- Associated Press - Friday, February 28, 2014

DETROIT (AP) - A state loan board has given the Detroit Public Schools permission to sell vacant Southwestern High for $1 million to a company that wants to redevelop the site for homes and businesses.

But the proposal by Bingham Farms, Mich.-based ProVisions LLC is not final and could be trumped by a competing bid from a company controlled by Ambassador Bridge owner Manuel “Matty” Moroun.

Moroun’s Warren, Mich.-based Crown Enterprises offer is about $175,000 more, the Detroit News and Detroit Free Press reported. It was solicited by school board members who voted down state-appointed emergency manager Jack Martin’s original proposal to sell to ProVisions.

The Local Emergency Financial Assistance Loan Board decided Friday to accept the ProVisions‘ proposal, but Martin said he now wants to receive “the best and final offer” for the site.

The state loan board then would consider the final bid, deputy state treasurer Tom Saxton said.

The 254,000-square-foot Southwestern High is on 16 acres of land in southwest Detroit. It has been appraised at $890,000, but has been vandalized by scrappers since closing in 2012. Selling the property will save the school district $160,000 in annual maintenance costs, the state said in a release.

Detroit Schools has more than 80 vacant buildings for sale or lease.

Moroun has been battling the state and Canada over a joint plan by both governments to build a new bridge that would compete with his Ambassador Bridge for traffic between Detroit and Canada over the Detroit River. Moroun also is pushing to build a twin span of his own next to the Ambassador Bridge.

The Southwestern High building is near the area where the governments’ bridge would be built.

Crown Enterprises wants to use the building for office space and homes for nonprofits.

“We admit this is a little larger structure than we’re looking for,” said Michael Samhat, Crown Enterprises president. “However, we’re excited about the prospects for it.”

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