City of Detroit demolishes 10,000th vacant house

The City of Detroit demolished its 10,000th unsalvageable home today under Mayor Mike Duggan’s inaugural term, marking steady progress in the administration’s goal to tear down nearly 20,000 unsafe structures by 2018.

Two homes – nos. 10,000 and 10,001 – on Marlowe Street in the city’s Cerveny neighborhood on the west side came down as neighbors watched. Duggan and members of the Michigan Minority Contractors Association were on hand for the first demolition.

“Every time one of these houses go down, we’ve raised the quality of life in this city,” Duggan says.

Since Duggan took office, the administration has identified 40,000 unsafe structures in need of demolition. The city has been tearing down homes at a rate of 120-150 per week, officials said.

Jason Cole, executive director of the Michigan Minority Contractors Association, says that there are plans to add 1,000 housing units in the city in the immediate future, and eyes 10,000 more units overall. While many units are going up in downtown and Midtown, there are plans to get more housing in other parts of the city, he says.


“If you go over to Santa Clara and Meyers, there’s a new leg of senior housing being built right now,” says Cole, who notes that the rise of contract work has been a boon to Detroit’s black contractors.

But some neighbors on Marlowe Street were concerned about ongoing problems in the area, and what would become of the empty lots where the homes once stood.

“If they’re going to tear something down, don’t just leave a hole. Put something there,” said one neighbor, who lives across the street from the demolished homes.

Kenneth Thatcher, who lives on the same block, says the neighborhood has been plagued by scrappers and illegal dumping. Dumpers use the empty lots in the area for their waste, he says, and he’s had trouble getting police to respond to scrappers that create more blight in the neighborhood.

“(Demolitions) are going to make the neighborhood a little bit better, but there’s going to be more room for people to dump,” Thatcher, who has lived on the block for 15 years, says. “And we need more homeowners in the area. We have a lot of squatters.”

Detroit Land Bank Authority communications director Craig Fahle tells BLAC that although scrapping and squatting is a concern for the city, the priority is to remove unsafe structures that are targets for arson. “We have to get these houses down first,” he says.

Facebook Comments



Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here