by Ryan Felton
Katy Levy was taken aback after watching a promo video for the new upscale lofts being constructed inside an Albert Kahn-designed building in Capitol Park at 1214 Griswold now called "The Albert." The video, a promotional tool clearly seeking to attract young, affluent people, made the rounds across local news sites last month.
The problem she had with the video was the obvious lack of 1214 Griswold's actual residents, the majority of which are seniors and disabled tenants, who had to be evicted in order to make The Albert a reality.
A goal of the video, she says, was "to get it into the hands of people who would consider renting at the Albert and ask them to think twice. In every American city we’ve seen luxury housing projects displace entire neighborhoods for the benefit of a select few. If Detroit wants to break this paradigm—a disappearing middle class from the city centers, developers and the city should promote mixed-income housing all around the city. We should all come to terms with the fact that the notion that poor people can’t contribute to a healthy housing market is based on racism, greed, ignorance and scandal."
“The blatant injustice of kicking fixed income elderly people of color out of prime real-estate to make way for, if we are to believe the promo video, young affluent whites is outrageous,” Thomas Stephens of Detroiters Resisting Emergency Management said in a statement. “This is what happens when you make plans like Detroit Future City with no references to the racial or economic realities that have put Detroit in the crisis that it’s in. The solution is not further devastation of the most vulnerable. The people being pandered to in the video for Gilbert’s luxury apartment have many options.”