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November 15, 2012
Max Ortiz photo

The media stands outside the Frederick Douglass Homes housing project on Thursday, Nov. 15, 2012 in Detroit. Detroit Mayor Dave Bing announced the demolition of the Frederick Douglass Homes housing project on Thursday. Bing says police and firefighters frequently respond to reports of crime and arson in the complex, and that demolishing it will allow scant city emergency resources to be deployed elsewhere. He said that the yearlong demolition and cleanup will be paid for by a $6.5 million federal Housing and Urban Development grant. The city has no set plans for redevelopment of the complex known as the Brewster projects, where a young Diana Ross and the Supremes spent some of their pre-Motown years. Past proposals have included a mix of new homes and retail establishments.

Paul Sancya photo

Part of the Brewster-Douglass housing project site is shown in Detroit, Friday, March 18, 2011. If Detroit Housing Commission director Eugene Jones had his way the “for sale” sign he’d post off Interstates 75 and 375 would read: “14 acres of prime real estate between the city’s resurgent downtown and promising Midtown. A steal at $9 million. Will accept reasonable offer.” Real offers have been few. One arts group proposal to hang junked cars from windows in one the Brewster-Douglass housing project’s empty 14-story towers was declined. Unlike cities like Chicago, where the last building in notorious Cabrini-Green public housing complex was razed within months of the final family moving out, Brewster-Douglass has been empty for two years and none of the 20 brick buildings has been torn down. Neither the city nor Jones’ commission has the money to demolish the complex which is beginning to rival the long-empty, 17-story Michigan Central Depot as another symbol of Detroit’s decay.

Paul Sancya photo

Part of the Brewster-Douglass housing project site is shown in Detroit, Friday, March 18, 2011. If Detroit Housing Commission director Eugene Jones had his way the “for sale” sign he’d post off Interstates 75 and 375 would read: “14 acres of prime real estate between the city’s resurgent downtown and promising Midtown. A steal at $9 million. Will accept reasonable offer.” Real offers have been few. One arts group proposal to hang junked cars from windows in one the Brewster-Douglass housing project’s empty 14-story towers was declined. Unlike cities like Chicago, where the last building in notorious Cabrini-Green public housing complex was razed within months of the final family moving out, Brewster-Douglass has been empty for two years and none of the 20 brick buildings has been torn down. Neither the city nor Jones’ commission has the money to demolish the complex which is beginning to rival the long-empty, 17-story Michigan Central Depot as another symbol of Detroit’s decay.