The garage sale of Detroit

posted at 8:41 pm on July 29, 2013 by Erika Johnsen

In a bankruptcy scenario, one of any entity’s most obvious options for raising some cash with which to pay down debts and obligations is to start selling off assets to the highest bidder. In the case of Detroit, their list of public assets includes 22 square miles of lands, public utilities and infrastructure, as well as collections of art and animals, all of which you might think sound like pretty reasonable items to include in their pending municipal garage sale — except that, oddly enough, the few assets with which Detroit is actually looking to part ways could in fact just be… well, garages. Via the Financial Times:

Kevyn Orr, Detroit’s emergency manager, says the City is open to public-private partnerships and believes its nine parking garages, two parking lots and 3,404 parking meters should be attractive to outside investors.“It’s one of the easiest assets that someone can underwrite and run more efficiently,” he told the Financial Times.

Elsewhere the scope for further sales looks limited, as Mr Orr concentrates on wringing multibillion-dollar concessions from creditors that put the potential receipts from asset disposals into perspective.

This is especially the case because many assets are losing value as Detroit’s economy continues to go in reverse, as the population drops, manufacturing declines and joblessness rises. …

The city owns 22 square miles of Detroit’s 139 square miles, but much is blighted. “The vast majority has limited current commercial value,” its bankruptcy filings state.

Detroit’s most attractive assets include its water and sewage operations. But the city does not plan to put those operations up for sale to the private sector either.

Instead, it plans to work with neighbouring, and far wealthier, districts to establish a new unit that would provide services to the city and its environs and that would continue to have access to the capital markets. Such a deal could unlock $50m-$150m, Mr Orr says.

Admittedly, getting involved with many of Detroit’s beleaguered assets probably isn’t that attractive an option for potential investors in plenty of cases, at least not right now; but Detroit has a long way to go to even get close to managing the city’s $18 billion in debt and unfunded liabilities… and yet they somehow have the money for a $400 million hockey arena. Go figure.

And speaking of those unfunded liabilities, more than five billion dollars’ worth are in the form of health care and other retiree benefits for the city’s workers; as I mentioned earlier this month, a bunch of broke cities across America are looking at unloading some of those expensive and long-term political promises onto the incoming ObamaCare system in search of a little financial relief (…and when I say “ObamaCare,” what I really mean, of course, is American taxpayers). Now that Detroit is officially underwater, they’re moving forward — er, “Forward!”? — with that plan, via the NYT:

As Detroit enters the federal bankruptcy process, the city is proposing a controversial plan for paring some of the $5.7 billion it owes in retiree health costs: pushing many of those too young to qualify for Medicare out of city-run coverage and into the new insurance markets that will soon be operating under the Obama health care law.

Officials say the plan would be part of a broader effort to save Detroit tens of millions of dollars in health costs each year, a major element in a restructuring package that must be approved by a bankruptcy judge. It is being watched closely by municipal leaders around the nation, many of whom complain of mounting, unsustainable prices for the health care promised to retired city workers. …

Unfunded retiree health care costs loom larger than ever for localities across the country, and the health law’s guarantee of federal subsidies to help people with modest incomes afford coverage has made the new insurance markets tantalizing for local governments. A study issued this year by the Pew Charitable Trusts found 61 of the nation’s major cities wrestling with $126 billion in retiree health costs, all but 6 percent of that unfunded.


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How much for the baby seals?

faraway on July 29, 2013 at 8:43 PM

the City is open to public-private partnerships and believes its nine parking garages, two parking lots and 3,404 parking meters should be attractive to outside investors.

Let me get this straight. The city has been picked clean, and they want to give the bones to some cronies?

faraway on July 29, 2013 at 8:45 PM

hmmmm… maybe we could declare the GOP bankrupt? Wanna buy some McCain or Romney bumper stickers?

faraway on July 29, 2013 at 8:46 PM

Instead, it plans to work with neighbouring, and far wealthier, districts to establish a new unit that would provide services to the city and its environs and that would continue to have access to the capital markets.

Establish a new unit? What does that mean?

Do they actually think other wealthier municipalities will join Detroit and subsidize their madness?

sharrukin on July 29, 2013 at 8:47 PM

So that art collection, which could be liquidated legitimately, is off the table now? I expect to read about some mysterious “robbery” of all that stuff soon enough.

