We've told you before that the buyer of the Van Dyke Mansion who ordered it scrapped would face local Detroiters and be asked to explain himself. And we were wrong the first time. But here's hoping that tonight the Historic District Commission goes ahead and holds the meeting that was originally supposed to be July 11. At this point in the day, the "architectural elements that were removed without HDC approval" at Van Dyke Street is the last item on the agenda but that is subject to change. In any case, we're planning a LIVE update blog post for the meeting tonight, so grab a cocktail and plan to follow along as this thing goes down.
Here's a recap of all the action over the last few months which you need to know for following tonight's LIVE blog action.
1. We first covered this mansion at 649 Van Dyke St in February when we noticed it listed as a foreclosure for a mere $145,000. While it needed a ton of work, that was a jaw-dropping price for the home built in 1901 with the fortune of the W.M. Finck company. Here's our gallery of the interior decadence.
2. On May 2 the mansion sells for $115,000 cash to a buyer in Ohio. Later, the Freep tracks said buyer down at the house. His name is Michael Mallett and his local paper, The Courier, has talked up his love of historic buildings in a work of puff-piece journalism. He made his money from a company that "evaluates the service of retailers and restaurants."
3. On Wednesday June 13, residents of the West Village learn of a scrapping nightmare! Employees of T&T construction in Ohio are seen taking limestone off the facade (alterations to homes in this historic district require permission from the Historic District Commission). They are also reasonably certain no one pulled permits for work on the house. The cops are called and two employees of T&T go to jail for the night.
4. Michael Mallett comes forward as the buyer and tries to explain that his crew was just "fixing leaks" but it seems changes to the house were extensive and that parts were lined up to be carted away to a new location. Local architects call "total bullshit" on the fixing leaks argument and we learn that at least one other person tried to buy the home but could not get a response from the real estate agent which suggests a shady deal. We learn that Mallet was building a lake house at 3540 N. Surfside in Port Clinton. We suspect he bought he Van Dyke Mansion so that he could scrap it for parts to be installed in the Lake Erie home.
5. Now in serious trouble, Mike Mallett decides to appear before the next Historic District Commission himself. Which is a bold move because most people in his position send their minions or lawyers. We get excited for the showdown, though we note that this meeting is not open for public comment, and caution you all not to show up for screaming.
6. The meeting gets moved and rescheduled for tonight and we hope that in the time that has passed, no one has talked Mallett out of showing up, though we cannot say we'd be surprised.
7. Curbed Detroit staff members plan a live blog for the HDC hearing which you can follow tonight. Here's a previous post on what to expect. The meeting starts at 5:30 but since the Van Dyke is last on the agenda you should not expect any live updated from us before 6:30. But when we start we'll be going fast a furious so cancel your night or at least stick near some wifi.
· 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]