Van Dyke Place, the victim of a ruthless scrap attack during the summer, has found a very unexpected savior: Broderick Tower developer Michael Higgins! Higgins told the Free Press that he purchased the mansion out of concern for the historic property, and he regrets not buying it before all the scrapping drama and destruction. Higgins plans on giving Van Dyke Place a complete restoration.
Higgins bought the house from Michael Mallett, the Ohio native accused of sending workers to strip the building of some architectural features, despite it being in a nationally recognized historic district. Fortunately, West Village's diligent residents lead to police arresting the workers, but the damage had been done: A large chunk of the house's limestone facade was gone. It would later become clear that many details, including mouldings, doors, and bricks had been destroyed or went missing during the work.
Higgins backs up Mallett's claim that the destruction was merely an attempt at repairing water damage, but Mallet has been unable to provide any proof that water damage had anything to do with selectively removing the building's architectural details. He was fined $3,500 by the HDC and ordered to make things right by repairing all that he had done.
The saga of Van Dyke Place is still far from a "happily-ever-after" sort of ending — Mallett's efforts caused much permanent damage — but this is inarguably a very solid start. It's unclear if Mallet ever started making the required repairs, or how long the restoration might take. We'll keep you updated as the renovations progress, but in the meantime, check out the photos we took of the mansion last February, before the damage.
UPDATE: Michael Higgins did not back Michael Mallett's claims that water damage necessitated the removal of the house's facade. We apologize for any confusion.
· Scrapping Mansion Owner Expected To Face Detroit Tonight [Curbed Detroit]
· Scrapping Mansion Buyer Expected At Public Hearing Tomorrow [Curbed Detroit]
· The Amazeballs Bank-Owned Van Dyke Mansion Scrapped! [Curbed Detroit]
· Van Dyke Place Mansion: (Decaying) Interior Decadence [Curbed Detroit]
· Amazeballs Bank-Owned Mansion For Jaw-Dropping Price [Curbed Detroit]
· Van Dyke Place in Detroit's West Village to be restored, new owner says [Freep]