July 5, 2013
There are many great efforts in the city of Detroit to preserve the city's breathtaking architecture from the past. One of my favorite mentions is the G.A.R. (castle) building at Cass and Grand River. Dan Austin of the Detroit Free Press writes this about Sean Emery, one of the business partners who bought the building.
It’s worth pointing out that this is a Detroit-based small business saving one of the city’s architectural treasures, not a major real estate developer or major hotel chain or billionaire’s business. That’s not to discount the rebirths of the Book-Cadillac and Fort Shelby hotels or the Broderick Tower, but this is a little guy dreaming big and doing his part to turn our city around.
“For anyone else who wants to try, now’s the time to do this in this city,” Emery said. “There’s an incredible private-sector, do-it-yourself mentality that’s more or less erupting in Detroit right now. ... When you look around the city and see these businesses taking the chance and succeeding, it is literally infectious. The opportunity to make a difference, grow and build something worthwhile is greater in this city than it has been in decades and is probably unique in the country. Get out there and do it.”
Sean Emery, David Carleton, and Tom Carleton are just three regular guys, and business owners, who bought this abandoned gem with a flashlight, a vision, and $220k. In addition, these self-made historians are repurposing as much of the building materials as possible, as well as replicating building characteristics that cannot be saved due to the building's condition.
There are no public funds to gloat about, and there will be no politicians or Detroit "celebrities" showing up at the opening of this building. But these grassroots entrepreneurial efforts are the essence of this city's phenomenal voluntaryist economy. Cross-posted at my blog "Detroit: From Rust to Riches." Follow me on Twitter @karendecoster.
Photo from Detroit Free Press.