Michigan State University’s $3.9 billion endowment fund has become the majority investor in the Fisher Building, an iconic art deco style tower near downtown Detroit, the school announced Tuesday.
The fund is investing $21 million in the building, two adjacent surface parking lots and a parking structure for a 79% ownership stake. The other owners are real estate developer and property manager The Platform and the MSU Federal Credit Union.
“This new investment signals our continued intent to be part of Detroit’s storied history and vibrancy,” Interim Michigan State President Teresa Woodruff said in a statement.
The 30-story Fisher Building is considered by many to be Detroit’s largest work of art for its marble exterior, three-story arcade with hand-painted barrel-vaulted ceiling, spectacular mosaics, and extensive brass detailing. It is noted for the green terra-cotta tiles on its tower that typically are illuminated gold at night. It was designed in 1928 by architect Albert Kahn and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
The Fisher Building has offices on its upper floors, retail on the lower level and it houses the Fisher Theatre.
The university fund also recently invested in an affordable housing development by The Platform, and has partnered with Henry Ford Health and professional basketball’s the Detroit Pistons on other developments in the area.
The Platform’s executive chair and chief executive Peter Cummings said in a statement that Michigan State’s investments “show the depth of their commitment to the city of Detroit and the New Center neighborhood in particular.”
The Platform has invested more than $30 million in capital improvements, maintenance and upgrades to the building. In 2021, The Platform listed the building for sale.
Michigan State University’s Research Foundation plans to open a startup incubator in the building this year.