Motown Hoping For Detroit Museum Deal To Get Signed, Sealed, Delivered

Proposed $28 million Motown museum would be built in city's downtown entertainment district.

Motown's Hitsville U.S.A. studio museum attracts thousands of visitors each year, music fans eager to see where R&B icons such as Stevie Wonder, Marvin Gaye and the Supremes recorded dozens of smash hits in the '60s and early '70s. Now, Detroit developers are hoping to draw even more tourists to a proposed $28 million Motown museum to be built in the city's downtown entertainment district.

The planned Motown Center would stand in the same spot as the former Motown Records headquarters, several miles from the studios, according to the Detroit Free Press. The new museum would feature interactive exhibits, programs and performances honoring what Motown founder Berry Gordy Jr. called "The Sound of Young America," the newspaper said.

Financing for the project will come from contributions from Gordy and Vivendi Universal, which acquired the Motown label when it bought Seagram Ltd. last year, as well as from private donors and Detroit's Economic Development Corp., according to the newspaper.

Gordy opened the Hitsville U.S.A. studios in 1958, but moved the company's headquarters to a new building 10 years later. The studio building — a small house on West Grand Avenue — will remain open under the new plan. Motown moved its operations to Los Angeles in 1972.

If the city approves the proposal, design and construction would take nearly three years, the newspaper said.