Just yesterday we received a generic email about a newly redone property on Mack Avenue, listing at $365,085 for a 1,281 square feet 3-bedroom place. It even uses the superlative “magnificence.” And there’s no doubt, the place looks nice.

What $365,000 buys you nowadays in some areas of Detroit

But the address – 248 Mack – rang a bell, because there has been a lot of coverage of the problems happening at Spain Elementary in Midtown.

That’s because Spain Elementary, a Detroit Public School, is basically across the street. We’ll get back to why this is important in a second.

Spain Elementary, across the street from a deluxe listing in Detroit.

After all, to afford that $365,085 house, you would need to make at least somewhere around $90k to $100,000 a year according to the various mortgage calculators we used. Considering the average income of that zip code in 2014 is $27,919, you’re looking at more than three times than the average.

It’s a hot area of town, no doubt. The neighborhood has seen more than $2 billion invested in area projects since 2000 and more than 3,800 new housing units, according to Midtown, Inc. And the tax revenue from such a place is a good thing. Every little bit helps.


A short walk away is Spain Elementary, featured in the video above. The floors are coming up, the kids can’t use the gym, the roof is leaking, and it is one of many reports there are of bad conditions at the Detroit Public Schools. Mayor Mike Duggan inspected it this month.

Image of a blocked off slide at Spain Elementary in Detroit.

So the next time you wonder why some Detroiters are upset about being left out of the transformation happening – remember that the kids who go to Spain Elementary only have to look across and down the street from the top of their playground slide to see the difference between the have and have-nots.

That is, if they were allowed to play in the playground. But they can’t, because there’s a steam vent that makes it too dangerous for the children to go outside for recess.

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