DETROIT – Mayor Mike Duggan unveiled a plan Tuesday to revitalized the long-abandoned row houses on Porter Street in Southwest Detroit.
The row houses are just around the corner from Western International High School. Students there have had to walk by the abandoned structure for a generation. That’s all about to change as the building gets redeveloped.
The Murray, Suffolk and Victoria buildings have timeliness names. They’re century-old remnants of the Hubbard Farms neighborhood.
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Lifelong resident Frank Apoloni said the neighborhood used to be exclusive.
“They all used to be, like, condos for the rich people,” Apoloni said. “This is where all the rich people used to live.”
With an assist from the city’s strategic neighborhood fund, the Murray Building is now set to become a 12-unit development. Three of the units will be dedicated to affordable housing.
“There’s a lot of people who want to live down here, but the places aren’t ready for them,” Apoloni said.
Developer W. Emery Matthews said he’s working with the neighbors to get the development right.
“I want to be clear: This is not gentrification,” Matthews said. “This is participation. We’re here to ask entry into the community, not to transform it. There is nothing we have to change about Hubbard Farms.”
Duggan said delays are understandable.
“When you’re building VCA, the new Gordie Howe Bridge and Wayne County Jail, the train station and the like,” Duggan said. “So a lot of the smaller projects get slowed down because the construction costs tend to go up.”
“Hopefully in 10 years, this’ll be like a Grosse Pointe or something, you know?” Apoloni said.
There are other factors delaying the project, including the coronavirus (COVID-19) and negotiations with the neighborhood about how it would fit in.