The City of Detroit has sued a local church for failing to complete a construction project initiated almost 20 years ago. The unfinished church, located at Woodward and 7 Mile, has become the subject of a legal dispute.
According to David Jones, a partner at Schenk & Bruetsch representing Perfecting Church, the pastor, Marvin Winans, was taken unexpectedly by the lawsuit.
Perfecting Church Sued, Said to Be a Public 'Nuisance'
According to CBS News, Jones stated that the church had recently re-engaged with the city and met with several departments to get the project back on track. However, the lawsuit may undermine any progress made in recent times.
CBS News Detroit compiled a timeline of events since the project was approved in 2004, according to dates stated in the lawsuit. The Detroit City Council sanctioned a zoning ordinance to allow the construction of the proposed 35,000-square-foot, 4,200-seat church building in 2004.
In 2005, Perfecting Church began constructing a new building at Woodward and 7 Mile. However, in 2016 and 2017, the City of Detroit inspected the property and discovered that the building's maintenance needed to be up to code.
In 2022, the city conducted another inspection and found that the church failed the examination. As a result, the city's Corporation Counsel, Conrad Mallett, issued a letter on January 6, 2023, with a list of demands, threatening a lawsuit. The lawsuit was filed, and now the church is fighting back.
According to another source, the Christian Post, the City of Detroit has asked that Perfecting Church, led by Pastor Marvin Winans, clean up the property by April 3, 2023, and complete construction or transfer it back to the city to demolish its unfinished church building sell the land. The city sold the land to Perfecting Church in March 2005 for $13,000, expecting the church to invest in developing the area.
The land was also supposed to feature a 1,000-space parking facility and 70 condos costing $60 million. However, after more than 18 years since construction began, the property remains an eyesore in the community. The city has taken legal action against the church, arguing that it has failed to meet its obligations to develop the land and that the church's inaction has caused the property to become a public nuisance.
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Attorney of the Church Stresses the Fact that the Church is Not a 'Nuisance'
According to Perfecting Church Attorney David Jones, the church is not a public nuisance, and they hired construction teams and architects last year to work on the project. In the article shared in Click on Detroit, Jones believes that Detroit City Attorney Conrad Mallett and his lawsuit are the problems now. He may have overstepped his bounds concerning the filings and allegations.
Mallett sent a letter to Bishop Winans, demanding that the church clears up a lot of city code enforcement correction orders and offer proof that the church was up to code. Jones claims that they have already done much of that, and they invited inspectors to look at the project, which they found could have been in better condition than they had assumed.
Jones says the construction teams stopped work after the city filed its suit. The church also accuses the city of not responding to their freedom of information requests for city documents. No schedule has yet been set for a judge to hear the case.
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