Low-rent Cass Corridor apartments shuttered

Louis Aguilar
The Detroit News

Detroit — A Cass Corridor apartment building that’s part of a mysterious multimillion-dollar property sale has been completely shuttered, highlighting the unknown fate of some of the low-income residents on a street headed for a major overhaul.

The Claridge, one of three small apartment buildings on the 400 block of Henry, was purchased as part of a deal for $8.1 million to a buyer who has taken steps in public records to shield his or her identity. The apartments are month-to-month rentals in the $300 to $400 range.

The buildings are one block west of Little Caesars Arena, the $863 million sports-and-entertainment complex that opened last fall, and fall within the 50-block multimillion-dollar development plan called District Detroit.

Former residents of the Claridge, which has been boarded up, were offered apartments in the Berwin, another of the Henry apartments, four Berwin residents said Monday. The process of moving the Claridge residents began a couple of months ago, and the building was completely shut in past few weeks, they added.

No permits or other documents had been filed on the building based on a check of public records on Monday. Calls to the management company, Southfield-based Elite Property, were not returned Monday.

The three apartment buildings contain about 95 units in total. Another empty building on the block was also part of the sale. The buyer is listed as Cass Village Apartments LLC. A registered agent in Ann Arbor is listed as the sole representative for the company, according to public records, and no phone number is provided. A registered agent is a third-party authorized by a business to receive legal notices and correspondences on behalf of the firm.

The block is bounded on the north by Henry, on the east by Cass, on the south by the West Fisher Freeway and on the west by Second. Half of the block has become surface parking lots owned by Olympia Development, an entity of the billionaire Ilitch family that owns much of the property in District Detroit. That project is being led by the family-run Ilitch Holdings, owners of the Little Caesars pizza chain, Olympia Development, the Detroit Red Wings and Detroit Tigers.

The buildings on the corner of Henry and Cass have been the focus of a battle between preservationists and Olympia Development, which owns the empty properties. Olympia seeks to demolish the three buildings.

Last year, historic preservationists lobbied city officials to halt Olympia’s plans to demolish the buildings In June, the Detroit City Council voted to give the three buildings temporary historic designation. The buildings are the former Hotel Ansonia at 2447 Cass, the former Atlanta Apartments at 2467 Cass and the former Henry Apartments at 427 Henry.

The fate of the three buildings and other plans for Cass and Henry block will be discussed at 4 p.m. Thursday when the city’s Historic Designation Advisory Board holds a public hearing on the issue. The meeting will be at Michigan State University’s Detroit Center at 3408 Woodward.


Twitter: @LouisAguilar_DN