Detroit land deal raises questions about Windsor properties owned by Ambassador Bridge

A boarded up house in Windsor's Sandwich Towne neighborhood.  Houses near the Ambassador Bridge were bought out by the Bridge Company.  The residents want the houses to be cleaned and cared for.  (Chris Ensing/CBC - photo credit)

A boarded up house in Windsor’s Sandwich Towne neighborhood. Houses near the Ambassador Bridge were bought out by the Bridge Company. The residents want the houses to be cleaned and cared for. (Chris Ensing/CBC – photo credit)

A Windsor councilman says a land swap deal between the city of Detroit and the owners of the Ambassador Bridge is raising questions about the future of the boarded-up homes owned by the company on the Canadian side of the bridge.

In an interview with CBC Windsor Morning, count. Fabio Costante called for more “open communication, transparent communication” from the bridge’s owners, Canadian Transit Company and Detroit International Bridge Company.

“I think the community wants to know what the bridge society intends to do,” Costante said.

LISTEN: community. Fabio Costante joins Windsor Morning

The Detroit International Bridge Company has owned a number of residential lots west of the bridge for decades.

It received approval to twin the bridge in 2017 – although it was unclear if the properties would play a role in the project.

Submitted by Fabio Costante

Submitted by Fabio Costante

The five-year permit period has now expired, and bridge owner Matthew Moroun told reporters after the Feb. 21 Detroit City Council meeting that he no longer plans to proceed with it.

“The Gordie Howe is going to be a great bridge and the Ambassador Bridge is going to last another 75 or 100 years and I think that’s all we need for the foreseeable future,” he said, referring to the new span across the Detroit river. which is scheduled for completion in late 2024 or early 2025.

Costante said Moroun’s statement did not surprise him given the lack of progress on the partnership project.

But he said the decision to abandon it has raised questions about the company’s other plans, particularly whether it still intends to proceed with a proposed inspection site in Windsor and whether it plans to sell all of the properties it owns in Sandwich Towne to use .

“Why is the Bridge Company still holding on to the remaining boarded-up houses along Edison, Bloomfield, Rosedale, Brock, Felix, etc. when those houses were never captured as part of the permit?” he asked.

A call for more transparency

“They are no longer needed to satisfy the bridge’s original intention to build the connecting highway, which they have publicly stated is no longer of interest to them. … We all know the needs for affordable housing in our community. And so I would ask the bridge again what they intend to do with these houses?”

The bridge society has reached out to several councilors and elected officials in recent weeks, but Costante has yet to meet with its officials, he said.

On occasion, he said he planned to put his questions directly to her.

Carlos Osorio/The Associated Press

Carlos Osorio/The Associated Press

CBC News reached out to the owners of the Ambassador Bridge for comment, but received no response.

Moroun, the chairman of Detroit International Bridge Company, told CBC last March that after decades of conflict with his late father, Manuel “Matty” Moroun, he wanted to mend ties with the people of Windsor and Detroit.

Costante said if the company wants to build trust with residents, it needs to be more transparent.

Regarding a possible new inspection site, Costante said he recognized that the project would be subject to federal oversight rather than local oversight.


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