Former Joe Louis home in Detroit sells for $217K

Candice Williams
The Detroit News

The former home of boxing legend Joe Louis in the city’s Boston Edison neighborhood has a new owner.

The buyers, a couple from San Francisco, closed on 1683 Edison this week. The purchase price for the 2,433-square-foot brick and stucco colonial: $217,000.

The four-bedroom, 2 1/2 bath house sat vacant for about five years until the seller, Josh Kushnereit, purchased it in the Wayne County tax auction in October 2015. County records shows the purchase price was $33,500.

Kushnereit renovated the home this year while preserving its historic charm, including the lead-glass pocket doors, original built-ins and crown molding. Among the renovations were new cabinets and tile and a restored clawfoot tub. Other improvements include a new roof with gutter system, furnace and electrical system.

“It was kind of like a complete rehab,” said Kushnereit, 32, of Clarkson.

Kushnereit said he learned from a neighbor that Louis had once lived in the home while he was checking it out prior to the auction. He then decided to make a bid for the property.

He’s done about a dozen similar investment projects in the Boston Edison neighborhood and in the suburbs.

“I definitely gave it some extra love,” he said.

The Historic Boston Edison Association website states that Louis lived in the home, but the timeframe is unclear. Louis moved to Detroit from Alabama in 1924. Known as the “Brown Bomber,” he held the title of world heavyweight champion from 1937 to 1949.

The new owners found the home through Detroit-based real estate agent Jim Tumey of the Loft Warehouse. They were drawn to the home’s condition, charm and history, he said.

“They liked the Boston Edison neighborhood,” Tumey said. “It’s rare to find a 100-year-old home with the perks of living in a brand new house. Without the headaches of an old house.”

The couple flew to Detroit to see a few houses in October, Tumey said. They submitted an offer for the property and it was accepted before they left town. They closed on the house Wednesday, he said.

“They understand the Detroit market,” he said. “I think we’ll see a big value in market increase in five to 10 years. That’s what they’re hoping for.”

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