RushBaby on July 29, 2013 at 8:49 PM

Because parking garages are such a durable investment in regions where they salt the roads heavily.

TexasDan on July 29, 2013 at 8:50 PM

22 square miles of commercially non-viable property used to be called a landfill.

TexasDan on July 29, 2013 at 8:51 PM

[Detoilet's bankruptcy will push] many of those too young to qualify for Medicare out of city-run coverage and into the new insurance markets that will soon be operating under the Obama health care law.
Wait, if Obamacare is so great, why should these Detroiters care? Oh, I get it, Obamacare may not be so great as they say…

anotherJoe on July 29, 2013 at 8:53 PM

Call this “paragraph A”

Kevyn Orr, Detroit’s emergency manager, says the City is open to public-private partnerships and believes its nine parking garages, two parking lots and 3,404 parking meters should be attractive to outside investors.“It’s one of the easiest assets that someone can underwrite and run more efficiently,” he told the Financial Times.

Call this “paragraph B”

This is especially the case because many assets are losing value as Detroit’s economy continues to go in reverse, as the population drops, manufacturing declines and joblessness rises.

After reading para B, who would be parking in the structures in para A?

BobMbx on July 29, 2013 at 8:56 PM

Chinese investors betting on Detroit comeback, buy up real estate

Downtown Detroit is home to one of the worst housing markets in the country, as prices of homes have collapsed and foreclosures have soared in the city’s depressed economy.

But some Chinese investors hungry for real estate are hoping Detroit’s losses will be their gain. After Detroit filed for bankruptcy July 18, Motor City property has been a hot topic on China’s social media platform, Weibo, according to a Quartz.com report.

News of the bankruptcy, coupled with a Chinese TV report in March that claimed you could buy two houses in Detroit for the same price as a pair of leather shoes, has piqued investors’ interest.

Quartz spoke to Caroline Chen, a real estate broker based in Troy, Mich., who says she has received “tons of calls” from mainland Chinese expressing serious interest in the market.

“I have people calling and saying, ‘I’m serious — I wanna buy 100, 200 properties,’” Chen said. She added that a colleague had recently sold 30 properties to a single Chinese buyer.

Chinese housing is among the most expensive in the world. Capital controls also make investing big sums in overseas stocks or property a challenge.

Buyers seem to be purchasing purely as investment, and don’t plan on moving to Detroit anytime soon. Though Chinese realtors had planned tours of the city in late spring, many were canceled when investors didn’t receive visas, according to Chen.

Since there are no plans to live in the homes, shopping remotely from China is not a problem. “They say, ‘We don’t need to see them [the properties], just pick the good ones,’” Chen said.

This may be only the beginning of a buying trend. Wei Kefei, an organizer of a Beijing property fair, told state-run Global Times that Chinese were investing now and expecting Detroit’s economy to come back, helped by the city’s auto industry. “Some people did rush to buy houses in Detroit, betting on the U.S. economic recovery, which they believe will boost development in the auto industry,” Wei told Quartz.

The buying craze was so significant that China’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs warned citizens about the risks of investing, and the many hidden costs that buyers take on when they purchase U.S. real estate.

Chen doesn’t seem as convinced as the Chinese of the Motor City’s recovery. She compared the chances of the city’s housing market turning a profit to winning the lottery. “Thirty-five years ago downtown Detroit was like this and it’s not getting better.”

Oil Can on July 29, 2013 at 8:56 PM

Many people are figuring out that ObamaCare
is the dumping ground for people to young to
qualify for MediCare and not broke enough for
MediCare. Who would want to pay for that?

redguy on July 29, 2013 at 8:57 PM

hmmmm… maybe we could declare the GOP bankrupt? Wanna buy some McCain or Romney bumper stickers?

faraway on July 29, 2013 at 8:46 PM

They don’t have enough money for me to take one off their hands.

RickB on July 29, 2013 at 8:57 PM

I saw some guy on Stossell last night and every suggestion Stossell had for sales to raise money where a big fat no. All those things belong to the people of Detroit. This just in, so does the debt.

Cindy Munford on July 29, 2013 at 8:57 PM

The garage sale of Detroit

…no refunds!

KOOLAID2 on July 29, 2013 at 8:58 PM

Tough times call for tough decisions.

jaywemm on July 29, 2013 at 8:59 PM

Many people are figuring out that ObamaCare
is the dumping ground for people to young to
qualify for MediCare and not broke enough for
MediCare. Who would want to pay for that?

redguy on July 29, 2013 at 8:57 PM

…unions?

