Detroit's Church of Scientology is getting ready to do... something


  • Lee DeVito

After more than a decade of owning the building, the Church of Scientology appears to be close to opening its Detroit location finally.

A construction crew was spotted on Friday erecting an ornate stage outside of the former Standard Savings & Loan, located near Hart Plaza on Jefferson Avenue and Griswold Street. A spokeswoman said the church was getting ready for a private event on Sunday and that it would soon open, although she could not yet offer a firm date.

Also new was a "Scientology" sign perched on the roof. These are some of the first visual signs of activity at the building, which the church purchased for $3.5 million in 2007. Last year, the city issued a permit for the church to begin $8 million in renovations.

  • Lee DeVito

For metro Detroit Scientologists, it's "moving on up": The Detroit location is 50,000 square feet, an increase from the church's 15,100-square-foot Farmington Hills building at 28000 Middlebelt Rd. Last year, the church listed that building for sale for  $1.5 million.

The religion was founded in 1954 by science fiction writer L. Ron Hubbard. It now boasts more than 3 million members, including celebrities like John Travolta and Beck. It has found itself at the center of controversy in recent years due to high-profile defectors like actress Leah Remini, who alleged abuse in a documentary series Scientology and the Aftermath. In a statement, the church says Remini was "expelled" for unethical conduct, including attempted extortion, and denounced the documentary as a "publicity stunt."

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