July 20, 2017
University of Michigan will move ahead with plans to purchase the remaining third of the Rackham Memorial building in Detroit, including a parking structure that is owned by the Rackham Engineering Foundation.
U-M currently owns two-thirds of the building and land located at 100 Farnsworth St. in Detroit's Cultural Center Historic District.
The purchase, for $5.1 million, was approved Thursday by the Board of Regents. The sale to U-M was approved by the boards of the Rackham Engineering Foundation and the Engineering Society of Detroit. Finalization of the purchase is expected January 2018.
Gifts made to U-M and the Rackham Engineering Foundation by Horace H. and Mary A. Rackham allowed the facility to be opened in 1942. The Rackham Engineering Foundation was created to support the Engineering Society of Detroit.
The building has been used, over the years, by U-M and the Engineering Society of Detroit. The building currently is being used through a lease agreement by Wayne State University. The WSU Department of Communication Sciences and Disorders occupies part of the building and the lease continues through July 2019.
U-M and the Rackham Engineering Foundation have more than 120 years of history, and the university's College of Engineering will continue to collaborate with the Engineering Society of Detroit to develop and support activities that advance their overlapping missions related to the engineering profession.
The 121,000-square-foot building was constructed in three sections, per the gift requirements, such that the west wing and central core are on property owned by U-M. The Rackham Engineering Foundation owns the east wing of the building and approximately four acres of property.
In 1978, a parking structure was built by the Rackham Engineering Foundation and the Engineering Society of Detroit on land owned by U-M and the Rackham Engineering Foundation and a ground lease established with U-M for the portion of the structure located on university land.