Grammy-winning gospel singer Marvin Winans said his Perfecting Church in Detroit, Michigan, spent $200,000 last year to restart a stalled church building project on a prime piece of real estate that city officials branded “a massive example of blight and misuse of land” and are jockeying to take back.
Winans revealed in a recent court filing cited by Axios that despite a recent lawsuit filed by Detroit officials asking a judge to declare the future home of Perfecting Church at Woodward Ave & W Seven Mile Road a “nuisance,” they had been much more cooperative with the church as recently as December when Winans met with the city's corporation counsel, Conrad Mallett.
Winans was told "the city is looking to partner with the church," according to the filing.
In addition to spending $200,000 to restart the 18-year-old project, the filing said the church hired a new construction manager and an architectural firm.
Perfecting Church is now waiting to see how the court will decide on the city’s case.
In its lawsuit against Winans and his church, the city asked that the church be forced to clean up the property by April 3 and complete construction or transfer the property back to the city so it can demolish the unfinished church building and sell the land.
The city contends that it sold the land to Perfecting Church in March 2005 for $13,000 with the expectation that the church would have invested in developing the area.
The land was set to feature a 4,200-seat auditorium for worship, a 35,000-square-foot administration building, a 1,000-space parking facility and 70 condos costing $60 million. More than 18 years after construction on that dream began, however, the property remains a symbol of blight in the community.
“The beautiful Cathedral surrounded by buildings and landscape that really would have thrust that entire neighborhood, brought it back to the next level, didn’t take place,” Mallett lamented in a Local 4 interview last month.
It was further noted that the church had been cited for several violations which Winans explained in an earlier report were addressed.
“Perfecting Church has been in constant discussions with the city of Detroit,” Winans told Detroit Metro Times. “We believe we are up to date in addressing all matters of concern posed by the city.”