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Buyers Begin Snapping Up Chinatown's Wrecked Buildings

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Is there a better name for a bar in the Cass Corridor than Stream in the Desert? Unfortunately, the name alone didn't save the stream from drying up years ago. Today, Stream in the Desert has been reduced to a curious-looking sign atop a building painted the color of chocolate pudding. But it's also something more. According to the MLS, the property is the only active listing in the former Chinatown neighborhood, where rundown commercial properties were once plentiful. What's in store for these old buildings?

Asking $375K, Stream in the Desert is very much overpriced. Built in the 1940s, its cement block walls are pretty much indestructible. The leaky roof, however, is not. We're told that the interior has been lost to the elements.


Regardless, it's likely to sell for a respectable price. Caught between booming Midtown and the site of the new Red Wings arena, Chinatown's rundown buildings are attracting an unfamiliar level of interest from potential buyers.
Two buildings on at Cass and Peterboro (including the former Chung's Restaurant) sold in February after languishing for years on the market. Just across the street from Stream in the Desert, an 8,000-square-foot warehouse took 18 months to sell. It fetched $275K in April.


Kitty-corner to Stream in the Desert, two ruined houses dating back to 1880 enjoyed an entire 8 days on the market before going under contract in March. The asking price was $200K.


And those are just the properties we can verify. Others have simply disappeared from the MLS after long stints on the market, potentially bought up by a big buyer keeping a low profile. Chinatown's redevelopment isn't very obvious yet, but all signs point to plenty of activity simmering just below the surface.
· Listing: 2952 Cass Ave [Zillow]
· SOLD! Chinatown Finds Buyers, Begins Major Transformation [Curbed]