Crews were on the scene today making repairs at two long-blighted properties owned by the Ilitch family on Cass Avenue in Detroit.
Monday was the deadline to fix code violations at the former Hotel Ansonia and the former Atlanta Apartments. Both buildings have long been without windows and are unsecured. The city flagged the violations in May and has reportedly twice extended the deadline for the Ilitches to come into compliance. No fines have been issued.
The two buildings are also among seven that are being proposed as part of the Cass-Henry Historical District. The fate of that proposal has also been postponed by the Detroit City Council. The Ilitches own several buildings within the proposed historic district and have requested permits to demolish three of them, including the two being worked on Monday.
An advisory board has recommended that Cass-Henry be designated as a historic district. But the City Council last week delayed a vote without explanation. The new vote is supposed to take place Tuesday.
It’s worth noting that the Ilitch family’s record of historic preservation is mixed at best. They bought and renovated the Fox Theater during the 1980s at a time when investment and jobs were high-tailing out of the city. But on projects such as the Madison-Lennox Hotel and several properties in the Cass Corridor, they’ve pursued demolition to create surface parking lots.
They have opposed creation of the Cass-Henry historic district, though proponents see the repair works under way the Ansonia and Atlanta buildings as a good sign.
This story originally aired on the Daily Detroit News Byte.