A deal between the City of Detroit and Herb Strather, a local casino and real estate developer, to buy more than 6,000 foreclosed homes in the city for nearly $3.2 million is dead.
Initially, the city did not anticipate any buyer stepping forward to buy the blighted properties at auction two weeks ago. But a “mystery buyer” surprised the city by bidding almost $3.2 million for the properties, almost half of which need to be torn down.
Strather was revealed as the mystery buyer behind the purchase last week, in a report from Businessweek.
The Businessweek article said that no one was expected to bid on the bundle, which was a grouping together of about 6,000 thousand properties in good shape with roughly 2,000 vacant lots and another 3,000 properties that must be demolished.
After Strather won the bid, the city said that he was responsible for coming up with a plan for the demolition work, which was estimated to cost more than $24 million.
Now, the deal has fallen apart, according to a new report from Businessweek. From the Businessweek report:
Last week he (Strather) told Bloomberg Businessweek that he’d hoped to keep some of the best parcels for his investment fund and find a way to get the city to use federal funding to demolish the decrepit properties. The Wayne County’s deputy treasurer, David Szymanski, said a plan like that wasn’t “going to fly,” and the land bank said it’s allowed to demolish only properties it owns.
Szymanski told Strather that the winner bidder would be required to pay for the demolition.
Those expectations were public before the auction closed, and Szymanksi says, “I don’t know how somebody could interpret” the original guidance to allow a plan to offload the worst properties on the city. Szymanski says Strather also met with Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan before withdrawing his offer.
Now the properties will be turned over to the city, which will utilize its “newly rejuvenated” land bank to lead the rehabilitation process.