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The New Brush Park: Detroit Takes Steps to Rebuild its Lost Neighborhood

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The tipping point may have arrived for Brush Park, Detroit's notoriously beautiful ghost of a neighborhood. The City of Detroit is offering up nearly 9 acres of city-owned property in the heart of Brush Park, asking developers to submit plans/bids for medium-density residential development with a "historic architectural theme." Simply put, the goal is to rebuild part of what used to be the city's most glamorous neighborhood.

The City of Detroit combined these properties into three separate parcels—one large, one small, and one is just a single house:

Parcel A: [Boundaries: Edmund, Brush, Adelaide, and John R]
At 7.5 acres, Parcel A is the biggest (and most interesting) piece of the pie. It comes with 36 vacant lots and four crumbling mansions on Alfred Street. Thankfully, the city is requiring developers to save those structures.

Parcel B: [Boundaries: Alfred, Beaubien, Division, Brush]
This is smaller piece, made up of 7 empty lots totaling 0.90 acres.

Parcel C: [312 Watson]
This house just can't avoid the limelight. Already a local favorite for its charming loneliness, 312 Watson had a cameo in Low Winter Sun before becoming the mascot for last year's tax auction. The City of Detroit stepped in pre-auction, buying this house along with just about every Brush Park property available. It was built in 1894.


We're still trying to wade through several documents of details for hints at what new development might look like. Here's what we know so far.
· Medium Density: The project asks for medium-density residential development, which means 15-35 housing units per acre. Townhouses are the obvious way to go, but there's plenty of wiggle room.
· Mixed-Use: The RFP calls for residential development, but the city's overall plan for Brush Park emphasizes mixed-used development. Expect more than just housing to enter the conversation.
· Historic: According to the Free Press, designs need a "historic architectural theme." It's unclear if there are specific standards, but the plans will need the approval of the Historic District Commission before moving forward.

We should have some finalists by late February.

· Detroit's historic Brush Park may finally see a revival [Freep]
· Brush Park RFP [City of Detroit]