building slowly?

or not at all???

if you spend any significant amount of time in Midtown, you’ll notice that there are over a dozen buildings with signs on them indicating that lofts will be “coming soon”… you’ll see them in every part of the Midtown from Willy’s Overland in the North Cass Area, to the Park Shelton in the Cultural Center, to various projects in Brush Park, to the Eddystone in the Corridor, and even the Ellington, smack dab in the middle of it all… in addition, there’s lots of stuff going on Downtown and in New Center as well… at first, all this building and development was really exciting to see, but lately it’s left me wondering…

when i head to the ‘burbs to shop (something that’s getting a little annoying) i notice that places like Royal Oak, Ferndale and other areas across the metro area also have new loft developments going up… i got no beef with that, lofts are trendy and “in” right now… but what gets me is how quickly they’re going up… not that that’s a bad thing, but what’s troubling is how slowly things are going up here in the D… we moved into our Midtown loft back in September, but it’s almost as if barely any progress has been made on most of the developments in the D… i know that developers usually fib about the time tables they give, but it’s getting bad… across the street from our place, the developers have a sign up saying that new lofts will be up in the Spring of 2006… well, it’s practically summer now and all we have across the street is a nasty old-looking abandoned building… not our ideal view… in addition, i’ve spent some time online looking to see what’s selling and what’s being sold… it isn’t very encouraging… on the otherhand, i have noticed a lot going on in Brush Park, so that’s definitely a good thing…

so what’s the deal??? the D’s reputation precedes it (various projects leading to nothing), but i’m trying to get past that… hopefully these developments will come through, but the lack of visible progress is a bit discouraging…

19 Comments so far

  1. Tom (unregistered) on June 12th, 2006 @ 4:10 pm

    Well, I think it’s kind of a chicken or the egg kind of deal.

    1 Lofts are in high demand by mostly young professionals.
    2 Young professionals want to live somewhere trendy with lofts, bars, and high paying jobs.
    3 Detroit has the loft inventory but not so many high paying jobs.
    4 Cities like Southfield and Troy have many high paying professional jobs.
    5 Cities like Royal Oak and Ferndale fufill the demand since they are closer.

    Personally, I can’t afford a loft. I have a semi-nice apartment in midtown. I went loft shopping when I was looking for a place to live and the prices were too high, and the real estate market scares me right now. Lofts in Detroit are still overpriced, in my opinion, especially when you account for taxes and insurance.

  2. max (unregistered) on June 12th, 2006 @ 4:46 pm

    i’ve been curious for a while about who’s moving downtown and at what rate when i read and hear so much about the rate at which people are “fleeing” the city. it looks like more new housing is popping up just as quick as people are leaving which would mean that in about two years the city will be full of brand new houses but no citizens.

  3. Johnny (unregistered) on June 12th, 2006 @ 6:14 pm

    My cousin is/will be sup at the Shelton hotels (he gets that penthouse as his office). Their finish date hasn’t moved much since last year. They run into unexpected problems when restoring a building. Especially when the building will be made from apartments into condos.

    I think some of the slow down is that these housing projects are hoping to sign people up now. If you’re halfway through the development and no one is interested, it may be a safe bet to pull out.

    Hopefully some new businesses will entice people into living downtown, but until then, these developments are too expensive for the average Detroiter.

    *Oh and as a quick inside tip, Shelton plans on building additional condos atop of the attached parking structure. They must have a decent amount of interested buyers, to plan an expansion.

  4. Tom (unregistered) on June 12th, 2006 @ 6:17 pm

    People are fleeing from almost every neighborhood in Detroit. The ones places really thriving are the very upscale neighborhoods and downtown/midtown. The rest of the neighborhoods are falling apart as many of Detroit’s residents flee to the “inner-ring” suburbs recently that were recently vacated when the homeowners got a Rock Financial loan and 300k house in Shelby Township.

    Places like Southfield, Warren, Eastpointe, Livonia, Redford, Oak Park, etc.

    If you don’t believe me, get on Gratiot downtown and take it all the way out to 26 mile. You’ll see everything.

  5. max (unregistered) on June 13th, 2006 @ 1:20 pm

    Tom, i fully believe what you’ve said. i live in the East English Village area of Detroit (literally just a few houses away from the Grosse Pointe border) and own a retail store in Warren. i see the spread very clearly and what was, a long time ago called the “white flight” from the city is now the “everybody flight” but, again, i don’t hear much about the reversal of that. the people i know that have moved downtown all seem to be younger groups of people pitching in and renting older loft space and not couples/families thinking long term and/or upscale.

  6. Tom (unregistered) on June 13th, 2006 @ 2:25 pm

    I have a feeling this trend is going to stop very soon and there will be a growth in the lower-income neighborhoods when the following happens.

    Raising interest rates, drastically increasing foreclosure rates, lots of people on interest-only mortgages (who can’t pay their bills) are slowly bucking this exurban trend.

  7. Johnny (unregistered) on June 13th, 2006 @ 3:44 pm

    One of the biggest problems haunting detroit housing is the taxes. No one wants to pay more taxes on a smaller house/loft/etc.

  8. baliad (unregistered) on June 13th, 2006 @ 9:17 pm

    i don’t pay high taxes on my Midtown loft… in fact, pretty much everyone i know who lives in the ‘burbs pays higher taxes than myself… i don’t even pay half of what they’re paying… we were planning on moving into the Park Shelton and their taxes were also very low… it’s the whole NEZ/Renaissance zone thing… if you’re in one of those spots, the taxes are ridiculously low… several of the loft developments i’ve seen advertise their NEZ/Reneaissance designations to bring people in…

    whether NEZ/Renaissance zones are effective or detrimental remains to be seen…

  9. Tom (unregistered) on June 14th, 2006 @ 7:06 am

    Taxes are insane for renters. 2.5% of my income goes to the CoD. THere are very few suburbs that extract that kind of income tax.

