Wednesday, February 19, 2014

'Damn Airport Cafeteria': on the 'revitalization' of Capitol Park

At the precipice of the eviction of the tenants of 1217 Griswold, current residents Gustav Brovold and Andrew Roberts share some thoughts about gentrification in Detroit:
Another layer of sorrow is that when we are gone, Dan Gilbert plans to turn this building and the entire Capitol Park area into a “new arts district,” so that the trophy wives of Bloomfield Hills computer industry moguls can make friggin clay cups on pottery wheels every other weekend. 
The irony is unbearable; kick people like us out to make room for people "like us." 
Our greatest fear is the complete sterilization of downtown Detroit; that this city should be so overrun by monied interests with so little sense of the true soul of this place, that every existing institution that reflects the singular character of Detroit will be replaced by some McRetail franchise, and our great city ends up looking like a damn airport cafeteria.
Presumably Bedrock Real Estate, the building manager as of last fall, is bringing the building up to code. When 1217 reopens for tenants, it seems likely that the rent will be as reasonably priced and as reflective of the average city resident's income and needs as groceries in Midtown. In a city whose population is forty percent what it was at its peak, you'd think there would be plenty of room for developers alongside the people who already live here. You'd think there would be a more elegant way to integrate new residences into preexisting neighborhoods without displacing all of the preexisting neighbors. You'd think there would be a way to address building code infractions that doesn't involve issuing eviction notices one month before move-out date.

You would be wrong.

At least the seniors across the street got a full year before their Section 8 homes will start morphing into "market-rate apartments." ("Market-rate apartments" are the new "craft cocktails": you're probably paying too much, and they probably skimped on the good stuff. Except now, someone lost their home.)

On an unrelated note, let's talk about the guy on the left in the third photo in Brovold and Roberts' article. Look familiar? I would recognize that coat anywhere.

No comments:

Post a Comment