City Council threatens to pull plug on Arnold Home demo because bidder not a Detroiter

Arnold HomeDetroit City Council postponed a $1 million project to demolish the dangerous, derelict Arnold Home on 7 Mile because the winning bidder was not from the city.

The sprawling nursing home near the Southfield Freeway collapsed in December 2011, killing two metal scrappers and drawing attention to a long-abandoned building that is wide open to trespass and has injured others in the past.

“I would like to see a list of contractors who actually bidded on this,” Councilwoman Brenda Jones said, bemoaning the failure to find a Detroit demolition company to do the work.

The council postponed a vote on demolition until at least Wednesday so some council members can review the higher-priced proposals from Detroit companies.

“That’s outrageous,” Leigh Johnson, who lives near the 13-acre property building at 18520 W Seven Mile, said when told of the postponement. “There are children playing around that mess all the time. It needs to come down before someone else is killed.”

Some council members agreed.

“I want to see the other companies that submitted as well,” Councilman James Tate said, “but I think we all want to see this monstrosity down as soon as possible. It’s a dangerous eyesore.”

Arnold Home
Arnold home before scrapping

The nursing home closed about a decade ago and was heavily scrapped soon after.

“It’s time for the building to come down as quickly as humanly possible, and hopefully we will do that tomorrow,” Council President Pro Tem Gary Brown said.

The council chose an odd time to wage a fight against outside contractors. The city’s new emergency manager, Kevyn Orr, has the authority to trump council decisions, and the city’s budget is a mess and could lead to municipal bankruptcy.

Check back for photos from inside the Arnold Home.

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Steve Neavling, who lives on the city’s east side, is an investigative journalist, a freelance reporter for Reuters and former city hall reporter for the Detroit Free Press. Neavling explores corruption, Detroit’s unsung heroes and the underbelly of an oft-misunderstood city.

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Steve Neavling

Steve Neavling lives and works in Detroit as an investigative journalist. His stories have uncovered corruption, led to arrests and reforms and prompted FBI investigations.