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With Mies van der Rohe Units, Sometimes More is More Lafayette Park Courtyard Co-op Asks a Whopping $500K

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Mies van der Rohe famously left his mark on Detroit with Lafayette Towers. The German architect's work in urban planning and mixed-income spaces still shines in the city, though recent efforts at the towers—new decals, weird messages in the laundry room—put a minor black eye on that. Today, the other end of the wealth spectrum knocked on Mies' door with this Nicolet Place co-op unit. The ask price for the Mies-designed co-op comes in at $499K. While smaller (far more polished) co-ops in this community have pushed the upper $200K limit, we're wondering: is $500K too much for the park?

The 3-bedroom, 3-bath unit offers over 2000 square feet of living space, not to mention a basement. The home has characteristic large windows, In fact, the huge living room has a wall of large-paned windows, simply framed to highlight the view of trees and the garden. The original interior in one bath seems charming, almost like a time capsule, except for the ugly new countertop (complete with home store sticker) someone slapped on the vanity. The improvements here seem similarly quick and poorly conceived: the brand-new kitchen puts hundreds of square feet of white country-French looking cabinetry and granite into a Mies unit. More here is way, way too much, though the effect is opulent, and it makes good use of the galley layout.

The remodeled bath is utterly tone deaf to the unit's history and character, with a green glass vessel sink and stone tile. It's just too much when less would certainly have been more. The other spaces here look like the place hasn't been occupied since the 1990s: wood paneling, cubic hectare of oatmeal shag, and white metal ceiling fans. The massive basement is a great craft space of even a real artist's studio. There's a ton of built-in storage that suggests this as a past use.

This unit needs work. It needs new flooring, and the kind of person who pays nearly half a million dollars to live in a Mies van der Rohe-designed space might even want to redo the redone parts—even though they were obviously expensive—because they relate so poorly to the architect's famously spare aesthetic.

The HOA fee is $1194 a month, but this includes the master mortgage and upkeep of the grounds. At $244 a square foot, this is one of the most expensive properties in the city. In perfect MCM-for-2015 condition, $499K seems possible, especially considering that 3-bedrooms in this community are seldom available. In its current condition, we're wondering what the offers will be like. And while 3-bedrooms with that much space are rare, we saw one just weeks ago (June) in the same complex. In nearly perfect condition, that 3-bedroom, 1.5 bath unit listed for $249K.

·1327 Nicolet Pl [Zillow]
·3-Bedroom, 1.5 Bath Mies Van Der Rohe Townhouse, $249K [Curbed Detroit]
·Residents Slam Towers' New Sticker-Based Decor [Curbed Detroit]