Date: July 29 – August 3, 2018
Location: Detroit, MI
Sponsor: City of Detroit, the Michigan Preservation Network, and the DTE Energy Foundation
Subject Area: Building Reuse
Panel Chair: Michael Stern, MAS Places, Jackson, Wyoming
Background and Panel Assignment
An advisory services panel made recommendations for identifying, quantifying, and implementing tactical preservation measures for the estimated 66,000 empty buildings in neighborhoods scattered around Detroit. Together the city of Detroit, the Michigan Preservation Network, and the DTE Energy Foundation sponsored this event to look for solutions to the retrofitting of buildings with historic implications, for innovative mixed-use and adaptive uses. With the City of Detroit just recently expanding their Strategic Neighborhood Fund by $130 million to include seven additional neighborhoods, the city is looking for ways to zero in on their options to maximize inclusive community integration and asset potential.
The assignment centered around looking at ways the city can help facilitate, rather than hinder, tactical preservation in multiple neighborhoods. Central questions included:
- How does a developer cover partial or entire insurance requirements?
- How might zoning be changed to accommodate new uses?
- Can Mixed Tape strategies be employed to more efficiently transition the building from vacancy to partial reuse?
- What building codes might be incurred to partially reuse the building?
- How might construction loans be facilitated and secured?
- How can utilities be adapted to the partial use of a building’s space?
- How should the city develop a flexible, but strategic framework for tactical preservation? What are potential replicable strategies to pilot city wide?
- How should the city develop partnerships with the private, nonprofit and philanthropic sectors?
- What are funding and financing sources to explore to help implement tactical preservation in the City of Detroit?
- How does Detroit begin to implement in the first 3 months, 6 months and 15 months?
Summary of Recommendations
After 5 days, the panelists came up with multiple ways to address the questions:
- Be tactical about tactical preservation
- Initiating Tactical Preservation through the Strategic Neighborhood Fund (SNF)
- Identify and stabilize the 10-15 viable neighborhood candidates in SNF while plans are being developed and implemented
- Implement a scoring metric assessing neighborhood assets by scoring a building’s heritage value, community value, proximity to a corridor, impact in that corridor, structural integrity, potential use, alignment of the floor plan with that use, ease of partial use, level of finishes, access to utilities, and financing
- Build on existing resources like Motor City Match/Restore and SNF
- Commit to inter-agency coordination to maximize government flexibility
- Develop without displacement by utilizing tactical preservation to protect community assets
- Cultivate inclusive leadership and build capacity through community champions
- Set an aggressive schedule and keep it