KOOLAID2 on July 29, 2013 at 8:59 PM

The garage sale of Detroit

We shouldn’t be too hard on Detroit. This stuff is going to be local news for many of us a few years down the road.

Dr. ZhivBlago on July 29, 2013 at 8:59 PM

A Fire Sale,eh!!

canopfor on July 29, 2013 at 9:06 PM

Results for #Detroit

https://twitter.com/search?q=%23Detroit&src=hash

canopfor on July 29, 2013 at 9:08 PM

We shouldn’t be too hard on Detroit. This stuff is going to be local news for many of us a few years down the road.

Dr. ZhivBlago on July 29, 2013 at 8:59 PM

I agree with this. Anyone interested in the poignant story of Detroit and the future of a city near you might like Detroit: An American Autopsy

Detroit is described, in resonating detail here, as the vanguard on the way up, and the vanguard on the way down.

RushBaby on July 29, 2013 at 9:08 PM

MeanWhile,an Ad Agency is moving into the heart of Detroit:

Lowe Campbell Ewald comes to Detroit’s defense in YouTube video
8:00 PM, July 29, 2013
**********************

Ad agency Lowe Campbell Ewald is trumpeting its move to downtown Detroit in a promotional video aimed at other businesses that might be discouraged from investing in the city in the wake of the bankruptcy.

The four-minute video — designed for a presentation at next year’s South by Southwest festival in Austin, Texas — starts with dazzling shots of Campus Martius, the Renaissance Center, the Detroit Athletic Club and other downtown architecture.(More..)
==============================================================

http://www.freep.com/article/20130729/BUSINESS06/307290116/Lowe-Campbell-Ewald-comes-Detroit-s-defense-YouTube-video

canopfor on July 29, 2013 at 9:12 PM

Remember the Blues Brothers and Belushi at dinner:
“How much for ze little girl…how much for all ze women?”

gracie on July 29, 2013 at 9:12 PM

22 square miles of commercially non-viable property used to be called a landfill.

TexasDan on July 29, 2013 at 8:51 PM

Or a Toxic Waste site.

Al and Bud Bundy talk about Lake Chicamocomico en Deutsche

Del Dolemonte on July 29, 2013 at 9:13 PM

Detroit is described, in resonating detail here, as the vanguard on the way up, and the vanguard on the way down.

RushBaby on July 29, 2013 at 9:08 PM

RushBaby:A contradiction of PerPlexing Proportions!:)

canopfor on July 29, 2013 at 9:13 PM

A Fire Sale,eh!!

canopfor on July 29, 2013 at 9:06 PM

Heh.

Two-for-one: a Going-Out-Of-Business sale to boot!

ShainS on July 29, 2013 at 9:14 PM

Detroit was the hope of the Hillbillies and Southern Blacks to work their way up to the middle class and they pretty much did for awhile. Trouble is Detroit was always corrupt but when they had money they could cover it, and when they didn’t, they couldn’t. It’s a real shame because it was once such an important powerful city. No more, ever again.

gracie on July 29, 2013 at 9:16 PM

The garage sale of Detroit

You misspelled garbage.

VorDaj on July 29, 2013 at 9:17 PM

Oops!!

Lol.

An American Patriot ‏@Onelifetogive 2m

#Detroit tried the #EastGermany economic model, but failed to build the wall to keep its victims in.
================================

canopfor on July 29, 2013 at 9:17 PM

A Fire Sale,eh!!

canopfor on July 29, 2013 at 9:06 PM

Heh.

Two-for-one: a Going-Out-Of-Business sale to boot!

ShainS on July 29, 2013 at 9:14 PM

ShainS:UBetcha,haha!:O

canopfor on July 29, 2013 at 9:18 PM

47% of Detroit’s adult population is functionally illiterate. In Zimbabwe it is around 20%.

VorDaj on July 29, 2013 at 9:19 PM

Who’d want to buy anything in Detroit that couldn’t be trucked out of there?

CJ on July 29, 2013 at 9:19 PM

Oops Part Deux:

Religiono’Appeazz-a ‏@wfnx1990 2m

Is #Detroit the Socialist “Fall of The Roman Empire Lite” project?

