Re: The paradox I now live in South Florida, within the Miami/Ft. Lauderdale/West Palm Beach corridor, and have been here since I left Michigan in 1983. Admittedly, I have not lived in the City of Detroit for over 30 years, but as my "hometown" I have read articles and followed news from the area.
I don't think transportation is a related issue at all. It is a very complex equation, first related to the fact that a whopping majority of the residents were employed by the Auto Industry, (the "All your eggs in one basket" scenario, and the industry tanked) coupled by an inappropriately large amount of socialized services for welfare and related causes.
It is a case study for both a failed free-enterprise and a failed socialism environment.
Re: The paradox The purchase was made in the mid 1980's, and he was leveraging Government-Aid programs for the massive unemployed populations. At that time, UAW and other distressed groups were receiving benefits from HUD to pay their rents. Landlords were receiving $500/month payments direct from the government, without passing thru the hands (accounts) of the beneficiary tenants. A pretty lucrative scenario, considering the total investment was paid-off for in a mere 4 months.
However, after some time ( I cannot recall the length of term) the program benefits ceased, and the situation imploded. Did the property appreciate? Absolutely not; it worsened to a point of total worthlessness. My friend, of course simply walked away from the property. No strain of credit, because it was paid-for in cash.
This is a great example of why Governments shouldn't be socialized in such manners, (and healthcare, for example). While it initially seems great for everyone involved, (tenants getting free rent, and Landlords getting easy profits) eventually the money runs out, and everything crashes and burns. Case in Point: Detroit.
Re: The paradox A former Detroiter – I left there in 1979 and haven't looked back. But your comment is correct, in that it's not the Downtown Area, and never was. Detroit's skyline is a relatively compact monument of new glass and classic stone, picturesquely facing the Detroit riverfront. Lots of parks and fountains and cultural elements. Actually, very nice.
However, immediately surrounding this compact (perhaps 1 square mile area) extends the burnt-out & blighted wreckage of former neighborhoods that, 60+ years ago, were filled with wage-earning Auto-Workers. The energy crisis of the 1970s was the first set-back in my personal memory; caused by rising gas prices, slumping auto-sales, and rising unemployment in the Auto Industry, and these areas began to crumble fast.
It got so bad so fast, that a friend of mine purchased a 2 story, 4 bedroom, brick colonial home on a Detroit side street in one of these blighted neighborhoods, as a rental income property. The total appraised real estate value of the property was $2,000.
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