City of Detroit plans to demolish 1,380 blighted properties

Work could start this spring on razing about 1,380 blighted houses and other properties in Detroit under the city’s new Demolition Department.

Mayor Mike Duggan announced Friday that the first $30 million in demolition bid contracts have been awarded to seven companies based in Detroit and that at least 51% of the workers on the projects will be city residents.

"As a condition of the bids, these companies have to show you what staff are going to work on the jobs," Duggan said.

The work will be paid through bond funds approved last year by city voters.

Detroit has demolished about 19,000 vacant and abandoned houses since 2014, but most of that work was paid with federal funds which placed restrictions on how contracts were bid and where the structures being torn down were located.

"This is city money," Duggan told reporters. "It’s going to be run under city ordinance and with City Council oversight."

Detroit "cannot wait for the federal government to be the savior" for the city "all the time," Councilman Scott Benson said. "We can do this ourselves."

The City Council has to approve hiring the seven small firms. Five of the companies are Black-owned.

The city received more than 180 bids for the work, according to Boysie Jackson, Detroit’s chief procurement officer.

Detroit also will seek bids on additional properties for demolition every three months.

Bids are expected to go out next week for houses and properties needing rehabilitation. Up to 6,000 properties that could be saved through renovations have been identified by the city.