to bring a new research facility to the area, which will be backed with $100 to $150 million in funding.


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