#UniteBlue @SEIU @Teamsters
============================

https://twitter.com/search?q=%23Detroit&src=hash

canopfor on July 29, 2013 at 9:21 PM

A month ago Cincinnati sold off its parking meter concession for 30 years to fill in budget gaps for the next 2 years. People are leaving Cincinnati. Democratic city council and mayor for decades. I wonder if a Detroit is in our future.

Paul-Cincy on July 29, 2013 at 9:24 PM

Chinese investors betting on Detroit comeback, buy up real estate

Downtown Detroit is home to one of the worst housing markets in the country, as prices of homes have collapsed and foreclosures have soared in the city’s depressed economy.

But some Chinese investors hungry for real estate are hoping Detroit’s losses will be their gain. After Detroit filed for bankruptcy July 18, Motor City property has been a hot topic on China’s social media platform, Weibo, according to a Quartz.com report.

News of the bankruptcy, coupled with a Chinese TV report in March that claimed you could buy two houses in Detroit for the same price as a pair of leather shoes, has piqued investors’ interest.

Quartz spoke to Caroline Chen, a real estate broker based in Troy, Mich., who says she has received “tons of calls” from mainland Chinese expressing serious interest in the market.

“I have people calling and saying, ‘I’m serious — I wanna buy 100, 200 properties,’” Chen said. She added that a colleague had recently sold 30 properties to a single Chinese buyer.

Chinese housing is among the most expensive in the world. Capital controls also make investing big sums in overseas stocks or property a challenge.

Buyers seem to be purchasing purely as investment, and don’t plan on moving to Detroit anytime soon. Though Chinese realtors had planned tours of the city in late spring, many were canceled when investors didn’t receive visas, according to Chen.

Since there are no plans to live in the homes, shopping remotely from China is not a problem. “They say, ‘We don’t need to see them [the properties], just pick the good ones,’” Chen said.

This may be only the beginning of a buying trend. Wei Kefei, an organizer of a Beijing property fair, told state-run Global Times that Chinese were investing now and expecting Detroit’s economy to come back, helped by the city’s auto industry. “Some people did rush to buy houses in Detroit, betting on the U.S. economic recovery, which they believe will boost development in the auto industry,” Wei told Quartz.

The buying craze was so significant that China’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs warned citizens about the risks of investing, and the many hidden costs that buyers take on when they purchase U.S. real estate.

Chen doesn’t seem as convinced as the Chinese of the Motor City’s recovery. She compared the chances of the city’s housing market turning a profit to winning the lottery. “Thirty-five years ago downtown Detroit was like this and it’s not getting better.”

Oil Can on July 29, 2013 at 8:56 PM

Give the garages to KOOLAID2 instead. /

22044 on July 29, 2013 at 9:27 PM

22044 on July 29, 2013 at 9:27 PM

Turn Detroit into New Beijing? I can accept that.

Paul-Cincy on July 29, 2013 at 9:30 PM

Oh Sh*t:

“Fake Cops” Robbing Detroit Citizens At Gunpoint Turn Out To Be Real Cops Robbing Citizens At Gunpoint

Jul 27, 2013 11:15 PM EST
Updated: Jul 29, 2013 6:07 PM EST
By Amy Lange, Fox 2 News
*************************
*************************

DETROIT (WJBK) -

A Good Samaritan snapped photos of what appeared to be two men impersonating police officers involved in a pistol-whipping and robbery outside a Citgo gas station on Detroit’s east side on July 21.

Once Fox 2 aired those photos, an even more disturbing picture developed.

“Several unidentified police officers were working this particular robbery case, recognized one of the suspects in the photographs as being a member of the Detroit Police Department,” Chief James Craig said Monday.

Now under arrest are two police sergeants, a 47-year-old officer and 20-year veteran of the Detroit Police Department and his 42-year-old buddy from the police academy, who is a former DPD cop and 17-year veteran of the St. Clair Shores Police Department. The later recently received a distinguished service award.

“In fact, they were police officers, just not working on-duty at the time,” Craig said.

One of the alleged victims identified the St. Clair Shores sergeant from a photo lineup.

It is alleged the two sergeants pulled up in a black pickup, got out of the truck with their guns drawn and their badges around their necks, detained two young men in their early twenties, searched them and pistol-whipped one of them, stealing his wallet and cell phone. The other alleged victim told police they also stole his money.

