Gilchrist selling troubled Detroit apartment building
Detroit — Don’t look for Michigan’s new lieutenant governor on a home makeover show.
Garlin Gilchrist II is selling a fire-damaged Detroit apartment building at a loss after spending about $226,000 to try to revive it. He got the vacant building from the Detroit Land Bank Authority for just $13,500, benefiting from a 50 percent discount because he was a city employee in 2016.
The building at 253 Marston became an issue in the fall campaign when neighbors complained about the eyesore. Gilchrist at the time said he’d made progress but acknowledged that it wasn’t “in the state that I want it to be in.” He said he was struggling to get loans.
Records obtained by the Associated Press show Gilchrist is selling the eight-unit building to a real-estate company for $190,000. The Land Bank still needs to approve the deal.
Land Bank spokeswoman Alyssa Strickland told the News that Gilchrist asked for land bank approval to sell the property.
"Right now, we are working with both parties to close the deal," she said. "We expect the sale to close soon."
The new buyer, she noted, must agree to take on the terms of the original purchase agreement, which includes rehabbing and occupying the property.
Gilchrist won’t owe anything to the agency because he’s selling the property at a loss, she said.
Gilchrist declined to comment about the sale when asked about it by The Detroit News during a Thursday visit and tour of the Detroit Rescue Mission in Detroit.
"We have spent $225,798.90 on this project,” Gilchrist said in a Jan. 5 email to the Land Bank, “and will therefore not be making any profit on this sale.”
He was tapped as Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s Democratic running mate after he raised his profile in 2017 during an unsuccessful run for Detroit city clerk. Whitmer defeated Republican nominee Bill Schuette in November.
“Lt. Gov. Gilchrist is focused on his role as lieutenant governor and serving the residents of Michigan,” spokeswoman Tiffany Brown said Thursday when asked what spurred the sale. “That’s it. Nothing more to add.”
Emails released by the Land Bank show Gilchrist was repeatedly reminded about deadlines to obtain financing and get the property in shape. He cleaned up the building’s exterior during the election campaign after the agency threatened to repossess the property, which has a temporary fence around the front.
Gilchrist said he was lining up $460,000 in loans, but the financing apparently fizzled. He was upbeat about the rehab a year ago.
“Our project will serve as an anchor for the future of the area and has already inspired others to work to improve their houses,” Gilchrist said in a loan application shared with the Land Bank.
Detroit News Staff Writer Christine Ferretti and the Associated Press contributed.