{ font: $(body.font); color: $(body.text.color); background: $(body.background); padding: opx; $(body.background.override) } expr:class='"loading" + data:blog.mobileClass'>

Sunday, September 29, 2013

Skeleton City - Detroit


A few years ago, you could find incentives to obtain a free house, and the City of Detroit would pay you a good chunk of change to take one of these abandoned houses. In circa 2009, there were around 100 houses that were up for grabs, but apparently, dangling this free house carrot did not seem work. You can see photos of all the abandoned houses (at that time)here.

The article I read, said: " Mayor Dave Bing is trying to save Detroit by offering incentives to lure residents back to abandoned neighborhoods.

One program offers $150,000 in housing renovation money and requiring only $1,000 down to police officers who are willing to relocate to the city. Another offers college graduates $2,500 to rent and $20,000 forgivable loan to buy properties.

Potential home buyers can choose from plenty of cheap or free homes, especially in the blighted neighborhoods of Woodward Ave. and Brush Park." - Kamelia Angelova

Abandoned Detroit 1
Abandoned Detroit 2
Abandoned Detroit 3

"Scrappers" are warned by signs through out various neighborhoods to "Stay away.  Scrappers will be shot."  But apparently, the temptation was to great, as seen in some of these photos.  "Signs like these are a common sight in neighborhoods all across Detroit, where more than 78,000 homes sit abandoned and falling apart. Now, the Motor City is getting a $52 million boost to fight the blight with wrecking balls and dump trucks under a plan to demolish more than 4,000 vacant homes across the city." - Fox News

These empty houses are like "magnets for squatters, scrappers, and criminals," says resident Robert Couch.
Abandoned Detroit 4

Abandoned Detroit 5

Now, the Motor City is getting a $52 million boost to fight the blight with wrecking balls and dump trucks under a plan to demolish more than 4,000 vacant homes across the city.

“By eliminating the blight in a neighborhood, we increase the property values, give the folks an incentive to stay in their homes, and therefore maybe they won’t get into a foreclosure problem,” explains Scott Woosley, executive director of the Michigan State Housing Development Authority.

With $100 million in federal funding from Troubled Asset Relief Program’s Hardest Hit Fund, officials are hoping the massive demolition project will reduce foreclosures and stabilize neighborhoods in five of Michigan’s largest cities.

Abandoned and blighted homes lead to an increase in crime, depressed home values for surrounding properties, and strain community resources, according to Woosley. For instance, he says, 60 percent of Detroit’s roughly 12,000 fires each year occur in abandoned properties.

“By taking those down, we’re taking that out of the equation," Woosley said. "The fire department doesn’t have to show up, they don’t have to expend the funds to put out the fires, and that’s a big plus, a big positive for the city. That’s a cost they don’t have to incur.”
Abandoned Detroit 6
Abandoned Detroit 7
Abandoned Detroit 8
Abandoned Detroit 9

The Motor City’s recent financial woes are no secret. The city is currently going through bankruptcy court to deal with the nearly $20 billion it owes to creditors. 

The new blight removal program the largest in state history, and the first of its kind in the nation, according to Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder.

With so many abandoned homes across Detroit though, this pilot program’s projected goal of demolishing over 4,000 properties is just a small drop in the bucket. Officials estimate it would cost around $600 million to eliminate all of the blight throughout the city. 

But if this initiative works as well as expected, Woosley says the state will be able to ask for more funding to expand its efforts.

“We think we’re going to be able to transform those neighborhoods, tip them in the direction of increasing property values, decrease in crime rates, and just make it entirely better for the neighborhood.”  - Fox News
Abandoned Detroit 10
Abandoned Detroit 11
Abandoned Detroit 12
Abandoned Detroit 13

According to a online forum that I read, some of the issues that deterred any potential buyers from purchase, was the fact that many were built from the 1930's through post WWII, and asbestos was commonly used during construction.  You shouldn't just bull doze these homes due to the air born ramifications, the asbestos would have to be properly removed.  

Secondly, the housing contain antiquated knob and tube wiring, and old cast plumbing - expensive to replace.  

Third, is the general state of these buildings are beyond repair.  Most have been vandalized, stripped, burnt or otherwise destroyed - so liability would be an issue for anyone considering the task of renovation.  

Finally, Ye Olde Taxes.  Who would want to pay taxes on any of these properties?  It is very sad, but demolition makes the most sense....Strip the flesh and bones - begin anew.