The Detroit Marine Terminal seizure was initiated by the City of Detroit in order to secure a parcel of waterfront property (located near the city limit of Detroit and Dearborn) as part of plans to build a new municipal water purification plant. Viewing the property in question as essentially a wasted backland parcel with little value in a declining industrial area, the condemning authority initially extended an offer of approximately $4 million to the owner, Detroit Marine Terminals, Inc.
This case involved a gas storage field conversion/condemnation, where a formerly active 300-acre natural gas field would be repurposed as a gas storage field. The condemning authority, Washington 10 Gas Company, was a collaborative enterprise between major regional utilities and private investors. The company formally became a common carrier/public utility for the purposes of acquiring the gas field. After the condemning authority gained the rights to acquire and reuse the site, an initial compensation offer of approximately $1,000/acre—a total of $386,000—was made to the owner.