Starting a "Detroit building" collection in an attempt to rival Dan Gilbert's? You could add a rare matching set: Lafayette Towers, the Detroit apartment complex designed by famed architect Mies Van Der Rohe and on the National Registry of Historic Places, is in need of a developer.
The foreclosed buildings are cleared to be purchased by the city from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, and the deal is expected to go through in November, according the Detroit Economic Growth Corporation. The city plans to resell the buildings, though the lengthy request for proposals issued by the DEGC and strict requirements means developers won't be hopping on without some deliberation.
While the minimum bid of $5,849,330 may seem like a steal (to those with very deep pockets), the estimated $10 million of repairs, including replacing bathtubs and installing peepholes, raises the stakes. Developers can expect HUD to hover, expecting progress reports with photographs, a large deposit and all repairs to be completed in 18 months.
DEGC President and CEO George W. Jackson, Jr. is urging developers to act fast on this hot deal. "It's a great opportunity for a developer that recognizes the momentum we have in Detroit and can move quickly," he said in a release.
To get a sense of the building's potential from a more personal perspective, head to Design Observer. Earlier this year they photographed Lafayette Towers residents and talked to them about their apartments:
Still, the windows provide a unique perspective on Detroit. North and east, the view extends for miles across a flat urban landscape — you can see smoke rising from the country’s largest incinerator two miles to the north; the four vacant Brewster housing project buildings where many Black Bottom residents moved after they lost their homes; the streets awkwardly re-organized around the freeways cutting through downtown. One resident said she preferred the north view at night when she didn’t have to see the abandoned buildings, and would prefer a view across the river, but artist and former resident Kevin Beasley said looking north gave him a sense of potential: "you get to really see the city for what it is."
The Detroit Economic Growth Corporation is accepting proposals for the buildings, each 22 stories with a total of 584 units, until Oct. 24, with a pre-submittal meeting on Oct. 10.
Below, see what Detroiters believe is the best and worst design in the city and add your own picks. Naturally, Lafayette Towers has already gotten a nod.
Flickr photo by Femme Facetious.