Historic Prismatic Club says Developer is squeezing them out in Midtown

Ken Katz is vice president of the Prismatic Club on Eliot Street in Midtown Detroit.

"We appreciate the development - what they've done here, but we just want access," Katz said.

The men's club was founded in 1867 and was dedicated to literature and history and preservation in the city of Detroit.

"We give talks on history and current events," he said. "We're still here - we've been here through the good times and the bad times and all our hearts are in Detroit."

They meet Saturday nights from September until May. But the members - many in their 60's and 70's have been meeting virtually during Covid, all the while new development has been happening all around them - including a large parking garage right next door - that they say they need access to once the pandemic is over.

"I don't think we're asking for much - a minimum of 20 spaces when they've just built this garage that holds hundreds," said Katz.

He added that they had a long-standing parking agreement with the former owners but now professional property management out of Birmingham is developing the area.

He says causing tripping hazards like cracks and uneven sidewalks around the prismatic club  - even demolishing their wheelchair accessible ramp - which, he says, the developer has since rebuilt.

A dispute between the old Prismatic Club and the new developer could have to be settled in court, but Katz is determined to keep fighting.

Adam Nyman, a spokesperson for the developer, released a statement stating that they've attempted to work with the Prismatic Club.

"…we are a father and son Michigan-based development firm and we have been working with the City of Detroit and various local companies to bring a transformative new development project called SoMA (South of Mack Avenue) to the Midtown area. In an effort to be neighborly and inclusive, I met with members of the Prismatic Club before we broke ground on SoMA and showed them the plans for the project, which included enhancements to the landscaping around the property which they now own. I thought they really liked the landscaping. Unfortunately, the plans to beautify their property were derailed when they filed this lawsuit—because Prismatic really wanted to get free parking forever.

The Prismatic’s lawsuit is completely without merit, and we are disappointed they decided to file it instead of working together. So far, every effort Prismatic has made to obtain relief from the Court has been denied.  They certainly are not entitled to free parking. We recently filed a motion to dismiss the remaining claims and are hopeful it will soon bring an end to the case. It is worth noting that the current condition of the Prismatic property is a result of their filing this lawsuit and Prismatic forbidding us from entering their property. Also, since construction began, and even after Prismatic sued us, Prismatic members have been parking on our parking lot across the street from their property--free of charge—while the lawsuit is ongoing. Prismatic purchased the property in its current condition for a mere $10,000 last year. Obviously, Prismatic could see and knew what the condition of the property was when it was purchased. Yet, now it seeks to pursue claims that we strongly believe are entirely unjustified."