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Neighborhood Profiles: Boston-Edison


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Where we live: Boston-Edison area, Detroit

March 19, 2004

Appeal: Classic homes and mansions, most built between 1900 and 1925, can be purchased for a reasonable price considering the old-world craftsmanship and ample square footage. For example: The seven-bedroom home at 735 Chicago Blvd. is on the market for $380,000. Each bedroom on the second floor has two walk-in closets. "Every home is a story," says LaDonna Walker-Little, a local Realtor. "You'll find real marble, real granite, oak paneling, Pewabic tile. Dream homes." Perhaps the only problem is the age of the homes -- a factor when it comes to upkeep.

Local facts: This 45-block area is where Detroit's wealthy and celebrated once lived, particularly before World War II. Past residents include Henry Ford, four of the seven Fisher brothers, Motown's Berry Gordy, U.S. Sen. James Couzens, Rabbi Leo Franklin and Prophet Jones. Home values here took a dive during the 1970s, but are on the way up as prices and renovations have steadily increased. The neighborhood made the list of country's historic sites in 1975.

Prevalent architecture: Elaborate workmanship from a previous era, with impressive stone construction in many of the homes. Each structure is different. Basement bowling alleys and third-floor ballrooms are common. The local neighborhood association is very active and shares tips on problems common with maintaining older homes. "There are bungalows, there are ranches and there are Tudors. It has a diverse mix, entailing every sort of architecture," says Realtor Chris Cetlinski, who has lived in the neighborhood for two decades and specializes in area sales.

Schools: Detroit Public Schools, which were 40 percent below the statewide average MEAP score in 2003. Northern High School is nearby.

Taxes: The average home in the Boston-Edison area sold for approximately $192,000 last year. Taxes on an average home would be $6,500 annually.

Shopping, dining and entertainment: Downtown Detroit is a quick drive south on Woodward Avenue, with easy access to Comerica Park, Wayne State University, Henry Ford Hospital and the Fox Theatre.

Public safety: The Boston-Edison vicinity, which includes the police precinct area immediately outside of Boston-Edison proper, had five homicides, 10 criminal sexual conduct cases, 68 burglaries and 58 vehicles thefts in 2003.

Public transportation: D-DOT, SMART bus systems.

By Tim Kiska, Free Press special writer

More on the neighborhood can be found here.

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I almost bought a house very near this neighborhood. It was on Blaine street, about six blocks south of Boston. While the houses outside the "defined" historic district are not as well maintained, they show ungodly potential for the right people to fix up. The house I looked at was a 2 1/2 story brick monster of around 2600 sq ft, on the market for only $80,000!!! Yes, it needed some major work, but this could be returned to a very great neighborhood, especially given the proximity to New Center and then downtown.

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