Skip to main content

As Developers Gentrify Detroit, Evictions Increase

Filed under: Headlines |
Mas Eviction Detroit photo

Detroit’s Black population is shrinking rapidly as residents are forced out of their homes

AFRICANGLOBE – Billionaire home loan tycoon and real estate investor Dan Gilbert is anticipating a windfall from the potential bankruptcy of Detroit and is rapidly increasing his holdings in downtown Detroit. According to the Detroit News, Rock Ventures and entities affiliated with Gilbert, founder of Quicken Loans Inc., own or control 30 downtown buildings, which total 7.6 million square feet, for a total investment of $1.2 billion.

In comments to the News, Gilbert said, bankruptcy “is a tsunami we all think is going to come. But I think it will be over relatively quickly. The faster we get there, the better. This is good news.”

For workers in Detroit and throughout the country, however, the largest municipal bankruptcy in US history would have devastating consequences. The city’s emergency manager, Kevyn Orr, has used the threat of bankruptcy to ignore state and city laws protecting pensions and demand that the city’s 20,000 retired municipal workers and their families accept as little as 10 cents for every dollar owed to them in retirement benefits.

As the News said, “Should Orr prevail in his attempt to reject pension obligations as unsecured claims, distressed municipalities across the country could follow Detroit’s path and imperil the financial futures of public-sector pensioners, provided those cities are able to meet the criteria for bankruptcy.”

But Gilbert—as well as other billionaires, including Little Caesar’s Pizza and sports franchise owner Mike Ilitch—is salivating over the planned “restructuring” of Detroit. Part of the plan, endorsed by Orr, is to cut off services to whole residential areas deemed too poor or underpopulated, while the “bankrupt” city subsidized business development and the expansion of upscale housing and shopping districts from the downtown to midtown areas.

The goal is to raise the land value—from $1.25 per square foot on average—to around $2, and so jack up rents. Hundreds of office workers—including those who work for Quicken Loans—will pay enormously inflated rents to live in the same buildings.

Meanwhile, hundreds of low-income and elderly residents who have lived in the area for decades have been given eviction notices. This includes residents of the Henry Street apartments in the Cass Corridor area, who have been ordered to leave by the end of the month. Senior citizens at the Griswold Apartments have been told to move by next year, and other area residents fear the same fate.

Reporters spoke with residents at the Griswold Apartments. Lorna, a retired electrician at General Motors, said that after living there for five-and-a-half years, she and other residents were being given until March to clear out. “People are getting scared and leaving the apartments,” she said. “The people here do not know where to get resources, and there’s all this pressure so they get scared and leave. We have people living here for 20 years.” She told us most tenants have little information and don’t know where they will go. The owners are neglecting to keep the place up now that the residents will all be leaving.

Another tenant said: “I’m not going to move anywhere in Detroit; it’s not safe. Gilbert is buying up downtown, its prime real estate. No one will be able to afford the new prices,” he continued, adding that rent is now $800 a month, and he expects it to go up to $2000.

Linda, a resident of the neighboring Industrial Stevens building, who met WSWS reporters outside Griswold, said she hadn’t known that the residents were being evicted. After finding out, she invited reporters to her building’s community meeting that afternoon.

The Griswold residents was a part of a plan by bankers and investors to gentrify areas of Detroit and force poor residents out. Nearby Pontiac, Michigan was a model for Kevyn Orr, having been picked to the bone under an emergency manager since 2009. “There, the city workforce has been reduced from 600 employees down to 50. The city no longer issues building permits, provides water and sewage services, EMS service, trash pickup, cemetery maintenance or animal control. The police and fire departments were also disbanded, and residents now have to rely on the county, and neighboring cities’ police and fire service. This gives a taste of what Orr has in store for Detroit,” he said.

He placed the attack on Detroit in the context of the global crisis of capitalism, explaining that Detroit was being used as a “test case.” What the elite is able to get away with in Detroit, he said, “it will attempt to impose elsewhere across the country.” He drew comparisons to the situation in Greece, where elected officials have also been replaced by bankers’ representatives, and the working class is under severe attack.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

"I'm just trying to make a way out of no way, for my people" -Modejeska Monteith Simpkins

 

AFRICAN AMERICA IS AT WAR

THERE IS A RACE WAR ON AFRICAN AMERICA

THERE IS A RACE WAR ON AFRICAN AMERICANS

THERE IS A RACE WAR ON BLACK PEOPLE IN AMERICA

AMERICA'S RACISTS HAVE INFILTRATED AMERICAN POLICE FORCES TO WAGE A RACE WAR AGAINST BLACK PEOPLE IN AMERICA

THE BLACK RACE IS AT WAR

FIRST WORLD WAR:  THE APPROXIMATELY 6,000 YEAR WORLD WAR ON AFRICA AND THE BLACK RACE

Original Post

Replies sorted oldest to newest

  This very thang happened to Cali years ago, when the real estate was dirt cheap in and around Hollywood, Culver City and a couple of others places in the Los Angeles County area alone.  Property once priced at $40,000 skyrocketed to $100,000 in one year and by the time the eighties and ninities got here, rent went from $150 to $1100 easy a month in those forementioned areas. And we won't mention the track homes that started springing up in rural desert locations.   Sooooooo it can happen.  And I heard that even with the prices we have now, it is STILL much cheaper than living in New York.  So if that is the case, I can just imagine how much it must cost to rent in Detriot since its financial collapse.   But!

I see it as two-fold, on one hand you have thousands of African Americans abandon Detroit, draining it of tax revenues in the first place, then you have White people taking advantage of the big void left by African American Flight. 

 

It's just a shame that it is the White Americans that are doing what African American should be doing in Detroit, and that is taking advantage of the dirt-cheap real estate prices.  African Americans with money should be doing what these White people are doing, buying up as much property as they can while it is dirt cheap, renovating and renting out and reselling for profit to other African Americans. 

 

"Gentrification" as it is called now has been happening with all/predominately Black communities/cities all across America far longer than what is been happening in recent years.  Many people don't even know, for example, that as they cruise/stroll the "Historic District" of Charleston, SC, that at one time all those houses were lived in and/or owned by Black people, then the city, in an "effort to preserve" the historic houses, began impose all kinds of "ordinances"/requirements for the properties, which most of the Black people could not afford or afford to keep up with, which drove the Black people out, and it was repopulated with Whites/Whites with money. 

Add Reply

Post
×
×
×
×
Link copied to your clipboard.
×