DIY: Grandview Street progress
April 10, 2015 New pix + updates
In Detroit, it began with Winthrop Street, then Sherwood Avenue, then Harmon Street, but now, it’s Grandview Street. Kind of like Pineview Drive, Potter Street, Grand Traverse Street, and Devonshire Court (the houses I have previously owned). In fall 2013, I tried to get Winthrop, but bid on it incorrectly (only (10%) and thus my bid was rejected by PDD, the ancestor of the Land Bank. Sherwood was the last house in a Renaissance Zone (east-side Detroit) — but it was already on the demo list, and so we gave it back (Jan. 2014). Harmon Street we bought in June 2014, but the City tore it down without due process in August 2014. Then in Jan. 2015, I bid on Grandview, for its location (8 Mile and Telegraph), its windows (newer/vinyl), and its property (double lot and set back from road).
Bathroom (after) Bathroom and stairway (before)
Grandview Street, the fourth and hopefully final house in my goal to homestead in the City of Detroit, regardless of cost, regardless of crime, regardless of crap, this house is now in the progress of being re-habbed: interior walls gutted down to studs; electrical service coming on line soon; plumbing to follow. [DTE has been out and service is now on, as we passed the City electrical inspection].
[ Water should be on by Friday March 27: update to Water: it was not turned on because an uncapped pipe — probably an outside spigot — sent water gushing out the southern-side basement wall. The concrete needs to be opened and the galvanized pipe needs to be capped at the closest thread. This is the second time that DWSD has come out; still no meter.]
UPDATE ON WATER:
Copper pipe– THIS is the pinched remains of the main water line (and meter — gone) that scrappers took
The main line into my house is in the form of a copper 3/4 inch pipe
I need water service and it is though this main line; not through the drain tie in at front of house
Sharkbite copper fittings require no soldering, but they are expensive
I bought a pipe cutter and copper sharkbite stop valve at Home Depot on April 6 (over $30)
I need to use power drill to remove more concrete (I hand-chiseled down 2” on APRIL 5); Harvey at DWSD said I can call back when ready to turn water on at street.
But the best news is that my friend Major from 519 Harmon Street last summer has emerged again as helper and confidant. However, in the process of demolishing the interior walls, I have encountered the big three of environmental and materials hazards: Asbestos (insulation); Black mold (drywall); and Lead-based paint.
The closing company, under the aegis of the City, kindly gave me a stack of pamphlets advising me how to mitigate and/or remove these health threats — thanks for that guys. But maybe you should not have posted the house for sale in the first place? Indeed on Friday March 13, when I went down to the City offices to file my Homestead tax exemption paperwork, and to ‘pull permits’ ($376!), and to request that the water be turned back on, it was at the Water Dept. (DWSD) http://dwsd.org that I discovered that my Grandview Street house is/was on the Dangerous and Condemned List (aka the Demo list) — wtf — just like Harmon Street was — and that was taken down last August, without due process. This is what my Harmon street house looks like now — literally an empty lot, with the burnt out hulk of the really dangerous house (513 Harmon) still extant next door!
So I’m thinking ‘here we go again’ — the City selling property that it has already deemed too dangerous or damaged to rehabilitate and re-sell. But the Landbank contacted Water and they exchanged some sort of memo behind the scenes that said that now my house was NOT on the demo list and was okay to re-service the water connection.
In my first week at the house, I met the neighbors — a Hostile Bunch of Suspicious White People, beginning with Steve across the street who demanded, “Okay who are you and what are you doing here?” He accused me of being both a squatter and a scrapper, and told me that he and some of the other neighbors had called the police on me. I had to show him my drivers license and deed to get him to shut up and leave. Then a few days later, the back yard neighbor (next street over) also accused me of being a scrapper, trespassing on my own property, etc.; she literally had the phone in her hand and was dialing the police — I pushed back a bit against her rhetoric and she too shut up and went away, mumbling something about being in Detroit for 30 years. So I brought a can of white spray paint and tagged my own garage with my name and title and motto:
DIY: DETROIT IT YOURSELF
I would suggest to the City and the LBA that it provide signage to all properties on the list, so that the neighbors would 1) know the status of the property; and 2) that THEY could purchase the property and either rehab it or get it torn down.
So this is what has gone down so far, just since March 9, 2015, when I closed and had to over pay for closing costs, but that is another post.