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HECKER MANSION PURCHASED BY DETROIT PARTNERSHIP; CHARFOOS & CHRISTENSEN TO LEASE SPACE

 HECKER MANSION PURCHASED BY DETROIT PARTNERSHIP;
 CHARFOOS & CHRISTENSEN TO LEASE SPACE
 DETROIT, May 13 /PRNewswire/ -- The historic Hecker mansion on Woodward Avenue, formerly the Smiley Brothers Music Company, faces a bright future with the closing today of its sale to Motor City Ventures, Inc. The mansion will be restored by Motor City Ventures and leased to the prominent Detroit law firm of Charfoos & Christensen, P.C. The restoration of the 100-year-old landmark is expected to further spark the revitalization of Woodward Avenue and the adjacent East Ferry Avenue Historic District.
 "Charfoos & Christensen, P.C. believes in Detroit and hopes to contribute to its resurgence," said Doug Peters, one of the firm's shareholders. "Our firm views the acquisition of the Hecker/Smiley mansion as a unique opportunity for us to make a long-term investment in Detroit's future. Charfoos & Christensen, P.C. feels that the extraordinary architecture, history and visible location of the Hecker/Smiley mansion on Woodward Avenue in the Cultural Center will provide our firm with distinctive office space unmatched in the Detroit area. We look forward to participating with Preservation Wayne, the City of Detroit and the neighboring community in the commendable efforts to restore the East Ferry Avenue Historic District where our new offices will be a positive anchor," added Peters.
 Established in 1929, Charfoos & Christensen, P.C. is currently located in the penthouse of the Penobscot Building in downtown Detroit. The firm has a staff of 38 employees, including 11 attorneys. With clients from across Michigan and the nation, the personal injury firm is recognized for its outstanding litigation record particularly in the areas of medical malpractice and product liability. Two of its attorneys, Lawrence Charfoos and David Christensen, are listed in "Best Lawyers in America."
 "With the thoughtless destruction of so many historic landmarks in Detroit in recent years, the preservation and future restoration of the Hecker/Smiley mansion for Charfoos & Christensen, P.C. is an extraordinarily positive commitment to our city's heritage," said William Colburn, executive director of Preservation Wayne, the city's oldest historic preservation group. "We are delighted that the new owners and Charfoos & Christensen, P.C. are committed to retaining the historical integrity of the mansion while adapting it for their own needs. Their investment and dedication to historic preservation is certain to have a positive impact not just on the Hecker/Smiley mansion but on the surrounding East Ferry Avenue Historic District as well," Colburn concluded.
 The mansion is listed on the national, state and city historic registers and was described in Detroit newspaper accounts of the period as "the finest residence in Michigan" when constructed in 1891. Built for industrialist Col. Frank Hecker, president of the Peninsular Car Co. (a railroad freight car manufacturer), the mansion has long been recognized in architecture and preservation circles as one of the outstanding historic landmarks in the state. The mansion boasts a lavish and intact Victorian interior featuring 49 rooms, extensive use of rare carved woods, ornamental plaster, copper leaf and silver ceiling surfaces.
 An eight-month restoration program of the Hecker/Smiley mansion is planned with occupancy by Charfoos & Christensen, P.C. scheduled for October of 1992. Renovation will be financed by First of America Bank- Southeast Michigan, N.A., which is pleased to be involved with preservation and restoration of a historical landmark in the City of Detroit. Led by Gator Construction, Inc., Detroit, and Quinn Evans/Architects, Ann Arbor and Washington, D.C., the project calls for exterior and interior restoration while updating systems for contemporary use. Periodic public access to the building, once restored, will be coordinated by the law firm and Preservation Wayne. Site improvements will be in keeping with the historic character of the area in concert with plans led by Preservation Wayne for the future restoration of the East Ferry Avenue Historic District. "This has been a wonderfully cooperative effort between the Smiley family, business and preservation interests to assure a positive outcome for the future of the Hecker/Smiley mansion," remarked Bill Alexander, real estate officer for Manufacturers National Bank and Co-Trustee of the Paul Smiley Trust.
 The East Ferry Avenue Historic District which includes the Hecker/Smiley mansion, is located one block north of the Detroit Institute of Arts and stretches from Woodward east three blocks to Beaubien. This once threatened district contains some of the finest late Victorian architecture left in Michigan and has significance to the history of Detroit's early industrialists, Jewish professionals and African-American organizations and middle-class communities. Preservation Wayne is spearheading a vigorous campaign to restore this exceptional historic area as an "Arts and Heritage District" in Detroit's Cultural Center area.
 For more information on the Hecker/Smiley mansion and the East Ferry Avenue Historic District Restoration Project, contact:
 William S. Colburn
 Executive Director
 Preservation Wayne
 313-577-3559
 For more information on the law firm of Charfoos & Christensen, P.C. and its plans for its new office headquarters in the Hecker/Smiley mansion, contact:
 J. Douglas Peters
 Shareholder
 Charfoos & Christensen, P.C.
 313-963-8080
 -0- 5/13/92
 /CONTACT: William S. Colburn of Preservation Wayne, 313-577-3559; or J. Douglas Peters of Charfoos & Christensen, P.C., 313-963-8080/ CO: Charfoos & Christensen, P.C.; Motor City Ventures, Inc. ST: Michigan IN: SU: RLE


SB-JG -- DE026 -- 9923 05/13/92 17:12 EDT
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Date:May 13, 1992
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