Not far from the heart of downtown Detroit stands a weird little house in the middle at 2126 Pierce Street. Many Detroiters have probably driven by it and wondered who lives there, or what the hell it’s doing there in the first place. If so, you’re not alone.
Meet Darin McLeskey – a life long Metro Detroit resident who splits his time between real estate investing, lawn care, home construction, and being a real estate agent. He first spotted the home during his time as an undergraduate student at U of M and was instantly intrigued with the space.
His extensive research revealed a rich and dynamic history of the mysterious home, which began as the original St. Aubin Ribbon Farm, until the neighborhood was subdivided and developed into immigrant worker housing in the 1880s.
From there the history unfolds into a tale of good old fashioned Detroit weirdness. It’s far too long for our purposes here, but if you’re interested in the full background on the home, you can read it here.
We spoke with McLeskey about the home, and what sort of impact such renovations can have on the city.
“I bought the home to live in. I currently reside in the North End where most of my rental/investment properties are. The area near Eastern Market is perfectly located for tourism and future infill. I’ve been purchasing land in the area for future construction, but feel that the home is located in a great location for tourists.”
“It’s super energy efficient. Spray foam insulated, heat pumps, LED lighting, dual flush toilets, and more. It should open before Thanksgiving and it’ll be called 2126 Pierce.”
“It’ll be an Airbnb, filled with reclaimed materials, historical aspects of the neighborhood and Detroit as a whole. It’ll have information for nearby attractions, and really accentuate the features of Detroit that make it so special – the incredible contrast between the now natural and vacant land, and the proximate urban skyline of a increasingly bustling city.”
As far as his target market, he’s casting a wide net.
“Anyone interested in Detroit who wants to get the full Detroit experience (urban prairie, artists, urban agriculture, biking, eastern market, Greektown). It’s a unique home, with new amenities, but in a historically rich neighborhood very close to downtown. I think the individual items inside the home and the connectivity to the amenities around it will be the biggest attraction.”
He says room rate will be directed by market forces, but “We’re aiming for between $120 and $180 most nights, but that’s subject to change.”
I asked him a question he’s likely to hear a lot.. “Is it safe?”
“I’ve owned the home for 3 years and we’ve yet to have even a minor safety concern. The school across the street has security as does our building. We have new LED lighting around the neighborhood and all of the neighbors keep an eye out for each other.”
The first thing you’ll see on the home is the outrageous and amazing mural on the exterior. That work was done as part of the recently completed Murals in the Market project.
“My business partner, Jason Lindy, connected with the project through Eastern Market. We were paired with the artist and although we had some initial rough times, we think the final result is amazing. We can’t wait for Beau to come back to Detroit!”
McLeskey sees the home as a way for visitors to get a first hand view of the city, which is one of the biggest advantages Air Bnbs offer versus hotels.
“2126 Pierce can be a great entry point for people interested in the city. This home is a very minor contribution me and my partner have made to the City, but we certainly hope it serves as a portal in which everyone can realize the low barrier to entry and contemplate their own impact.”