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Former psychiatric hospital sold to developers for $1

Don...The UpNorth Memories Guy... Harrison
The former hospital has sat mostly vacant since the 1980s. It will now be redeveloped into a senior living complex.

Want to buy an abandoned psychiatric hospital in Michigan? It might only cost you one dollar.


At least, that was the price tag for the dilapidated site of the once-sprawling Eloise Hospital Complex located in and owned by Wayne County. The site was purchased by Southfield-based Morgan Development Thursday after about a year of discussion.


Morgan Development has agreed to invest at least $20 million into the property by building a new senior-living complex. As part of the deal, religious non-profit Samaritas will continue to operate an emergency family housing shelter on the property. The hospital’s old cemetery will also be maintained.


The property costs the county about $375,000 a year in insurance and upkeep. It first put it up for sale in 2015, originally asking for $1.5 million. It didn’t receive a single bid.


So this time, despite the small price tag, Wayne County is viewing this as a big sale. Eloise sits in Wayne County Commissioner Al Haidous’s district, and he’s excited about the new investment.


“It's the action,” Haidous said. “We could talk about things a lot, and you could use huge numbers, but no action. And that was a waste of time. Now we have an action plan.”


This comes less than two weeks after the announcement that Ford would purchase Detroit's Michigan Central station. Jim Martinez, director of communications for the Wayne County Executive's office, sees both of these sales as important for the growth of Wayne County.


"Eloise here is obviously on a smaller scale, but it's not going to be any one thing that leads to the ultimate transformation and revitalization of where we want to get Wayne County. It's going to take a whole bunch of things, some of them big, some of them small,” Martinez said.


The hospital has been closed since the 1980s. Once a 900-acre campus with 76 structures, only a few buildings and a cemetery remain on the grounds. Some sources have declared the Westland property as Michigan’s "most haunted" site.


Mayor of Westland William Wild sent a letter to the county in support of the sale earlier this month. He said Eloise will always mean a great deal to Westland residents — they just opened a museum dedicated to the hospital last month — but more senior housing is needed, and he’s excited for the new investment.

As for the rumors it’s haunted?

“Locally, I don’t think any of us look that way… from the outside looking in, maybe it’s considered haunted property, but the locals don’t consider it that.”


Maya Goldman is a newsroom intern for Michigan Radio. She is currently a student at the University of Michigan, where she studies anthropology and writing. During the school year, Maya also works as a senior news editor and podcast producer for The Michigan Daily.
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