“At this time, there is no evidence to support that both sergeants were involved in any other police impersonation cases that have been reported in recent weeks,” Craig said. “Know that if we have officers engaging in criminal misconduct that we will investigate. We will always be transparent about this business and making sure that our community is aware of how we’re conducting our investigations.”(More…)
==========================

http://www.myfoxdetroit.com/story/22949343/breaking-news-police

canopfor on July 29, 2013 at 9:30 PM

47% of Detroit’s adult population is functionally illiterate. In Zimbabwe it is around 20%.

VorDaj on July 29, 2013 at 9:19 PM

10 years ago it was reported in Los Angeles that half the adult working population was basically illiterate — primarily owing to illegal immigration …

ShainS on July 29, 2013 at 9:33 PM

A city in bankruptcy yet they ok’ed a 400 million dollar hockey rink, this alone tells me that the bankruptcy is bogus. Who there in Detroit could afford a ticket to a hockey game?

mixplix on July 29, 2013 at 9:35 PM

Remember the Blues Brothers and Belushi at dinner:
“How much for ze little girl…how much for all ze women?”

gracie on July 29, 2013 at 9:12 PM

Darn – you beat me to it….

dentarthurdent on July 29, 2013 at 9:37 PM

I’ll give ya $50 for the whole thing – IF you clear out the pest infestation (human type) first…..
In fact, I’d prefer if you first just flatten the whole thing – “Independence Day” alien style….

dentarthurdent on July 29, 2013 at 9:41 PM

What fool would want to buy a house (or anything) in Detroit even if they could get it for 99 cents? First are the broken windows. Next the stripped copper tubing to pay for heroin fixes.The scrawled and obscene graffiti. Rats in the basement and roaches on the walls.Outside a pack of wild dogs are howling. Furniture missing or destroyed. Holes in the walls. The smell of rotting garbage and decay wafting through the shattered glass windows and a smell of smoke. please God, don’t let it be my house. A gang of black youths, high on speed, are approaching the house. Oh Oh they’ve seen your white face. “Hey cracka’ this is for Trayvon….”

MaiDee on July 29, 2013 at 9:43 PM

MaiDee on July 29, 2013 at 9:43 PM

Nuke it down to bare dirt – and it would be worth more….

dentarthurdent on July 29, 2013 at 9:47 PM

the City is open to public-private partnerships and believes its nine parking garages, two parking lots and 3,404 parking meters should be attractive to outside investors.

Because people all over are just champing at the bit to be able to park in downtown Detroit, a place with precious little legitimate retail or industry of any consequence.

PatriotGal2257 on July 29, 2013 at 9:58 PM

I agree with this. Anyone interested in the poignant story of Detroit and the future of a city near you might like Detroit: An American Autopsy

Detroit is described, in resonating detail here, as the vanguard on the way up, and the vanguard on the way down.

RushBaby on July 29, 2013 at 9:08 PM

Just finished reading it and have returned it to my local library. Sad and depressing.

PatriotGal2257 on July 29, 2013 at 10:02 PM

canopfor on July 29, 2013 at 9:12 PM

My son had a choice of jobs with two mortgage companies. One was located in Downtown Detroit and the other was in Troy, a suburb north of Detroit. Not having to work in Detroit played a major part in his decision.

bw222 on July 29, 2013 at 10:09 PM

Paul-Cincy on July 29, 2013 at 9:24 PM

It’s never good when there is a trend.

Cindy Munford on July 29, 2013 at 10:10 PM

A month ago Cincinnati sold off its parking meter concession for 30 years to fill in budget gaps for the next 2 years. People are leaving Cincinnati. Democratic city council and mayor for decades. I wonder if a Detroit is in our future.

Paul-Cincy on July 29, 2013 at 9:24 PM

That’s a shame. Cincinnati was a nice city. I never lived there, but commuted from south of Dayton to a job in Sharonville long ago. Today Dayton is in such bad shape it is trying to attract illegal aliens.

bw222 on July 29, 2013 at 10:16 PM

canopfor on July 29, 2013 at 9:12 PM

My son had a choice of jobs with two mortgage companies. One was located in Downtown Detroit and the other was in Troy, a suburb north of Detroit. Not having to work in Detroit played a major part in his decision.

bw222 on July 29, 2013 at 10:09 PM

bw222:Good Lord,I don’t blame him,Detroit is becoming Egypt!:)

canopfor on July 29, 2013 at 10:18 PM

I’ll pay a handsome price for about 5,000 acres, I figure I can turn it into a private hunting reserve and sell memberships.

