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Recent aerial view of downtown!  

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Southwest Detroit is the next happening place, and everyone knows it. There are all kinds of speculators buying vacant land in my neighborhood and other nearby neighborhoods. Everything isn't all rosey, but it's getting better. A few months ago, a house around the corner was firebombed. I figured that the thing would sit there and rot away for years, but they are actually fixing it up. The same goes for a two family flat on the next block over that burned. There are three houses on my block that were vacant and are now getting fixed up, which, especially in this economy, is amazing. Houses here 10 years ago were selling for $20,000 and it was so dangerous that people were scared to go out of their houses, even in broad daylight. Today houses are selling in the neighborhood of $100,000, and you don't really hear too much talk about lack of safety amongst residents.

There is still a lot of gang activity here, unfortunately. I don't know about other neighborhoods in southwest Detroit, but my neighborhood has seen a huge increase in gang activity in recent weeks. Last night a house up the street got bombed out and graffitied. Two nights ago they torched a garage in the alley behind my house. It's just something that comes with the territory, I guess. As long as you don't bother them, they won't bother you. The police are working the neighborhood and trying to crack down on that stuff, but there's only so much they can do. It's a way of life for many people here, and I'm not sure how to break that cycle.

On the upside, the Vernor business district is the closest thing we have to a thriving retail strip in Detroit. I'm told that the level of traffic on Vernor is about the same as it was in the 1920s. Obviously there were more pedestrians back then, but it's not doing bad at all.

Overall, southwest Detroit is gaining people. Every other area outside of downtown is still bleeding residents, so I think that says a lot. I don't think anyone really knows how many people are living here because there are so many illegals, but it'll be interesting to see what the census says in 2010.

Now, if only we could do something about Matty's power/land grab. If there's any one thing that can destroy the renaissance, that would be it. He's buying land left and right, and from what I heard at the last bridge meeting in early December, he's got his teeth sunk into the new bridge to Canada already. :angry:

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I do want another bridge to Canada. I do not want another bridge to Canada controlled by Matty Moroun.

I will say that I have reservations about the chosen location, but only because a friend of mine will likely be losing his livelihood due to the ridiculously massive proposed toll plaza.

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Oh, i see. As i said in my other post, that you probobly didnt see becuase i posted while you were posting, i didnt know where mexican town was.

Is it almost certain that hes going to build at this location?

BTW,Whats the projected start date for this project?

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Southwest Detroit is the next happening place, and everyone knows it. There are all kinds of speculators buying vacant land in my neighborhood and other nearby neighborhoods. Everything isn't all rosey, but it's getting better. A few months ago, a house around the corner was firebombed. I figured that the thing would sit there and rot away for years, but they are actually fixing it up. The same goes for a two family flat on the next block over that burned. There are three houses on my block that were vacant and are now getting fixed up, which, especially in this economy, is amazing. Houses here 10 years ago were selling for $20,000 and it was so dangerous that people were scared to go out of their houses, even in broad daylight. Today houses are selling in the neighborhood of $100,000, and you don't really hear too much talk about lack of safety amongst residents.

There is still a lot of gang activity here, unfortunately. I don't know about other neighborhoods in southwest Detroit, but my neighborhood has seen a huge increase in gang activity in recent weeks. Last night a house up the street got bombed out and graffitied. Two nights ago they torched a garage in the alley behind my house. It's just something that comes with the territory, I guess. As long as you don't bother them, they won't bother you. The police are working the neighborhood and trying to crack down on that stuff, but there's only so much they can do. It's a way of life for many people here, and I'm not sure how to break that cycle.

On the upside, the Vernor business district is the closest thing we have to a thriving retail strip in Detroit. I'm told that the level of traffic on Vernor is about the same as it was in the 1920s. Obviously there were more pedestrians back then, but it's not doing bad at all.

Overall, southwest Detroit is gaining people. Every other area outside of downtown is still bleeding residents, so I think that says a lot. I don't think anyone really knows how many people are living here because there are so many illegals, but it'll be interesting to see what the census says in 2010.

