As mentioned this morning, thanks to a $6.5 million grant from HUD, the Brewster-Douglass housing projects will be demolished near the end of 2013. At 18.5 total acres, Brewster-Douglass includes the windowless towers visible from I-75, as well as an assortment of low-rise apartments and townhouses.
Grant money from the feds isn't exactly big news (Detroit already managed to secure more than it could easily spend), so when Mayor Bing scheduled a "major announcement" at the projects this morning, we were expecting to hear what kind of new development might be around the corner. A new Target Superstore? Maybe a parking lot? We had our money on parking lot.
"We don't have a plan at this point," said Bing.
What a tease.
Still, this is good news for Detroit. The demolition will eliminate the hotbed of crime that the abandoned buildings have become known for. According to the city's press release, clearing the space will also aid in linking Downtown and Midtown via the Dequindre Cut. The Bing administration has been courting potential developers for some time now. According to the mayor, several have already submitted recommendations for the redevelopment of the site.
Some have worried that after demolition, the historic role played by the Brewster-Douglass Projects will be forgotten. Built between 1930 and 1955, the projects were the country's first federally funded housing constructed specifically for African Americans. Brewster-Douglass was also the childhood home of Motown legend Diana Ross. The projects declined over the years as residents left for the suburbs, with the last residents being relocated in 2008.
"I don't think we can hang on to history," said Mayor Bing. "We've got to think about now and our future."
· Brewster-Douglass Projects To Be Torn Down By City [Curbed Detroit]