I mean how often can you track Jackals and Hyenas in an urban setting, outside of the the MSNBC sets, I mean.

Bishop on July 29, 2013 at 10:21 PM

I’ve always wanted to own a parking meter.

trigon on July 29, 2013 at 10:23 PM

mixplix on July 29, 2013 at 9:35 PM

Suburbanites. Not all of Metro Detroit is broke, just the city proper.

Ever try to use the restrooms at Joe Lewis Arena? The last time I did, the Red Wings were playing Colorado. By the time I got back to my seat, they were playing Anaheim.

bw222 on July 29, 2013 at 10:23 PM

Establish a new unit? What does that mean?

Do they actually think other wealthier municipalities will join Detroit and subsidize their madness?

sharrukin on July 29, 2013 at 8:47 PM

With the population loss, it is inevitable that Detroit has excess water delivery capacity and excess wastewater treatment capacity. Suburbs that have grown may have permit restrictions due to limited capacity on overstretched water and sewer systems. If they can marry with Detroit’s overcapacity the potential savings in new capital investment could be quite real and state and federal permit issues are already addressed. I think this could be a real winner if it is not already happening.

KW64 on July 29, 2013 at 10:32 PM

Suburbs that have grown may have permit restrictions due to limited capacity on overstretched water and sewer systems. If they can marry with Detroit’s overcapacity the potential savings in new capital investment could be quite real and state and federal permit issues are already addressed. I think this could be a real winner if it is not already happening.

KW64 on July 29, 2013 at 10:32 PM

Sending their sewage to Detroit makes sense (who would notice?), but becoming part of the same tax base would destroy those communities.

sharrukin on July 29, 2013 at 10:38 PM

…nine parking garages, two parking lots and 3,404 parking meters should be attractive to outside investors.

Why would I pay money and work to earn a profit to have 98% of Detroit voters vote to tax me out of business?

RJL on July 29, 2013 at 10:39 PM

Where is Omni Consumer Products when you need them?

I’d buy that for a dollar!

malclave on July 29, 2013 at 11:06 PM

Who’d want to buy anything in Detroit that couldn’t be trucked out of there?

CJ on July 29, 2013 at 9:19 PM

Property. Developers can come in, buy up property for pennies on the dollar, bulldoze and Yuppify various areas. But I’m guessing that what will have to happen first is that the city will have to be broken up into new incorporated areas. Then they can have their own police forces keep the riff-raff out…I’m guessing mostly gated communities with private security as well. And they’ll privatize many of their own local services/utilities building off of the old Detroit city infrastructure.

There is still a draw in that region. Downtown is pretty nice in areas and is salvageable…there’s the Detroit River, Lake St. Clair, Lake Erie not too far away, Canada is close by, there are casinos…many of the surrounding communities are nice places to live in and go shopping I suppose.

But, there will still be the problem of the tens of thousands of poor, uneducated, unemployed people. There’s probably not going to be any kind of an economic and social renaissance for them.

Dr. ZhivBlago on July 29, 2013 at 11:11 PM

Just curious to see if any other post of mine will go through on this thread-is it a “one to a customer” thingy?

Dr. ZhivBlago on July 29, 2013 at 11:12 PM

#GarageSale

I got dibs on the train station.

Seriously, If I were a billionaire, I would buy it.

Glenn Jericho on July 29, 2013 at 11:14 PM

What I was trying to say in response to CJ above was that the developers can buy a lot of land very cheap and develop it for “young urban professionals” replete with gated communities. Also, they’d probably have to break the city up into several smaller ones so they could do this.

I don’t get what was so inflammatory that it had to go into moderation and disappear, or be held up for hours if it were to appear later?

Dr. ZhivBlago on July 29, 2013 at 11:16 PM

What fool would want to buy a house (or anything) in Detroit even if they could get it for 99 cents? First are the broken windows. Next the stripped copper tubing to pay for heroin fixes.The scrawled and obscene graffiti. Rats in the basement and roaches on the walls.Outside a pack of wild dogs are howling. Furniture missing or destroyed. Holes in the walls. The smell of rotting garbage and decay wafting through the shattered glass windows and a smell of smoke. please God, don’t let it be my house. A gang of black youths, high on speed, are approaching the house. Oh Oh they’ve seen your white face. “Hey cracka’ this is for Trayvon….”

