City of Detroit ramps up efforts to tear down commercial buildings

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The city of Detroit is committed to fighting blight, tearing down blighted and abandoned buildings all over town.

Usually houses get most of the attention but in 2018 the city is ramping up efforts to demolish commercial properties that have been dragging down neighborhoods for years.

A new year means a new challenge of tearing down residential blight. 

"We've got green (map) dots to represent all the demolitions that we have completed," said Brian Farkas, director of special projects, Detroit Building Authority. "We have red dots and yellow dots in the upcoming demolitions. As we track and move through our pipeline, every day these dots will change color."

So far the map has 13,000 red dots shows the houses that will come down. Brian Farkas took FOX 2 to the nerve center where the tracking and planning is happening. The goal for 2018 is simple, when it comes to commercial demos.

"Right now we are targeting 438 properties for demolition this year," he said. "Last year, 2017, we did 143."

The city will double the number of commercial demos this year. They are often sandwiched between lively businesses with blight bringing down the neighborhood. 

At 7016 Michigan Avenue, one neighbor running a clinic next door to some blight is thrilled it is on the hit list for 2018. 

"I feel good about that," he said. 

At Fisher and Gratiot three old abandoned businesses are on the hit list for demolition there. 

"It is good for the neighborhood to bring the city back to make better neighborhoods, and make property values go up," said Duane Bivings. "It is especially good for the little kids walking back and forth to school. It will make the neighborhood a little safer."

"Now we are going through these commercial corridors," said Farkas. "And hitting places near schools, near parks, near high population densities."