Finally, “Ruin Porn” with a happy ending.

Last April, I was in Detroit for some varied work.  During one assignment profiling a huge city park there (possibly designed by Frederick Olmstead) for HOUR magazine,  I met Kathy Makino, a woman who is single-handily helping to bring about a housing renewal in Palmer Park.  Her company, Shelborne Development, with the help of some federal grants, are buying up and renovating the many historical old apartment buildings in the area.

Dating back to the 1920’s, an exotic mix of architecture proliferates the area including Egyptian, Spanish, Venetian, Moorish, Tudor and Mediterranean styles.  Many buildings there are listed on the National Register of Historic Places including some that Kathy is working on.  After taking her portrait for the story on the near-by park, we decided it would be in her interest to document the current state of the buildings before she brings them back to their original glory.  Escorted by an armed guard of sorts (the area, boarding Highland Park, has a ton of gun violence and seemingly, year after year, awarded the title of murder capital of the murder capital), I spent a full day moving around and exploring every niche of her six prized buildings taking photos of the existing architectural details and current (but not for long!)state of dilapidation.

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