MaiDee on July 29, 2013 at 9:43 PM

I’ve considered doing exactly this. Not ever planning on visiting the property, or living in it, or renovating it, or… anything but sit on it, pay the property tax on a $5 property, and just ride it out for 20 years and see what happens. If they jack with you on the property taxes somehow, you just abandon it and tell them to f*ck off. Maybe, on the outside, things go ‘right’ and you wind up with a piece of property that someone needs in order to do a development somewhere down the road, etc.

*shrug*

Midas on July 29, 2013 at 11:32 PM

I’ll pay a handsome price for about 5,000 acres, I figure I can turn it into a private hunting reserve and sell memberships.

I mean how often can you track Jackals and Hyenas in an urban setting, outside of the the MSNBC sets, I mean.

Bishop on July 29, 2013 at 10:21 PM

ROFL

Midas on July 29, 2013 at 11:33 PM

Ever try to use the restrooms at Joe Lewis Arena? The last time I did, the Red Wings were playing Colorado. By the time I got back to my seat, they were playing Anaheim.

bw222 on July 29, 2013 at 10:23 PM

…if you had peed in the sink like me…you could have been back before the period ended!

KOOLAID2 on July 29, 2013 at 11:34 PM

who the hell in their right mind would buy an asset that has as its sole value future income from Detroit’s economic prowess?

I can see that after buying the meters that the Detoilet city council dictates a 125% tax on all revenue from the meters. You would be a fool or a democrat to buy anything that you can’t take out of the leftist hellhole.

jukin3 on July 30, 2013 at 12:30 AM

What is controversial about using ObamaCare for medical coverage? I thought that was the plan all along. Don’t worry, it will be great. Obama himself made a speech that said so.

underdog on July 30, 2013 at 1:31 AM

Saw this guy in the East Village yesterday and couldn’t resist taking a quick snap. Do with it what you will.

http://i.imgur.com/rARFIPv.jpg

Sharke on July 30, 2013 at 1:51 AM

A month ago Cincinnati sold off its parking meter concession for 30 years to fill in budget gaps for the next 2 years. People are leaving Cincinnati. Democratic city council and mayor for decades. I wonder if a Detroit is in our future.
Paul-Cincy on July 29, 2013 at 9:24 PM

Same crap in Chicago last year or so, multi year sales to cover a year or two. Must be the latest democratic trick to continue the ponzi fir another iteration or two. So what happens in a couple of years when spending isn’t reigned in and they’re out of stuff to sell?

AH_C on July 30, 2013 at 2:06 AM

Detroit is a dump. I would never want to live there. Go to google maps and go to the street view and click around to see what Detroit has become. There is a reason everyone with any sense moved away. The laws are prohibitive and obstructive to business creation. The government is corrupt and greedy for your money. Taxes in Detroit are still the highest in the nation. Who is going to buy garages and parking meters in a place where you can park just about anywhere you want? Also, it takes the cops over an hour to respond to a real crime, who is going to bother putting money in a parking meter and even if they did, how will you collect it? I’m sure half of them have been broken into and emptied by criminals.

Dollayo on July 30, 2013 at 7:15 AM

There really isn’t any creative way to ignore the reality in Detroit. It is a math problem not a liquidity problem. And no mention of selling off assets at the Detroit Art Museum?

But most of all, the city needs a master plan. They’ve got blight and empty space. How about figuring out the best way to capitalize on that opportunity. After Katrina, the Urban Land Institute came up with a plan for New Orleans. Why not have the ULI do a study on the possible in Detroit?

Happy Nomad on July 30, 2013 at 7:25 AM

Dr. ZhivBlago on July 29, 2013 at 11:16 PM

No idea what held up your posts, but the point is the essential one: Detroit is no longer a city and should disincorporate or disband itself as one. That is a State level function and should have State level procedures in place to handle such things.

Basically kill the city and offer pennies on the dollar for its debt. Restart as a small town near the core of the old city, and then have a number of village sized enclaves set up around it. Disperse the debt by population across all new entities, and each entity is given a guarantee that it CANNOT be incorporated into any larger entity and must manage its own size problems in the future separate from the other entities.

