Free Press reporter John Gallagher has penned an article in which the Wayne County auction of foreclosed properties is called "a mistake." The argument comes from planners that work for the Detroit Works Project, Mayor Bing's city planning initiative. They claim that, "purchasers are often speculators less interested in creating a unified vision for dealing with vacant Detroit land... In the past, some parcels auctioned by the county saw no improvements and did nothing to help the city." Said planners also point out the fun fact that if you mashed all the vacant land into one super land blob, that it would be the size of Paris. The Detroit Works Project believes that of the roughly 150,000 vacant parcels in Detroit, about 65,000 are owned by city entities.
The Detroit Works team members would like to see the annual auction restrict who can buy; they want the city to cut out the land speculators and buyers that have code violations on what they already own. But the Wayne county deputy treasurer, David Szymanski, goes as far as saying that, "Doing away with the auctions is a great idea." Could this fall be the end of an era for the great Detroit foreclosure land dump? Who knows. In any case, the current round started Friday and ends Thursday. In October, the properties that did not sell in this round will be auctioned off again, this time with starting bids of $500.