Business Writer Jon Zemke has already bought six fixer-upper buildings in Detroit and just can't help but spot more he'd buy if he could. In his ongoing series "The Fix" he takes us to the very best money pits the city has to offer.
Image of the Wellington Apartments via Detroiturbex. Hover and click to enlarge.
If you are an entrepreneur looking for the cheapest price per living unit in this weekend's Wayne County Tax Foreclosure Auction, then 59 Seward, aka the former Seward Hotel, is your budding developer's dream.
The 205-unit apartment building at Seward Street and Woodward Avenue in New Center could go for as little as the $500 minimum bid, bringing the price per unit to as low as $2.44. Buyer be warned, this 10-story behemoth is more handyman special than move-in ready.
When it was built in built in 1909, it was called the Seward Hotel , catering to the longhairs and robber barons of the early 20th Century. Later in life it took on a number of different monikers that all included the word Wellington, including Wellington Place, Plaza, Condominiums and Commons. It went vacant in 2009, with living conditions reportedly far below what they were when it opened a century before.
It's one of a number of striking apartment complexes along Seward between Woodward and the Lodge Freeway, and arguably the biggest. A somewhat recent Loopnet.com real-estate advertisement claims that it holds 84 studios, 79 one-bedroom apartments and 23 two-bedroom apartments. There are also two ground-floor retail spaces that have been sealed off for years and are begging to be made into Cliff Bells-style bars. There are some gawking-worthy photos of the current state of the building's interior on Detroiturbanex.
The Wellington is the quintessential windmill for Detroit's building hugger set. [Ed note: our super-smart contributor has slipped us a Don Quixote reference!] It's huge, scrapped out, has a failing roof and is at the edge of the greater downtown area. At the same time, us Detroit Dons can still dream of saving this gem thanks the new Woodward light rail line, ample adjacent parking and strong Midtown Detroit Inc ready to facilitate development. Interested parties can tilt at this windmill on whydontweownthis.