Now, if only we could do something about Matty's power/land grab. If there's any one thing that can destroy the renaissance, that would be it. He's buying land left and right, and from what I heard at the last bridge meeting in early December, he's got his teeth sunk into the new bridge to Canada already. :angry:

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There are currently two border crossing projects under development. The first is the twining of the Ambassador Bridge. Matty Moroun has said that he's doing this regardless of what happens with the new Delray bridge. The Detroit International Bridge Company (DIBC) has been purchasing land and buildings up and down both sides of the river so that they can do this. The DIBC has also reportedly already demolished homes in Windsor in preparation for the construction of the twin span. They do not have any permits yet that I know of, but the new twin span will not need supports in the river bed, so they don't have to go through that (which is the hardest part to get permits for). Heck, knowing Matty, they won't even pull permits...they'll built it anyway. When they expanded the toll plaza for the Ambassador Bridge a few years back they didn't even own all the land they expanded onto, let alone bother to pull any permits!

The second border cross project is the the new Delray bridge. When you're driving in that area of southwest Detroit, you see signs for the DRIC Drilling test sites. They are doing test bores in the riverbed to be sure that it can support new bridge pilings. I don't happen to have the map handy, but the bridge will be constructed at Post Street, and the toll plaza around it. This will connect into I-75.

At the last bridge meeting on December 5th, Kwame was there and publically said that the new bridge will be held by Matty Moroun. So much for that publically-owned border crossing!

Matty is the one single individual who has enough power and money to hault southwest Detroit's revitalization. Most people just don't know how much he really owns. He is easily the biggest landowner in the city of Detroit. Only the city of Detroit itself could surpass Matty in the amount of land owned by a single entity. Matty is a greedy, sneaky old man. He has the power and money to help put Southwest Detroit back on the right track, but he also has the power to destroy it (which, so far, is what he and his various companies have done). He sees no sympathy when it comes to the almighty dollar. He's aging, and his son is set to take over the empire. Unfortunately, his son is just as bad or even worse.....

If he was smart, he'd restore the Michigan Central Depot. He would surely go down as one of the great champions of Detroit's revitalization, despite his past actions. I suppose he doesn't care so much what people think of him or his companies though...after all, when you've got that much money, what does it really matter?

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Allan, since you have a very good take on Southwest Detroit (probably one of the most alien parts of the city to me), why do you think Matty, being advanced in age without much time left here, is trying so hard to make things difficult with the community groups of Southwest Detroit? I mean, realizing that he's far too old for money to matter much, anymore, why isn't he concerned about leaving a positive legacy in that area of Detroit? Seriously, he wouldn't have to do much to get a lot of praise. I don't much like to judge people I haven't met, but I've heard nothing but negative things about how the guy interacts with the city, and the fact that he was such a large contributor to Kwame (I hear) leaves me with an even worse impression of the guy. Southwest Detroit is literally one of the most functional parts of the city, and this guy's trying to make its transformation more painful than it has to be.

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I need to dig up the rest of my depot info one of these days. I have an entire room in my house devoted to the train depot. :D

Matty Moroun is often referred to as "Matty Moron" around these parts. I am involved in a few different community revitalization groups here in Southwest Detroit, and the name comes up at every single meeting....

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I need to dig up the rest of my depot info one of these days. I have an entire room in my house devoted to the train depot. :D

Matty Moroun is often referred to as "Matty Moron" around these parts. I am involved in a few different community revitalization groups here in Southwest Detroit, and the name comes up at every single meeting....

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The MCS seems like such a difficult reuse, with the location being a major hinderance. I could see it being a trade center, though, given its location, but not much else.

BTW, does anyone have any contact info for Controlled Terminals, or whatever its called? You know, the owning company of the MCS? Controlled Terminals doesn't even have a website.

Edited by Lmichigan
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It's west of the downtown, kind of out by the old Tiger Stadium. If you were traveling from Grand Rapids heading into the city on I-96, it would be the first thing you see heading into the downtown. It's quite unfortunate it is the first thing that is seen. :cry:

Oh, and it's the old train station. The 'new' Amtrak station is now north of the downtown in a really ugly non-descript building.

Sooner or later, I need to throw together another photo tour of this place. Or maybe all of us can contribute. I know Zissou has some beautiful shots.

Edited by wolverine
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