This post was authored by Paul Beshouri.
Been looking to buy some Mies Van Der Rohe-designed architecture? How about two whole identical towers? The foreclosed Lafayette Towers and their 584 total apartments will be sold to the highest bidder on July 18th. With that announcement, the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) also released a document titled “Invitation to Bid,” an 80-page monster that lays out exactly what you’re agreeing to when you drop your name in the hat to bid.
And whoa! "Winning" the bid comes with over $10 million in HUD-required repairs that must be completed within 18 months of purchase. In fact, all of the terms are remarkably good news for the no-luck Lafayette Towers and their residents.
First and foremost, the Lafayette Towers are in worse shape than we thought. The HUD estimates the total cost of repairs at $10,097,714, and they back that estimate up with an impressively specific list of exactly where your millions would go. Listed issues range from hilariously tiny fixes (units 1301-1402 need new peepholes) to the unimaginable task of replacing every single bathtub. (Where is the used bathtub graveyard that is going to take this call?)
But the HUD does not trust you, new buyer. Not one bit. So you’ll be required to deposit just over $2.5 million in an escrow account that can be tapped to complete repairs on which you are slacking. How will they know if you’re slacking? You’ll be sending them quarterly progress reports detailing all of your work, pictures included.
Will a buyer/hero emerge to bring the Lafayette Towers back to their glory days? Until one does, it’s a relief to know that the HUD isn’t interested in any cheap fixes. Detroit’s prized architecture deserves an owner/operator that will treat it well. Here's hoping we learned something from the Northern Group's design crimes.
If you’re a resident, definitely check out this list firsthand. There are some things you’ll want to know about pronto. The chipping black paint on the parking garage rails, for example, contains lead.
· Mies Detroit [Facebook Page]
· Mies Detroit [Official]
· Lafayette Towers info on HUD [HUD]
· Mies You Much [Supergay Detroit]
· The Official Lafayette Towers Foreclosure Notice To Residents [Curbed Detroit]