‘Magic’ plan approved for Michigan State Fairground - My29 WFTC Minneapolis-St. Paul

‘Magic’ plan approved for Michigan State Fairground

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SOUTHFIELD, Mich. (MyFox Detroit) -

In its prime, the Michigan State Fair and Exposition Center was a destination stop. Former NBA and MSU basketball star, Magic Johnson, submitted a proposal that the Michigan Land Bank accepted, putting into motion negotiations to transfer the land for the redevelopment.

Working with Johnson is his long-time friend and developer, Joel Ferguson. He was more than pleased to overcome a major hurdle with this vote by the board.

"It gives us the opportunity to start negotiating the hard negotiations to make this happen. It's just the first step, but it's a significant step," Ferguson told Fox 2's Tim Skubick.

The so-called ‘magic' proposal would cost around 100-million dollars, and if these negotiations pay off shovels, could be in the ground early next year.

"We hope to have housing, assisted living, apartments and townhouses. We hope to have strong open space, we hope to have a theater, re-do the Coliseum, where it will have a strong community use. Major stores, great restaurants, we hope to show people that they can be part of Detroit as adjacent to the suburbs. We feel this is a win-win for everyone," Ferguson adds.

What the plan does not have is a transit center, which local residents are demanding. They have a competing plan of their own, which resembles other suburban communities that are thriving.

One community representative believes the magic project should be dropped without the transportation piece. He explains, "The ‘magic' plan is more of a shopping center, 1990's, lots of parking, the lots are very spread out. Compare that to a downtown Royal Oak, downtown Ann Arbor, or downtown Birmingham. The community wants that at the state fair."

Ferguson argues if the state says yes to a transit center on this property, they'll hold the land to do it. Meanwhile the development of this once jewel in Detroit moves to the next phase of possibly being repolished.

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