This week in Detroit development news we’re checking in on a plan to plant a forest in Delray. Plus, the city’s commercial demolition pipeline is now hundreds deep, and Councilmember Mary Waters proposes a radical (reckless?) solution to homelessness and property tax foreclosure. 

The Delray forest

The city is planning on planting 4,000 trees in Delray as part of an environmental mitigation project. The “phytoforest” will leach toxins from the ground in one of the region’s most polluted areas and provide a buffer from noise and dust to residents of the Southwest Detroit neighborhood. The 64 lots provided by the Detroit Land Bank Authority for the project sit along Dearborn Street between Jefferson Avenue and I-75. The idea for the mini-forest came out of a 2021 Framework Plan developed between the city and residents. (BridgeDetroit, Detroitography)

Demo pipeline flowing 

Two more buildings in Southwest Detroit, abandoned for decades, were hit by the wrecking ball after getting emergency demolition orders last week. The city said there are currently 364 commercial buildings in the demolition pipeline. (Currently the city’s Open Data Portal only shows 297. We asked the city for clarification, but it did not respond in time for publication.) Since 2014, the city has demolished 918 commercial buildings. Neighborhoods with the most demolitions are the Airport Sub (84), Midwest (68) and Dexter-Linwood (48). (ClickOnDetroit, City of Detroit Open Data Portal)

You want to eliminate what now? 

City Councilmember Mary Waters is proposing a radical solution to reduce homelessness and tax foreclosure. She wants Michigan to become the first U.S. state to eliminate property taxes and is partnering with a conservative activist from west Michigan to promote the idea. The proposal needs to collect enough signatures to get on the November 2024 ballot. Waters has also come out in opposition to Mayor Mike Duggan’s proposed land value tax plan, saying it is unproven. Apparently she thinks eliminating property taxes altogether is? (BridgeDetroit)


The population most at risk of eviction is the most vulnerable: babies and toddlers. A new report found children under 5 are the largest age group that have had an eviction filed against their household. The next highest group are ages 5 to 9. The peril is even more pronounced for Black children. Every year, 27% of Black children under 5 live in a house facing eviction, compared to 11% for children of any race. Children are invisible on eviction filings, which identify only the leaseholders. Researchers cross-referenced eviction filings with census records and identified 2.9 million children were affected by an eviction filing from 2007-2016. (New York Times)

Development roundup 

The $49.2 million Brush Watson development built by American Community Developers opened in Brush Park last week. The building has 124-units, 99 of which are reserved for below-market renters making as low as 30% of the area median income. (Urbanize Detroit)

The community benefits process has kicked off for the nearly $3 billion Henry Ford Health System expansion. Meetings will be held on Tuesdays throughout October and November. (BridgeDetroit, City of Detroit)

The Motown Museum will begin the final phase of its major expansion in the spring. It’s raised nearly all of the $65 million it needs for the project. (Associated Press)

The Detroit Pistons donated $25,000 to the restoration of a historic basketball gym on the westside. (Detroit News)

Aaron (he/him) believes in telling true stories about real people. He doesn’t think there’s anything better than a crisp fall afternoon at the Detroit Jazz Fest.