This post was authored by Amy Swift.
The Amazeballs Bank-Owned Van Dyke Mansion that was scrapped last month will be on the agenda for the upcoming Historic District Commission meeting, and owner Michael Mallett (who allegedly planned on using the scrapped parts to create some sort of Frankenstein lake house in Port Clinton) is expected to make an appearance.
First off, the meeting will be held Wednesday July 11th at 5:30pm on the 13th floor auditorium of the Coleman Young Municipal Building, but the Van Dyke mansion is the last item on the agenda. If you attended or heard about the last HDC meeting where Hotel Charlevoix* was the last item on the agenda, you'll remember that item was not discussed until about 9pm. So, unless you're interested in the empty-lot-to-parking-lot conversions being discussed (you may be, we are not judging...), it wouldn't hurt to maybe enjoy a happy hour beverage of choice before heading to the meeting — shall we say by at least 8pm? Even though there will be no public comments taken (apparently some overzealous Detroiters have been throwing death threats around), the HDC meetings are historically under attended so showing strength in numbers will speak louder than words. Giant signs couldn't hurt either.
In terms of live-action at an HDC meeting, it does get any more exciting than seeing a notorious character in person. Van Dyke Mansion owner Michael Mallett is expected to appear at the meeting! This is huge, as many crummy owners tend to use delay tactics and hide behind lawyers so as not to show their own faces at these public meetings (AHEM Ralph Sachs). Allegedly, Mallet is some sort of hometown philanthropist-slash-supporter of historic renovation and is hoping to buff out this ding in his reputation. Well Mike, we hope you put your money where your mouth is.
The HDC has two avenues of recourse: a $5,000 max fine OR make Mallett replace the exterior building elements that were removed and any structural issues that resulted. The HDC is also advocating he return the interior elements that were taken as an act of good faith. (Crossing our fingers on that one...)
After the meeting Mallett is allowing an exterior AND interior walk-thru of the home (we're dying to see pics) by an HDC staff rep, the HDC's lawyer, and an HDC-hired structural engineer in order to come up with an action plan. Our source also says Mallett has already hired an architect and a new contractor (no hard feelings T&T Construction) to fix what has been broken.
Although it seems all that boisterous West Village solidarity may end up paying off, we here at Curbed would not be surprised to see one final "flash mob" at the HDC tomorrow. With the mansion making fans far and wide thanks to internet fan-dom (ahem) it could be an interesting turn out. Rumors last month indicate that others had placed offers to buy the building before Mallett's deal went through so it would be especially interesting if some of those folks showed up with something to say.
Should you find yourself impassioned but unable to clear a Wednesday night to have your say on this issue, consider talking to email. Email Susan McBride at the HDC before Wednesday night to tell her how you, concerned citizen, want the HDC to rule.
And of course, be sure to follow this blog for Curbed LIVE UPDATES from the meeting. We'll be pulling a night shift for this special occasion.
*Interesting fact: the scrappers arrest at the Van Dyke was actually on the same night last month as the HDC meeting for the Hotel Charlevoix.
UPDATE: The meeting has been postponed.
· Stop the Stripping of Detroit's Gems [Change.org Petition]
· Van Dyke Mansion Hole: Now With More Gaping Effect [Curbed Detroit]
· Were Scrapped Van Dyke Mansion Parts Intended for Ohio Buyer's Lake House? [Curbed Detroit]
· New Van Dyke Mansion Owner Talks to Freep, Names Former Mansion Owner As His Attorney [Curbed Detroit]
· The Amazeballs Bank-Owned Van Dyke Mansion Scrapped! [Curbed Detroit]