The online auction of the landmark Fisher Building starts today. Built in 1928 with part of a vast auto body fortune, the office high-rise designed by Albert Kahn may go for as little as $30 million. The 30-story art deco palace, often referred to as "Detroit's largest art object," welcomes visitors with a lobby containing forty types of marble, which rises three stories to a barrel-vaulted ceiling covered in vivid mosaics by Hungarian artist Géza Maróti.
When the Fishers—who also built many now-historic homes including the recently relisted Palmer Park's Fisher Mansion— engaged Kahn Associates and its chief architect, Joseph Nathaniel French for the project, they went all out, paying top dollar for the building's all-marble exterior and the 430 tons of bronze that make up parts of the facade and elevators. The building also houses WJR, an original tenant famous for bragging that they broadcast "from the golden tower of the Fisher Building." WJR, WDBD and WDRQ all lease space at the Fisher Building, which also houses the 2000-seat Fisher Theater.
While the Fisher Building is arguably Detroit's most famous real estate foreclosure, excitement about the auction centers on the building's obvious potential as a cornerstone of development and restoration in New Center. Speculation is rampant that Dan Gilbert may bid, Spanish developer Fernando Palazuelo, who purchased the Packard Plant in 2013, already made a play for the property. Negotiations with then-owner the Farbman Group failed, leading to the bank's current ownership and this week's online auction. The Fisher and the adjacent Albert Kahn building, jointly listed, will be auctioned online from Monday, June 22 to Wednesday, June 24. Bids start at $3.5 million. - Rebecca Golden
· What will the Fisher and Kahn buildings sell for? [Crain's]
· Fisher Mansion Sale Falls Through, Relists for $1.549M [Curbed Detroit]
· WJR-760 AM [Detroit Historical Society]
· Could Dan Gilbert Be Eyeing the Fisher Building? [Deadline Detroit]
· Developing a strategy: Packard Plant owner eyes bids for historic downtown buildings [Crain's]
· Fisher & Kahn Buildings [auction.com]