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The Cass-Henry Historic District is now official

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August 2017
Photo by Michelle & Chris Gerard

Score one for the historic preservationists.

After a nearly year-long battle, the City Council voted to approve the designation of the Cass-Henry Historic District. This is one of the few in-tact blocks of historic apartment buildings left in Cass Corridor.

The new district includes the Hotel Ansonia and the Atlanta Apartments, which were threatened with demo last summer. It also includes Bretton Hall, the Henry, Berwin Apartments, Claridge Apartments, and 447 Henry Street.

Most of the buildings, including the Hotel Ansonia and Atlanta Apartments, are owned by the Ilitch family’s Olympia Development. Two of the buildings are currently occupied. This designation makes it more difficult for Olympia to demolish the buildings. The group has demoed many buildings in the area in favor of surface parking lots.

The occupied buildings house low-income apartments. The Detroit Free Press reports that there was concern over a historic designation stifling development in the area, but also that there wasn’t a plan for replacing the affordable housing in the two apartment buildings.

The empty buildings in the district have been exposed to the elements for years, but in the last week, Olympia has at least started to board them up.

What would you like to see happen with these buildings? Given that we know how long it takes Olympia to renovate a building, could someone possibly persuade them to sell?