The break happened at about 12:30 a.m., flooding out the historic buildings near 18th street.
"I got here this morning around 7:30 and it was just gushing," said Skender Gurda Kajoshaj of Illyrian Construction. "So I called the homeowner and I said 'What do you want us to do?'
"He said do whatever you need to do to get the water out of the basement."
The contractor told FOX 2 that the building is at least 120 years old and the concern now is, if it is even structurally sound.
"There's a risk of it all crumbling," Kajoshaj said.
One look in the basement of the building currently under renovation and it looks now, underwater. The owner had been investing $1 million to transform the space into his home and additional residential units.
"The water was up to here - we had one pump going and had to go get a secondary pump," Kajoshaj said.
Adding insult to injury - artwork from the previous owner stored downstairs was to be donated to the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum. Now it's floating in boxes in the flooded basement.
"I understand this is an old part of town, but it's up and coming," Kajoshaj said. "So why wouldn't you invest in the infrastructure?"
A spokesperson with the Detroit Water and Sewerage Department says it was notified about the water main break between 2 and 4 a.m. - and turned down the water within an hour.
But they can't turn it off entirely or else they can't find the source of the leak.
It is a 12-inch main and the break is so far below ground, special equipment is being brought in Wednesday to start the repairs.