It feels like just yesterday — well, last month — that we were going back and forth over the fate of a historic building planned for demolition. That Cass Corridor building, a significant hub for the former Chinatown district, got leveled, but there’s a little more hope for the Del Bene building. Demolition may not be a done deal even after the building’s surprise partial collapse in Eastern Market, on a Saturday of all days.
Elsewhere, the Ilitch family’s Olympia Development of Michigan is once again taking its sweet time on development, and officials appear to be fine with it. We’re also looking at two forthcoming residential projects, new affordable housing rules and how investor homebuyers are upending the real estate market in other cities.
Here’s your weekly recap of Detroit development news.
Unknown fate for the Del Bene building
The wall of a historic building on Russell Street in Eastern Market partially collapsed Saturday. The incident took place during a busy market day, injuring one person and damaging vehicles. Known as the Del Bene building, it was home to several businesses including a Beyond Juicery + Eatery and Brooklyn Outdoor. The owner of Jabs Gym, another tenant, said he informed landlord Scot Turnbull that bricks had begun to separate, but Turnbull said he had not heard any complaints.
It only took a few hours for the city to issue an emergency demolition order for the 126-year-old building, but there may be a reprieve. After preservationist pushback, the city said it’s open to considering a “viable plan” to stabilize and save the structure.(BridgeDetroit, Detroit Free Press, Metro Times)
Another Ilitch extension
Olympia Development of Michigan got a lengthy extension from the Downtown Development Authority last week to submit development plans for more than a dozen parcels around Little Caesars Arena. The properties were transferred to the company owned by the Ilitch family as part of a 2014 development agreement for the arena. Olympia now has to contribute $100,000 toward a planning study of the area, expected to kick off next year. The company must submit a development proposal no later than Sept. 13, 2030. In other words, we won’t see anything done with these parcels for a long time. (Crain’s Detroit Business)
Wall Street’s home buying spree
Over the last couple years, investors across the U.S. have elbowed out first-time homebuyers in mostly middle-class neighborhoods by paying for homes with cash. Investors made nearly 10% of all home purchases last year, and that number was around 20% in fast-growing cities like Atlanta and Charlotte, North Carolina. The result? Many of those neighborhoods have become majority renter. And many who would have bought a home have instead turned to renting, locking younger households out of a traditional route to wealth-building. (New York Times)
Best of the rest
Detroit City Council codified rules around affordable housing for developments that get tax incentives, grants or discounted property. Now, any development with 20 or more residential units that receives these subsidies has to set aside 20% of the units for those making 80% or less of the area median income (AMI). (Crain’s)
Century Partners is planning a $9 million redevelopment of an abandoned apartment building in Piety Hill. The firm that was once part of the Fitzgerald Revitalization Project will rent all 42 units to households that make 50%-80% of AMI. (Freep, Outlier Media)
Construction began on a $14 million mixed-use development in Midtown. Developer Greatwater Opportunity Capital will set aside about 20% of the units — all studios or one-bedroom apartments — for those making 80% or less of AMI. (Detroit News)
Construction has also begun on a 1.6-mile section of the Joe Louis Greenway running through Highland Park along a former Conrail railroad track. The $20 million stretch is being paid for with Wayne County’s American Rescue Plan Act allotment. (Urbanize Detroit)