Two Eastern Market buildings that house some of the neighborhood's most popular spots — including Russell Street Deli, Supino Pizzeria and Bert's jazz club — have been sold in seven-figure deals to the same father-and-son team.
The shops have been told by the new owners there are no immediate plans to remove the businesses.
The Russell Street building that hosts five independent operations — Russell Street Deli, Supino, Zeff's Coney Island, Mootown Ice Cream Shoppe and Detroit Kung Fu Academy — sold for $20 million in late June, according to Wayne County Register of Deeds records. The two-story, 18,000-square foot building at the corner of Russell Street and the Fisher Service Drive has residences on the second floor.
In April, Bert's Market Place, 2727-2739 Russell St., which houses a jazz club, a restaurant and a theater, sold for $1.6 million, according to city of Detroit property records. The establishment was sold in an online auction for $1.9 million in 2015. The founder of the jazz club and soul food restaurant, Bert Dearing, has operated out of the spot for more than three decades. Dearing could not be reached for comment.
The buildings have been bought by entities linked to Linden and Sanford Nelson, who are real estate investors based in Metro Detroit. The father and son could not be reached for comment Wednesday.
Linden Nelson was the CEO of a Pontiac movie studio, Raleigh Michigan Studios, that had a brief run when the state offered heavy tax incentives to the film and video industry. Sanford Nelson runs a commercial real estate development company in Detroit called Nelson Ventures.
James Lucas, manager of Mootown Ice Cream Shoppe, said of the sale Monday, “I don’t think it has very much bearing at all. Unless they raise or lower rent.”
Lucas said the business reached out to the new owners about some needed water-damage repairs and received a prompt response.
The sales of the two buildings come months after five other Eastern Market buildings were purchased by the New York developers who revamped the long-empty Wurlitzer building downtown into the Siren Hotel. The development group ASH NYC bought two buildings on Riopelle, four on Adelaide Street and one Orleans Street earlier this year. The group hasn't announced plans for the buildings yet.