  10. baliad (unregistered) on June 14th, 2006 @ 8:32 am

    i didn’t realize that taxes were so high for renters… that really sucks… i don’t deny that taxes are an issue for anyone considering moving here… if you’re not in a NEZ/Renaissance zone, taxes are really high, renting or buying…

    so what is it then that causes people like us to love the city enough to move here and deal with all the setbacks??? it’s like some sort of dysfunctional relationship……

  11. Tom (unregistered) on June 14th, 2006 @ 1:08 pm

    Living in the city is cool, new and exciting. It’s also a major hassle. I tell my friends that living downtown is living in the middle of everything – but near nothing. I have to drive out to Southfield to go shopping for clothes, etc. I pay insane taxes and I’m afraid of insurance rates. I have bums approach me when I go jogging. Everything that doesn’t serve booze closes at 9pm. The city is dirty and grass never gets cut. The political situation is a train wreck, to say the least. The cops probably won’t show up if I call 911.

    Livin in Detroit ain’t all roses (like some people) make it sound, but living in Detroit is fun. You’re nearby lots of cool and unique things and people.

    Honestly, once my lease is up, I’ll probably move out of the city proper to an inner-ring suburb on the west side of town or downriver. I don’t make a whole lot of money, I work crazy hours for an IT small business, I’ve got tons of student loan debt, and I am a long-term renter. Detroit does not like people like me. The tax structure favors upper-middle class people and very low income people who own property. It’s your average working “Joe” that get screwed here, no wonder all the small industrial firms packed up and left for the ‘burbs – the city still operates like we all work for Packard Motor Company…

  12. baliad (unregistered) on June 14th, 2006 @ 2:00 pm

    i agree with pretty much everything you said Tom… i can totally relate to “in the middle of everything, but near nothing”… my wife and i would love to stay in the Downtown/Midtown area but would need a bigger place if we want to start having kids… if we were to get a bigger place (2-3 bed, 2 baths loft/condo) that would start at around 250K… i could get a lot more house and land for that amount out in the ‘burbs (not to mention more convenience, cleanliness and safety)… still, if we could find a place that we liked and could afford in Downtown/Midtown, we’d do it in a heartbeat…

  13. tjh (unregistered) on June 14th, 2006 @ 2:12 pm

    I think it’s pretty interesting that I live in the same city as Tom et al, and yet my experience has been different. It’s a very diverse and divergent 138 square miles I guess. My neighborhood is not particularly pristine or manicured, but is far from a dirty “concrete jungle.” There are restaurants (family type places, not bars) that stay open til 11 and some til 3 or 4. As for the grass, DRD has been cutting our median regularly since spring, and last week the vacant lot my roomate called about was mowed within two days- and it’s not even city-owned. Police and EMS are all over, although we’re very close to the district office. Yes, for chain stores etc. we do have to go to Dearborn, but it’s close, and groceries, basics, and services are all here. And, for the money, our apartment is huge.

  14. baliad (unregistered) on June 14th, 2006 @ 2:33 pm

    where do you live TJH??? the D is quite diverse i know that much…

  15. Tom (unregistered) on June 14th, 2006 @ 2:42 pm

    I didn’t mean to dog on the city so much. I mean, I’m really fond of my apartment and the neighborhood and the city itself.

    I just get so discouraged at the political and financial situation of the city, the sickening apathy of so many residents, the poverty and drug problems, and the insane red-lining and taxes.

  16. tomo (unregistered) on June 14th, 2006 @ 9:28 pm

    I too feel that the developments are progressing so slowly that from day-to-day and even week-to-week it seems like they’re stalled. On the other hand, looking back a few months, for many of them it’s clear that progress has been made. It’s most noticeable with the completely new construction, like the Ellington and the Park Shelton’s parking structure.

    In the burbs, there’s just a few loft developments, also mostly new construction. I think those are also factors in why they seem to happen quicker.

    But I bet if interest picked up, like people moving into the existing places, then the pace would speed up on other developments around town.

    Also, one neighborhood that’s not upscale at all yet is thriving is Southwest Detroit.

    Re: Taxes, they can be high when not taking NEZ into account but also you can often get either more house for the money (perhaps less yard), or you can get things that aren’t available much at all outside the city, like lofts and historic homes. Sometimes higher property taxes are offset by a lower value on a similarly-sized home.

  17. baliad (unregistered) on June 15th, 2006 @ 8:11 am

    i did notice last night that there have been a lot of people clammering around inside of the 55 W. Canfield Lofts… also, there’s a big ‘ol crane inside the Willy’s Overland Lofts now… and i don’t want to overlook the fact that the Park Shelton has finally finished it’s parking structure…

  18. max (unregistered) on June 15th, 2006 @ 1:13 pm

    friends are forever giving me grief about paying the city tax for the “priviledge” of living within the limits then when my house got broken into and the 911 showed up about two hours later i really did feel like a chump. i can honestly say that i don’t think i get anything at all for the amount of tax i pay. i used to justify it in my head but all the thing on the list have been slowly scratched off…slow (if any) police response, no bulk trash, high crime, tall grass in vacant lots, etc…maybe i am a dumb ass for living here…what the hell, i’m gonna move to Macomb Twp like everyone else!

  19. T.S(fishman) (unregistered) on July 3rd, 2006 @ 12:02 am

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