How a real estate reporter conducts a stakeout
Kirk Pinho, the real estate reporter at Crain’s Detroit Business, writes about staking out Michigan Central Station to break the story that Ford Motor Co. was purchasing the building.
Pinho writes, “First it was every couple of days that I got in my car and scouted for new activity at the building. Then it became a daily journey before I got in to the Crain’s newsroom. Eventually, in the weeks that led up to yesterday’s announcement, I’d go three or four times a day, sometimes spotting activity, but mostly not.
“‘Seriously do you sleep there,’ one source texted me in response to updates that bookended business hours.
“I sent photos and observations, ranging from the unmarked white vans to the contractors spotted to a mysterious Ryder truck and five or six business-casuals walking inside the fencing wearing hardhats. I briefly chatted with a man who had two dogs (and an empty bottle of tequila) in Roosevelt Park, asking him if I could pretend to be playing with them as I watched what was happening.
“I spent part of the afternoon of May 14 at nearby Mercury Bar not-so-stealthily staking out the building as trucks owned by an event planning company, Event Source, and a catering company, Forte Belanger, went in and out of its surrounding fence. Portable toilets had been brought to the depot earlier in the day.
“I thought for sure Ford and the Morouns were preparing for an imminent announcement of a deal. But it turned out those were for a private event, one that I never found out who threw.”
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