All the old city tax laws, contracts, and obligations disappear with the re-organization and debt restructuring. It would leave the unions out in the cold, yes, and they should have known that they helped create an unsustainable system. Once gone all the smaller municipalities will have to work out arrangements for sharing infrastructure, but that should be relatively easy to do without the idea that growing the bureaucracy is a ‘smart idea’ to manage it from a single point of failure… that then fails like it just has.

Any lands not incorporated into new entities would revert to the County. Mind you, for awhile, the entire affair just might revert to the County for a few years…yet that is no bad fate, just a necessary one. Who knows, the rest of the County might actually do a good enough job so you don’t need that many smaller units post-disincorporation.

ajacksonian on July 30, 2013 at 9:17 AM

Property. Developers can come in, buy up property for pennies on the dollar, bulldoze and Yuppify various areas. But I’m guessing that what will have to happen first is that the city will have to be broken up into new incorporated areas. Then they can have their own police forces keep the riff-raff out…I’m guessing mostly gated communities with private security as well. And they’ll privatize many of their own local services/utilities building off of the old Detroit city infrastructure.

There is still a draw in that region. Downtown is pretty nice in areas and is salvageable…there’s the Detroit River, Lake St. Clair, Lake Erie not too far away, Canada is close by, there are casinos…many of the surrounding communities are nice places to live in and go shopping I suppose.

But, there will still be the problem of the tens of thousands of poor, uneducated, unemployed people. There’s probably not going to be any kind of an economic and social renaissance for them.

Dr. ZhivBlago on July 29, 2013 at 11:11 PM

You make an excellent point. If the city of Detroit did sell some or all of its 22 square miles (over 14,000 acres) of vacant urban land to private developers willing to take a risk on relatively cheap land, the developers could build modern, well-maintained apartments or townhouses, then rent them at initially low rates, or sell them as condos (while charging maintenance fees). Young professionals might be tempted to rent or buy them cheaply as an investment in the future, which might then attract retail businesses nearby to sell products to these people.

Bankruptcy might actually be a great opportunity for Detroit, enabling the city to be revitalized if city land can be sold to reputable developers. This has happened to other blighted urban areas in the past.

For example, I was a college student in Hoboken, NJ, across the Hudson River from Manhattan, during the late 1970′s. Back then, no white middle-class college student would dare venture west of Washington Street (the main retail street in Hoboken) for fear of getting mugged (or worse) in dark alleys behind slums and dilapidated warehouses, and it was called the “armpit of New Jersey”.

But in the 1980′s, most of that land had been sold to developers, who were offered low tax rates to build townhouses (brownstones) to attract young professionals at relatively low prices, offering the proximity to mass transit (PATH trains) to lower Manhattan. Today, a person can’t buy a townhouse in Hoboken for under half a million dollars, the streets are clean and safe, shops and restaurants along Washington Street are jam-packed with customers, and most residents are thankful that they (or their parents) had the foresight to buy property in Hoboken, a short walk and a 15-minute train ride from lower Manhattan.

Detroit could become the next Hoboken, if they play their cards right.

Steve Z on July 30, 2013 at 11:13 AM

My understanding of the Red Wings stadium deal is that the City of Detroit is NOT financing it. There is a minority component of the funding that is public…but it is not from the City.

krome on July 30, 2013 at 1:09 PM

Same crap in Chicago last year or so, multi year sales to cover a year or two. Must be the latest democratic trick to continue the ponzi fir another iteration or two. So what happens in a couple of years when spending isn’t reigned in and they’re out of stuff to sell?

AH_C on July 30, 2013 at 2:06 AM

They can seize it, then sell it to someone else!

Ward Cleaver on July 30, 2013 at 5:32 PM

bw222 on July 29, 2013 at 10:16 PM

Between Richard Clay Dixon, the AT&T acquisition, and Rhine “Too concerned w/ her hat to keep NCR in Dayton” McLin, the city isn’t dead but isn’t exactly alive.

UD has taken over enough of Dayton to throw their political weight around as if they were NCR – but without the positive impact that the cash-register company had in the city. In addition, Wright-Patterson (and the defense contractors that serve them) is about the only thing keeping the metropolitan area afloat.

After NCR left and GM closed down, the only good reasons to be there are if you’re:

• Very well connected to the University of Dayton
• Able to get a security clearance

Otherwise the best idea is to find somewhere else with a more vibrant private sector, perhaps somewhere that has the character that the city did during the Turner era.

sethstorm on July 30, 2013 at 6:18 PM