News & Views » Columns




The Abandoned Structure Squad opted for a change of pace this week. Instead of describing another of the rotting, fire-damaged eyesores that plague neighborhoods throughout this proud city, we decided to offer up an example of one attempt to deal with the city’s housing problem.

Students at Detroit’s A. Philip Randolph Career and Technical Center recently completed construction of a 960-square-foot home on Strathmoor Street. One thing that makes this home interesting, from an ASS perspective at least, is that it was constructed where an abandoned home once stood.

“There was a house on the lot, but it was really in bad shape,” said Joseph W. Smith, an administrator at A. Philip Randolph. “So we decided to tear it down and start from the beginning.”

Smith estimates that 40 to 50 students were involved in the project. The students did nearly all the work on the house except for the roofing, and the carpet and tile installation.

The project was accomplished with a grant provided by the Michigan State Housing Development Authority (MSHDA).

Smith said that the school plans to build more houses in the future.

“We would like to be able to do one house a year,” Smith said. “We’ve already set forth the groundwork for our next house.”

He said that the next house will be built on a site at the school, and will be transported to a permanent location upon completion.

Under MSHDA’s guidelines, the home must go to a first-time homebuyer who meets specific income qualifications. Those interested in finding out more about the house, which is being sold for $69,500, can phone Al Lucy at the Grandmont Rosedale Development Corp., 313-835-8190, ext. 18.

Send comments to

We welcome readers to submit letters regarding articles and content in Detroit Metro Times. Letters should be a minimum of 150 words, refer to content that has appeared on Detroit Metro Times, and must include the writer's full name, address, and phone number for verification purposes. No attachments will be considered. Writers of letters selected for publication will be notified via email. Letters may be edited and shortened for space.

Email us at

Detroit Metro Times works for you, and your support is essential.

Our small but mighty local team works tirelessly to bring you high-quality, uncensored news and cultural coverage of Detroit and beyond.

Unlike many newspapers, ours is free – and we'd like to keep it that way, because we believe, now more than ever, everyone deserves access to accurate, independent coverage of their community.

Whether it's a one-time acknowledgement of this article or an ongoing pledge, your support helps keep Detroit's true free press free.