City Buys, Knocks Down 30-Year-Old Adult Shop

Anne Winter
WARREN, Mich. — The city has purchased Bookworld, an adult store in business for more than 30 years, with the sole intention to knock it down. A spokesman called the decision a "creative" way to restrict adult business.

Mayor Mark Steenbergh said that no one should have to live near an adult shop like Bookworld, according to the Detroit Free Press

"This place has attracted perverts and weirdos for over 30 years," he said. "It is located adjacent to one of the oldest neighborhoods in Warren."

City spokesman Joe Munem said that the plan to rid the city of Bookworld by purchasing it was a decision unique to the city. He also said the city attempted to buy the property a few years ago, but the asking price was out of its budget.

After several weeks of negotiation, a $295,000 price tag was finalized, a number that includes a $20,000 payment to the owner, binding him from opening a similar business in the city.

Funds from the Warren Tax Increment Finance Authority, the city's financial assessment department, reportedly were used to make the purchase.

The City Council last year approved an ordinance banning adult stores from downtown, and after Bookworld is demolished, there only will be one adult-oriented business left in the area.

It is unclear if this business also will be targeted by the city.

This isn't the first time the city has purchased a property in order to shut it down — a rundown strip mall was purchased in 2004, knocked down and now is the location of several city offices, including the Macomb County Health Department.

Munem said that Steenbergh has made this method of city development a priority.

"We've tried to take creative approaches," Munem said.