Lots of real estate news in Detroit this week. The City of Detroit reached a settlement with Dollar Tree on blight tickets, and the cheap chain store got a hefty discount on its fines. Elsewhere, negotiating over land continues to hold up District Detroit, the Joe Louis Greenway build-out proceeds step-by-step, and Wayne State University plans a new $40 million building for its law school.
Dollar stores being cheap
Dollar stores can offer goods and food to areas with few other options. In Detroit, they also contribute to blight: overgrown sidewalks and parking lots and trash the stores don’t pay to clean up. Dollar Tree Inc. alone has racked up over $740,000 in unpaid finds for more than 2,400 blight tickets. The city recently settled with the chain, which also owns Family Dollar, for just $150,000 and assurances it follows a regular maintenance schedule. Dozens of cities have banned or restricted the development of dollar stores (paywalled), and now City Councilmember Angela Whitfield Calloway wants to temporarily ban new dollar stores in Detroit. Dollar Tree and Family Dollar have around 50 locations in the city, according to their official websites, and they are far from the only dollar stores here. (BridgeDetroit, MLive)
Pay to play
Olympia Development of Michigan LLC still hasn’t come to an agreement with the obscure Detroit/Wayne County Stadium Authority to purchase the land it needs to break ground on its $1.5 billion District Detroit expansion. Richard Kaufman, a negotiator for Wayne County, said the two parties have agreed on a sale price of about $35 million. The main sticking point is the portion of those proceeds that would go to the county and how much would go to the authority, which owns Comerica Park. There is speculation the authority’s share would go back to the Ilitches for improvements to the stadium. An Ilitch executive recently teased “significant changes” to the ballpark, but funding sources have not been disclosed for the work. (Outlier Media, Axios Detroit, Detroit News)
Building out and around
The long-awaited Joe Louis Greenway is more than 25% complete (paywalled). A new trailhead at West Warren Avenue and McDonald Street called the Warren Gateway includes a $6 million playground, pavilion and park near the Dearborn border opened as part of the 29.5-mile loop for pedestrians and cyclists. The city said it’s looking to finish the entire $350 million greenway in the next five to 10 years. (Crain’s Detroit Business, Michigan Chronicle)
Philip Kafka is mystified by an emergency demolition order the city issued for one of his buildings. The Core City developer has completed developments for a number of buildings in the area. Kafka is using a former rail yard targeted for demolition as storage and said he planned on redeveloping the site into a music-centric “cultural center” as early as next summer. The city didn’t respond to questions from reporters. (WDET)
A jury in federal court ruled that home sellers no longer have to pay brokerage fees for the buyer, upending decades of real estate practices. Instead of sellers paying around 5-6% of the cost of the home to realtors, rates are no longer fixed according to rules set by the National Association of Realtors (NAR). The ruling also awarded damages of $1.8 billion to the home sellers after a finding of collusion against the NAR and several large brokerages. It may take some time for the effects to be felt locally (paywalled), since the defendants plan to appeal the decision. But real estate experts said eventually commissions might go down and banks might include the cost of brokerage fees in mortgage loans. (New York Times, Crain’s)
Development news quick-hitters
Wayne State University is planning a new $40 million law school building (paywalled) and has already secured $30 million for the project in the state budget…
A $16 million development for veterans at risk of homelessness and disabled tenants broke ground last week near 8 Mile Road and Van Dyke Street. The 50 units at the Benjamin O. Davis Veterans Village will be supported by vouchers to ensure residents pay only 30% of their income on rent…
The city is offering grants up to $45,000 to landlords who own two- or three-unit properties to bring them up to code so they can be rented out below market rate. The $2.3 million program will support nearly 150 rental units…
The city constructed a new $7.9 million community center in Jefferson Chalmers equipped with climate resilient features like a solar array and green stormwater infrastructure.
(Crain’s, Fox 2 Detroit, City of Detroit, Detroit Free Press, Planet Detroit)