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Large, suburban-style home development on the marina finally finishes

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But who exactly is buying these “McMansions” that start at $799,000?

A row of plain-looking homes along a canal that leads to a bigger river.
Homes at Morgan Waterfront Estates.
Photos by Heather Guzik

Morgan Waterfront Estates has taken a long time to complete. The project to build big suburban-style homes along Detroit’s marina began in 2007. But the Great Recession and a challenged home market forced developer Jerome Morgan to pause it in 2012.

After 12 years, all the homes in this phase have been built. There are now 43 stand alone homes and 40 condominiums.

The homes are all pretty consistent in theme. They follow a few basic floor plans with two to three styles of brick, and come with granite countertops, a large mezzanine that overlooks a living room, carpeted second floors, and more. Most are between 3,500 to 5,500 square feet. But there is one absolutely massive, six-bedroom, 9,902-square-foot mansion (that comes with an elevator!) listed for $2.49 million.

The two- to three-bedroom townhomes come with similar finishes, but on a smaller scale—they’re all under 2,000 square feet.

The townhomes finished in 2016 and the last of the large homes finished this year. Though the original master deed called for over 100 homes and there’s still land to build on.

Homes at Morgan Estates are undoubtedly for people who want to live near downtown or their place of work, but still desire a suburban experience—some have pejoratively called them McMansions. The homes on Sand Bar Lane come with boat slips for direct access to the Detroit River. There’s also a monitored gate off St. Jean Street, and then a secondary gate to access to the stand alone homes.

A living room with a large ceiling and second-floor mezzanine.

So who exactly is buying these properties? “It’s a who’s who of government officials and local leaders of industry,” says Sabra Sanzotta of Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices The Loft Warehouse, which is listing many of the newly built homes. “It’s great if someone wants to have close proximity to those connections.

“At the same time,” she adds, “I can’t think of another place where the homes are this well appointed and gated. If someone wants a sense of volume and proximity to nature, like water and sky, this really has it.”

Currently, 10 of the home are for sale—aside from outsized mansion, they’re listed for between $799,000 and $1.1 million. And 11 condominiums are also on the market starting at $311,000. A $235 HOA fee covers security, maintenance of the outside of the home, landscaping, and snow removal.

It’s no wonder this project has taken such a long time to finish. Suburban-style residential developments may have been popular when this first began in the mid-2000s. But with greater appreciation for Detroit’s historic housing stock, it’s going to take a very specific kind of buyer to to spend close to $1 million on a home of this kind.

Here’s some more pictures of the home at 58 Sand Bar Lane. The listing agent for this and many other homes at Morgan Estates is Angel Holbrook of BHHS The Loft Warehouse.

A fireplace and built-in shelves.
Kitchen with granite countertops, hardwood floors, and new appliances.
Bathroom with a built-in bathtub and double sink and long mirror.

Detroit River

, Detroit, MI 48226